Recalling GERMANY CALLING and DEUTSCH ROCK
by Davy McConnell
Internet fans to the pHinnWeb site will wonder about the reason for this title and what exactly the content can be. Well, perhaps not surprisingly, it's about two aspects or viewpoints of Krautrock from long ago that deserve to be published -- one of them for its overall and unjustified negativity and even hostility, and the other for opposite reasons. Germany Calling was a series of articles in the British weekly magazine New Musical Express back in 1972 and 1973 that I read at the time about the emergence of the new experimental rock scene in what then West Germany. I have written most of the present article as a summary of the general pessimism of that series, which was written by a certain journalist calling himself Ian McDonald in NME but whose real name, I believe, was Ian MacCormick, brother of the former bass player of Matching Mole, Bill MacCormick. Recently, after many years, I decided to go to the British Library's newspaper library in London to obtain photocopies of the series and remind myself of what I read, with negative amazement, all that time ago. From the same library, I obtained a photocopy of the first-ever Krautrock article that I had ever come across, even earlier in 1972, in the rival British weekly rock magazine Melody Maker. It was called Deutsch Rock and was written by, judging from the article itself, a fair-minded journalist called Michael Watts. In contrast, this was a refreshing positive account, and after my analysis of MacDonald's series, I have summarised the contents of this single article, with satisfaction.
So, in beginning with MacDonald's NME series, I have placed his words in double inverted commas, while all other uses of inverted commas are in single form. My comments intersperse MacDonald's statements on some occasions, but when this doesn't occur, it doesn't mean that I agree with him, for I would be hard-pushed to agree with anything negative that he uttered. Internet Krautrock fans will also readily find their own words of astonishment in response to MacDonald's bizarre views, unhelpful descriptions and erroneous statements.
The first part of Germany Calling appeared in the NME issue of 9 December 1972, and was spread over the centre pages, with three separate sub-titles or headings that represented what the series was about: (1) The first IN-DEPTH examination of the strangest rock scene in the world; (2) German rock challenges virtually every accepted English and American standpoint; and (3) Several groups consist of two, even one, performer. How long before the machines take over? There were the following five captioned photographs that added fascination to the article: (1) Berlin's Cluster duo prepare for take-off; (2) Neu from Düsseldorf ponder what to do next; (3) Tangerine Dream inspecting the Berlin Wall; and (4) and (5), captioned together, Popol Vuh and Can -- worshipping in the church of their choice. The last two photos were indeed taken in churches.
It is ironical that MacDonald was unbiased and even positive in this first part of his series. He described the social and political background that led to the rise of the new music, and this is wll worth reading in its entirety, but it is too detailed to summarise in the present article. Furthermore, anyone reading the two pages of the first part, and not realising what was to follow in the later parts, would have the impression that MacDonald was a converted fan of the new German rock scene. However, this was far from the case, although he did not despair of all of it. Recalling Germany Calling, in publicising what is part of the early Krautrock story, concentrates mainly on MacDonald's reviews of the individual bands and artists -- the subjective aspect -- rather than detailing the historical and factual material of the German rock scene from his series -- the objective aspect. His portrayal of the latter is generally acceptable, and is very useful to Krautrock fans who are interested in the music's history. It is his bias in the former that forms the reason for much of his credibility and logic being put into question through the present article.
MacDonald had praise for German rock's differences from typical Anglo-American rock, especially in the improvisational aspect, in that "German bands tend to play their 'compositions' live until they have them as they want them, following which they recordd and cease to play them ", he explained. And he immediately added: "One wonders why that logic cannot equally be seen apply to Anglo-American rock groups." He amplified what he meant by quoting the bassist and manager of the German-based British band Nektar. 'German audiences', noted Moore, 'don't go for careful reproduction in concert of something recorded in a studio. They like records -- but they think that live performances should be very different experiences. They're not into perfecton. They're into feeling.' MacDonald took up the matter again. "Some groups, like Can or Kraftwerk, are so 'into feeling' that, when they go into the studio to make an album, they simply jam for a certain specified period -- select the tapes they deem preferable -- and edit them to manageable length. This is quite extraordinary considering the infrequency with which the average German group undertakes a recording session. In their palce a British band would be at each other's throats over whose songs were finally to be committed to the care of posterity, or (at the very least) utilising every studio facility to caputre take after take of the numbers they'd preplanned."
MacDonald highlighted another difference between some German bands and their Anglo-American counterparts by his valid statement that "a by no means inconsiderable faction of German groups, including Cluster and topliners Tangerine Dream, confine themselves in their albums to tonally-free sound improvisation with no tempo. It's safe to say that, within the Anglo-American sphere of influence, not even the Third Ear Band has laid down three-quarters of an hour of music without key or regular pulse. In Germany such blatantly avant-garde proceedings are taken for granted by ordinary rock audiences." Or, in his other words: "Many German bands lack drummers entirely (those which don't, frequently relegating him to a strictly metronomical function such as might easily be fulfilled by a machine, an idea pursued to its logical conclusion by Kraftwerk's Ralf Hütter), and the general absence of possibilities for guitars in freeform has lead to an accent both on keyboards and on sound-effects instruments." From here, he was led to a possible future scenario. "Thus it is that several German groups consist of two, or even one performer. The final step -- a band consisting of no members at all -- is more than likely to materialize in the near future."
MacDonald next explained that the music's emergence was mainly due to the enterprising few people who had founded the Ohr and Brain labels. These were writer Rolf-Ulrich Kaiser and publisher Peter Meisel for Ohr, and Bruno Wendel and Günther Korber for Brain, who were two refugees from Ohr. An indication of the importance of both labels was given by the following words from him: "So far the [Brain] label has sixteen records to its credit and is doing very well -- remarkable, since Ohr [with over thirty, he had earlier stated] has all the top German groups under exclusive contract except a handful already snapped up by Polydor and United Artists." He could haved added Philips to the last tow.
At the end of part one, he communicated some useful information about the recording studios. "Geram recording techniques were in a primitive state when the current boom began three years ago. These days production standards are more than adequate, but the number of studios equipped to handle rock groups is small and most bands limit themselves either to Conny Plank's Starstudio in Hamburg, or to Dieter Dierks' 16-track at Stommeln just outside Cologne. Amon Düül II record at Peter Kramper's small Bavaria studio in Munich; the 'cosmic' groups [he meant Ash Ra Tempel, Popol Vuh, Klaus Schulze and Tangerine Dream] at a 8-track in Berlin; and Can have their own Inner Space Productions studio in Colgne's Schloss Norvenich, a castle converted into a cinema. The most advanced studio of all, however, inhabits an ex-schoolhouse at Wümme, somewhere off the road between Hamburg and Bremen in the countryside adjoining Luneburg Heath." And following on this last sentence, he suddenly hinted, for attentive readers, that perhaps he was not a fan of the German scene in general: "Here the sole spectacular success of German rock is quietly making its own mythology -- but more of that next week." NME readers of the time would have been unaware of which band he was referring to, but Krautrock fans reading the present article wil know. However, it was in part three that he would describe the music of Faust.
