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Various Artists

Kraut!: Teil 2 - KRAUT! - Die innovativen Jahre des Krautrock 1968-1979

Review by Gary Hill

As you might guess, this is the second part of a series of various artists releases focusing on Krautrock. I reviewed the first one previously. As good as that one was, this might be stronger. Not everything here is prog, but given the connection between the Krautrock movement and progressive rock, and the fact that much of this does land under that heading, that's where I've put this. The music here is largely on the very strong side. The set is so nice with a book included, that I've done a video for our YouTube channel showcasing it.

You will find bonus video footage of this release is available at the Music Street Journal Youtube channel here:

This review is available in book (paperback and hardcover) form in Music Street Journal: 2020  Volume 5. More information and purchase links can be found at:

Track by Track Review
Disc 1
La Düsseldorf - Rheinita

Spacey elements open this. Then chorale style vocals come over the top in a weird echoey sort of arrangement. This weird introduction takes up almost the first minute of the song. The cut works out from there to a building kind of jam that has prog rock and folk rock both built into it. The number gets reborn around the three-and-a-half-minute mark into a faster paced jam with plenty of prog and classic rock in the mix. Other than those chorale vocals at the start, this is an instrumental.

Lilac Angels - Rock 'n' Roll Lady
This is a harder rocking tune. It's not prog at all, but rather an almost punky jam. It's good, but a bit pedestrian.
Message - Turn Over
This comes in dramatic and trippy. It's mellow and a bit spooky. It grows outward from there with some saxophone singing over the top of the arrangement. This works through for a while in this mellower mode before firing out into an up-tempo jam that's purely on fire. There is plenty of progressive rock along with space and jazz in the mix. That ends abruptly as a false ending. Then a spoken voice recites a couple lines with no accompaniment. At the end of that it feels like a stuck record as the title is repeated over and over until the end. Other than that spoken bit, this is an instrumental.
Sweet Smoke - Silly Sally
Old time rock and roll, jazz and space rock merge on the up-tempo jam that starts this epic piece (16:31). The vocals have a lot of jazz along with trippy rock and roll in their delivery. This has a few changes, but overall is a pretty straight-line journey for almost the first half. It's also energized and fun. The killer instrumental movement later in the track has plenty of space rock and psychedelia built into it. It reminds me quite a bit of early Hawkwind. I love the bass solo, too. A spacey drum solo follows that bass workout, too. The fact that they put an extended drum solo in mid-track begs comparisons to "In a Gadda Da Vida." Some singing or chanting that is almost tribal in nature emerges during the extended drum solo here. They bring it back out into a full arrangement a little before the three-quarter point of the number. As they jam over an instrumental movement, the sax wails and entertains. There is some killer instrumental work as this drives onward. That mode takes the piece to its close.
Passport - Uranus
Powering in with a smoking hot jam, this is prog rock heaven. This piece is another instrumental that works through some cool shifts and changes along the road. It has great energy and jamming included.
Conrad Schnitzler - Ballet Statique
This makes me think of acts like Synergy. It is another instrumental.
Gomorrha - Lola
This is a lot more of psychedelic rocker as it opens. There are some noisy parts here and some things that lean toward space rock. Echoey, feedback laden guitar comes across at times. There is some killer guitar soloing at other times. The instrumental introduction is extended, but eventually vocals join. There are some hints of more purely proggy things via the keyboards, but the whole psychedelic rock concept is the driving point here. This has quite a bit of change and variety built into it. This has a bit of a drum workout later before it shifts into trippy space zones for a freak-out section. The drums bring it back upward from there, but only to end the piece.
Streetmark - Eileen
A killer keyboard laden movement opens this. The cut works out with drama and mystery on hand in large helpings. Vocals join after a time. The song feels like a combination of progressive rock and psychedelia. It's classy stuff. I love the guitar solo movement. The keyboard solo section is cool, too.
Straight Shooter - Friday On My Mind
Keyboards bring this into being, but the cut is more of an AOR rocker. There are some proggy things here, but this is overall a hard-rock tune. It reminds me quite a bit of Sweet, really. It has great energy and drive and really rocks. The keyboard solo section, though, does bring the prog angles to bear. There is even some space rock on display as it works back out to the song proper from there.
Annexus Quam - Osmose I
A mellow movement that has a lot of classical music in it opens this. That runs through, and then a somber, slow moving jam emerges. It is soaked with psychedelia, but also feels just a bit like old school metal. As it begins to rise up it takes on more of a jazz meets psychedelic tone and sound. Comparisons to both early Alice Cooper and Iron Butterfly are valid. This instrumental is trippy and so cool. It definitely has some jazz in the mix, but overall is psychedelic to the core.    
Floh de Cologne - Fließband Baby (Manchmal träum ich)
A conversation in German opens this. It has a little noisy texture in the background. That texture rises upward, and other instruments join. This has plenty of psychedelia at its core. It works through some changes as it continues. Some of the vocals are in English. It seems to almost be making fun of the whole psychedelic thing, though. Still, they create a sound through the various sections of something that would have been at home in 1967. The section with sung vocals (again in German) works the best of anything on this tune. You can't help but picture hippies dancing to it, though.
Necronomicon - Tips zum Selbstmord
A dense arrangement opens this stomper. It has plenty of psychedelia in the mix. Operatic vocals that make me think of The B-52s come in over the top of that. Then some rock singing takes over. The cut runs through that section before dropping down for the bass to take control. The piece builds out over this new section into another killer psychedelic jam. Eventually vocals return at the end after the extended instrumental movement.
Shaa Khan - The World Will End On Friday
A mellower, balladic like tune, this has plenty of prog and psychedelia built into it. It has some variety, but is generally pretty constant. It is also quite effective.
Disc 2
Bröselmaschine - Schmetterling

