The Vinyl Dreamscape’s Top 15 Krautrock Rarities / Part 1

Wir richten Antennen ins Firmament, empfangen die Tone die Niemand kennt

Definitions can be troubling. Particulary when you want a dialogue to be as broadminded and open as possible. At the same time, there certainly is a need for some basic structure to keep our focus on the topic. Below is the Vinyl Dreamscape’s Top 15 Krautrock Rarities; our attempt to find the right balance of the obscure and helpful.Hopefully, we have pushed well beyond the music that most readers have already discovered for themselves. Our list should be looked at as the “next step”, for those interested in taking a next step torward some of the most significant experimental music to exploded across the globe. One last point before we get started. Our list intentionally faults on the side of the broadest definition of “Krautrock” The importance and influence of Can, Neu, Kraftwerk and Faust (and so many others) can never be forgotten. Will never be forgotten. Dare I say, that it is the Krautrock genre that most inspired the creation of this website. Limiting the definition to one country or a rigid criteria is contrary to the vision of the artists we most respect. In other words, purist be damned.

15.Seesselberg / Synthetik 1 / 1973 – Seesselberg is actual the duo of Eckart and Wolf Seesselberg. Two brothers that were well known among the cultural elite of Europe for their performances at academic venues demonstrating the sounds created by the synthesizers. Suprisingly, Synthetik 1 did received an extremely limited release in 1973 and the album is the totality of their studio output. It’s tempting to make a comparison between this record and Cluster. Seesselberg capturing the early, raw sound of the band. However, after the initial burst of tight electronic noises, Synthetik 1 makes a remarkable ambient shift. Waves of early 70s analog-drone overload the senses. Most will find this album either a heaven or a hell. In truth, this is highly intelligent and complex music that demands (and reserves) the attention of the listen. Synthetik 1 will be a revelation for fans of Neu and Klaus Schulze. So take the ride on what could be a dangerous trip but be careful. There are lots of sharp edges out there. And we don’t want anyone to get hurt. Sound Sample: Seesselberg “Overture”, “Eintrachtkreis-Paranoia

14.Novelistme / Fine Listener / 2017 – Some will make the case that this is Krautrock via Radiohead. It’s an unfair comparison. Novelistme has a passion and urgency on Fine Listener that takes the Krautrock sound in unexpected direction. But Radiohead? I would say the band takes more from Sonic Youth and My Bloody Valentine then any of the boring chatter of Thom Yorke and company. This is a strange and intriguing album that incorporates all the right philosophical aspects of Krautrock. And the results stay with you. This is music made outside the walls of Babylon. A band with the talent to challenge the foundational motorik of our definition. Sound Sample:Something Brutal

13. La Dusseldorf / 1976 – Not exactly a rarity but La Dusseldorf deserve more attention. The seeds of the band were planted in (perhaps) the best and most important band in Krautrock history, NEU! IMO. Drummer Klaus Dinger forming the band with his brother Thomas Dinger and Hans Lampe. Their first album La Dusseldorf is (almost) a continuation of the brilliant NEU! beat. The album is full of the sweeping soundscapes and avant-garde noise that kept the albums by NEU! so very interesting. Don’t walk away from this list without sampling this band’s worthwhile catalog. Sound Sample: Time

12. Conrad Schnitzler / Con 3 – Conrad was there from the beginning. A co-founder of West Berlin’s Zodiak Free Arts Lab in 1968 with Hans-Joachim Roedelius and Boris Schaak. He was also a early member of Tangerine Dream and Kluster. As a composer and musican Schnitzler has always been at the forefront of avant-garde spirit of the Krautrock movement. On Con 3 Schnitzler keeps that spirt alive. Collaborating with Wolfgang Seidel (Sequenza) to provide an unsettling mix of hard beats and ambient sequences. Ambient but unsettling. It’s the kind of eclectic album that really should not work. But it does. The melodic structure of the music/noise almost feels like actual pop songs (heresy). Schnitzler even singing gently over the music for ”Komm Mit Mach Berlin“. Con 3 is a strange and interesting trip into the krautrock universe. Sound Sample: Con 3.1

11. Günter Schickert / Samtvogel / 1976 Samtvogel moves your expectations and imagination. The music always firmly grounded in structures and melody. The sound is a minimalist dream come true. The echoey, accented guitars dominating the landscape. Schickert‘s using many of the same studio “tricks” other players have investigated in the krautrock orbit only with different results. And what does that mean? Schickert’s creating a musical enviroment the is eatherial and hyponotic but with a sound that is much earthier. The instruments and affects are more organic and rooted then most albums on this list. Samtvogel explores the more detailed and internal terrain. Be ready for a unique listen. Sound Sample:Apricot Brandy

10. Weed/ Self-titled / 1971 – Weed is the more rock-hard or hard-rock end of the Krautrock prism. A British / German collective featuring the talents of Ken Hensley, formerly of (god help us) Uriah Heep. The music here sounds like it came right from that swirly Vertigo label. Uriah Heep, Leafhound, May Blitz; you get the idea. Lots of enthusiastic playing and keyboard riffs that someone wants to hide deep in the mix. Whatever the critique, the song Sweet Morning Light is great! And the entire album will hit the spot when the mood is right. Sound Sample: Slowin’ Down