More history, rather than musical opinion, began the second part of MacDonald's series in the issue of 16 Decmeber, occupying three, though not complete, pages: here were outlines of the origins of the early history of Can as far as their first album Monster Movie and of the Amon Düül commune, both without criticism. Then came the start of his derision about the German rock scene, in that "two-thirds of it consists of bad imitations of Anglo-American rock, a lucrative, if otherwise pointless, pursuit, of which the leading exponents are Birth Control, the country's richest band ... [who] have an album released here on Charisma, whilst their various followers are all on the Brain label, all to varying degrees, ploughing the same tedious furrows as Uriah Heep, Black Sabbath and Deep Purple, and amongst whom are Gomorrha from Cologne, Jane from Hannover, and Grobschnitt from Dortmund." In particular, how he could liken the progressive Grobschnitt, on the basis of their first album, to the stated British hard-rock bands is beyond my comprehension.
The original Amon Düül were soon in the firing line. "The least necessary [bands] are those Revolutionary Head ensembles which, far from learning to play their instruments, have never attempted to come up with any but the most primitive of musical ideas. The prototype for this movement is the collective Amon Düül ... [which] commenced to lay down 20 hours of improvised instrument clouting, some of which has unfortunately emerged on two Ohr releases, Collapsing and Para Dieswärts Düül." Other adherents of the Revolutionary Head, he continued, included Ash Ra Tempel, "a kind of pre-Diluvian Hawkwind (whose second album, Schwingunger, is an advance on their first solely in that it's played on electric rather than acoustic instruments and is therefore louder), and Mythos, a sloppy little imitation of a sloppy little English group called Continuum". Of course, regarding Ash Ra Tample, he was wrong about the electro-acoustic difference, and he would have realised this easily, had he just listened properly. The next band fared no better. "Likewise to be avoided is a record called Mandalas made in 1970 by a quartet of Heidelberg University students calling themselves Limbus 4, and which comes on like the Incredible String Band under teargas attack."
MacDonald then turned to Guru Guru and mentioned their first three albums, UFO, Hinten and Kanguru, before explaining that he had asked his NME colleague Tony Stewart, who had been a drummer in Germany in 1967, for his opinion on how developed the German scene was. Stewart's response was: 'If there were any British bands five years out of date, they'd go down a storm in Germany at the moment'. MacDonald then continued: "In fact there ARE British bands five years out of date (mishandlers of the Hendrix theory in its earliest stages like the Pink Fairies and the Groundhogs) and Guru Guru sound remarkably like them, once their disguise of simplistic electronics have been pierced. Thus, this band forms the link between the more boring 'cosmic' groups of Berlin's Revolutionary Headland and the plagiarists of British heavy rock which operate mainly between Hamburg and the Ruhr." Guru Guru were one of the first German bands I'd heard, and my view about them all those years ago were that they were well ahead of British hard-rock bands. Perhaps MacDonald just didn't like this to be true.
He placed Embryo, Xhol and Annexus Quam in the same category only because they were among the few groups in Germany to include wind instruments in their line-up. In describing Opal, the first album by Embryo, he said that "though the music on it could not have been made by people of any other nationality, its lack of substantial material eventually defeated the romantic semi-competent appeal it shared with the early Velvet Underground (to whom this group bears no other resemblance)". His IN-DEPTH examination should certainly also have revealed the band's second album, Embryo's Rache, and possibly the third, Father, Son and Holy Ghost, with both having been released on United Artists before his series. In referring to Xhol, based on their three albums -- with Electrip, recorded by Xhol Caravan, being counted as the first -- he summarised that "they're prone to long interludes of monochordal wandering, punctuated by sudden anomalous departures into soul music. No explanation is offered by them, neither do I recommend their records." Now why should Xhol HAVE to offer such an explanation and why should MacDonald have been surprised about their soul connection, for he had earlier acknowledged their original name of Soul Caravan? Anyway, for me, Xhol were, and still are, most intriguing band ever. Their music was superb and MacDonald's lack of recommendation had no meaning for me. And of the third of the wind groups: "A slightly better bet is Düsseldorf's Annexus Quam who, having got over the dreadfulness of Osmose, their first album, are now playing amnesiac free-jazz on a new one, Beziehungen, a sound pleasant from a safe distance but a somewhat dubious purchasing prospect." So, what exactly did this mean?
On the folk-rock side, two duos were next 'dealt with'. His description of Witthuser and Westrupp was "a pair of unprepossessing appearance, whose stock in trade (apparently) is bawdy and satirical songs performed to various sorts of acoustic accompaniment. Unless you speak German you'll find their music, as presented in albums like Lieder von Vampiren and Tripps und Traume, banal in the extreme; moreover a degree in Gibberish would be unlikely to qualify you as a hierophant of Sturmischer Himmel, the first recording of Paul and Limpe Fuchs, a Teutonic Two Virgins whose central interests appear to be the sounds of sheep, Alpine horns, and yet more bongos."
Not everything was negative in part two, for MacDonald had managed to offer some praise. It was "quite mortifying" for him to discover the music and radical philosophy of "the excellent Floh de Cologne", as he introduced this Marxist band. "Fliesbandbaby's Beat Show, made in 1970, is a rough a rady combination of Brecht-Weill theatrics and small-scale rock-n'-roll, whilst Profitgeier, ironically lauched as 'the first German rock-opera' in the following year, represents a considerable advance in both music and lyrics, featuring a libretto that contains, as well as the sung and spoken words, short essays on various aspects of capitalist exploitation and full Marxists reading-lists on a wide range of topics." However, in another aspect, he cautioned: "Floh are by no means a comfortable experience (they even managed to impress the world-weary German newsmen by freaking out in the middle of their first and only press-conference, overturning the tables, and charging at the cameras bellowing 'Fuck for money!')"; but he concluded by saying that "though the casual rock-fan will get little out of Floh's records, any German-speaking socialist should find Profitgeier remarkable both as music and as sophisticated propaganda."
