Friday, 22 March 2013

Recommended music: 'Japandorf' by Klaus Dinger & Japandorf

And so my Krautrock odyssey continues with this, the final posthumous release from Klaus Dinger. If you're not familiar with the name, he was an early member of Kraftwerk, and then went on to found Neu! with Michael Rother, in the process inventing the driving 'motorik' rhythm that was to characterise a lot of Krautrock records. Later he presided over various incarnations of the group La Düsseldorf  before spending the years from 2000 until his untimely death in 2008, working with a group of Japanese musicians and artists who lived in Dusseldorf. The record was finished off by Miki Yui, who, as well as being in the band, was also Dinger's partner, and will be released on March 25th by Gronland Records.

In some ways this album follows the classic template for a Krautrock record. There are the obligatory long, repetitive songs ('ChaCha 2008' and 'Sketch No4', the latter being the best of the two), interspersed with short, atmospheric tracks and sound effects, including some watery noises much like on the Neu! albums. There are a couple of surprisingly gentle, straightforward songs ('Spacemelo' and 'Osenbe'), and the full-on rocker 'Karnival' which wouldn't have been out of place on Neu! '75.

There's no denying that some of the tracks on here still feel a bit unfinished - a couple of them have 'Sketch' in their title, and some of the instrumentals such as 'Kittleback Symphony' feel as if they need another couple of layers of melody and vocals. But in a way that almost feel right, the sense that something is missing is almost tangible and accurately reflects the fact that Dinger is no longer with us. And while it's sad that he's gone, it's great to think that he was still making creative music such as this until he passed.

For more information check out the Gronland site here

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