Various Artists - Krautrock: Masters + Echoes (Stereo Deluxe)
Much like Prog and Psychedelia, Krautrock always appeared to be a genre best enjoyed in whole albums. I'm sure singles were released from LPs, and I'm sure I've seen footage of Can on TOTP, but it's classic albums like Tago Mago, Future Days, Blackdance, and So Far that provided ready access to those curious to explore Germany's response to Pink Floyd and the Velvets.
Stereo Deluxe have come up with an alternative method. Krautrock: Masters + Echoes is a near perfect primer for a genre which has massively influenced pop and rock music for over 30 years. From PiL's post-punk rumbles to the pristine electro-pop of Kylie's "Can't Get You Out Of My Head" (Kraftwerk + sex), Krautrock's always been there, but like a crusty old uncle, can appear wholly unapproachable, distant and until to get to know them, a little repetitive.
Not so with these two CDs. Masters, the first part of this collection, showcases some of the movers and shakers of the movement. There are omissions. There's no Can, Cluster or Kraftwerk, but Neu!, Faust, Klaus Schulze, Amon Duul ll and Guru Guru are all present, and the material included is representative of both the individual artists and their lasting influence on popular music. For example, play Neu!'s "Seeland" and you'll instantly be thinking of The Fall or Stereolab. The Klaus Schulze effect (here represented by the 24 minute "Floating") maybe less discernable, though people did buy an awful lot of Orb records.
The second disc, Echoes, is a collection of contemporary artists all in tune with the Krautrock beat. There are some which are obvious inclusions; the afore mentioned Stereolab, LCD Soundsystem and To Rococo Rot. Some I'd never made the connection until now: The Horrors, John Frusciante and Jesus And Mary Chain. The latter, I'm still not wholly convinced, though their live cover of Can's "Mushroom" would suggest otherwise. 8/10.