Wednesday, July 9, 2014

New Book Future Days Looks Back on Krautrock's Vast Influence

Posted by on Wed, Jul 9, 2014 at 4:37 PM

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British writer David Stubbs' Future Days: Krautrock and the Building of Modern Germany (Faber & Faber) joins the small pile of books dedicated to krautrock, the powerful flowering of underground rock that bloomed in Germany in the late '60s and flourished in the first half of the '70s. Previous volumes on this topic include the encyclopedic The Crack in the Cosmic Egg by British brothers Steven and Alan Freeman, Krautrock: Cosmic Rock and Its Legacy (edited by Nikolaos Kotsopoulos), and Julian Cope's famously controversial Krautrocksampler.

Faber & Faber's site hints that Future Days—which is named after Can's 1973 masterpiece—will focus on Faust, Neu!, Can, Cluster, Kraftwerk, Ash Ra Tempel, Amon Düül II—all crucial artists whose works you need in your collection. But I hope he delves beyond these groups, as inspirational bands like Et Cetera, Embryo, Popol Vuh, Agitation Free, Cosmic Jokers, and others still remain largely overlooked. Stubbs is a fine, perceptive writer—I read him regularly in Melody Maker in the '80s and '90s—and I'm confident he'll do the subject justice. Here's a description of his general thrust from the publisher:

Future Days is an in-depth study of this meditative, sometimes abstract, often very beautiful music and the groups that made it, throwing light too on the social and political context that informed them. It's an indispensable book for those wanting to understand how much of today's music came about, and to discover a wealth of highly influential and pioneering artists.

So many of the world's most interesting post-punk, psych-rock, electronic, and ambient musicians from the '80s onward have drawn sonic sustenance from the cream of krautrock. Its ideas are still shaping the outlooks of outward-bound musicians worldwide. Let's hope Stubbs' book doesn't just preach to the converted, but also triggers interest in this music in people who've not yet explored it.

Future Days is published Aug. 7 in the UK.

 

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