For a strain of music so influential and steeped in weird tales, krautrock has never enjoyed the definitive account it has deserved since its first wave fizzled in 1977 (when it handed over to punk as that decade’s other most vital musical revolution).
There have been books on Kraftwerk and hard-to-find tomes such as Julian Cope’s fan-driven eulogising, but nothing that covers this whole, uproariously trailblazing genre with the depth and respect it deserves. Until now.
Crucially, David Stubbs manages to strike the right balance between placing the music in the social and political contexts that spawned it with a deft touch for conveying the unknown pleasures to be unearthed in the sounds produced by near-mythic names such as Can, Kraftwerk, Amon Düül 2, Faust, Neu!, Ash Ra Tempel and Cluster.
Over 466 pages, Stubbs interviews many of the main players and visits their old stamping grounds in his quest to, if not define krautrock (impossible given its scope), then present its often startling history and enormous influence (anywhere from Bowie and Roxy Music to synthpop and industrial) with an easily digestible narrative explaining why no other music tore down more walls while being such great fun in the process.