07 September 2017


Honestly, back in the days when Julian Cope's Krautrocksampler doc became the Young Person's Guide to Same, I took issue with the author's assertion that German prog was part of a concerted effort to shed all all Anglo-American influences. True enough if you're listening to Neu!, Harmonia, Kraftwerk, Cluster, and Faust; but not much of the case at all when applied to most of their German prog contemporaries.

And not so true much early Can, either; which -- despite however adventurous it aiming to be -- still adhered to the arc set by Anglo-American psych/blues/"freak-out" models. But that would change soon enough , all such stuff was gradually stripped away and the music pared back to its base elements. Which is probably why Ege Bamyasi and Future Days remain the albums I most often revisit. With the former album, the band starts to shed the aforementioned baggage -- with Czukay's bass and Jaki Liebezeit's drums brought prominently into the foreground, guiding much of what transpires, mixed and crafted in a way that created an uncanny sense of sonic spatiality. The latter album followed further down that path -- far enough to achieve its own peculiar musical universe.

It was heartening to see Czukay paid proper tribute when the post-rave electronic music boom of the late 1990s came along -- his contributions as an e-musik pioneer widely recognized, thus giving him a second life with a new generation of listeners. I recall clips of him playing as festivals, bobbing and dancing around behind racks of new-gen gear, delighted that the world still kept offering him the means to further explore musical ideas that had gotten into his head from his early days as a Stockhausen student.

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