Wednesday, 29 November 2017

Zeitkratzer plays Kraftwerk, live at Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival (2017)

Berlin-based new music ensemble Zeitkratzer have been around since the late 90s, releasing numerous albums of work by Stockhausen, Cage et al, as well as two volumes of tracks by Whitehouse, and even a fully scored version of Lou Reed's Metal Machine Music.  Artistic director Reinhold Friedl jokes that "everybody thought Zeitkratzer is a cover band" following the success of the latter, which made a friend suggest to him that they should cover some early Kraftwerk, leading to an album earlier this year.

I don't have any of those albums at present, but I'm definitely keen to stock up on the evidence of this concert held on 18 November, as part of the 40th Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival and broadcast live on BBC Radio 3.  How about this for a setlist, Kraftwerk fans: Harmonika, Stratovarius, Wellenlange, Vom Himmel Hoch, Atem, Ruckzuck.  Half of those didn't feature on the album, hopefully suggesting a second volume to come.

Friedl agreed with his friend that early Kraftwerk would be a good idea, and an important one, given the continued absence of their first three records on any official reissue - he wryly takes Ralf & Florian to task here for "a falsification of their history".  No disagreement from me there, but most importantly, how does it sound?  Pretty damn good on this evidence.  The material taken from the first Kraftwerk album is inventively arranged whilst sticking faithfully to the structure of the originals.  The stuff from Kraftwerk 2 however is in a different league.  Always Kraftwerk's most experiemental record, this leaves plenty of room for Zeitkratzer to take the sparse source material somewhere unique - in particular, the lazy jamming of Wellenlange being transformed into a thing of understated beauty (just listen to that piano part!) was a revelation to me.  Highly recommended.

mega / zippy

4 comments:

  1. This sounds terrific, and I can't wait to listen to it. BTW, is the pic under the blog title the same one as the late but seriously great Birds With Broken Wings blog?

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  2. Ha, it might well be the same image! IIRC I just did an image search for 'goose xray' and chose one of the top results. The idea was to do a bit of a tribute/parody of the first Faust album (where the blog title comes from).

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  3. thanks for this. beautiful stuff. anything Zeitkratzer do is worth checking IMHO.

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