Saturday Eye Candy: Krautrock!


The notion of the jam – expanding, exploratory improvisation with an earthy low end and stratospheric ceiling – was a concept that caught on all over the world in the '60s. While Quicksilver Messenger Service dismantled the blues in San Francisco and the Velvet Underground peeled away the layers of rock's nicety in NYC, their counterparts in Germany were doing their part to bust open the possibilities inside open-minded electric music in what became known as Krautrock or Kosmische Musik. This week we share with you some real freaks on wheels that helped roll away the stone for Phish, Umphrey's, ALO and many others.

The truly curious are encouraged to seek out Julian Cope's extraordinary Krautrocksampler: One Head's Guide to the Great Kosmische Musik - 1968 Onwards. Long out of print, there are torrents of the book out there on the Web. Not only is it educational in the extreme, it's a goddamn great read, too. Cope published his new chapter in semi-academic rock genius last September, Japrocksampler: How The Post-War Japanese Blew Their Minds On Rock 'N' Roll.

Without further adieu, here's a smattering of Germany's best slapping music around for your weekend amusement and edification…

-Tangerine Dream throwing down at a Bath Tube Session in 1969.

-Can offers their own beautifully broken "Halleluhwah".

-Kraan takes jazz-fusion to interesting places in this 1977 performance. A strong Particle vibe to this one.

-Guru Guru digs around in some "Electric Junk" in 1971.

-Amon Duul II look into the "Eye Shaking King" in 1970 and channel early Santana in Paris in 1971.

-Frumpy tell us "How The Gypsy Was Born" in a performance that wouldn't have been out of place under the liquid lights of the Avalon Ballroom or Fillmore West.

-Embryo, one of the great, though often overlooked Krautrock champs, jams with the Karnataka College of Percussion in Bangalore, India in the late '70s.

We'll return next Saturday with more choice clips but you can eyeball video sweetness 24/7 with JamBase TV and JamBase Backstage.

[Published on: 1/5/08]

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jessemiller Tue 2/26/2008 02:40PM
0 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

krautrock is often not cited as an influence on current "jam" music perhaps since its origins were not in the US. but musically exploratory improvisations of many bands on the festival circuit today are much closer to krautrock groups than say the grateful dead or the allman brothers, especially considering the role of electronic music and its influence on rock.