Krautrock: The Rebirth of Germany

2009, Performing Arts  -   26 Comments
Ratings: 8.13/10 from 8 users.

Krautrock: The Rebirth of GermanyDocumentary which looks at how a radical generation of musicians created a new German musical identity out of the cultural ruins of war.

Between 1968 and 1977 bands like Neu!, Can, Faust and Kraftwerk would look beyond western rock and roll to create some of the most original and uncompromising music ever heard.

They shared one common goal - a forward-looking desire to transcend Germany's gruesome past - but that didn't stop the music press in war-obsessed Britain from calling them Krautrock.

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26 Comments / User Reviews

  1. Drew Reed

    I haven't watched the film yet, but I plan to watch it tonight! Bands like Neu! and Can are so good and so underrated. I've been on a Krautrock kick for the past little while and I don't want to listen to anything else. Does this documentary cover anything from the 80s like Einsturzende Neubauten?

  2. fender24

    Lonesome Crow! Best Krautrock album ever.
    I'm suprised noone mention scorpions here:D.

  3. John Tripp

    Truly inspirational, informative and quite a journey.

  4. jim0402

    DRUMS! Neu! are my favourite, for such a small volume of work they have some of the best songs ive ever heard, hallogallo, hero, fur immer etc just turn up the volume in your car, klaus dinger was a genius, up there with bonham

  5. David Hadland

    Remember people this documentary is about Germany and the music over there at the time and it's social impact, no point comparing to The Beatles etc! In any case I'm not a fan of "krautrock" but nonetheless still an interesting doc

  6. David Hadland

    One word to all those having heated debates: Subjective

  7. Pietro Optional Sammarco

    regarding the real heroes being the krautrockers, remember that Bowie's is infact "Heroes", that is, in quotation marks. I think this shows a certain self-reflection on his process, his appropriation of this music... Bowie always appropriates, actually

  8. BDA

    the first time i ever heard can, a few years ago now, I could literally feel my mind melting.

  9. Jase

    Kraftwerk is the big story. I get the feeling this documentary was made so the unknown others could attach themselves to the bigger Kraftwerk story. I did not like the way they made David Bowie look like he the biggest spin off of this era. It is insulting to Kraftwerk.

    1. AnalogousGumdropDecoder

      There are several other krautrock groups as important or more important than Kraftwerk. Kraftwerk are the most famous because of their latter-day pop crossovers, which many listeners saw for the novelty rather than for the sonic innovation. They also played a pivotal role in the origins of hip-hop because they were break-danceable and were sampled by Afrika Bambaataa. Their sound sticks out because it is both unique (highly synthesized and robotic) and accessible (hooks/refrains, melodies). However Faust were much more revolutionary in their approach to music and Can's music was generally of a higher quality and consistency. Amon Duul II and Tangerine Dream also had some commercial success though Tangerine Dream's experiments were considered palatable as mood music and Amon Duul II were past their creative peak. Ash Ra Tempel and Neu! (a Kraftwerk spin-off) are equally interesting. Kraftwerk are good, no doubt, but give me Can any day.

    2. Ross

      Kraftwerk is one story among many, not big nor small or anything else. You seem like the type of person who salutes an album because of how much it sold - not on it's personal impact in your life. The "others" are hardly "unknown," I find it dissapointing you do not grant yourself the patience to look into all of these bands because each one is unqiue and incredible in their own way - actually I'd consider Kraftwerk to be the dull one from the group. Oh but wait, they're the only one you know of - so they must be the sole example of this dense and dynamic genre, right? You are both a tool and an ***.

  10. roland gopel

    ich bin ein kraut - but i'm not sour ... hehehe

    i had heard none of this while i was growing up in germany during the 60s. it was only in my late teens in australia of all places that i started to hear some of this and it still resonates well within me. much of what's in this docco i had no idea about, although i knew of some of the better known bands involved. i must say this docco has been a bit emotive for me. .... much like when the berlin wall came down. is there such a thing as a prolonged mini epyphamy ? lol

    @hmmmm ... lets not forget brian eno was there along with david bowie.

  11. derty

    Anthony, rock its an exhausted musical genre, if you enjoy lisening to the same shit over and over again, enjoy your self in this limited mediocrity. electronic music can evolve far boyond what rock can and did.

    1. Seljak Veseljak

      LOL. Although I can't hear "Stairway to heaven" for the next 50 years, I highly doubt that even one song from any electronic music genre can reach that value and quality. Quality music has a replay value, that's why people "enjoy listening to the same shit over and over again". Back in the 90's techno music was very popular, where is techno now? Nowadays dubstep is popular, but it won't be popular in 2020. But genres in rock music never die, they always live, starting from rockabilly to heavy metal. Rock music came a long way from "Rock around the clock" to Can, Primus, Battles, Radiohead, Maps and Atlases, Don Cabalero, Sonic Youth, etc, etc...
      Now, comparing rock music with electronic music is just stupid. Rock music is essentially based on drums, guitar, bass guitar and vocal. Every rock genre is based on these elements. What makes the difference between Metallica, Bon Jovi and Sonic Youth? They all use same instruments, right? Electronic music is based of what sounds you use. You can't use Amen Break in house, you can't use hard trance sounds in minimal or dubstep or atmospheric dnb. Electronic music evolves how synths and production evolve.

