Flamingo Cinema: Krautrock Recap
The first Flamingo Cinema event was held on our lovely office terrace. To our luck, the rain didn’t show-up as promised. The weather cooled down and the sky went dark at 7, providing a perfect viewing environment for the 50 or so people (and one bulldog) who attended.
We screened the documentary “Krautrock: the rebirth of Germany”. Kraut is the German word for cabbage. Referencing the ethnic slur “kraut” and inspired by a track from Amon Düül’s Psychedelic Underground titled “Mama Düül und Ihre Sauerkrautband Spielt Auf” (‘Mama Düül and her Sauerkrautband Strike Up’); Krautrock was the name British media gave to the type of experimental music that originated in Germany in the late 60s.
60s Germany was filled with Schlager pop and classical schmaltz– arguably the music of cultural guilt and denial. With the lingering effect of the Nazis, a group of radical German musicians wanted to create something that wasn’t British or American, something that was German, an “acid-drenched apocalyptic music… the soundtrack to their vision of a brave new world”.
When radical musicians were not making music, they got off their heads. “Actually I don’t have that much memories because that time I was quite stoned,” says Damo Suzuki, lead singer in Can. Suzuki was just a tourist wandering around Germany who ended up in Can kind of by mistake.
The music had its birth in Berlin then expanded to Cologne and then Dusseldorf. Krautrock constantly evolved and challenged the ears. “It was great, but I didn’t know it was music.” said David Niven after a Can show. By the mid-80s, despite Kraftwerk being the only Krautrock band to receive mainstream recognition in the English-speaking world, their sound laid the foundation for 80s British synthpop/new wave music.
After the movie, one of our audiences told us “I was never a fan of electronic music, but it seems that I don’t have to like a music genre to enjoy a documentary about it”.
Thank you again all for coming. If that one hour was too short for you we encourage you to watch “Synth Britainia”, another BBC4 documentary, directed by the same Ben Whalley, about the aftermath of the synthesizer in UK.
For those didn’t make it this time, we hope to see you at our next Cinema event, July 9th. Details to follow shortly.