parodies by nacrowe
the late 1960s and early 1970s was an interesting time for creativity across the arts in WEST GERMANY. you had this whole generation of visual artists, writers and musicians that came of age in the wake of WORLD WAR II and their parents involvement to varying degrees with the NAZI regime. its a very interesting sociopolitical situation whereby in essence you have a whole cohort of peers that have roundly rejected wholesale the traditions of previous generations. AMERICAN history and culture is complicated enough, but art and music (from BLUES to JAZZ to ROCK 'N' ROLL to HIP HOP and beyond) is somewhat of a unifying force that delineates an evolving national identity.
but what if you started over completely. from scratch.
that "year zero" mentality is largely what is at heart with KRAUTROCK, or the experimental WEST GERAMANY music scene of the late 60s and early 70s. previous classical and folk musical traditions were now tainted and sullied by their association with NAZISM. bands associated with the KRAUTROCK movement included the likes of KRAFTWERK, NEU!, FAUST, CAN, HARMONIA, AMON DUUL II, POPOL VUH, TANGERINE DREAM and CLUSTER among others. some of these bands employed JAZZ FUSION popular at the time in the UNITED STATES, but most sought a new tone, musical lexicon and identity in the emerging world of SYNTHESIZERS and SEQUENCERS. these new instruments had less of a history and understand "proper" usage tradition like say guitars or brass instruments. and they went after such with gusto creating new textures and sonic juxtapositions that influenced everyone over the years from DAVID BOWIE, DAFT PUNK and AFRIKA BAMBAATAA to DEPECHE MODE, SWANS, STEREOLAB and the POST-PUNK movement in general (JOY DIVISION, THE FALL, PUBLIC IMAGE LIMITED, etc.).
with the rise and ever-present existential threat posed by TRUMPISM in the current AMERICAN political climate i really wonder what traditions will be abandoned by their association with this failed demigod should he gain power again. his reemergence to power is a frightful but very real concern almost two years out from the next presidential election. i could go on about all the loser musicians that have supported him over the years but im not trying to provide them any oxygen, they should drown in permanent cultural irrelevance. what interests me is the possibility that some future REPUBLICAN-led FASCIST state will bend our cultural traditions to its will, leaving later generations having to parse through the rubble since at that point the legacy of such will be irreparably warped. will a generation of artists need to adopt a "year zero" mentality and adopt new AMERICAN traditions?
just a thought.
also definitely check out this embedded episode of DEER GOD RADIO from january 2020 on the nonprofit radio station MAKER PARK RADIO with a playlist celebrating KRAUTROCK and all said bands associated with the movement. i am ever fascinated by the experimental nature of the music and what it meant to the emerging consciousness of a new nation that sprang forth from the darkest recesses and indignity of human imagination.