Friday, 22 May 2009

Get your Kraut on: Oasis, Sonic Youth, Foals dig NEU!

Krautrock (German rock music primarily made in the late 60s to 70s) has become an increasing influence on popular alternative music: name checked heavily by new artists, while its original bands glaze in the glow of renewed interest in their genre-defining exploits.

As Julian Cope of 80s saviours The Teardrop Explodes gushed in his out of print 1995 book Krautrocksampler, German rock and electronica of this period oozed sonic ideas and out-there journeys of musical brilliance that sound fresh to this day. Alongside NEU!, a duo who released three essential studio albums in the early 70s are Can (arguably better, druggier and artier), Faust, Cluster and Harmonia (who featured Michael Rother of NEU!).

On Brand NEU! released this week on the Feraltone label, Oasis pop up with b-side 'I Can See It Now' which detects basic, monkey-like traces of NEU! but not much - we suspect their involvement ties in with marketing initiatives, while Primal Scream's 'Shoot Speed / Kill Light' reminds us of 2000's XTRMNTR album that made them briefly the most vital band on planet earth. Of the new breed, Foals, Holy Fuck and School of Seven Bells pull in admirable NEU! aping tuneage, while Cornelius' 'Wataridori' is a real find:

Overall the track listing is varied, listenable and accessible for the uninitiated. However, we're left wondering how the project would've unfolded with artists covering NEU! songs rather than presenting their own, and (hypothetically) how self-confessed NEU! disciples David Bowie, Pere Ubu and Stereolab may have interpreted NEU!'s considerable influence.

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