MacDonald felt encouraged that none of the sub-genres of German rock existed in complete isolation. "Lying between the more conventionally-based of German rock bands and the radical 'cosmic' groups like Tangerine Dream, Popol Vuh, and Cluster, is a music which retains, albeit in a much-simplified shape, the organisational references of the former (such as regular tempi, a home key, occasionally even thematic material), whilst taking full advantage of the latter's freedom of concept and practice." Two essentially-similar bands were classified here: firstly, Kraftwerk, whose personnel history, with a split leading to the formation of the second, Neu!, was briefly outlined and who were stated to be "a cold, mechanical group, seemingly bent on eliminating all traces of emotional expression from their music". This was not necessarily criticism as such, but it was soon in evidence: "For me, the music [of Kraftwerk] is hard without convincing structure, heartless with no redeeming dignity, and ultimately a numbing bore -- quite unlike Neu's first album [he didn't 'spell' the name correctly, as 'Neu!', with its exclamation mark], constructed following similar principles, but nearer to the wellspring of Teutonic emotional expression." Now with reference to Neu!s album, MacDonald continued: "Sonderangebot maintains interest in the sound of a phased cymbal for over five minutes, Weissensee and Lieber Honig get as tender as a German group is ever likely to get, and even Kraftwerkian tracks like Hallogallo and Negativland project a warmth and imagination which, theoretically, just shouldn't be there. In Neu, a previously development in German rock is beginning to explain itself -- but even so, I recommend a careful listen before any investment is made". It is MacDonald who leaves the readers mystified.
A more detailed and partly critical account of Can's progress from Monster Movie through Tago Mago to Ege Bamyasi, but also mentioning Can Soundtracks, then followed what he had written earlier in part two. "Their thing is free jamming over deliberately simple motifs for, on occasions, quite inordinate periods of time, and only on Monster Movie does this rather risky self-limitation (Can prefer to see it as total freedom) produce anything consistently gripping. Mary, Mary, So Contrary, from this album, remains on of the most powerful statements of German rock [though he didn't say why], making the hour of modal improvisation on Tago Mago, their second, appear even more impoverished than it actually is. Ege Bamyasi, the band's latest, contains two more lengthy exercises in bleak repetition, but also features a number of the shorter, more controlled numbers that graced the listenable sections of the preceding albums -- and these, like Outside My Door (Monster Movie), Oh Yeah (Tago Mago), and Vitamin C (Ege Bamyasi) can prove as hypnotically engrossing in their way as, say, a long Taj Mahal blues, or Sad-Eyed Lady of the Lowlands." He summed up Can like this: "A strange, unique band of intellectuals struggling to make people's music in a prevailing anti-celebral climate, Can epitomize a central contradiction of German rock, play some good and some awful music, and look unusually happy for a bunch of incipient schizophrenics. At the very least they're honest and articulate and cannot be ignored. Try Ege Bamyasi for yourself. I'm not a Can person, but it's very possible that the world is full of them and they ought not to be denied." Now why could he not have shown such objectivity, as in his last sentence, throughout his series?
On the cosmic side, Tangerine Dream were acceptably and interestingly described as "like a Pink Floyd without a beat for, since Fly and Collision of Comas Sola on their second album Alpha Centauri, no regular pulse has appeared anywhere in their music -- a fact which may deter the more rhythmically-orientated listener". He followed the undeniable fairness of this assessment with another: "Anyone, however, for whom A Saucerful of Secrets remains an avenue worthy of further exploration, will find Tangerine Dream fascinating." Then he went partly into negative mood again by summarising their three albums of the time. Electronic Meditation ... "was a poor effort, pretentiously conceived and confusedly executed with Froese's blues-based guitar sounding laughably anachronistic against the aural backdrop of synthesized sound." Of the other two members, he remarked that Schnitzler "forthwith split to form a rival 'cosmic' group, Eruption, who have not recorded yet, whilst Schulze left to pursue a solo career, the first fruits of which have blossomed on Irrlicht, his sonomontage of synthesized orchestra". This last statement may have praise, though MacDonald may, instead, just have meant 'appeared' by using 'blossomed'. There is room for doubt.
The title track for Alpha Centuri, he said with no definite forthcoming criticism, "is an extensive essay in restful doodlings from Udo Dennebourg's flute and the synthesizer of Roland Paulyck and, as such, forms a link between this album and the band's most recent project -- the enormous 'largo in four movements' for moogs, VCS3s, organs, vibes and massed cellos: Zeit". However, a wrong statement followef about a personnel change for this double LP: "Here Franke is replaced by Peter Baumann and guest-artist Florian Fricke, the foremost German exponent of the synthesizer. I am bored; you may be in raptures". In fact, it was Schroeder who was replaced by Baumann, but Schroeder also played on Zeit as a guest, as did Fricke, and a proper look at the relevant album covers would have prevented MacDonald from communicating wrong information to his NME readers. While the error cannot be counted as greatly significant in itself, it sill suggests -- especially in conjunction with his other statements -- a slipshod attitude from him as he carried out his IN-DEPTH examination.
Sarcastic remarks regarding Tangerine Dream and Cluster, and their array of electronic instruments, came next. "Even though they're one of Germany's best-paid groups, Tangerine Dream's equipment is so expensive that they all have other jobs during the day to pay for the installments. Frankfurt's Cluster are by no means as wll known and must have to struggle to keep the hire purchase companies from reclaiming their mass of electronic gadgets, organs and electric cellos." Still, some praise for Cluster did emerge: "Dieter Moebius and Joachim Roedelius make a less passive sound than Tangerine Dream -- in fact, Live in der Fabrik, from their Brain album Cluster II, is reminiscent of the coruscating electronics from The Ipcress File -- and , for this reason, they emerge as more enthralling than the generally rather bovine contemplations of Zeit."
Preferable to Tangerine Dream and Cluster in the filed of electronics, he said, was the work of Wolfgang Dauner and his group, with the release of Output in 1970 on the ECM label, and a new one, Rischkas Soul, which was soon to appear on Brain. "The subject here is jazz synthesized with humour and a tremendous enrgy -- recommended." With the definite implication to the NME readers that he had heard Rischkas Soul before its release -- for how could he truly recommend it without hearing it? -- his later words indicate otherwise, as I quote how he 'changed his mind' (?) about this recommendation.
The last paragraph of part two introduced Amon Düül II and the fact that they had recorded five albums, though Phallus Dei and Yeti, the first two, "are rough and heavy affairs, far more interesting than the average German rock of the period, but poor by today's standards". However, more of a positive -- as well as of a negative -- nature was to be said about Amon Düül II in part three.
