Krautrock: The Rebirth of Germany

Krautrock: The Rebirth of Germany

Documentary which looks at how a radical generation of musicians created a new German musical identity out of the cultural ruins of war.

Between 1968 and 1977 bands like Neu!, Can, Faust and Kraftwerk would look beyond western rock and roll to create some of the most original and uncompromising music ever heard. They shared one common goal – a forward-looking desire to transcend Germany’s gruesome past – but that didn’t stop the music press in war-obsessed Britain from calling them Krautrock.

This BBC4 documentary is a sort of “prequel” to the previously mentioned Synth Brittania. I was hoping it would be as entertaining the earlier-mentioned sequel, but that was not to be the case. It starts well enough describing the turmoils around 1968 and Germany’ post-war trauma etc. and has many amusing scenes throughout but it spends too much with a few lesser known bands too experimental to my taste.

I am not saying you should not watch it, I only mean that you should not be surprised if a 60-minute documentary about non mainstream bands reveals itself  to be non entertaining in a mainstream fashion. And this is not a surprising statement to make.

For the record, a few amusing scenes:

  • Iggy Pop on the beach remembering going shopping for asparagus with Kraftwerk’s Florian Mayer
  • A very young Richard Branson signing very experimental act Faust
  • Amon Düül II’s singer recalling when she found the actual Ms. Baader and Mr. Meinhof  hiding at her apartment. (She promptly expelled Germany’s most wanted criminal from home)
  • Young Kraftwerk members sharply dressed and heavily made up trying some groovy dance
  • The place were Hansa Studios (where Bowie recorded Low and Heroes!!) was located has become a cafe, I think.

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