THE KRAUTROCK AND PROGRESSIVE BOX SET.

THE KRAUTROCK AND PROGRESSIVE BOX SET.

Looking back with the benefit of hindsight, the late-sixties was the start of a golden age for music. It continued right through the seventies. During this period, some of the most important music ever recorded was released. This included countless classic albums. These classic albums ranged from classic rock, psychedelia, heavy rock, pop and even soul. That’s not forgetting two often misunderstood genres, progressive rock and Krautrock. 

Despite being somewhat misunderstood, progressive rock was one of the most popular genres from the late-sixties through to the end of the seventies. That was the case in North America, Europe and especially in Britain. No wonder. Many of the best  and most successful progressive rock bands were British. This included some of the giants of British progressive rock, Yes, King Crimson, Genesis, Jethro Tull and Emerson Lake and Palmer. Meanwhile, in Germany another misunderstood musical movement was blossoming, Krautrock.

Across Germany, this new musical movement was producing some of the most inventive and innovative music of the seventies. Despite this, much of this music failed to find an audience. This wasn’t helped by many within the music press failing to understand never mind cover the music properly. As a result,  groups like Can, Neu!, Kraftwerk, Tangerine Dream, Amon Düül II, Cluster and Harmonia was largely unknown outside of a small coterie of discerning record buyers.

It was only much later, that Krautrock began to find the audience it so richly deserves. Since then, it’s grown in popularity. Still, though, most people know very little about Krautrock, and can only name a few bands. It’s a similar case with progressive rock, with many people able to name some of the genre’s giants. After that, they start to struggle. What they need is an introduction to progressive rock and Krautrock. 

That’s what the good people at the Music Brokers label have spent time compiling. The result is The Krautrock and Progressive Rock Box Set. It’s a mammoth six CD set that features many well known name. However, don’t expect to find Yes, King Crimson, Genesis, Jethro Tull. Nor Can, Cluster, Kraftwerk or Neu! Despite that, The Krautrock and Progressive Rock Box Set features many familiar faces.

Representing progressive rock are Steve Hackett, Atomic Rooster, GTR, Gong, Van Der Graaf Generator, Third Ear Band, Ginger Baker, Anthony Philips, Blonde On Blonde and Hawkwind. Krautrock is represented by Annexus Quam, Birth Control, Cosmic Jokers Hölderlin, Embryo, Mythos and Sergius Golowin. They were part of the burgeoning Krautrock movement, and far too often, their music is often. Not on The Krautrock and Progressive Rock Box Set. It features fifty-nine tracks which are spread across six CDs.

Disc One-Looking For An Answer In The Sky.

Former Genesis guitarist Steve Hackett opens disc one with Watcher Of The Skies. It was originally released as a single by Genesis in 1972 and featured on the Foxtrot album. Twenty-four years later, Watcher Of The Skies featured on his 1996 Genesis Revisited album. It’s foretaste of the progressive rock delights still to come on The Krautrock and Progressive Rock Box Set.

Giles, Giles and Fripp’s I Talk To The Wind is taken from their 1968 album, The Cheerful Insanity Of Giles, Giles And Fripp. It’s a beautiful, dreamy mixture of folk rock and progressive rock. So too is God If I Saw Her Now, a track from Anthony Phillips’ 1977 album The Geese And The Ghost. It too has an understated sound. Joining Anthony Phillips is his old Genesis bandmate Phil Collins. Despite his presence, the album wasn’t a huge success. 

Very different to the two previous tracks is Atomic Rooster’s 1970 single Friday The 13th. It features Carl Palmer of Emerson, Lake and Palmer. Friday The 13th is much quicker, and features a rockier sound. This shows another side to progressive rock. So too does the music of Rick Wakeman. He pioneered and legitimised the use of synths in progressive rock during the early seventies. Thirty years later, Rick Wakeman and The New English Rock Ensemble released a new album in 2003, Out There. One of its highlights was The Mission, which showcased the skills of a musical pioneer.

So were Steve Hackett and Steve Howe. They were among the musicians who pioneered progressive rock in the early seventies. By 1986, they were part of GTR, when they released their eponymous debut album. It featured The Hunter, which was one of GTR’s finest moments. While GTR released just one album, Gong were prolific and enjoyed an enviable longevity. Their music is a mixture of musical genres and influences, including fusion, progressive rock, psychedelia and space rock. An example of this is Gong’s OM Riff a track from their 1987 album Shapeshifter. Just like the rest of disc one, OM Riff shows that progressive rock popularity continued way past the seventies.

Disc Two-The Unanswerable Passion Of The Strands.

Just like Gong, Van Der Graaf Generator who open disc were formed in 1967, and broke up in 1978. The classic lineup of Peter Hammill, Guy Evans, Hugh Banton and David Jackson were reunited in 2004 and released the album Present in 2005. A year later, David Jackson left in September 2006. Van Der Graaf Generator’s first studio album as a trio was Trisector in 2008. It featured Lifetime, where the veteran progressive rockers roll back the years. Suddenly, it’s the seventies, when progressive rock was King. 