Part two contained photographs of three bands already mentioned: Floh de Colgne, Amon Dül II and Can; and there was also one captioned Faust: not so well known, but real German leaders. The music of Faust would be described in the third and originally-inteneded final part, which appeared in the issue of 23 December and occupied only about half a page.
Continuing with Amon Düül II, MacDonald referred to the dual leadership of the bans in Chris Karrer and John Weinzierl, and to the album Dance of the Lemmings, with their respective compositions Syntelman's March of the Roaring Seventies and Restless Skylight-Transistor-Child -- "both side-long strings of continuous ideas, neither of which are totally convincing, if readily distinguishable, stylistically". And for the second record of this double LP: "Of the improvised tracks, the freeform Marilyn Monroe Memorial Church stands out as beating Tangerine Dream at their own game, whereas the rest sinks without memorable trace." It's strange how he could see nothing positive about three excellent and intricate guitar-based instrumentals that made uo the remaining side of the double album. Then he referred to Carnival in Babylon: "whilst sweetness and light only by comparison with the three preceding records, it is certainly a more relaxed album, showing the Düül, for better or worse, trying to marry certain Anglo-American compositional ideas with their uniquely Germanic sound. The end-product, partly the result of shaky, ensemble work (German rhythm-sections tend to be either inflexible or very wobbly, and Amon Düül's can manage the extraordinary feat of being both simultaneously), leaves one wondering whether the group have any clear idea of what they want to be. Personally, I'd prefer they opted for the harmonies and time signatures of Weinzierl numbers like CID in UrukKronwinkl 12 rather than open-ended rambles like Hawknose Harlequin and, on the evidence of their latest and most successful release Wolf City, that's just what they're doing."
His remaining statements about Amon Düül II were both quite positive and slightly negative, describing them as "a bold and inventive organisation, and Wolf City shows them gaining in confidence and ability with great strides", but adding: "The only reservation I have is that they may be striding towards a point at which it will no longer be possible to hear them unawares and identify them instantly as German, but this modest tendency may just be the outward manifestation of a long-deserved holiday from having borne the cause of independent German rock these five years. Still, one can't help wishing that some of their better titles (Gulp a Sonata, Flesh-Coloured Anti-Aircraft Alarm, Rattlesnakeplumcake, Overheated Tiara, Sleepwalker's Timeless Bridge, and A Short Stop at the Transylvanian Brain Surgery) concealed music of comparable inspiration. By world standards, a group to watch, even so."
Thus, with Amon Düül II having been hazily praised, he then asserted: "The best, you'll be relived to hear, has been reserved for last." This was Faust; and smalled, invidual photgraphs of their five members formed only the only illustrations in part three. In saying that Faust "are a single-handed justification of all the ballyhoo that's been kicked up about Krautrock in recent years," he mentioned, without opinion, their second album, So Far, that was only available in Germany, and a third album, a double, that was projected for release early in 1973. Of the latter, he added that "advance hearing of some of the tapes that might form sections of it have convinced me that it could be a masterpiece". He was also particularly impressed in hearing Meadow Meal from Faust's first album: "Using only self-designed equipment (no synthesizers), the group have, in this track, produced the first genuine example of rock that Britain and America could not only never have conceived, but which they would, at present, find technologically impossible to emulate. This is truly avant-garde music, played with a panache and an amiable humour duplicated by no other German band." Again, it's beyond my comprehension how he could be such a fan of Faust and yet be so anti towards nearly all the other bands of German rock. Yet, strangely and in spite of his great interest in Faust, he did not devote a proportionately large amount of space to them. He said much more about Can, for example, and was "not a Can person".
This was intended to be the completion of MacDonald's survey -- at least, possibly for the time being. However, in contrast to the overall positivity of part three, a mostly negative 'Late Arrivals' section was added at the end, where he was back to his usual attitude. "A brief glance at the very newest releases and imports from Germany does little to alter the generally gloomy scene portrayed in the preceding article", was his introduction here; and then he outlined the several releases individually in his more expected and less than complimentary manner, beginning with Amon Düül's Disaster. "Sounding no better than Collapsing and Paradieswäärts, it lives up to its name." Duisburg's Broselmachine, a Teutonic Steeleye Span, "do what they do with skill and restraint, but the final aim of the exercise eludes me". Why did there have to be a "final aim"? Three other bands were then quickly and unfavourably summed up in one sentence: "Wallenstein's Blitzkrieg (Pilz) is a tasteless exhibition of flash-rock in the manner of ELP; Gash sound like a rather grandiose German Wishbone Ash; and Os Mundi, on their Brain album 43 Minutes, present a stodgy evocation of early Colosseum and Graham Bond." So then we knew: Wallenstein sounded just like ELP.
For the next band, he couldn't tell his readers anything informative: "Stuttgarts's Kraan don't sound like anybody in particular, not even themselves -- but their record company, Spiegelei, is new to me and has a fried egg for a logo. I'm quite partial to fried eggs." The NME readers would, I'm sure, have preferred to know something definite about Kraan, rather than have space filled and wasted with one of MacDonald's eating passions. And, as well as Kraan's first, self-titled, album had he heard their second, Wintrup -- recorded November-December 1972, just prior to the time of his series appearing, but not released until 1973 -- to have been able to say that they didn't even sound like themselves? I doubt it. Oh, I know... he just couldn't be bothered to take a real interest -- a recurring feature with him throughout the series.
Two further releases concluded his series. "From what I've heard of it, Popol Vuh's debut album, In Pharaoh's Garden, is conceptually par for the 'cosmic' course, if rather more subdued than its stablemates. Synthesizer-player Florian Fricke fails to live up his reputation and Holger Trulzsch is a boring and clumsy percussionist on this showing." I wonder just how much he heard of this album -- a few minutes here and there? His procedure: lift the stylus forward a good half inch and see if the next bit registers immediately? No. Try again, and so on. Still no. Oh well, thumbs down. And next and last: "Canaxis 5 by the Technical Space Composers' Crew is an Inner Space Production dating from 1970 and released on the private Music Factory label. It features Roland Dammers and Can's Holger Czukay playing with loops, electronics and field-recordings of Vietnamese peasant songs -- which could have been very interesting but, through self-indulgence, isn't." Then his name appeared at the end, and that was the end of his series -- or so the NME readers thought.
