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The Guardian OCTOBER 23, 2009 - by Sam Wollaston
KRAUTROCK: THE REBIRTH OF GERMANY
Even you don't like abstract drumming and bands named after God's genitalia, the story of how krautrock was an attempt to atone for Germany's past was fascinating.
You don't have to love a musical genre to thoroughly enjoy a documentary about it. Kraftwerk I can take and appreciate as pioneers of electronic dance music. But some of the stuff that was coming out of Germany in the '60s and '70s was excruciating. Like Amon Düül's Phallus Dei ("God's cock"), a nightmare of wailing and chanting over abstract drumming.
Still, these dudes had set themselves a tricky task - to create completely original music, a sound that would look only forward, not across to America and Britain, and which would absolve Germany of its murky past. So they banged and chanted and experimented with sounds. When the synthesizer was invented, they twiddled, turning up the volume to drown out the past. And when they weren't making their so-called music, they got off their heads. "Actually I don't have that much memories because that time I was quite stoned," says Damo Suzuki, singer of Krautrock band Can. Suzuki was just a young Japanese traveller, busking round Germany, and ended up in Can kind of by mistake.
All sorts of interesting and influential people were lurking around the edges of krautrock. Fassbinder and Herzog from cinema, Baader Meinhof from extreme-left terrorism, our own Brian Eno. Iggy Pop remembers (at least someone does) going out to buy asparagus with Kraftwerk's Florian Schneider. Asparagmental German electronica. Lovely.