by Eothen Alapatt (Egon), 3 May 2021
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I’ve been spending a lot of time with these three albums from Germany’s Krautrock scene. I discovered them independently of each other, yet there is an intriguing thread through all three, ranging from the cosmic to the pastoral to the didactic. There are also incredible grooves, gravitas and many of the tropes of the scene, whose story has yet to be fully told.
I’ve been reading this book, ‘Times and Sounds,’ written by Jan Reetze and published by Thorsten Breyer. It’s dense, written in excellent English, and it’s an overview and analysis of not just the Krautrock scene, but its forebears and legends. It serves as an intriguing entrée for the uninitiated, and also has some great anecdotes for those that think they know a lot.
And these three bands? Only two of them are mentioned, and in one page references as also rans, basically, but ones whose presence allows for those collectors who want to, to buttress and further silly myths in their circle, one fellow collector at a time.
German Oak, one of my favorite bands from the scene, is not mentioned at all. That band’s music – created by three post-hippies in a WWII bunker and taken over by an occultist and history-freak, record collector who aligned their music with the two World Wars and, later, directly with The Third Reich – was created with a tremendous reverence for Black American music. I have the actual cassette tape that the album was recorded on. On one side is the majority of the released album. On the other side is Jimi Hendrix. The trio couldn’t stand the way that their music was issued – it had nothing to do with them, at all, and they stood, silently, as people aligned them with a right wing they had nothing but disdain for.
So myths will persist. Anyone intrigued should listen to albums like Carol of Harvest’s, particularly the song “Close To The Edge Of The World.” I’ve looked for information on this band and this song in particular, and have found none. In the same way that myself and my friends Stephan Szillus and Torsten Schmidt went looking for German Oak to hear them tell us their story, we will find out more about those children of World War II and the music they created, and why.