09. Heldon / Electronique Guérilla / 1974 – Heldon is a French Electro-Kraut band that claims both Robert Fripp and Brian Eno as influences? Sounds great. Nothing wrong with those aspirations. Originally called Schizo, the band was active between 1974-1978. Richard Pinhas is the songwriter, guitar player and guilding force. He also received a PhD in Philosophy from the Sorbonne. Which may explain his high-minded goals. Focusing his studies on the intersection of three topics; time, time-manipulation and science fiction writing (unsettling but a conversation worth having). And Pinhas certainly moved Heldon in the direction of his academic interests. That is, searing hot guitar solos layered over the landscape of electronic experimentation and a driving beat. Truth is, the music is less academic then the descriprion. Sound Sample:Ouais, Marchais, Mieux Qu’en 68

08.Follakzoid / Self-titled / 2009 – Follakzoid is from Santiago,Chile (via Dusseldorf) Creating a beautiful, motionless journey into the valley of the indie-rock cosmic. The band creating some damn fine kosmische sounds for those willing to take their special journey into orbit. And don’t let the name of the band scare you. We have leaned away from the folkier aspects of the genre on this list. Follakzoid blending the roar of vintage guitar based Hawkwind with the organtic electricity of Austrialia’s Necks. The music has a highly psychedelic effects but also subtle and detailed. The hypnotic repetition is pleasant and eye opening. Highly recommended if you have a feel for the fresh and adventurous outer reaches of the Krautrock world. Sound Sample: Sky input pt.1

07. Clara Mondshine / Luna Africana / 1981 – Produced by Tangerine Dream’s Klaus Schulze, Clara Mondshine is the solo debut of journalist and composer, Walter Bachauer. Luna Africana is a beautiful, lo-fi way to travel in space. Motorik with a very Berlin feel. And while the music gives an interesting nod toward the cosmic-ambient territory, you won’t find any pointless hippie chants or endless, unskilled repetitive drumming from those ”getting in touch with their forgotten maleness”. Enough said. A great example of the interesting directions that ambient music was moving towards. Just add a bit of techno or house to complete the scene. Wish there were more Harmonia albums? Try Luna Africana. Sound Sample: Die Drachentrommler “Dragon Drummers

06. Ashra / New Age of Earth / 1976 – Nobody will get this album mixed up with the field recordings of Ash Ra Temple. Ashra is an entirely different beast. Manuel Gottsching takes control and follows his own vision toward the progressive guitar work of his 1974 solo album, Inventions for Electric Guitar (The album where he completely reinvents the instrument). New Age Earth take the original sound of space-rock far beyond anything envisioned before. Slick, smooth and beautiful are not the words you will see often on this list. The gentle drift of the sound invoking an amazing landscape that are do not feel futuristic. Instead, the music invokes what could have been. What was possible if we had act bravely. Unlike the music of Tangerine Dream, Gottsching guilding us toward a ambient sound that feels a part of our external environment. Highly recommend. Sound Sample: Deep Distance

05. Baba Yaga / Collage / 1974 – A sure “left-turn” on a list full of left-turns. Recorded at Dieter Dierk’s studio in Germany. Babar Yaga takes the heavy fusion sounds so popular at the time into directions never imagined. But be careful, this isn’t Mile Davis’ Live Evil. Musician’s Ingo Werner (Solid Ground) and Nemat Darman (Iranian multi instrumentalist) fill our heads with a complex swirl of sound and music. Collage isn’t for the first timer. This is a intense and articulate listening experience that won’t leave you hungry when the record is over.The swirling, spaced-out, eastern-jazz experiments could burn the flesh if you get to close. This is music as it should be; a voice from the place were the gods play. Sound Sample: Mokscha

04. Kreidler / Appearance and the Park / 1998 – The inclusion of Appearance and the Park will make some question our commitment to kosmische musik. But i hear the pulse of the motorik immediately. And the influences don’t end there. We can hear traces of the diverse textures of sound ranging from the long-haired music of the Vertigo label and even hints of the keyboard sounds of Yellow Magic Orchestra. Don’t get me wrong. There is nothing traditional about Kreidler. Live drums, mid-tempo grooves and lush melodies; this is experimental but organic electronica at it’s very best. Stop looking for reissues of the old classics and support a new generation of visionary musicians. Sound Sample: Aunt-Pair

03.Durch die Wüste / Hans-Joachim Roedelius / 1978 If you come away with only one major new discovery, let this be it. Durch die Wüste is the first solo album by keyboardist Hans-Joachim Roedelius of Cluster, Harmonia, and Aquarello. The man is artistic nobility. A title I’m sure he would resist. Through the Desert is a beauIful journey that may be difficult or heartbreaking. All depends on the state of your own affairs. Lush and soft and overflowning with the joys of the heart. Sound Sample: Durch die Wüste

02. Paternoster / 1970 – The Austrian “Krautrock” band with the German record label, Ohrwaschl. Get ready to go deep if you want to swim in these dark tribulent waters. With only one album to their name, Paternoster isn’t for Sunday afternoon drives in Grosse Pointe with your new love. Absolutely not. Sad and painful are the only emotional conclusions on this album. The gloom is dripping off the edges of each track. The vocal alone will turn the blood in your heart cold and still. Amazing record. Sound Sample: Blind Children

01. Manuel Gottsching / E2-E4 / 1984 – This will come as one of the more obvious choices on this list. For good reason. Very few albums turn as many heads as this masterpiece. As accomplished as any album given the Krautrock monicker. The roots of electronic minimalist music are all here for you to enjoy. The album is one long, flowing and pulsating track with a unique electro-tech, guitar grove. Music that would influence everyone from Steve Reich to Carl Craig. Sound Sample: Part 1