a treasure that you scarcely dare dream about
them) hours of non-stop, commercial and interruption free music,
courtesy of some of the greatest televisual archives in Europe.
That is what
German viewers received on August 6 and 13, as WDR TV surrendered
its entire schedule to what it called Krautrock Nacht. And, when
they say Krautrock, thats what they mean. No British invaders,
no American visitors, and scarcely more than a handful of performances
aired any time after the mid-1970s. Truth in advertising could
find no better advocate.
The six DVDs
that absorbed this smorgasbord can scarcely be faulted. True,
it was a little off-putting to discover that only three of the
six have actual menus, to allow the impatient viewer to seek out
From Can (above)...
But all that really means is, you have to sit and watch the other
three from start to finish. And, from the opening blast of Joy
and the Hit Kids, 1969 pop par excellence, to the closing
bars of Dieter Moebius "Born Neo," filmed in 2005, you may
not actively enjoy every performance, but youve probably
or even imagined
most of them. And that includes
Jacques Perrot, performing Mozarts 40th on cheeks, lips
at things from the point of view of your average Anglo-American
Krautrock fan. Amon Duul II, Xhol Caravan, Organisation, Tangerine
Dream, Guru Guru, Can, Kraftwerk, Popol Vuh, Birth Control
all present and correct. You want pop? Tiger B Smith, Wonderland,
the Rattles, the Petards, the Rattles
all here. You want
straightforward rock? Lucifers Friend, Atlantis, Frumpy,
Grobschnitt, the Scorpions - "Im Going Mad" opens their
account here, before most non-German listeners had ever even heard
turns in a magnificent "Rudi Ratlos," to remind us just how heavily
influenced by Alex Harvey he once was. Tangerine Dream unleash
a "Ricochet II" that could be a stand-alone DVD in its own right,
and anybody who thought that Cans Can DVD collection
was the last word in that bands video history should probably
get ready for a shock. "Mother Sky," "Hallelujah," "Vitamin C,"
no less than eight performances appear here,
all shot live in television studios that we all recognize from
sundry other bands video collections (Beat Club,
Disco, Musikladen), but which we rarely catch hosting
their own native sons.
the sheer size of the collection can get overwhelming
may, for example, find yourself wondering whether its possible
to hear too much of Kin Pin Meh, Tiger B Smith and Elster Silberfug;
or asking why so many of the lesser-remembered bands of the era
(Jane, Epitaph, Holderlin, Broselmasachine) resemble spin-offs
from a Spinal Tap tribute band.
on the cover for the
But you also
have to congratulate the shows producers for not taking
the easy way out, and stuffing the package with the expected hits.
Hence, the Rattles perform "You Cant Have Sunshine Every
Day," not "The Witch"; Kraftwerk giving us "Koln II," instead
of "Autobahn" (although "Die Roboter" does turn up later) and
Can rattling "Dead Lock," instead of hissing "I Want More" (although
that would not have been a hardship, by any means). And so on.
And have we yet mentioned Et Cetera, Witthusser and Westrupp,
Passport, Klaus Schulz, Ton Steine Scherben, Kraan, Eloy, Achim
Reichel, Gift, Hotzenplotz, Emergency, Diss Irae, Tritonusi, Karthago,
Seeselberg, Ougenweite, Novalis, Michael Rother, Reuphus Zuphall
when was the last time you saw Randy Pie?
is an astonishing collection, an unimaginable delight, the television
treat of the year. Lets see one of our national networks
Veteran music writer Dave Thompson is a regular contributor writing
on hard-to-find rarities. Dave is the author of many well reviewed
rock biographies, including the recent Virgin Books' Red Hot Chili
Peppers biography, works on The Cure and Kurt Cobain. He wrote
Cream: The World's First Supergroup which was published early
last year. In the past, Dave has written for Live! Music Review
and he is also a regular contributor to Rolling Stone, Mojo and
Q magazines. Click
here to buy Dave's e-books.
here for article by Dave Thompson:
Sounds Of The Sixties, Seventies and Eighties
Have You Got It Yet? - Syd Barrett's Beyond Rhyme And Reason
Apple Singles Collection
Reviews by Dave Thompson