I've watched the recent BBC 4 documentaries, Krautrock: The Rebirth of Germany and Synth Britannia, twice each. Both are well done and incredibly inspirational.  Stream Krautrock below, or search for it on Google or your favorite torrent site to watch.

Krautrock explores the social and political climate in post-war Germany during the 60's and 70's that led musicians to explore truly new music, with as few ties to the UK and US as possible, which ultimately meant electronic music. The story quickly traces lines between Kraftwerk, Neu!, Can, Cluster, the endlessly strange Faust, Tangerine Dream playing in churches, a shining cameo from Iggy Pop via Miami, explains how the term "krautrock" is basically an insult, and ends with Brian Eno and Harmonia recording together, positing that Eno ran off with the three cassettes of material and subsequently released Bowie's "Heroes".  My only complaint is that I wish it were longer.

The film has left me exploring all of these bands' albums, both familiar and new to me, and is a great excuse to dig into the recent Kraftwerk reissues - badly needed on CD and very welcome indeed. (I suggest reading Pitchfork's interview with Ralf Hütter for even more information on the German robots we so greatly revere, a band still miles into the future and virtually peerless.)

Funnily enough, I am left most strongly with a newfound obsession for "Heroes". I can't stop listening to the album, or the pristine, singular statement that is the title track.  I hope Harmonia don't think less of me because of it.
  • Can - "Mothersky (Pilooski Edit)" [YSI]
  • Neu! - "Halleluhwah" [YSI]
  • Kraftwerk - "Autobahn" (Remastered) [YSI]

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