Thursday, April 22, 2010

Matthew Moyer on Kosmische Musik

"In the late 1960s, a new generation of postwar youth in a divided Germany began making music that reflected their own surroundings and lack of a voice in the popular culture. They were influenced by the Velvet Underground, experimental jazz, modern classical music, and progressive rock, and they were bursting with new ideas. The term krautrock came from the attempt by the British press to gather these disparate musicians under one umbrella; much to their consternation, the name stuck. Krautrock, aka kosmische musik, was a drastic departure from rock'n'roll up to that point, its innovators having stripped away the blues influence from American and British rock'n'roll to create their own distinctly European sound. And what a diverse sound it was, from Kraftwerk's icy odes to pocket calculators and Can's freaked-out psychedelic drones to Tangerine Dream's ambient idylls. Many of these bands' sole sonic commonality was a pulsing 4/4 beat — the motorik beat — like a car streaking down the autobahn. … Kraftwerk defined its robotic, emotionless image and utterly individual sound with this masterpiece album that fused technology and electronics to vibrant pop hooks" ("Media," Library Journal, 3/1/10, p. 56).


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