Fission Trip were formed by John Billings and Michael Clay thirty years after the golden age of progressive rock. They’ve released just the one album, Volume One in 2005. It features King Crimson vocalist Adrian Belew. He can be heard on Santa Maria, which is an introduction to this sadly, short-lived band. Audience  released a quartet of studio albums between 1969 and 1972. Their 1969 eponymous debut album featured Heaven Was An Island, where elements of jazz and progressive rock are combined by Audience. They’re a vastly underrated band. 

Third Ear Band’s career began in 1967. Thirty years later, they released the Magic Music. It featured Gog and Magog, where Elements of modern classical, improv, trance and neofolk are combine to create a captivating track. Gong’s very own space whisper Gilli Smyth, a.k.a. Mother Gong contributes the genre-melting The House Is Not The Same. She and her band combine  free jazz, psychedelia and progressive rock on a track from 1994 live album Tree In Fish. Mother Gong,  just like Third Ear Band, Fission Trip and Audience shows a different side to progressive rock.

Disc Three-Visions And Marmalade Thoughts.

Opening disc three are Cressida with To Play Your Little Game. This was a track from their 1970 eponymous debut. It’s melodic as hints of jazz and psychedelia combine with progressive rock. Cressida only released two albums in the early seventies, but made a welcome comeback in 2013 with their album Choices.

Warhorse only released two albums between 1970 and 1971. Their 1970 eponymous debut features the rocky ballad No Chance. It’s an introduction to another talented band who should’ve gone on to greater things. It’s a similar case with Audience, who return with Poet, a ballad track from their 1970 eponymous debut album. Field Of Eternity is an understated and thoughtful acoustic instrumental from Anthony Philips’ 1978 album Parts And Pieces. Blonde On Blonde’s The Rut is taken from their third and final album Reflections On A Life. Psychedelia meets progressive on this moody, ruminative track.

Slapp Happy were an Anglo-German avant-pop group were formed in 1972 in Hamburg. In 1998, they released the album Ça Va, which featured Scarred For Life. With its avant-pop sound, its very different to many of the tracks on disc three. So is Stroking The Tail Of The Bird, Daevid Allen’s collaboration with Gilli Smyth and Harry Williamson. It’s a beatific ambient track that was the title-track from their 1990 album. Hawkwind were one of the pioneers of the space rock sound. Their music evolved over the years. However, their space rock roots can be heard on Clouded Vision, an understated track from their 1997 album Distant Horizons. It’s part of what’s the most eclectic disc of The Krautrock and Progressive Rock Box Set…so far.

Disc Four-Phosphorescent Creatures On German Skies.

Walpurgis open disc four with Hey You Over There, a track from Queen Of Saba. It was released on the Ohr label in 1971, and is a fusion of blues rock, psychedelia and progressive rock. Sadly, Queen Of Saba was the only album Walpurgis released, and their career is a case of what might have been?

Birth Control’s released their eponymous debut album in 1970. A year later, they returned with one of their finest albums Operation. It was released in Ohr, and featured Stop Little Lady and The Work Is Done. Both tracks feature Birth Control at their hard rocking best, at the start of what was a long and successful career. Atlantis also enjoyed successful career. They were formed in 1972, and later that year, the progressive rockers released their eponymous debut album on Vertigo. In 1975, Atlantis released Get On Board, which featured Change My Mind. It’s one of the highlights of what’s a melodic and accessible progressive rock album. Three years later, in 1978, Atlantic released their swan-song, Top Of The Bill. That was fitting, as they were one of the most successful German progressive rock bands. He’s Got A Gun In His Hand is a reminder of Atlantis just before they took their final bow.

Unlike Birth Control and Atlantis, Annexus Quam’s career lasted just two albums. They released their debut album Osmose on Ohr in 1970. It featured Osmose 1, where Krautrock is combined with avant-garde, experimental and improv. The result was ambitious and innovative track that’s part of an album that later, would be hailed a cult classic. A year later, Annexus Quam returned with their sophomore album Beziehungen, which  featured Troubluhs El E Isch. Just like the music Osmoseit’s ambitious and groundbreaking. Sadly, the album failed to find an audience until much later. Like so much Krautrock and Berlin School music, it was way ahead of its time.

Originally, Hölderlin were a folk band who played covers of songs by Pentangle and Fairport Convention. This soon changed as they became part of Düsseldorf’s thriving and eclectic music scene. Suddenly, Hölderlin’s music was transformed. It became lysergic and cosmic as the music moved towards progressive folk. There’s more than a hint of this  on their 1972 debut album Hölderlins Traum, which features Requiem Für Einen Wicht. For Hölderlin, this was the start of a musical journey that lasted eight albums. However, disc four is just a tantalising taste of what Krautrock has in store for the newcomer to the genre.

Disc Five-5: Trippin´ On Krautrock Lands.

