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Thomthom's Reviews
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By Thomthom Geigenschrey

We hope to present reviews from Thomthom on a regular basis. At the moment - because this music section is a non-profit operation, Thomthom is kindly contributing his work to us free of charge. This is the second of his reviews and it is presented exactly as he sent it to us - untouched and un edited.  Please forward comments directly to Thomthom.
 

The Comeback of the Kraut-fathers:
Example: CAN and FAUST . -------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Krautrock in former days, means the 70's, in germany, meant something like a bad ugly term, a stigma for german bands, who came up as answers or timecomrads of anglo-american prog or psychedelic freakout-Bands like early Syd Barretts Pink Floyd, Edgar Broughton, Genesis or Hawkwind. In germany they only were seen to be their suspicious substitutes. But in Britain and later Newzealand and nowadays Rest-Europe and USA the term means a cultish positive musicscene and their approach.

The word Krautrock was originally made up by english musicpress, trying to describe those "Sauerkrauts and Stockhausen pupils" there in cologne and berlin, who did this strange heady, overloaded soundscapes, grooves and improvisations or kinda architectural music, trying to free themselves and emancipate from or tribute to the England- and USA-Progscene of these days; trying to improve that it's possible to dance about architecture. Spaced out hippies who lived in communes and created their own intellectual revolutionary music as the political outerparlentary-movement of 1968 took place. Some important Krauts with attitude were the electronic Ambient-Trancer Tangerine Dream, the experimental Rock-Avantgardes Amon Düül (members of political ambitioned "Commune 1"), the soundscientists and terrorists Faust, the groovy improvising, first Multiculti Band Can, the Electronic/Tekkno-pioneers Kraftwerk and Trancefathers Ashra Temple. Nowadays - wonder wonder - krautrock is popular like hell, again more international than in Germany, but the times they are a changin... even for the prophets in their own land... Bands like Flaming Lips, The Clean, Terminals, Scott 4, Sonic Youth, Mooseheart Faith, and artists like Peter Jefferies, Bill Direen, Julian Cope or Blur relate themselves to Krautpioneers like FAUST, CAN or AMON DÜÜL, and not only Japan is still hysterical about them. Germanys today scene is full of experimental children of these mentality, beside tekknoacts like Cosmic Baby, such projects like Mouse on Mars, To Rococo Rot,Tarwater NoTwist or Kreidler, summed up as so called Neo Kraut, who are bit by bit beginning to collaborate with or renew the interest with former Krautfathers.

But its still a fanthing to like your own psychedelic bands and they were, and not to forget there were and are still many hopeless cases of horrible heavy in a negative way teutonical, unbearable oppurtunists and fakes swimming along. Bands who are better not to be named. But some of these who deserve all the fudge and respect, also survived and some are nowadays better than ever. For example: FAUST who recently released some fine new Cds (Live in Edinburgh, Ravvivando and Faust wakes Nosferatu) on their own KLANGBAD Label and did the Livesoundtrack for the classical old Murnau silentmovie, the legendary "Nosferatu" - the original Dracula film.

Their soundtrack is as psychedelic as its dronemusic and soundtrackmusic of an own format and special kind, which stands out on his own. Guitars phasing, hypnotical trashcan-and other litter-percussion and drumming (FAUST are Einstürzende Neubautens fathers) and organgrinding. Urban pygmy music. After Faust fired their french enfant terrible Jean Herve Peron, they are now more like an impresionistical than a psychotic psychedelicband, but thats the same intensity.

Last Time they appeared in July the 15th 1999 in the surrounding of the selfironical so called Hippiefestival nearby Fulda in northgermanys landscape and torturedthe audience and/with Nosferatu again. Shocking the Peacenicks of the Hippies to hell. Polarising the masses.

