Krautrock: The Rebirth of Germany is an informative BBC Four doc that investigates how the social climate in post-war Germany lead to political and artistic upheaval in the late 1960s as a new wave of musicians rebelling against the lingering effects of Nazism and seeking to create their own unorthodox sound (or as the film’s narrator puts it — way better — “acid-drenched apocalyptic music… the soundtrack to their vision of a brave new world”) laid the groundwork for electronic music as we know it today.
Despite the derogatory named assigned by British music critics, Krautrock was not inspired by traditional rock ‘n’ roll, as the artists seeked to do something different than what America and England had already done. As they tried to transcend the past, groups like Can, Neu!, Faust, Tangerine Dream, Harmonia and Kraftwerk (all of which are chronicled here) forged ahead into unchartered territory. Nurtured in Berlin cafes and nightclubs then expanding from the experimental epicenter of Cologne and sending global shockwaves throughout the ’70s from Düsseldorf, the daring music constantly evolved and was challenging to the ear, to say the least. (Holger Czukay remembers once, after a Can show, he ran into David Niven in the crowd and asked him what he thought of the music, to which the actor replied, “It was great, but I didn’t know it was music.”)
So strap up as if you were taking a zip through the Autobahn and enjoy a glimpse of Kraftwerk’s first televised performance, hear from the musicians themselves what they thought of the “Krautrock” label, and decide for yourself whether or not Brian Eno and David Bowie stole the Krautrock sound.
(Props to sounds800 for the upload)