Of krautrock and Klang

So, krautrock.

I suspect most of us have a mental image of what krautrock should sound like, but it’s odd because as Stuart Maconie succinctly pointed out “in truth, no two Krautrock acts sound remotely alike“. The very term krautrock itself sticks in my craw, but for whatever reason, the alternative – less offensive – names like kosmische musik just haven’t really gained the same widespread acceptance. Some people argue that the term has transcended its racist origins; I’m not convinced, but for the sake of ease of common understanding, we’ll stick with ‘krautrock’ for now.

I expect my journey into krautrock was not unusual; I listened to Kraftwerk as a young teen, graduating to Faust and Tangerine Dream when I should have just been graduating. Then as an adult with an ever-expanding musical taste, an inquisitive disposition and a little more disposable income I found bands like Neu! and Can, and started to understand how significant they have been in the development of rock music. Then you get into the hard stuff – Amon Düül II, Cluster, Popol Vuh, Harmonia and so on. Before long you start meeting people in car parks who might be able to source a rare La Düsseldorf demo.

The Submarine Broadcasting Company is just over a year old now, and we’re immensely proud of the releases we’ve achieved in our first year. But now we want to broaden our horizons and turn our attention to the krautrock that we’re so passionate about. So with that in mind we set out to find today’s krautrock-influenced bands and present a showcase of their music. This is our new project. This is Klang.

We’ve got eight great bands and the tracks demonstrate a heady mix of motorik, kosmische and elektronische influences, along with a healthy dose of psych and garage rock. Our line-up includes the legendary Six By Seven, from Italy we have Unimother 27, from Finland the Oulu Space Jam Collective, Peri Esvultras from Belgium, Shice Squad from Germany, from the UK we have Dynamo Snackbar and Beltism, and from no fixed address we have t.r. hand. We have some rare tracks, some exclusive mixes and some  tracks exclusive to Klang.

So far, so good. But if you are going to make a krautrock compilation, we felt it really needs to be on vinyl. We all know nothing compares with the look, the feel – even the smell – of a great vinyl LP. And we want to do it properly – heavyweight vinyl, gatefold sleeve, optimum length for best sound quality, the whole nine yards.

The initial costs for a vinyl project are huge compared to our previous CD projects, so we’re going to be asking for your help to raise the money to press what is going to be a very special album. Towards the end of February, maybe start of March, we’ll be running a Kickstarter campaign to help us meet the manufacturing costs.

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Artist’s impression. Not to scale. Contents may vary from packaging. Serving suggestion only.

I really hope you’ll support us in this venture. It’s a big deal for us, in every respect. So even if krautrock isn’t your first choice of listening pleasure, or vinyl isn’t your prefered medium, I hope you’ll think about putting a couple of quid in to get us across the line. Keep an eye open for the Kickstarter, although I expect we might just mention it again.

Rob x

3 comments

  1. I’ve had problems with using the term myself over the years; hardly a term of endearment and meant originally as derision, Krautrock is a very lazy term that encapsulates so many different strands, scenes and even genres. Though many I spoke to and interviewed either shrugged it off, or owned it – such as Faust and Amon Duul II. Kosmische was always meant as an umbrella term for what was developing with groups such as Cluster, Tangerine Dream etc. Meant to differentiate from the acid rock, jazz and avant-garde improvisation of Can, Amon Duul II, Agitation Free, Guru Guru etc. I’m not sure how you could define, with any other name than Krautrock, what was such a golden epoch in German music.

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