Two Days after them their timecomrads, ambitioned spacebrothers and french artrockers MAGMA created a similiar hypnotical, fascinating sunprayer-ritual between Carl Orff, Sun Ra,Henry Cow and Zappa, which FAUST organtreater Jochen Irmler brought to comment: I am so lucky not to be part of them (MAGMA).Otherwise I would have to practice the whole day!!" Yeah Magmas complicated structured, polyrhythmical modern E-music is somehow mathematical composed, very ambitioned stuff of dynamic Space-and Atonal-jazz and comprimed Minimalmusic. Krauts dont practic, they just let it out- whatever. With often (the risk is included) stunning results as the incrowd can/could see at another time -another place:

Cans somehow reunionconcert some months ago, in Berlin, in the big Columbiahalle near innercity airport. Can

Can's livesets always were improvised and therefore either brilliant or chaotic. This time they again resisted any expectations and claimed to perform only the Can status quo, means their actual soloprojects. First on stage: a meditating longhaired young guruman, balancing some computerconnected balls in his hands, who made sounds which changed while moving and were visualized on computer and wallscreens. No, it wasnt Alex Patterson of The Orb who was supposed to be DJ after the liveset, but looked like him with long hair. Alex sometimes teams up with Ex-Soundcutter and Samplingpioneer Holger Czukay, but not today.

Holger and a hairy friend

After quite a while the greyhaired Holger sneaked secretly smiling on stage behind the desks and his laptops,and his young computerfriends to extramanipulate sounds and computerpictures, who came .....from outta nowhere.

A very strange and not really reproveable kind of art-creation and performance took place,typical for Albert Einstein behave- and lookalike Czukay. Too abstract like some Hip Hop or DJ-Performances where its said they'll be doing miracullous things with the technical stuff, but you can't see, hear or prove it really. So its a bit stiff - Professor Czukay is a better and funnier studiocrack- than liveworker. Even the singing mannequin, who teams up with the intellectual soundscapes and somehow groovy material - - a kinda Velvet- Nico- rip-off-dame, singing her Sunday Morning - is a bit stiff and embarassing,too. But we love you, anyway, Maestro Czukay - and he compensates all with his charme and genius.

More obvious proveable, cause handmade (nothing against goodmade computer and machine art), was the set of the superbe Can-a-like trio of Cans significant guitarsiren and violinrocker Michael Karoli. His band laid down a groovy lava of tribal music with psychedelic touch and sounds, from a Karolipendant on guitar, while Karoli himself was battling and impressing with some technical problems and/with an electric violin. That was the nearest tribute to the original sound of Can happening. Some Sampler Inputs iincluded, but the most of the music was improvised Can-essence. Organic and flowing with Karolis special hopping grooves, singing guitar-melodies and violin-elegies. A specific warm and sympathic feel. The same feel, but again more academical had Can-pianoman Irmin Schmidt, who teamed up with a samplerspecialist playing ping-pong with him. He attacked or tried to confuse Schmidts grand-piano-treats.

On one side Schmidt standing and playing weirdly and pulling out very astonishing sounds and tekknolike patterns out of his effect-manipulated piano. On the other his compadre having anarchistic fun to cross his lines and stuctures, celebrating the lust of controversial sound and rhythm confrontation. A match which nearly exploded, while bit by bit both joined up finally in an intense symbiosis and compact duett. Bang: thats handmade Tekkno!

Another facette of the same procedure and approach was demonstrated by worlds most legendary and most minimalistical, finest groovy drummer Jaki Liebezeit and his Club Off Chaos Trio. Two young, very concentrated electronic-freaks, on sampler and a manipulated, strange selfbuild, somehow steelguitar, tried to force, provocate, confuse, challenge poor, to be pitied, petlike looking Jaki, who never let himself get irritated, but in the beginning had his trouble staying in rhythmical synchronicity with the chaos twins on both sides. But stoneface, always stoical and concentrated, he managed, never letting anybody see a glimpse of energy-loss or desperation.

After a while the battle was no battle, but a homogen fluid of handmade electronic beat-groove with a human beatman.This eve with Can or better the Can soloprojects proved that their myth build on justified facts. Can can still do magic out of the Can. If only all bands would survive with this majesty and backbone.

TThomthom Geigenschrey
 

Thomthom Geigenschrey reporting from Berlin/Germany's capital out of the: KULTURTÄTER - Büro: Postfach 420405 12064 BERLIN Fon+Fax: 030-7863491 E-Mail: kult_radio@web.de
 
 

Contact information

- Gruss TT Geigenschrey aus dem Kulturtäter-Büro für Freelance-Journalism Event&Artist-Booking +Kulturmanagement+Promotion c/o: KULTURTÄTER & GEIGENSCHREY Postfach 420405 12064 BERLIN Fon+Fax: 030-7863491 E-Mail:kult_radio@web.de