back to article I'm sooooo green: The Beginner's Guide to Krautrock

At this time of year, most of us will have heard more than a few bars of Stille Nacht (aka Silent Night), perhaps sipped some glühwein (mulled wine) and chomped on some stollen. So how about a Teutonic taster of a different sort to last the whole year round? Focusing on the the pioneering electronic musicians of the late 20th …

  1. clanger9

    Welsh Krautrock, anyone?

    Great article - I love all this stuff!

    I recently came across this little gem from the seventies (though Welsh rather than German):

    No idea who they are, but proof that Seventies was a very weird decade...

    1. BongoJoe

      Re: Welsh Krautrock, anyone?

      Thanks for this. I get a lot of my Welsh language stuff from Sadwrn but I have never heard of this band.

      I shall have to investigate. Diolch yn fawr.

    2. Wibble

      Re: Welsh Krautrock, anyone?

      What a pity there's no previews available on that site. I like different music, but I'm wary of buying on spec just in case it's crap (IMHO)!

  2. x 7

    have the Tangerine Blondes left?

    Have Linda Spa and Iris Camaa left Tangerine Dream? Shame if they have - those two in concert with TD were two of the sexiest sights in music. Iris looked so genuinely happy all the time while drumming, while Linda was just junoesque while playing that electrified sax and clarinet.

    But how long can Edgar keep going? At last years "Phaedra Farewell" concert in London he rather looked as if Parkinson's was catching up with him. Still a bloody brilliant concert though.

    1. TheOtherHobbes

      Re: have the Tangerine Blondes left?

      Both replaced by Hoshiko Yamane and Ulrich Schnauss (who isn't a girl, and is one of the very few TD members to have a successful independent career before joining.)

      I never liked what Spa and Camaa added. The music was always nice enough and they're very competent musicians, but it always sounded samey, bland, and Californian (not in a good way).

      Maybe they didn't argue with Edgar enough when he was launching into Yet Another Endless Edgar Noodle?

      The new Schnauss-ified CD has some lovely moments though, up there with the late Virgin years, IMO.

  3. Frankee Llonnygog

    Looking for an IT angle?

    There's a pic of a VCS3. That leads you to Peter Zinovieff.

    1. Eddy Ito

      Re: Looking for an IT angle?

      Ok, but what's the cabbage angle?

  4. This post has been deleted by its author

  5. Anonymous Coward

    By a strange coincidence...

    ...I took delivery of an MS-20 mini today.

    Mines the one with the patch cable hanging out the pocket.

    1. Slap

      Re: By a strange coincidence...

      Very Cool. Space means I'm limited to the iPad emulation, which doesn't sound bad at all, in fact I've used it in a couple of really crap DnB pieces I've penned. Must get round to buying the Korg legacy collection VSTs which I believe includes the MS20. That MS20 is a killer for the bass lines.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: By a strange coincidence...

        If space is an issue, get a Monotribe. Best fun you can have with an analogue synth. Awesome piece of kit. Just don't forget to update it to OS2.11.

        The filter is meant to be similar to the MS-20.

  6. EddieD

    Love it..

    I saw Kraftwerk at T in the Park, 2013 - you 'd hardly have thought that 4 middle aged Germans standing still behind identical looking consoles would be a dynamic gig, but it was. And applications for the Tate gigs melted the servers - not bad for folk who haven't released much for 30 years...

    Krautrock has decades of experience, and as you point out, inspired so many other schools of music, that when you hear experienced masters of the genre play, you hear all the other schools too - I'll definitely go to as many more as I can.

    And besides - Hütter is a cyclist, and cycling cross country with Kraftwerk on the player is always a blast...particularly this time of year.

    1. hplasm

      Re: Love it..

      First time I tried to get Kraftwerk tickets (Free Trade Hall, IIRC) the gig was cancelled due to poor demand.

      The next time, and ever after, they have sold out in seconds. Grr.

  7. Sgt_Oddball Silver badge

    for something more modern

    I can heartily recommend the notwist. They did an awesome gig at the deaf institute in Manchester. The last two albums are quite the nob twiddling pleasures.

  8. Scott Broukell

    If you liked any of the above . . .

    Then you may also like to search out: The Institute for Transacoustic Research / The (Vienna) Vegetable Orchestra / Gomme Handschuhe Doodlesack(?). But I can't quite remember exactly who performed using the sounds from distressed computers in suitcases as they were savagely chopped and hacked with axes, anybody?

    Holger Czukay, co-founder of Can, studied under Karlheinz Stockhausen, who, if my memory serves me well, once wrote a passage for piano wherein the pianist was required to use his/her buttocks.

  9. Mr Hugh Bris


    I defy anyone to listen to (Can drummer) Jaki Liebezeit and remain still. Or even remain on this planet. So tight he's fluidity itself.

    That is all.

  10. Tuesday Is Soylent Green Day

    TD at its zenith

    Tangerine dream certainly reached its zenith in the 70s and early 80s, particularly their live albums, but the departures of Baumann, Schmoelling and Franke pretty much led to a steady decline. Now it's just elevator music. As for Klaus Schulze, when he is good he's fantastic but when he ain't, he stinks.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Obligatory Faust ambiguity

    Shempal Buddah, ship on a better sea.


    J'ai mal au dents j'ai mal au pieds aussi


    Krautrock? This is all you need to know....

    Richochet - Tangerine Dream.

  13. Michael Hoffmann

    Thank you for this!