With plenty of sitar in the mix, this starts in a very psychedelic zone that is acoustic. Eventually percussion joins, and the tune begins to build upward. Still, the general concept remains largely unchanged. A spoken female voice delivers some lyrics in German. As this continues after those vocals end, there are parts that make me think of early Hawkwind, but strictly acoustic and quite psychedelic. The jam continues to shift and change, working through a number of modes and textures. The piece is a rather epic one in scope and length (over nine-and-a-half minutes).

Sperrmüll - No Freak Out
A killer rock jam that's part psychedelic and part prog opens this thing. As it moves to the vocal section it has a bit more of a space rock thing going on. That said, it's not a big change, but rather one of emphasis. When it moves to the instrumental section an organ wails over the top of the arrangement, bringing both prog and psychedelia to the front. This really becomes quite an exciting ride as it continues. They eventually bring it back to the song proper for the return of the vocals.        
Triumvirat - Dimplicity
There is a real Beatles-like element to this cut. It's a proggy jam that seems to combine hooks like the Fab Four with ELP type sounds and more. It's accessible and also classy and meaty.
Electric Sandwich - China
The percussion really drives this instrumental. The wah guitar dates it, but also creates some cool sound at the same time. There is space rock and plenty of psychedelia built into this jam. This is over eight-minutes long and quite a fun journey.
Witthüser & Westrupp - Illusion I
The opening guitar jam on this is acoustically driven and has a bit of an early Hawkwind vibe to me. The tune works forward with keyboards bringing some cool tones and melodies. This instrumental is a classy jam.
Hoelderlin - Waren wir
Coming in mellower, this has a folk prog vibe at the heart of it. Female vocals are on display here, singing in German. This has a lush arrangement and really grows well. It's pretty and powerful for the first minute plus, which is the part that movement carries. After that the number changes gears and works to soaring jamming that has space rock along with prog at its heart. Flute dances over the top. As it works past the three-and-a-half-minute mark, the music drops downward and a man's voice speaks some lyrics. It rises upward after that, but then lowers in intensity again. There is one more upward surge of volume before it works into the final fade. 
Pell Mell - Toccata
This classical piece (known as a bit of horror movie sound) gets done on organ at the start of this. The other instruments join as the piece works into more of a pure prog rock excursion. The organ brings back the original composition as it drives forward. Eventually the band join in a version of the classical themes. The tune continues to shift and evolve from there. This is quite an entertaining instrumental.
Wallenstein - Braintrain
Coming in with a powerhouse jam, this is hard rocking, but also decidedly prog oriented. At times I'm reminded of a more proggy version of Deep Purples as this drives onward. There is some screaming hot guitar soloing built into the piece. The instrumental introduction holds it for more than three minutes. The cut drops back to a mellower section for the vocals, creating a bit of a psychedelic concept. It starts to build outward to more rocking zones as it continues. This turns out into more killer prog jamming later. It's fast-paced and rather crazed.
Epitaph - Outside The Law
A cool up-tempo melodic section brings this into being. The cut launches out from there into some AOR jamming that has as much in common with the Allman Brothers as it does with progressive rock. It seems to alternate between that and more blatant prog for a short time. The vocals join and we're into a fast AOR styled piece. Even so, there are plenty of proggy twists and turns built into it. There is some killer guitar soloing further down the road, and this is one impressive journey overall. The instrumental movements are on fire.
Faithful Breath - Autumn Fantasy - 1st Movement - Fading Beauty
Synthesizer brings this into being with an almost classical vibe. The number works to more of a psychedelic prog interpretation of classical music as other instruments join. After going through several changes, they shift things to more of a purely guitar based sound. The evolution continues through a more purely prog movement that brings a melodic progression. There are some non-lyrical vocals over the top as that works through I'm reminded just a bit of Hawkwind's Hall of the Mountain Grill album. They continue to work through new movements as this instrumental evolves. Dropping it to a dramatic, yet mellower section for a time before, working out to a movement that seems to have a bit of a folk rock vibe built into its structure.
Sixty-Nine - Crayfish
Keyboards are a huge part of this killer instrumental tune. It reminds me a lot of Emerson, Lake and Palmer. It's energetic and dramatic. It's also a powerhouse.       
Xhol Caravan - Planet Earth
Symphonic psychedelia is on display as this starts. There is definitely a jazz rock concept at work here, particularly once the vocals join. I dig the guitar work on the trippy exploration after the first vocal movement.
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