Various Artists: Head Music

New artists indulge in a bit of Brain surgery...

You can trust Louder Our experienced team has worked for some of the biggest brands in music. From testing headphones to reviewing albums, our experts aim to create reviews you can trust. Find out more about how we review.

Hamburg’s Brain label is second only to Ohr when it comes to the emergence of influential German bands in the 70s, once providing a home for Neu!, Cluster, Harmonia, Klaus Schulze, Popol Vuh and various others. This engrossing double-CD, launched to celebrate Brain’s 40th anniversary, sees a grand spread of international bands tackling a bundle of the era’s landmark recordings.

Lancashire pagans Earthling Society take a tabla to the tripped-out weirdings of Amon Duul’s Paramechanical World, the Dead Sea Apes rip out the innards of obscure early Kraftwerk number Ruckstoss Gondoliero, and Black Tempest take the shredder to Schulze’s Bayreuth Return.

The real boon of all this is how faithless and constantly surprising these new covers are. Vert:x soup up the gliding synthetics of Harmonia’s Dino with heavy guitars. And radical interpretations of two Can classics are hard not to love. Language Of Light turn Mushroom into a subterranean folk ditty that sounds like it was played on instruments rescued from a bonfire, while Saturn’s Ambush discard the disco threads of I Want More for a slo-mo stoner shuffle.

Rob Hughes

Freelance writer for Classic Rock since 2008, and sister title Prog since its inception in 2009. Regular contributor to Uncut magazine for over 20 years. Other clients include Word magazine, Record Collector, The Guardian, Sunday Times, The Telegraph and When Saturday Comes. Alongside Marc Riley, co-presenter of long-running A-Z Of David Bowie podcast. Also appears twice a week on Riley’s BBC6 radio show, rifling through old copies of the NME and Melody Maker in the Parallel Universe slot. Designed Aston Villa’s kit during a previous life as a sportswear designer. Geezer Butler told him he loved the all-black away strip.