June 23, 2011
Mixtape Mixology #21: Der Krautrock Mix
What is Krautrock?
Well, let’s just say it’s as generic a name as “indie” rock is thrown around nowadays to encapsulate any music that isn’t rap or hair metal or R&B…. though those lines too are being crossed. Basically, it encapsulates a scene and sound coming from Germany in the late 60′s, less blues form/rock & roll, more experimental, ambient, and new wave-y sounds. (read more @: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Krautrock)
So anyways, here’s the mix, get your electro/robo rock pants on:
Mixtape Mixology #21: Der Krautrock Mix
1. Ballet Statique – Conrad Schnitzler
I like opening with this mix with the ambient textures and simplicities of the Conrad. This is the kind of music I suspect an architect designing the Jetsons space apartment would listen to.
Quick Canal – Atlas Sound (feat. Laetita Sadier
The second half of track one is from Bradford Cox’s Atlas Sound, lead by the ethereal vox of Laetita Sadier from Stereolab (see track 11). This is a modern update of something quintessentially Krautrock: drony, metronomic drums chugging away like pistons in a musical engine, sheens of white noise scraping across the aural landscape… it’s good.
2. Cocaine Computer – Trans Am
This sounds like a mean computer wearing a leather jacket.
3. Cuttooth – Radiohead
I love this B-Side by Radiohead… it’s got the trademark “tick-tock” krautrocky drums, and an excellent piano driven melody that also adds some great rhythm to the song while Thom Yorke sings through this excellent backdrop.
4. Boneless – The Notwist
One of my favorite bands from my college days, the Notwist are actually German, and they lead in with keyboards that pump away the beat… sounding sparse and minimalist and slowly organically building an instrument at a time (soemthing about the keys also remind me of LCD Soundsystems ‘All My Friends’). Soft vox and organ make the warmth of this song slowly slide in through the cracks of the doors.
5. A New Career in a New Town – David Bowie
David Bowie in his epic Berlin sessions for Low, Lodger, and Heroes tapped into the happening art/music scene goin down in Berlin. This song, a great example of that scenes synth and minimalism, colliding with some Bowie bombast.
6. Warhol – Pass Kontrol
The surprising thing is when a friend tells you to listen to his/her band and theyactually sound good. It’s great, you don’t have to lie or sugar coat, you can legitimately get excited and that’s exactly how I felt when I heard this track. It opens with some mean ol’ bass, and very krautrock-y keys that feel like the cool/removed stare of Nico from the Velvet Underground… the trance to be broken by scathing white noise guitar (later in the song, an excellent shriek-y guitar solo). This song is awesome.
7. Krautrock – Faust
Spec Bebop – Yo La Tengo
Super Going – The Boredoms
Halleluwah – Can
The hard thing about most krautrock is that most songs are 20 minutes long an indulge in long ambient droniness or jazz-like repetition with nuances found in layering and changes…. again, all of which transpire throughout the length of a 20 minute song. The first version of this mix was 3 hours long. Rather than cut, I tried to trim and blend as much as I can, in this 4 song bloc I wanted to give a taste of some great krautrock/krautrock influenced songs. I love all these songs, sit back and zone out.
8. Buy Buy – Kraan
The Rip – Portishead
“Buy Buy” is one weird sounding track, almost something Bowie would make… it soundscool and the 80′s version of modern, almost to the point of being lame/soulless. But I do like it as a breath from the mega metronomic krautrock bloc of track 7.
“The Rip”, a gorgeous song that spearheaded Portishead’s return to music after an 11 year hiatus shows the muse that brought the group back from retirement was krautrock. You see it all over the album (most directly in Machine Gun, We Carry On, and The Rip). The beauty and vulnerability of Beth Gibbons vocals is carefully delivered with the synth/drum machine locomotion. Ironically, it is the cool textures of krautrock that thawed Portishead from it’s deep freeze and relit the flame of their musical inspirado.
9. Pocket Calculator – Kraftwerk
10. Spiders (Kidsmoke) – Wilco
Not classic, but very krautrock.
11. We’re Not Orientated (Neu Wave) – Stereolab
Hallo Gallo – Neu
The original version I handed out at the bar didn’t have Neu’s “Hallo Gallo”, one of the first songs that got me reeeeeeeeally excited about krautrock. Stereolab has always been a band that has been heavily influenced by krautrock, Neu is one of its founding fathers.
12. Nothing Ever Happened – Deerhunter
I love this song. A book end of sorts by Bradford Cox’s other band, Deerhunter. BC loves the krautrock and he lets it flourish here in epic closer for this krautrock mix. Enjoy!Listen To It