Thursday, 7 April 2011

German Oak - The Heavy Sound of Young Germany (circa 1972)

Probably the Album Of The Week, although there are a few other contenders since I’ve been adding music to my library like it’s going out of fashion, and you know, Stockhausen can’t stay Flavour Of The Month for long, can he? About a month, I suppose, but if we start from now there are four weeks left for everyone to shout about his genius before dropping him for Les Baxter, which I wouldn’t mind at all.
   Music may one day go out of fashion, although I doubt it. When I see so many people walking around with earphones in I can’t help but wonder what they’re listening to. Sometimes I take a wild guess, but you know, unless you try judging that particular ‘book’ by its ‘cover’, you have no chance. Young, ‘street wear’, got to be, um, whatever’s ‘cool’ on the streets, right? But it’s all the others that puzzle me...yes...that middle-aged man in smart casual clothing? If he’s a Dad, does he have to have Paul Weller in his collection? What about that girl in her office clothes? I’ve no idea. Although at this point I can’t help bragging about my greatest achievement in this area when, spotting a girl carrying a record bag (remember them?) in a park one day I told my girlfriend it held a Kate Bush album. And it did. impressed her (my girlfriend, not the girl with the record, who just looked at me as if I was mad for asking, naturally).
   It’s a safe bet that the next person you see listening to music will not be tuned into the sound of young Germany circa 1972. I say that as if German Oak were making regular appearances on Pop TV. That seems unlikely. Krautrock – what the hell is it, exactly? Like all genre tags, it’s nothing, exactly, and anything from electrickery to Rock and a mix of the two, which is what German Oak were. I’m reluctant to categorise them, though, because, well, they go Way Out on these jams, at times sounding like a cross between Funkadelic and Can, perhaps. They even remind me of Miles at times, not during his Be-Bop phase, you may be surprised to learn, but when he plugged in and also went Out There.
   And what about that cover? And the titles? ‘Down In The Bunker’, ‘Raid Over Dusseldorf’, ‘Swastika Rising’, ‘The Third Reich’...if you didn’t know better you might think this was all Nazi propaganda by fringe lunatics trying to kick-start all that shit again. I imagine they caused quite a stir at the time. Even today people might just look at the titles and recoil in horror. That would be a mistake, unless you’re averse to grungy distortion treated with electronics and such ultra-heaviness as to suggest this should all be listened to in a bunker for the safety of the general public. But, well, what do they know about music, eh?

You can get it if you really want it.

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