Whether or not at this time he intended to follow up his series was not known by the readers, but a fourth, and ultimately a fifth, part did appear in the spring and summer of 1973. What became, in effect. the fourth part of Ian MacDonald's series on Krautrock in NME was incorporated within a separate two-part series called Common Market Rock, classed as 'An NME Consumer's Guide' and also negatively subtitled Or just what have let ourselves in for? Part 1 of this series, in the issue of 28 April 1973, featured France, Italy and Germany, while part 2. the following week for 5 May, referred to Denmark, Holland and Ireland. MacDonald covered France, Germany and Denmark, and his NME colleagues Armando Gallo (Italy), Tony Stewart (Holland) and Steve Clarke (Ireland) completed the series. The section on Germany was even smaller than part three of the original series, and a repeated photograph of Faust from part two was the only German illustration.
So off MacDonald went again, mostly negative as usual. "I've little to say about Krautrock that I didn't say in my 98-part series Germany Calling (December NMEs), exceot that recent releases seem to indicate that -- with the loosening of record company prejudices -- German rock is becoming complacent. Aside from brief hearings of new groups like Brainstorm and Tomorrow's Gift, both of which are potentially onto something interesting, and the promise of equally stimulating stuff from names like Agitation Free and Association PC, most of the recent product of the German scene seems to consist, in varying degrees, of copies of Anglo-American styles. The steam appears to have goneout of the experimental side of the country's output -- which is, after all, the particular facet of the music British listeners find most intriguing. Rejects on this score include new releases by Drosselbart, Iblis [sic], Wlapurgis, Hoelderlin, Wallenstein, Ihre Kinder, Emtidi, Emergency, Message, Epsylon [sic], Marz, Jeronimo, Wyoming, Pell Mell, Frame,Sameti and (despite the presence on the session of jazz pianist extraordinaire Mal Waldron) Embryo's second album Steig Aus." Again, in addition to MacDonald's IN-DEPTH examination failing to revealthe existence of Embryo's true second album, Embryo's Rache, and their third release, Father, Son and Holy Ghost, his opinion about Steig Aus is strange, for thisdistinctive and innovative jazz-rock album has a definite European Sound. Ironically, three Americans -- Mal Waldron, Jimmy Jackson and Dave King -- contributed to it.
Curiously, MacDonald mentioned that a band called Scarecrew, "recently signed to United Artists, are recording their first album in Germany", and, "shrouded in mystery, the only information on them is that their line-up includes ex-members of Tangerine Dream." He made a reasonable guess about them: "They could, in fact, be Conny Schnitzler's Eruption under a new name." However, it seems that the band he referred to as Scarecrew was one called Scarecrow that was formed by the notorius John L (real nameManfred Brück) of previous Agitation Free and Ash Ra Tempel connection, though Scarecrow, ultimately, never did make any recording.
His advice to the NME readers was that the first German record that they should think of buying was Faust's first album. "The best-selling releaseby any German band, it gets more awesome on every hearing and could be among the most important rock records ever made. Their follow-up, So Far, is not in the same class but it still cuts any other German group dead." He added that "a cut-price collation of some of Faust's unofficial material entitled The Faust Tapes will shortly be available on the new Virgin Recors label".
MacDonald summarised his overall opinion with these words: "In the wider view, however, German rock still seems to be missing its own point: which is that it can only really succeed in the area outside the Anglo-American zone, in which it has arrived too late and ith neither tradition nor originality sufficient to rise above earnest plagiarism. We don't ask for phoney nationalism, Herren und Damen. Just something new and real."
The last-ever part of Germany Calling -- at least, that I recall -- appeared in the issue of July 1973 ans was contained in a spearate section within album reviews in general. It only occupied a quarter of a page, but because its text type was smaller than usual, its length was longer than that of part four. There were no photographs.
MacDonald's negativity was still evident, but there were a few surprises too, and one of these was described first - at least, after he had stated that 20 per cent of the new albums followed the country's earlier experimental ventures, with the remainder operating withing mainstream rock as established by Britain and America in the 60s. So why was it that I was not interested in Anglo-American mainstream rock of the 60s and early 70s, whereas I was fascinated by the new German rock scene? For me, there must have been a difference between the Anglo-American and the Teutonic music to account for my difference in taste. Krautrock fans, through their own experience, will no doubt agree. However, it seemed that MacDonald couldn't discern the difference.
"Tangerine Dream", he introduced his first surprise, "have, in the past, been guilty of over-solemnity and pretentiousness, but their fourth Atem (Ohr) has shaken most of that off. The dolorous mellotron dialogue on Fauni-Gena is a small masterpiece and the general atmosphere is less laboured than in their earlier efforts. All Pink Fluid [sic] fanciers and electronic music aficionados will go gaga over this one." And the positivity was followed two paragraphs further ahead. "Ash Ra Tempel, on their third album Join Inn, have cleaned up their previous mucky incompetence and are now into speedy, moto perpetuo jams with all the reverb, length and inconsequentiality of The Grateful Dead. It's better than their earlier tries but is bound to point out that some sort of improvement was more or less inevitable." He was now praising a German band for sounding like an American one.
However, in the intermediate paragraph, he wasn't impressed by Neu!, in now 'spelling' their name correctly. "There were some pleasantly disturbing moments on Neu!'s first LP, but on Neu 2 their impetus has run out, allowing them to drift back into the relentless unimaginativeness of their father group Kraftwerk. The absent-minded boredom of the first side is weirdly offset by the actively-concerted boredom of Side 2 which consists entirely of the twin sides of the band's 1972 singlw (Neuschnee and Super). played on a portable gramophone in the studio at different speed settings, complete with surface-noise and jumping needles. Andy Warhol is alive and well and living in a tape recorder in Düsseldorf apparently."
He was also pessimistic about the Cosmic Courier label. "Recently Ash Ra Tempel moved to Rolf Ulrich Kaiser's newest label 'Kosmischen Kuriere' to record a bunch of junk called Seven Up with naughty old Dr Timothy Leary. Grandpa takes a trip! Kosmischen Kuriere promises to be the most vapid enterprise in the history of the world if its second release, Lord Krishna von Goloka, is anything to go by. Here an ageing German pseud called Sergius Golowin directs a programme of colour-supplement mysticism for weekend dropouts, aided and abetted by young German pseuds Walther Westrupp, Bernd Withhuser, Klaus Schulze and Jürgen Dollase, of whom I have spoken elsewhere. Spray literally with DDT before handling." MacDonald had mentioned in part three that the leader of Wallenstein, Jürgen Dollase, "claims to be a reincarnation of the famous general of that name and clothes himself accordingly".
