Friday, July 2, 2010


Einsjager & Siebenjager (Kosmiche, 1974)

For: Dungen, Niagara Falls, Journey (on a dangerous level of codeine), Stag Hare

Byline: If only...

This friday nostalgia tag is a little misleading. I did not grow up listening to krautrock , nor am I any sort of expert on the most dubious of hooks used by lazy music journalists to attach to a vaguely rhythmic minimal approach to making music when they don't feel like extrapolating it further. Hey, I'm guilty too, I used the misplaced "K" word when describing the new Aloha album. Aloha?...I guess The title of krautrock expert goes to TOME main-man Crawford P. Direct all your questions to him. I very recently stumbled upon Popol Vuh and their world-hopping exploits through this album Einsjager & Siebenjager which works as a kind of bridge between their early ambient experimentation and their later ethnic excursions into full-blown New Age Book Store quasi-mysticism. Einsjager & Siebenjar which makes obvious tips of the hat to both camps, finds a comfortable convergence in the kind of mid-seventies long-playing instrumental rock that is on all of our parents shelves, but we never heard them play. Early cuts from Journey, or more closely Traffic come to mind as the boilerplate for instrumental rock influenced by classical music or jazz. That is all well and good, and tracks range from the four-minute formulaic album opener "King Minos" that comes in mid-piano major chord riffing, to the awesome, rubbernecking dual guitar-monies on "Wurelspiel", to the drone-raga, epic 15 minute long-player "Einsjager und Siebenjager" that the rest of the album is a footnote to. Vocals, appearing only in the afore mentioned track, are low in the mix, a female voice cooing almost unintelligible vowel sounds.

I always get the impression that krautrock was a sort of Urban Music for Germans before Urban Music existed. An orderly, monolithic, and computerized futurist-urban Utopia ran by machines, full of computerized cars cruising the autobahn at night. Popol Vuh's compositions defy any sort of Germanic-futurism, are far from motorick and do just about everything but drive. They meander, they saunter, they mince, they plod, they drag, but there is never much of a destination in mind that would require the use of an automobile. If Einsjager & Siebenjager yearns for any type of utopia, it would the life of of a far-flung Greek outpost during the height of the Roman Empire. The immensely open and pastoral orchestral elements (this was fortunately before the pan flute, but not before the ubiquitous seventies rock-flute) embody sun-bathed coastlines, endless vineyards, and the casual hedonism of greek life. Einsjager & Siebenjager, all things considered is still kraut, and it is one of the most engaging records I have heard in a long time. If only I discovered this 10 years ago.

Ryan H.

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