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Get Schooled on Krautrock

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Now that classes have resumed, most students’ have zero free time. And when they are afforded a moment’s rest reading tends to be the last thing on the brain. However, we’re here to change that sentiment. And, we’ve got just the book to get you started.

Julian Cope’s seminal Krautrocksampler chronicles one of the most influential rock genre/movement/culture in the 20th century. Krautrock is a term often used but a genre barely understood though highly revered. It’s roots lie in the war-torn landscape of 1960s Germany. A rebellious youth, fed up with the status quo established by The British Invasion and Motown, began experimenting with classical compositions and futuristic technologies in hopes of launching themselves into a cosmic landscape. A landscape void of the remnants of the Third Reich and Germany’s battered image.

Musically, the genre made use of “motorik”, or 4/4, rhythms and modulated guitars and synthesizers. Infusing elements of Jazz, Classical and Minimalist music, song structures varied greatly between strict regiments and loose improvisation. Some of Krautrock’s pioneering bands include Tangerine Dream, Amon Duul II, Can, Nico, Klaus Schulze, Kluster, Kraftwerk, NEU!, Guru Guri and Faust. Interestingly, most don’t sound much like any others, instead appearing to be bonded by a common ancestry and desire to restore a patriotism of sorts within a broken nation. The difference between each band’s sound speaks volumes for Krautrock’s ingenuity, demonstrating the different directions each was motivated to take their individual style.

Krautrock was relatively unsuccessful, at least commercially, during its peak. Regardless, it is often regarded as a major influence on some Punk and most Post-Punk bands. Recently, the genre has experience a resurgence from artists as varied as Wilco, LCD Soundsystem and Stereolab.

To read more a more comprehensive and detailed account of this influential movement grab a PDF of Krautrocksampler here and here.

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