On now, negatively, to a solo artist: "Peter Michael Hamel's Vertigo double album Hamel shows him to be a Teutonic Terry Riley. All his arcane procedures with modal scales, ragas, aleatoric devices and ring modulation are listed with an academic dryness which unfortunately overflowed from the sleeve-notes into the music. Dullsville, man." Strangely, MacDonald's IN-DEPTH examination of the new German rock scene had failed to reveal the existence of an album on the Wergo label, called Einsteig and being the first album in 1971 of Hamel's multi-national band Between. This included a gentleman by the name of James Galway on flute -- or, as the album credits stated, Jimmy J Galway, flute (Ireland). Now what would he have made of that intriguing fact, I wonder? Maybe nothing much, except probably something derogatory.
MacDonald then turned "from the consciously exploratory to the guys who are simply into having a good time", as he described a few releases connecting the German scene with jazz and blues. "Klaus Doldinger's Passport (Atlantic) has done good business in Germany and it's not hard to see why. Sounding like a streamlined Graham Bond Organisation, Doldinger (tenor, moog) Jimmy Jackson (organ), Atlantis drummer Udo Lindenburg and Amon Düül II veterans Olaf Kubler (tenor) and Lothar Meid (bass) are impressively together. Jackson, who along with Mal Waldron, was somewhat blurred out of Embryo's recent rather steamy essay in the same filed, Steig Aus, here comes through cleanly behind the simple, soaring tenor lines (frequently scored in bold unison). Not an earth-shaking set, but as tight, stratospheric jazz-blues completely convincing. Nice cover, too." Again, there was a strange comment amid the above, for on Steig Aus, with the cover stating 'featuring Jimmy Jackson', the suberb Hammond organ sounds of Jackson were most prominent. Just how much of this album did MacDonald listen to?
Next was a band that he had mentioned in part two. "The Bond/Hiseman bias of Passport is no coincidence, as can be seen by the actual presence of Hiseman on a forthcoming album by The Wolfgang Dauner Group which also features a guest appearance by Larry Coryell. Between now and then we have another Brain release, Rischkas Soul, with Dauner's band departing from the aggressive electronic experiments of Output, their debut on ECM." But what had he said in part two about Rischkas Soul? Well, that it was "jazz synthesized with humour and a tremendous energy -- recommended". And what was he saying now? Well... "Rischkas Soul is firmly in the jazz-blues bag and somewhat a disappointment."
More negativity followed. "Other bands tending the same cabbage-patch are Gorilla, a German answer to Chicago, and the multi-national Sinto, neither of whom are worth the asking price. Behind them, queuing up to play precisely the same old rock we've heard for years are Electric Sandwich, Cornucopia, Lava and Novalis. Thirsty Moon rise a little above the dross, but not significantly, and that tiresome trio Guru Guru reappear for the fourth time with a drag rock and roll medley on the Brain label." He couldn't even be bothered to inform the readers of the titles of these albums, because he wasn't interested in them.
MacDonald still didn't know what to make of a band that he had already mentioned. "Kraan, whose second album [Wintrup] recently reached these shores and whore are currently just about the hottest new band in Germany, are a problem to assess. Interesting qualities poke through the gloom on both their records, but there is nothing in evidence to justify their high reputation. Try Wintrup for yourself." Perhaps he should have added '... because I can't be fully bothered myself'.
The final reviews of Germany Calling referred to the albums of Frumpy. "Now known as Atlantis, they were one of Germany's top bands between 1971 and 1972, recording four records for Philips and winning several polls. All Will Be Changed and Frumpy 2 consist of turgid, organ-dominated techno-flash but, with the addition of guitarist Rainer Baumann the band found its feet as a straightforward blues-based rock-group, allowing mannish lady vocalist Inga Rumpf a chance to stetch her larynx over the usual sort of crowd-pleasing material. However, their third album, By the Way, retains the tension between what were essentially two different bands and some felicitous cross-fertilisation ensues. Frumpy Live reveals the transition completed and whas the last thing the band recorded before their name-change. With a development oddly akin to Stone the Crows, Frumpy did what they did well but opened no new doors."
MacDonald then summarised his findings from this fifth and last part. "Listening to these albums has, on the whole, revived my flagging interest in German rock. It's such a crazy scene over there that it's worth wading through any amount of rubbish in order to keep in touch with what's going on. In this case, Tangerine Dream and Klaus Doldinger made the effort more or less worthwhile. That's all gentlemen. Dismiss -- and keep an eye out for low-flying Messerschmitts." By this time, did he realise that Krautrock was catching on after all, and that he should start to acknowledge that there was indeed something worthwhile there? Did he not want that Spiegelei or fried egg on his face? ('Egg on the face': an English saying that means being left to look foolish.)
And that was the end of Germany Calling -- at least, as far as I know it, because MacDonald could have made further occasional references afterwards, such as in reviews, without me being aware of them. Obviously, he was not a fan of Krautrock. He didn't need Krautrock in his musical life, though anything positive that he did obtain from it was simply an unexpected bonus. He didn't listen to the albums with objectivity, probably barely listening to them at all because he wasn't interested or couldn't be bothered -- and then he made wide-sweeping statements, mostly of the music's unsuitability, from the viewpoint of someone knowledgeable on the subject. He was not the right person to have produced a series on it, because of his lack of interest in, and even personal bias against, the new German rock scene. As a journalist, he should have presented an objective report on this new music, even on the understanding that, in general, he didn't like it; but instead he spread, through the page of NME, his own negative and sarcastic views, aimed at turning the readers away from it. Was it a case with him of 'I can't understand what it's all about, and, anyway, it'll never catch on -- so it must be no good'?
Well, Krautrock did catch on, having flourished worldwide over the last quarter of a century since MacDonald uttered his pessimistic and almost offensive statements -- originally when vinyl was still king but more so in recent years, with most of it having been reissued on CD, and previously-unreleased material having also appeared. I have used the word 'offensive', even if I have softened it by preceding it with 'almost', in the sense that MacDonald verbally attacked the artists of Krautrock in a manner that was injustified, if only because they had caused him no offence in the first place, as they struggled, inventively and successfully, against a surrounding commercially-dominated and mainstream-minded world to produce highly creatinve and artistic music that, seemingly, had no commercial and mass-media value. And no one can doubt that the Krautrock musicians succeeded -- not necessarily as a measurement in commercial units, but certainly in terms of artistry and creativity. And they succeeded in another scene: longevity. Not only did the depth of the music ensure its lasting value, but some of the bands or individual musicians are still in the business -- or, rather, the art -- of making tihs music.
