Boomkat Product Review:
Reinhold Friedl’s redoubtable Zeitkratzer Ensemble tackle Kraftwerk’s earliest, eponymous pair of LPs in the latest demonstration of their ability to revitalise and present new perspectives on important historical and contemporary compositions - mostly avant-garde; often originally electronic - in the context of a live, acoustic performance.
With takes on Stockhausen, Keiji Haino, Whitehouse and Lou Red under their belt in recent years, Zeitkratzer now turn to that strange early phase of Kraftwerk, shortly after they were called Organisation, when Ralf and Florian were exploring a fluid, early iteration of Krautrock that’s inarguably miles shy of the hook-laden pop discipline found in their later output. So yeah; basically there’s no vocoders or drum machines in earshot on this one. And we’d wager that anyone checking Zeitkratzer releases is probably geeky enough to know of the 1st two Kraftwerk albums, so it shouldn’t come as such a surprise.
Anyway, the band tuck into Rucksack with some relish at the top, traversing from proggy flute (thank fuck they dropped that) and motorik stomp to an aggressive breakdown that really flashes their teeth in a powerful take on Kraftwerk’s opener, Ruckzuck, and then an alternately frightening and lush take on that album’s Megaherz at the other end of the disc.
All the other material comes from Kraftwerk 2. That includes a great opportunity for the group to test their limits in the 17 minute+ Klingklang, which arches up from spatial clangour to a swaying pastoral lounge groove and proggy folk-rock stomp, but they’re most affective when connecting with the more mannered, chamber inspirations of Strom, and a near facsimile recreations of the extended breathing techniques deployed in Atem, which is surely a key to Kraftwerk’s kinkier side and cycling obsessions which would emerge later in their catalogue.