• Nostalgia for a hypothetical future: documentary about Kraftwerk & Krautrock

    5. Jan. 2013, 1:18

    I confess: I'm obsessed with music and everything there is to know about it. I won't ever pretend to know everything about it, but I do have an insatiable hunger for music knowledge: from whole musical movements to trivial facts about my favorite bands; I love it all!

    On my quest for music knowledge I came across this great three-hour-long documentary:

    I want to start of by saying that the title is a bit misleading. You might think this is only the story about Kraftwerk and maybe two or three other bands that were influenced by Kraftwerk. But it isn't! It's a comprehensive look at the German music scene of the late sixties (referred to as the "" scene).

    It starts of by looking at the early Krautrock bands like Amon Düül II, Can, Popol Vuh, Tangerine Dream; followed by a closer look at their influences like Pierre Schaeffer, Karlheinz Stockhausen and Louis and Bebe Barron - who wrote the first entirely electronic soundtrack for the movie "Forbidden Planet" (1956) (which is now on top of my list to watch!).

    The documentary does focus on Kraftwerk in the sense that they use the development of Organisation into Kraftwerk and then the further development of Kraftwerk into a purely electronic group, as a leitmotif.

    After looking into the cultural atmosphere wherein Kraftwerk and other German bands emerged, the documentary takes a closer look at artists that were influenced by the German music scene, particularly Brian Eno and David Bowie.

    I don't know why, but the last part of the documentary was cut off and you have to view the last 30 minutes in different clips:

    The documentary concludes with a brief statement on how Kraftwerk was a big influence on the and Industrial movement of the late seventies mentioning bands like The Human League, Cabaret Voltaire, Depeche Mode, Soft Cell and others.

    I must say I strongly dissagree with Karl Bartos' opinion about Gary Numan being a Kraftwerk parody. I think Numan brought very interesting new things to the electronic scene back in the day. His lyrics were, for one, very different than those of Kraftwerk. Much darker, less ironic, more like a depiction of loneliness and being an outsider. I never saw Numan as a robot or music machine in any way, whereas that was the image of Kraftwerk at that time.

    This is where the documentary ends, but if you would like to continue and find out more about the development of Synth (in Britain) this is a great place to start:

    This one takes a closer look at artists like Bronski Beat, The Human League, Cabaret Voltaire, Soft Cell, Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark, Depeche Mode, The Normal, Silicon Teens, Ultravox, and John Foxx. It is less in-depth as the Kraftwerk documentary -it only goes as far back as Wendy Carlos' soundtrack for "A Clockwork Orange" in 1971- but it nevertheless is very interesting. (I've often listened to that soundtrack but never realized before that it was so avant-garde and influential).

    My next step is reading J.G. Ballard's novel "Crash" because apparently it was the inspiration for songs like Underpass, Cars and Warm Leatherette. (There's a 1996 movie based on the novel as well, but I'd like to read the book first before watching it.)

    I hope you'll enjoy these documentaries as much as I did, and please let me know what you thought of them in the shout box below! Have fun! ;)
  • Psychedelia

    17. Apr. 2012, 10:27

    I'm constantly on the lookout for new music. Which, in my case, most of the time isn't "new". Just classics that I haven't heard before.
    Yesterday I was in the library and I found this book called "20th Century Rock and Roll: Psychedelia" by Belmo.
    It's a guide to the psychedelic era of 1965 to 1971. The author gives his overview of 50 of the most influential musicians of the genre which is pretty interesting to read. It is arbitrary of course, seeing that it's his personal vision of who was influential and who wasn't.

    The author included a list of "The 200 greatest psychedelic songs". I had heard some of the songs before, but definitely not all of them so I decided to make a playlist of these songs on Spotify.
    I might just add a few songs to it myself since I think there are a few great songs that the author left out. And some artists aren't available on Spotify, so I had to leave some of them out.

    Here's a link to the playlist on Spotify:

    Again: I haven't compiled this playlist, it was made by "Belmo" in his book.
    I might make a playlist of this as well.

    Some of the featured artists:
    Jimi Hendrix
    Strawberry Alarm Clock
    Jefferson Airplane
    Pink Floyd
    Small Faces
    The Byrds
    The Rolling Stones
    The Doors
    The Moody Blues
    The Animals
    And many many more!