The two most striking examples of longevity are Tangerine Dream and Embryo who, throughout the period since MacDonald's critical series, continued to make recordings and play live to many people worldwide. The courageous Tangerine Dream, under the guidance of Edgar Froese, their one consistent member, deserve much acclaim for their dedication and daring that took rock music a significant distance in space further than the already-inventive Pink Floyd. Tangerine Dream's greatest measure of courage lay in them having the audacity to offer rock music without a beat, on record and in concert, and the fans loved it. So too does great credit go to Embryo, and their one consistent member, Christian Burchard, from initially being an excellent progressive jazz-rock band, in having transformed over the years into an impressive collective of many varying members to produce what is now counted as 'world music', integrating musicians from various parts of the planet and breaking down, through music, the often-absurd man-made barriers. And just for the record, here are some of the other Krautrockers who have well outlasted MacDonald's expectations, by remaining in musical existence into the 90s or by making a return in recent years: Faust, Ashra (Tempel), Cluster, Guru Guru, Amon Düül II, Popol Vuh, Agitation Free, Conny Schnitzler and Klaus Schulze, while many others still well into the 80s. And it should not be forgotten that the essence of Krautrock is emulated by many present-day bands. What would Ian MacDonald say to all of this, I wonder, in retrospect of his general dismissal of Krautrock in 1972 1973?
So, who has had the last laugh? Certainly not Ian MacDonald, who had the first laugh, in his singular way. However, the last, and best, laugh belongs to the spirited and inventive Krautrock artists, whose success is testified by the non-mainstream popularity of their music all over the years, and to the loyal Krautrock fans who have enjoyed the music -- especially, regarding both, those who have digested the present article, and who, therefore, now know what was mockingly and pessimistically said about Krautrock all those yeards ago by one critic, through his medium of the NME.
Michael Watts knew better, positively. He was a journalist for the rival British weekly music magazine Melody Maker -- and he was the writer of the first Krautrock article that I read. His coverage of the new German rock scene, entitled Deutsch Rock in the MM issue of 15 April 1972, was probably the reason why MacDonald's series was classed as the 'first IN-DEPTH examination', with the implication that the account by Watts was not an in-depth one. However, for a single article, it was indeed in-depth on the subject. Although it occupied only about one page of MM, the page-size was larger and the text was smaller than that of NME. With a sub-title stating that Germany's new music is possibly more interesting than any in Europe, the article contained three captioned photographs: Kraftwerk, actually just Florian Schneider-Esleben; Lucifer's Friend; and Amon Düül -- ie. AD II.
Watts began his article by paraphrasing Can's Michael Karoli in saying that European rock groups were no longer influenced by what was happening in Britain and America. "He's right", affirmed Watts, "as British audiences will shortly see for themselves when Can arrive in this country, to be followed at some future date by Amon Düül II. It's no coincidence that both these bands are German. Of all the continental countries trying to create their own rock situation, Germany is the one that seems most fertile and experimentally-inclined. It's an exaggeration to say that German musicians have formed their own rock scene, independent of outside influences, but at least a handful of their bands are pursuing paths that are more adventurous than the majority of their Anglo-American counterparts and virtually all the other Europeans." The principal views in his next paragraph, regarding the German bands, also contrasted with MacDonald's attitude. "It's important that they be encouraged, that they have the success in the British and American markets which they so desperately want. At a time when British rock is so insistently harkening back to the past, these are possible pointers for the future. This is no attempt however to foster the idea of mass rock and roll movement; just to indicate that there's good music across the Channel which is not receiving much recognition in this country, even though the German record market is considered to be the fourth largest in the world." What chance of encouragement, success and recognition was there against attitudes like that of MacDonald? Yet, in spite of his media negativity, the German bands triumphed.
The next few paragraphs of Watts' article concentrated on the similarities of German rock with the Anglo-American style, and here, straight away, emerged one of the statements of negativity in his whole review. "It should be stressed from the outset that the main percentage of German bands are essentially imitative of Anglo-American pop. It's not an absolute rule of thumb, but these second-raters tend to adopt English names, like Birth Control, Lucifer's Friend and Epitaph." However, in perspective, it should be remembered that there were so many German bands that the most innovative and experimental, combined with the best of those whose style was less of that nature but still good in terms of Anglo-American rock, represented something very worthwhile.
But, again, significant differences began to be highlighted. He explained that young Germans were anxious to express their own concepts, ceasing to be bound by the framework of Anglo-American pop, and they saw the rock tag as a convenient way to do so. "This is particularly true of the musicians with political motivations, like Ton Steine Scherben, with its utterly left outlook, Ihre Kinder, and the Marxist Floh de Cologne. Their emphasis is on lyrics rather than music, and their subject matter is frequently a diatribe against the capitalist system. This is notably the case of Floh de Cologne (English translation 'Flea'), who have released an album with the translated title of 'Conveyor Belt Baby's Beat Show'."
The article listed the German bands that best represented the new music. "The main torch-carriers for intelligent German rock music are a nucleus of groups headed by Can and Amon Düül II. They include Embryo, Kraftwerk, Guru Guru and Tangerine Dream. Between them they define the best of German rock." A more sympathetic approach to the problem of the cost of the musical equipment was also shown by Watts than by MacDonald, as the subject led to the avant-garde nature of the German scene. "Although most German rock groups lack the financial support to equip themselves with the VCS3s and Moogs that bands here [in England] accept as almost obligatory, they show a fascination with electronics, and use sound effexts not as embellishment but for themselves. It's not too farfetched to suggest that Stockhausen is the father figure of German rock, especially as Irmin Schmidt, keyboards player with Can, and Holger Czukay, the bassist, are both former students of the composer. Both men are intellectuals and perhaps see the rock tag as a means of packaging music which is nearer to the avant-garde than to the Top Twenty."
Having stated, with positive implication, that enough had been written elsewhere about Can's two albums on United Artists, Monster Movie and Tago Mago, Watts described, in praiseworthy manner, both sides of the electronics album Canaxis 5 by Czukay and Dammers, under the name of the Technical Space Composer's Crew. Immediately after explaining that album was available directly from the private Music Factory record company in Munich, he declared: "It's worth it." Then there was more praise for Can, as he related that he had witnessed them playing live for four hours, except for intermissions. "Can's performances are as unflagging as their rhythms. At Cologne's Sportshalle in late January they did a free concert in front of 10,000 people -- the city council had given their blessing in the name of modern Kultur. To hear them thundering away like a non-stop express is something of an experience, but the repetition of their open-ended act was finally a little too much for these English ears at first go. Their enthusiasm seems to work better in the edited context of an album."