    Awesome article. German born, I was actually an expat, growing up in the US, but then returned in the early 70 when my muscially formative years began. Tangerine Dream and Kraftwerk had so much influence on me that I *still* listen to mostly electronic or at least electronic heavy music. Though much of it with a born-by date no later than the late 80s, with a few exceptions. I did miss the Can and Neu! days.

    You can find the not-bad BBC doco on Youtube.

    Can't quibble much with TD's best years, though I'd personally go up to maybe Logos and then it was all downhill. When you started to see TD albums classified as "New Age" you could only go "sic transit gloria mundi".

    Overall the influence of those greats is felt throughout Germany's music. Techno, industrial, even gothic: in their dominant forms all arguably born in Germany and out of the krautrock influence. Mildly interesting counter-example would be the NDW (German New Wave), which was influenced by British New Wave/Synthpop (Gary Numan et al), with those UK worthies influenced by Krautrock.

    Here too, I believe there's a decent BBC doco on Youtube? I believe I watched them back to back, but during a painkiller addled hospital stay so my memory may be hazy.

    Beer, because that's what I'd like to have while getting together with authors, readers and commenters of this article to discuss until unconsciousness! ;)

  14. John 110

    But you didn'y mention....


  15. Omgwtfbbqtime

    Thanks I'll listen to these later, however I generally prefer the more industrial/darkwave stuff that comes out of Germany. Ramstein, Dust of Basement and ASP (Duett is fantastic a fine blend of thumping rock drums and folk violin).

  16. Christian Berger

    And of course there's Klaus Wunderlich

    With music so controversial and strange many people still wonder if this actually was music. Hack radio shows in Germany often play Klaus Wunderlich just to remind people there's still something besides mainstream music like "Welle Erdball".

    Welle Erdball:

    Klaus Wunderlich:

  17. Chris G Silver badge

    In the late '60s and '70s TD were great but then as a friend of mine commented became TDM, very samey for much of their work.

    Faust were very interesting particularly with their first two albums then they became too far 'out there' even for me.

    I really liked Emerson Lake and Palmers take on electronics for rock some of their stuff, especially live was incredible and many tried to copy them, they were lads from Croydon so local to me, they had a great following in South London.

    If you want really weird from Germany though, I would go for Klaus Nomi he was a Falsetto and I think a classically trained opera singer but he made a couple of albums using a lot of electronic music, strange stuff but it had a certain something, I can't remember the venue but I saw him perform in London, good stuff.

    I think he may well have been the inspiration for Keith Flint's haircut in the Firestarter video.

  18. myhandler

    Daddy take a banana, tomorrow is Sunday

    I often listen to aumgn and peking O all the way through sober

    Note: It is forbidden to even mention emesis shite and vomit in a Krautrock thread

  19. J.G.Harston Silver badge

    I've concluded that "mulled" means "destroyed beyond palatability".

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I'll mull over your comment and get back to you ...

  20. Amorous Cowherder

    I remember as a spotty 13 year old sod someone I met suggested I seek out Tangerine Dream and Einstürzende Neubauten. I know EN are not technically part of the original Krautrock movement but discovering those two bands really opened my eyes to the fact that music is not all 4/4 verse/chorus/verse/chorus. Led me to seek out more Krautrock even to this day I still like to source all sorts of bizarre music from all over the world.

    Back in the day it got me a fair amount of verbal from idiots at school for being one of those weird kids, so what?! At least I grew up with an open mind for music, as did my parents who had to put up with me playing it!

  21. Tanuki

    Popol Vuh.

    Can I put in a vote for this band? Their soundtrack to the wonderfully-bizarre Herzog/Kinski movie "Aguirre, der Zorn Gottes" is truly brilliant for late-night listening.

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Anyone who likes lectures on the subject and is near Birmingham should attend this:

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What do Germans call Krautrock?

    I love all these bands (and not forgetting Einstürzende Neubauten as well, please), but I always wondered if the Germans called Krautrock, Krautrock. It always seemed so Little Britainish a term to me - the Sun reader's label for something they didn't like.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: What do Germans call Krautrock?

      "German media started to use it as a term for all German rock bands from the late 1960s and 1970s".

      I'd be more concerned that the term "kraut" is a racial slur.

  24. stizzleswick

    Missing two of the quintessential bands here...

    ...those being Amon Düül II and Passport.

    Both are currently active to my best knowledge. Amon Düül II split off from the original Amon Düül, which was a Commune band which had included a certain Ulrike Meinhof and Karl Bader... the members who split off to found Amon Düül II were fed up with the non-professionalism of the group and became rather successful (by comparison).

    Passport was founded by honorary citizen of New Orleans, Klaus Doldinger, in the late 1960s to play more experimental music than the Dixieland Jazz he had done before; the band featuring a young Udo Lindenberg on drums for the first album; the style was firmly Krautrock until the later 1970s. Some good stuff, too, including a few TV themes, two of which are still running (both show and theme). From the second album until the mid-80s, their drummer was studio legend Curt Cress. Who in turn had trained one of the drummers I played with in my most successful band. Small world. *shrug*

    Passport, these days, is RockJazz in the more classical sense, but they do celebrate their earlier days in concert; well worth attending IMHO. Same goes for AD2 if you can catch them; they don't tour quite as widely, but they do tour.

  25. MJI Silver badge

    I think I will stick to


    Accept and


    Scorpions are fantastic live

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