BEST OF ELSEWHERE DVDs 2008 Kraftwerk and the Electronic Revolution (DVD)

 |   |  1 min read

BEST OF ELSEWHERE DVDs 2008 Kraftwerk and the Electronic Revolution (DVD)

Not only does this excellent overview of the German electronic scene come in at a whopping and thorough three hours, but it also has good timing: it is released just as Kraftwerk make a rare return appearance in New Zealand.

This ambitious (but not officially sanctioned) look at Kraftwerk's place in the techno-cosmos places the group within the greater picture of the German music scene from the post-war period and addresses the difference between musicians in Berlin (serious, arty, political) and those like Kraftwerk from Dusseldorf or Cologne (trendy, fashion-conscious, ironic, wry).

Kraftwerk -- and other groups such as Amon Duul, Ash Ra Tempel, Neu!, Can and Tangerine Dream -- grew out of the experimenal scenes where free jazz mingled with nascent prog-rock. Lengthy jamming and long hair were the only common threads however.

This doco -- which includes many talking head interviews with informative journalists and bemused musicians -- spends a good hour just filling in that background with snippets of period footage and funny anecdotes, before moving the focus on to Kraftwerk and an album-by-album consideration of their career to date.

It doesn't shy away from criticism (groups like Tangerine Dream who moved from experimental music to merely creating wooshing sonic landscapes in a very traditional prog-rock manner). Those who adopted Kraftwerk's template too literally (Gary Numan especially) get a backhander across the kisser but it is interesting to hear from David Ball (Soft Cell), and UK DJ Rusty Egan who adopted the Krautrock/electronic music for his clubland nights . .  and thus bringing cool electronica to the New Romantic movement.

Due consideration is given to those excellent German musicians on the margins of rock-consciousness (Cluster, Harmonia, Popol Vuh), and although neither Ralf Hutter nor Florian Schneider from Kraftwerk are interviewed there are intelligent comments from Kraftwerk members Karl Bartos and Klaus Roder, as well as plenty of live and studio footage of the band.

Essential viewing if the German scene is even of only passing interest: you'll be hooked and wanting to find those elusive albums from the early 70s.

 

Share It

Your Comments

post a comment

More from this section   Film articles index

ELVIS COSTELLO: SPECTACLE, SEASON ONE (Ovation/Southbound DVD set)

ELVIS COSTELLO: SPECTACLE, SEASON ONE (Ovation/Southbound DVD set)

Because television talk shows depend largely on the quality of the guests, Rove (the programme, not the man) will always be more interesting than any local production. When it comes to visiting... > Read more

IN THE REALMS OF THE UNREAL: THE MYSTERY OF HENRY DARGER a documentary by JESSICA YU (Ovation/Southbound DVD)

IN THE REALMS OF THE UNREAL: THE MYSTERY OF HENRY DARGER a documentary by JESSICA YU (Ovation/Southbound DVD)

When the reclusive and friendless Henry Darger died at 81 in Chicago in 1973 (after a brief period in the same poorhouse in which his father had died) his story really began. Shortly before his... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

PETE TOWNSHEND REPEATED (2015): Who loves who the most?

PETE TOWNSHEND REPEATED (2015): Who loves who the most?

A few years ago before Christmas I bought two rock autobiographies to read over the break. One was Rod Stewart's Rod which was howling funny and charted the life of a man for whom booze, blondes... > Read more

THE ELSEWHERE SONGWRITER QUESTIONNAIRE: University of Auckland songwriter finalist Doug Robertson

THE ELSEWHERE SONGWRITER QUESTIONNAIRE: University of Auckland songwriter finalist Doug Robertson

Every year many of the students in Auckland University's popular music course enter a Songwriter of the Year competition in which they perform their original songs backed by a professional band... > Read more