The remaining substantial paragraphs of Watts' article consisted mainly of describing the five other bands that he had listed as the torch-carriers for the new German rock, and with these descriptions generally containing no significant negative aspects -- in contrast to MacDonald's views -- they are worth quoting in their entirety from the original article.
"Embryo have an album called Embryo's Rache ('Revenge') on United Artists, who, along with Phillips and the avant-garde label Ohr, release most of the better-known German product. They are rather jazz-orientated, with a soprano sax, flute and organ, but unmistakeably German, with that heavy, insistent drum rhythm. While they sing in English, they're basically instrumental, but they're not averse to political songs, like Espagna Si, Franco No, with its line about '[R]evolution is the only way'. However, the most interesting track is the last, Verwandlung, with its use of mellotron and paino leading into Edgar Hofmann's violin, which sounds as if he's been listening to Don Harris." [There was no mention of the first album Opal, but, at least, Watts, unlike MacDonald, had discovered Embryo's second album, and his article appeared eight months before MacDonald's series.]
"Kraftwerk (Power station), I understand, have released two albums, one of them, Organisation, on RCA, and the other, simply bearing the band's name, on Philips (whose English office say they've never heard of them). The band revolves around Ralf Hütter on organ and Florian Schneider-Esleben on flute, violin and electric percussion. Though some of the Philips album reflects a trivial use of sound, there are truly strange moments like the heavily-phased drumming on Rückzück, which fades in and out of the speakers with the cold precision of a machnine. In fact, they've got the most 'mechanical' energised sound I've ever heard in places. Their name couldn't be more apt."
"Tangerine Dream, on the other hand, a Berlin group, are far less earthbound. If 'space music' is not too overworked an expression, that's them. Sort of Pink Floyd-minus-tunes meets King Crimson's 21st century schizoid man. They've got two albums out on Ohr, Electronic Meditation and Alpha Centauri, and I've recently heard a single, Ultima Thule (Parts One and Two), which if I recollect rightly, is a phrase from Virgil meaning 'Furthest Thule'. Most of the musical substance seems to be done with a mellotron and an organ but it's pretty effective, even if Part Two does bear a certain resemblance to Set the Controls."
"Guru Guru are also on Ohr (it means 'ear', incidentally) with an album called UFO, and they should be checked out because of their drummer, Mani Neumeier, who plays electric percussion, which several other of these bands have (Can and Kraftwerk, for example)."
Before describing Amon Düül II, Watts mentioned "a number of other bands who are worth checking out". These were "Parsival [sic:], who play something akin to chamber rock, and are light, airy and pastoral in approach; Georg Deuter, who combines a mixture of electronic sounds, bongos, straightforward guitar and sitar -- one track is called Krishna Eating Fish and Chips; Klaus Weiss, a prominent drummer in Germany who has recently recorded a super-percussion album Niagra [sic:] with other drummers from the States, England, Germany and Venezuela; Eiliff, who have a bassist called Bill Brown, and are organ-dominated with rather orthodox arrangements; and then there's Et Cetera, Gila, Xhol, Cluster, Popol Uuh [sic:] (who are supposed to be ferocious)." But it was Amon Düül II who were Watts' favourite band, and he devoted the most space to them, by far.
"Of all the German bands, however, the most assured is Amon Düül II. If they can maintain an equilibrium within the band and continue to remain unaffected by the various personnel changes, there seems no reason why they should not become a positive force on the international rock scene. Their organisational sense is the question mark that hangs over their future. For nearly two years they've been planning to come to England but have never made it ultimately. If the performances are like their records they will prove a revelation to English audiences."
"In terms of awareness of the rock idiom they're head and shoulders above the other competition. They're less 'alien'-sounding than Can and Kraftwerk; they have absorbed the Transatlantic musical vocabulary. But their music has remained their own, despite references to the Dead and the Airplane on the first two albums, Phallus Dei and Yeti, and Hendrix and the Floyd on Dance of The Lemmings. They can encompass an astonishingly wide range of sensations, from the far-out space rock of Lemmings to the tingling acid rock of Archangel's Thunderbird on Yeti, which made one of the best hard rock singles ever. In many directions they have taken ideas from Anglo-American pop and gone further than the original."
"Their new album, Carnival in Babylon, is their most composed. It's almost gentle even, with rather pastoral-sounding vocals from their girl singer, Renate, newly-returned to the group. The music is not as experimental as on the previous albums but there's more texture: nice bass lines, particularly on All the Years Round, and deft strokes from the two guitarists John Weinzierl and Chris Karrer. With these two lies the future of Amon Düül."
"When I was in Cologne three months ago, Weinzierl explained to me that it wasn't their purpose 'to have superficial success and to be celebrated as super pop stars'. Nevertheless, in Germany their reputation approaches mythical proportions. They are prophets in their own land."
Then, Watts ended his article, immediately and simply: "If rock and roll is really as homogenous [ie, everywhere similar in origin or descent] as everyone says it is, we in England should be getting that message too." [ie, realising Amon Düül II to be a quality band]
The difference in the attitudes of the two journalists was very evident. Michael Watts, generally throughout his detailed single article, was open-minded towards, and had much admiration for, the new German rock scene, whereas Ian MacDonald, who seemed not to listen properly, just condemned the vast majority of the music over his longer series, only seeming to ease off slightly and latterly as Krautrock's popularity began to increase. Indeed, against the ironical situation for MacDonald that Krautrock has flourished over the whole period since both authors' reviews, I must praise Watts for his excellence in publicising the music in such a positive way. To me, these two journalists, without them or me realising it at the time, were making an important contribution -- if indirectly -- to the history of Krautrock. Their accounts for MM and NME are a long way back in the Krautrock literary past, but they are all the more significant for that very reason, with virtually all Krautrock fans having been unaware that such articles ever existed, until reading them now. This is why I wanted to publicise them in the Internet. Perhaps, if someone produces a detailed chronological history of Krautrock at some time in the future, the reviews of Ian MacDonald and Michael Watts will be incorporated into that history.
I welcome comments on Recalling Germany Calling and Deutsch Rock, and I would be pleased to know of the existence of other early Krautrock articles in English. Davy McConnell, either at Internet address email@example.com or at postal address 35 Earlswood, Birch Hill, Bracknell, Berkshire, RG12 7LB, England. For anyone curious about "cavydavy", I keep cavies or guinea pigs. Any other fans of both Krautrock and guinea pigs out there?
Krautrock @ pHinnWeb