I got told I should have a hobby. So I’ve decided to build a physical collection of German experimental music from the 1970s, the kosmische.
What they used to call Krautrock, back in the dark ages. Typing it in that way is pretty much the only time you’ll catch me using that word – in its context as an old, awful word from a worse time. Kosmische is better. German experimental music from the 1970s covers it all. (Although, if I had a drink, I could argue that Kraftwerk were kosmische via “Autobahn” in the same way that a dual carriageway represented intersidereal space in ALPHAVILLE – a “fable on realistic ground” in Godard’s words) It might be ungainly as a term, but I haven’t found a better term that describes all of it. The laboratories of Germany that sought to create a new music for a new country.
I love the sense of all these groups of people reaching for a condition of new futurity, many launching themselves on radically different trajectories from the others, others tumbling into similar motifs, as if the Apache-beat/motorik has its steam-engine time.
It makes you want to look around for the laboratories of today. Notable, many of these groups worked in conditions of isolation. What next shall steam-engine at steam-engine time?