      But, at the end of the day it's all about: did you make a f--king good song or you didn't, no matter what type of music genre is.
      People like you don't understand what quality is. Following your logic "The Four Seasons" by Vivaldi is shit and limited mediocrity or all other classical compositions. Maybe they are, but only if you are untalented kid who can't tell the difference between major and minor and calls himself producer and musician because his mom bought him the latest Ableton Live and he knows how to tweak 3 knobs and displace some samples in drum loop.

  12. Ss

    im amazed and proud to see that industrial is a revival of krautrocks experimental beginning.

  13. Steve

    "Actually at that time I don't have too much memories because I was quite stoned." Damo Suzuki


  14. Anthony

    What else could Britain do but satirise German culture after the war? if we didn't laugh at you we would have had to cry...

    take it easy douche-land.

    The Narrator also writes off most of American and British popular music at the time in a rather broad stroke. The 60-70's was a golden era for American and British music even popular bands like the Beatles felt confidant enough to thumb their noses at the establishment.

    Then there's that great International cooperation of the Jimmy's Hendrix Experience. Hendrix left an inestimable legacy on modern guitar playing and song writing, and his studio work used a huge amount of synthesising and mixing techniques that don't necessarily owe their origins to German electronic music in any sense. ( not to mention the fact he could extract sound from a guitar that had been set on fire or smashed in half.)

    This guy seems to try to convey the idea that we owe a great debt to German electronic music pioneers, who pushed forward past the old dead genre of rock n' roll. I think not. They though that somewhere else once "rational music" ring any bells.

    What about Stephen Wolf? they seemed to like rock n roll yet their lead singer was from Germany, they where also great.

    A good song is a good song regardless of origin regardless of era and regardless of instruments. Musicians (good ones) are concious that they owe a debt to their society. so in one way I agree with this guy the German music of the era definitely reflected the epoch just past.

    Oh yeah and what about the kinks they where a popular British band of that era, yet just look at the complexity of their lyrics and the messages behind them. A popular song is not just, or at least it shouldn't be in my opinion, about the type of music. It should contain some sort of message about the time and place it was made.

    "music is the sound track to our lives" - true enough

    I don't want my sound track to be a monotonous sine wave. or someone dragging a cement mixer around.

    I try my hardest to keep an open mind and remain optimistic but this guy really ruffled my jimmies.

    1. airwasser

      It looks like you didn't get it , this is ok but your comment sounds a you didn't get it. Julian cope "Kraut" and Wim Mertens "Experimental music" are nice books that you could read, and also LISTEN to the records, and last but not least, MOST of the music produced in the world is NON-english, it is not famous because of an imperialistic cultural situation.

  15. Imightberiding

    Very interesting doc. Full of "I didn't realise that" moments. In retrospect, I think I did realise more of the connections than I consciously thought I knew. I found it quite illuminating to see & hear & make the connections of the many disparate names & faces of persons of renown in the art, music & film world from both then at the start right up to the present. For me this was somewhat refreshing & comforting in its familiarity. I'm not certain that I am communicating my thoughts effectively. I guess I mean to say; it is all universal, timeless (the work itself dated), circular, moments in our history of discovery & inspiration. That moment of being in the right place at the right time resulting in so many talented individuals who are forever then connected in one way or another. I guess a more recent example might be Seattle & the surrounding N.W. music scene of the late 80's through the 90's. Music, film, fashion, culture, food, real estate. So many people & things connected by an initial spark, response or idea of creative intent. We can all think of or recall past times in our lives of such experiences. Most perhaps not as far reaching & influential as what is portrayed in this doc.

  16. hmmmm

    amazing Doc .. who would have thought.. david bowie.. hehee!

  17. Jeigh

    I don't even have to watch the film to comment.. well not on the film actually (may be crap)

    But Can!!! Incredibly under appreciated and often unheard of in the U.S., despite being heavily influenced by The Velvet Underground in the beginning, and then influencing too many to list. There would be no Radiohead without Can. Even Floyd praises their groundbreaking sound, despite the two groups similarities early on. Give them a couple hundred years. Then they will get the praises they deserve.

    The rest are amazing too... but Can.

    1. naomi12

      Agree, Tago Mago is one of the greatest albums ever made. I have so much love for can.

  18. francois


  19. Andd

    Sigh. 'Krautrock' was no more a real term of abuse than 'Britpop'. And it's coining as a term had nothing to do with the war and everything to do with their nationality.

  20. Richie

    Great doco, this!

  21. 011110011

    Myself, being a big fan of Industrial and Electro music, really enjoyed seeing some old footage of the pioneers.

    Good documentary!