Thursday, April 5, 2012

German Oak - s/t [1972]

Artist: German Oak
Title: German Oak
Genre: Krautrock, Avant-Prog
Country: Germany
Release date: 1972

Track List:
  1. Swastika Rising
  2. The Third Reich
  3. Shadows Of War / Rain Of Destruction
  4. Airalert
  5. Down In The Bunker
  6. Raid Over Dusseldorf
  7. 1945 - Out Of The Ashes

"In the strange Olympic summer of 1972, the Düsseldorf instrumental group (community of 5 hippies / open mind artists) German Oak entered the Luftschutzbunker (or Air Raid Shelter), in order to record their eponymous first self-titled LP. The purpose of recording in a bunker was to recreate the feelings experienced by German soldiers during the Allied invasion of 1944. The strange acoustic conditions in the bunker made the music, which was a series of long, spacious guitar jams, sound distant and filled with echo. The cover of album (a militaristic image which is a portrait of the third Reich military force) provides an illustration of anger expressed by the WWII’s young generation against their parents. Julian Cope, in his in-depth review of the album, describes the bands sound in unequivocal terms: “…imagine a brutally recorded, brazen and ultra-skeletal industrial white funk played with all the claw-handed technique of the Red Crayola recording their famous Hurricane Fighting Plane. By consequence German Oak’s music is very tortured, dark and weird, dominated by heavy, “distorted” guitar solos & rhythms. The background creates “painful” & “ambient” sequences thanks to delay echoes, electronic “fuzzy” noises & repetitive bass lines. A funkadelic / jazzy felt punctuates with discretion this grandiose. In a rather discretion they also recorded (1972-76) the moody, cloudy and experimental epic-kraut Nibenlungenieg.""

IMO, German Oak are notable primarily because they were probably the first cryptofa band. While I dislike the whole cryptofa movement (mostly because they were too aggressive when forcing CF as a meme), I also admit that there's a lot of people fascinated by the history and symbolism of totalitarian and genocidal regimes, but not being fascists themselves. The industrial (and especially martial industrial) scene is full of such people, and I like German Oak's hyper progressive rock as much as I like early 80's industrial acts. I won't listen to such kind of music every day, but I think it's a must to know such classics.

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