Introducing the Krauts

I didn’t get back from the studio until 2 am last night so Monday’s post will happen today.  My semester is almost over.  All my projects are done, and now I only have a couple of final critiques left.   I’ve had little sleep and my beard is half grown in, shaving that today.  I also woke up to find out that the German program at my university has been cut, apparently they thought if they did it during finals week everyone would be to busy to notice or care. Well played USM.   Verdammt schwein!  Kulture ist nichts, Profit ist alles.  Sorry… the German leftist rebel in me is rearing its ugly head.

Speaking of German left-wing radicals, I recently watched a really interesting movie about the Baader Meinhoff Gang.  They were the hippies radicals that started the RAF.  For those of you unfamiliar with them they were sort of a German version of the Weathermen, but way more dangerous and didn’t blow themselves up.

German hippies were is some ways very similar to American hippies, protesting the Vietnam war and marching against corporate imperialism were standard, however the Generation Gap was much more severe.  At this point Germany was still being run by former Nazi party members, that’s right pickings were slim the only people left that could run the country had been.  So, while no one talked about Hitler or National Socialism anymore, the system that put him in power was still more or less the status quo.   So you can imagine how much more extreme things were.

RAF Logo

The German post war movement wasn’t completely about radicalism and urban guerrilla warfare.  Some really cool things came out of that era, in fact BBC just released a documentary on Kraut Rock ( an English term).  As Germany was forced to find a new identity they pioneered some amazing sounds, much of which influences almost everything we hear on the radio today.  The “Krauts” intentionally sought out a new sound that was not rock or blues based, that would have been to American or British, and they certainly couldn’t rely on past German conventions. So they looked to technology and incorporated synthesizers in their music.  Afrika Bambaataa was quoted in saying if it wasn’t for Kraftwerk there would be no hip hop.

“But Gestalt there are six of them, I don’t have time for that.”

Well, even if we can’t save the German department, we can at least understand how much we have been influenced by the German culture.  I’m talking about the good stuff, na klar.  Trust me, this documentary goes by really quickly and it’s worth it to watch David Bowie completely ripping them off on his Heroes album.  That’s right, David Bowie and Brian Eno completely ripped two albums worth of material right out the Kraut Rock play book.  And I thought the competition on Glee was harsh.

In part 3 of 6 there is a scene where the drummer from Can, Jaki Liebezeit, coming from a strong jazz background, was told to play monotonously. Monotonously!?!….yes this moment blew my mind this repetitive jazz based trance music set the stage for what is broken beat dance music today. Basically these guys were more or less looping breaks with out having to sample anything but themselves playing live and in the moment. Watch the videos,and I know what your thinking.

Thanks, Coilhouse

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