Friday, February 29, 2008
Can we have a krautrock special?
Can enjoy a toot
The only thing that bugs me about Tim Sweeney's wonderful Beats in Space series of mixes is the interviews. If you download a mix by a certain DJ in a flurry of excitement, and as you eagerly depress the arrow button, the initial reaction is invariably frustration as you get lumbered with a ten minute interview after the first track. Still, it's a small quibble, as pound for pound the mixes usually always deliver.
One I'm digging at the moment is a Krautrock special with Mike Simonetti, downloadable from here or streamable from here It opens with a live edit of Can's mighty "Vitamin C" before a tedious interview. Then it's down to business with two scary German funk tracks from Supermax. No, not the burger chain, but they do have an affinity for food as "Push Push (Sexy Chocolate Girl)" testifies. I'd heard this track years ago and thought it was a piss take, but no it's a real-life chunk of krautrock funk about making sweet love to a lady made from chocolate. Supermax then show Thom Yorke a thing or two about breathing during a song with "Be What You Are". La Dusseldorf's "White Overalls" reminds me of films set in the snow, like the awesome Gorky Park. Things get classical for a while before the spacey side of Krautrock comes back in with the lovely, velvety speaker swapping drums of Niagra. I love that spacey production technique they used to use on krautrock albums, it's like the music is breathing, running away from you, and then back around you and with you and off again. I can't get on a DART anymore without thinking of Can's "Safe" because of it. The best, funkiest drummers were krautrock guys. Wait til you hear those drums from about 44 minutes on. Anyway, Niagra also remind me of the mighty Hawkwind without the barmy poetry. There then follows some Neu!, Amon Duul II and some Tyndall (backed by Can) as well as some uncredited stuff, before Tim Sweeney takes over for the second half of this show with a bonkers disco mix which features remixes of Rufus and Chaka Khan, the Pointer Sisters and Hot Chip (no, really).
I was a relative latecomer to Krautrock. I always thought that my Can and Kraftwerk LP's would be enough, but the world out there beyond them is a mighty place of frustrating but often very rewarding intrigue and Mike's mix is as good a place as any to start...