Two huge contributors of the German electronic music scene team up for the first time. Eberhard Kranemann (Fritz Müller) who co-founded Kraftwerk and NEU! And Harald Grosskopf of Ashra, Synthesist, and Klaus Schulze. Krautwerk journeys into the influences of German music, from Krautrock to electronic experimentation, mixing man and machine. Equal parts a reflective and a futuristic vision.
8/10 Jamie Staff review, 25 July 2017
Two titans of Kraut here, for your delectation now. And mine. Eberhard Kranemann (that’s his real name, also known as Fritz Müller of Kraftwerk and NEU! fame) and Harald Grosskopf (Ashra, formerly of Ash Ra Tempel) have made an album of electronic delights with occasional vocal and acoustic embellishments. They’ve called it ‘Krautwerk’. Of course. Sehr gut.
In a surprisingly beautiful opening gambit, ‘Midnight in Dusseldorf Berlin’ is reminiscent of a slower, dubbier ‘Neon Lights’. As if Andrew Weatherall had remixed it and it was then stripped of around 30% of its bpm. Eberhard speaks a bit. Bursts of distant, distorted guitar splinter and tear at the seams of the slow groove. ‘Ou Tchi Gah’ utilises a Tangerine Dream synth; an intro which yields to more dub noises and looped voices to give the track the flavour of a Two Lone Swordsmen tune. The low end is even more sub-terranean with a pretty synth melody hovering above, on ‘Texas Paris’.
The vocal on ‘Happy Blue’ reminds of the ‘werk classic ‘Boing Boom Tschak’ yet it’s even less decipherable; fragments of synth and percussion pile on top of a techno beat, playful / childlike keyboard riffs and then a lovely, lightly lilting micro-melody which is in turn swiftly swallowed up by the percussion and gently rolling bassline. There’s even a snatch of a hawaiian guitar looping in toward the end. Something like a bowed guitar introduces ‘Buddhatal’, exuding an Eastern vibe over low humming, deep throbbing electronics. Very Buddha Bar. And a rare indulgence on a very coherent album. ‘Be Cool’ ushers back the rapid arpeggiation and techno beats. Lovely guitar textures. Ich liebe es.
A very pleasant, listenable update on the combined Berlin and Dusseldorf schools' sound, with a surprisingly wide array of instrumentation and textures.
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