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VA - Deutsche Elektronische Musik: Experimental German Rock and Electronic Music 1972-83

Aside from a bunch of outrageously-named collections from a few years ago (Kraut! Demons! Kraut!, for example, or Obscured by Krauts, to name but two), there has been a surprisingly small industry dedicated to this highly-fetishized era of German progressive rock and electronic music. Leave it to Soul Jazz, then, to not only do it with authority, but to have the nerve to stretch the timeline into the early '80s, when the genre had been largely abandoned by its diehard fans. Heck, even today, the umbrella term “Krautrock” (conspicuously unmentioned in both the title and subtitle of this set) and its main proponents are largely unknown to most Germans.

Key events of the last couple of years have precipitated this release, namely the recent tours of Cluster and Faust; the remastering of Kraftwerk’s definitive catalogue and release of an unauthorized but leagues-deep DVD, Kraftwerk and the Electronic Revolution (check our shelves!), which documented both the band and the development of the scene as a whole; and Black Dog Publishing's Krautrock: Cosmic Rock and Its Legacy book from last winter (we’ve got that one, too!).

Soul Jazz serves up a double-disc survey that kindly summarizes the key players (minus the preciously protective Kraftwerk) that would satisfy neu-comers and vets alike. Sequencer-meisters Cluster and solo members Dieter Moebius, Hans-Joachim Roedelius, along with Kluster's enigmatic Conrad Schnitzler (who shows up on the cold wave “Auf Dem Schwarzen Canal”) are here; so is the more hippy flute-crazy wing (Kollectiv, Ibliss). Of course, there’s also Can (post-Mooney/Sukuki), Faust, Harmonia, Neu!, Ash Ra Tempel, and Amon Düül II. And then there are late entries La Düsseldorf and E.M.A.K., who both underline how key the Teutonic influence really was on rock's New Wave.

A highly immersive experience, replete with fine liners and wonderfully garish packaging, Deutsche Elektronische Musik is wholly mind-expanding, and a mere scratching of the surface of an oft-referred-to but underheard world of music.

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