Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Krautrock and King Cole

There's so much that has been added to NeverEndingWonder Radio in the past few weeks I hardly know where to begin. I'll try and touch on some of the highlights.

I've added two great box sets by the two greatest Krautrock bands- Can & Faust.

Can - Anthology
This 25 track anthology includes selections from their entire discography and is a great representation of the different phases and permutations of the proto-movement that became known as Krautrock- an experimental, progressive approach to rock music practiced by several groups of individuals in Germany, starting in the late 60s. The movement featured a high degree of improvisation as well as experimental techniques.

Faust - The Wumme Years 1970 - 1973
Faust are probably the crowning example of the Krautrock approach. Some musicians who had been informally jamming together were contacted by journalist Uwe Nettelbeck, who had secured a contract from Polydor Records to produce some kind of rock album. The musicians - Werner "Zappi" Diermaier, Hans Joachim Irmler, Arnulf Meifert, Jean-Hervé Péron, Rudolf Sosna and Gunter Wüsthoff- sensing a great adventure, demanded a recording studio and an unlimited amount of time to produce whatever they wanted. Amazingly, the label agreed. The band was given an old school building which was turned into a recording studio/living space. They moved in, started doing drugs, hanging out, and occasionally playing music. Fortuitously, they were also provided an engineer, Kurt Graupner, who managed to get the insanity onto tape. Graupner was one of the best recording engineers in Germany at the time, and created many new recording techniques and devices in an attempt to capture what the musicians were doing. The three years Faust spent recording at Wumme netted two albums and a wealth of material, some of which was used for later albums. The Wumme Years contains 59 tracks ranging in length from 25 seconds to 22 minutes. It includes the entirety of the first two albums and much unreleased material, many pieces being experiments. The experiments themselves are quite intriguing- they might not really go anywhere, but they show a creative band of musicians searching for unique material.

Nat King Cole
Another incredible box set- this gives us 100 tracks by one of the greatest vocalists of all times. Ranging from his earliest jazz recordings in the 40s (including his often overlooked piano virtuosity) to his popular work in the 50s and 60s. There's even an unreleased gem- a seven minute opus titled Mr. Cole Don't Rock N Roll. Cole is one of the most popular vocalists of all time, second in hit records only to Frank Sinatra. His smooth delivery is distinctive. During his career he conquered every medium- live performance, recordings, radio, television and films. His recording of Mel Torme's "The Christmas Song" is arguably THE quintessential Christmas recording. He wrote many of his songs, including the familiar "Straighten Up and Fly Right."

That's all for now. I'll write more as soon as I get a chance.

You can hear all this music, and much more on:

NeverEndingWonder Radio
Tune in via the above link or in iTunes, look in the radio section under "Eclectic."


Wayne said...

I've really been enjoying the Nat King Cole--excellent stuff!

NeverEndingWonder said...

Iknew you would appreciate it Wayne! Truly one of the greatest.