Zodiak revisted V featuring Qluster @ Club Transmediale – HAU 2, February 1st, 2012

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The Zodiak Free Arts Lab was legendary music and performance space, opened in 1967 by Conrad Schnitzler, Hans-Joachim Roedelius and Boris Schaak.  It was located in the ground floor of the actual HAU 2  (Hebbel Am Ufer) and remained active till the end of 1969.

A novel platform with an open-door policy and a serene disregard of filters such as “education”, “skill” and “virtuosity”, The Zodiak served to incubate and launch the musical careers of Kluster (trio composed by 2 of The Zodiak’s founders: Schintzler & Roedelius plus Dieter Moebius), Ash-Ra Tempel, Tangerine Dream, … as well as other projects of the “Berlin School” closely related to krautrock.

“Qluster” (whose video is attached below) is a new formation to follow “Cluster”: its two main members Joachim Roedelius and Onnen Bock will continue to work under the concept of improvised music with electro-acoustic sound sources that in 1969  started with “Kluster”. Text source: http://www.ctm-festival.de/ctm-festival/specials/zodiak-revisited.html

History of krautrock

The 1968 German & Italian student movement, French protests had created a class of young, intellectual continental listeners, while nuclear weapons, pollution and war inspired protests and activism. Avant-garde music had taken a turn towards the electronic in the mid-1950s. Minimalist music emerged in the beginning of the 60s with the works of Americans La Monte Young, Terry Riley and Steve Reich using drones and loops (often with synthesizers and tapes) in a kind of psychedelic and space-oriented music.

The key component characterizing the groups gathered under the term is the synthesis of rock and roll rhythm and energy with a decided will to distance themselves from specifically American blues origins, but to draw on German or other sources instead.

These factors all laid the scene for the explosion in what came to be termed krautrock. Like their American, British and international counterparts, German rock musicians played a kind of psychedelic music, however, there was no attempt to reproduce the effects of drugs, but rather an innovative fusion of psychedelia with jazz, free-jazz and the electronic avant-garde. The next few years saw a wave of pioneering groups. In 1968, Can formed by two former students of experimental classical music composer, Karlheinz Stockhausen  added jazz to the mix. The following year saw Kluster (later Cluster) begin recording keyboard-based electronic instrumental music with an emphasis on static drones. In 1970, Popol Vuh became the first krautrock group to use an electronic synthesizer, to create what would be known as “kosmische musik”. By 1971, the bands Tangerine Dream and Faust began to use electronic synthesizers, tape manipulation and advanced production. The bands Tangerine Dream, Ash Ra Tempel, Sand and Cosmic Jokers, all linked by collaboration with Klaus Schulze, would follow suit in the years to come.

Bands such as these were reacting against the post-WWII cultural vacuum in Germany and tending to reject Anglo-American popular culture in favour of creating their own more radical and experimental new German culture and identity, and to develop a radically new musical aesthetic.

In 1972, two albums incorporated European rock and electronic psychedelia with Asian sounds: Popol Vuh and Deuter. Meanwhile, kosmische musik saw the release of two double albums, Klaus Schulze’s Cyborg and Tangerine Dream’s Zeit , while a band called Neu! began to play highly rhythmic music. By the middle of the decade, one of the best-known German bands, Kraftwerk, had released albums like Autobahn and Radioaktivität , which laid the foundation for the British 1980s synthpop/new wave music, electro, techno and other styles later in the century.

By the mid-late 70s onward the terms electronic rockelectronic musicnew instrumental music and new age have been used more often than Krautrock and Kosmische Musik. A common rhythm featured in the music was a steady 4/4 beat, base of all actual electronic music.

Text source: http://www.scaruffi.com/history/german.html

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