The adventure through Krautrock continues on disc four with Embryo’s Got No Time. This is a track from the Munich jazz-rockers 1970 debut album on Ohr. It’s a mesmeric genre-melting track where elements of avant-garde and ambient combine with improv and jazz. 

When Mythos released their 1972 eponymous debut album on Ohr, tracks like Hero’s Death epitomised the Kruatrock sound. By the time Mythos released their sophomore album Dreamlab in 1975 their music had changed. It had taken on a much more experimental sound, and was reminiscent of Manuel Göttsching’s 1975 album Inventions For Electric Guitar. Mythos certainly hadn’t stood still and were determined to stay relevant.

Swiss born author Sergius Golowin released his Lord Krishna Von Goloka album on Ohr in in 1973. It featured Die Weisse Alm, that’s variously dreamy, lysergic and mediative. Walter Wegmüller was a Swiss painter and musician who released the cult album Tarot in 1973. Both Die Hohepriesterin and Die Sterne have a trippym hypnotic and captivating. Sadly, these tracks are the nearest most people come to hearing Tarot. It’s one of the rarest Krautrock albums, with copies changing hands for up to £600. Another rare album is the Cosmic Jokers’ 1974 eponymous album where Krautrock meets psychedelia on the two lengthy jams. One of them is Galactic Joke, which is uber trippy Krautrock. Some of the tracks on disc four are the most psychedelic Krautrock tracks ever recorded.

Disc Six-Isolated Mansions On Faraway Weekends.

Opening the sixth and final disc in The Krautrock and Progressive Box Set is Carmen’s Stepping Stone. It’s a track from the Anglo-American band’s 1973 debut album Fandangos In Space. Carmen successfully fuse folk rock with progressive rock to create a melodic and memorable track. 

Space rockers Hawkwind released Choose Your Masques in 1982. The title-track is a slice of psychedelic space rock from Hawkind, who were in the midst of one of the most prolific periods of their long career.

In 1972, Wallenstein released their sophomore album Mother Universe on Pilz. The title-track, like the rest of the album, married folk rock with progressive rock and Krautrock. This resulted in one of Wallenstein’s finest albums. A year later, in 1973, Wallenstein released Cosmic Century. It featured Silver Arms, the final part of the three part suite The Symphonic Rock Orchestra. It’s a ten minute progressive rock epic.

Mogul Thrash are one of the many bands who released only one album. That was their 1971 eponymous debut album. It featured Elegy where Mogul Thrash unleash a musical masterclass combining fusion and progressive rock. The same year Mogul Thrash released their debut album, Blonde On Blonde released their swan-song Reflections On A Life. It features the wistful sounding Sad Song For An Easy Lady,

The final track on The Krautrock and Progressive Box Set is Guy Evans’ Der Traum Von Julius. This is a track from his 1983 album The Long Hello Volume Four. It’s a compelling mixture of free jazz and progressive rock, that’s shows the enduring nature of this misunderstood genre, progressive rock. 

It outlasted many other musical movements. This included punk, who the gunslinger critics forecast was the future of music in 1976. Progressive rock the misguided gunslinger critics called musical dinosaurs. How wrong they were. 

Over the next forty years, progressive rock’s popularity continued. Many of the giants of progressive rock continued to tour and record and release new music. Meanwhile, new progressive rock bands were formed and released albums. That’s still the case today. However, there’s more than progressive rock on The Krautrock and Progressive Box Set. 

There’s also progressive folk, space rock and psychedelia. The Krautrock and Progressive Box Set is about much more that progressive rock. This includes Krautrock.

Over the last few years, Krautrock has grown in popularly. Nowadays, Krautrock is more popular than ever. Many of the albums that failed to find an audience first time round, are now regarded as classics. This includes a number of albums from artists that feature on The Krautrock and Progressive Rock Box Set. Some of these artists and bands are often overlooked by compilers, so the inclusion of Anexus Quam, Birth Control, Cosmic Jokers Hölderlin, Embryo, Mythos and Sergius Golowin is to be welcomed.

They show a very different side to the Krautrock that Can, Cluster, Harmonia, Kraftwerk and Neu! These are the groups that most people are familiar with. That’s no surprise, as they’re Krautrock royalty. However, that is just the tip of the Krautrock iceberg. There’s much more to discover. It’s a similar case with progressive rock. Most music fans know Yes, King Crimson, Genesis, Jethro Tull and Emerson Lake and Palmer. However, they may not have heard of Steve Hackett, Atomic Rooster, GTR, Gong, Van Der Graaf Generator, Third Ear Band, Ginger Baker, Anthony Philips, Blonde On Blonde and Hawkwind. Now is the perfect opportunity to do so. Especially for newcomers who want an introduction to Krautrock and progressive. The perfect place to start is  The Krautrock and Progressive Rock Box Set a mammoth six CD set.

THE KRAUTROCK AND PROGRESSIVE BOX SET.

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