Review V.A.- Head Rush (2021 Fruits De Mer Records)

Ok, normally for a compilation on krautrock like this, I’d introduce you to the genre a little bit, give you some historical context. We will get to that, but let me just show you the tracklist of this juicy box first, because oh man! It’s a doozy…

LP1:
1. Giacomo & Carolina – Sunrise, Part 7 (5:05)
2. Silver Vials – Follow The Sun (6:05)
3. Das Blaue Palais – Zeitfeld (Dusseldorf Motorik Mix) (8:11)
4. The Love Explosion – Anarchy! (3:58)
5. David Oakes – The Sahara (2020 Remix) (5:04)
6. Sonic Trip Project – Getaway (11:10)

LP2:
1. Moon Goose – Shiny Man (5:41)
2. Oslo Tapes – Obsession Is The Mother Of All (5:54)
3. Jay Tausig – Ecstatic Engines (8:42)
4. Son Of Ohm – Telefunken Baby (12:52)
5. Alber Jupiter – Martine A La Plage (7:15)

LP3:
1. The Lost Stoned Pandas – Motorik Wah Nine (10:16)
2. Motor!k – Tyrants (10:28)
3. Culto Al Qondor – Ei (12:19)
4. Psychic Lemon – Jam 7 (7:01)

bonus CD:
1. Taras Bulba – Vuh Part 1 (3:56)
2. Vince Cory – 69 Wheeler (7:53)
3. Psychic Lemon – Jam 5 (8:26)
4. Audio Cologne Project – Grobmotorik (6:51)
5. Taras Bulba – Vuh Part 2 (5:15)
6. Icarus Peel – Der Wald (14:14)
7. The Legendary Flower Punk – Watussi Live (30:25)

Ok so krautrock, or “Kosmische Musik”, originates from 60s/70s era Western Germany. From there it developed not so much as a genre, but as a state of mind. Bands like Amon Düül, Can, Neu!, Kraftwerk, and Guru Guru all had completely different means to achieve the same goal: a higher state. A head rush of sorts if you will, achieved by hypnotic, sermonic beats and chants, although a lot of this type of music is actually devoid of any human vocals. The music could vary on a wide range from experimental progrock to dense electronic beat music. On this Fruits De Mer records compilation twenty-one contemporary psychedelic bands remind us that luckily the movement is far from dead.

Personally I prefer guitar based krautrock to its electronic counterpart, although there are some crossbreeds on here that are definitely worth your while as well. I won’t go over everything, but I will feature a couple of my personal highlights:

First of all my fellow Dutchman Leonardo Soundweaver needs a mention with his mesmerizing Son Of Ohm. The song Telefunken Baby! isn’t stingy on the reverb which is just the way I like my kraut, check it out here:

Another real banger are the Belgians of the aptly named Motor!k. They bring a flawless example of that quintessential kraut characteristic: the motorik beat. On Tyrants we are served ten minutes of it, sprinkled with subtle keyboards and plenty of delay pedal doodling:

Another real gem can be found on the added bonus CD, that closes with a real treat by Russian weirdo psych band The Legendary Flowerpunk. Their 30+ minute version of the song Watussi is half an hour of pure instrumental bliss. It’s such a pity that covid ruined their European tour or I would definitely have checked this out in its true form by now:

Other cool recommendations without online previews are Taras Bulba (with a “reworking” of Popul Vuh’s Vuh in two parts), the always awesome Psychic Lemon with another one of their numbered jams (5), and Oslo Tapes with a preview track from their adventurous new album ør, out on Pelagic Records in June (and of course featured on this blog). But as you can see from the tracklist above, there is plenty more to enjoy for kraut heads here. Get a copy if you’re lucky, because I think I just saw that all the pre-orders had already gone.

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