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From the end of the 1960s and the beginning of the 1970s, rock music primarily from West German bands, some of which also became internationally known, was classified under the genre Krautrock . In addition to their geographical origin, all classic Krautrock bands have a tendency towards experimental, improvisational rock music in common.

Name and self-image

The term goes back to the word "Sauerkraut" and the derogatory term " Krauts " for the German soldiers in World War II. John Peel , a well-known English radio presenter, is said to have been inspired to create the term Krautrock in 1968 by the title Mama Düül and her sauerkraut band plays on the LP Psychedelic Underground by the band Amon Düül . In addition, in May 1973 the Hamburg group Faust recorded their fourth LP for Virgin Records in the studio "The Manor" in Oxfordshire , the first of which was called "Krautrock". Virgin Records then adopted this term as a genre name for rock music from Germany.

In Germany, Krautrock was often used as a self-deprecating term for their own music to express that Germany was considered a pop-cultural developing country. At the beginning, Krautrock was seen more as a collective term for music from Germany. There was neither a unified movement nor extensive stylistic similarities.

Apart from the use of the unflattering word “Kraut”, this combination of different styles and the reduction to their geographical or national origin means that the term Krautrock is often understood as a derogatory term. Amon Düül and Agitation Free , for example, were committed to psychedelic rock , Tangerine Dream tended more towards electronic music , Guru Guru initially practiced space rock à la Hawkwind , Birth Control belonged to hard rock , while Can chose an almost avant-garde compositional stance. Overall, the bands were often characterized by their own interpretations of the Anglo-American pattern, which also brought international recognition.

There were bands early on that sang in German as a matter of course ( your children , Prof. Wolfff), but German lyrics were by no means taken for granted in rock music of that time and instead of switching to English, some Krautrock bands opted for it, almost or entirely to renounce texts (e.g. Ash Ra Tempel ). The proximity of many bands to the extra-parliamentary resistance and to left-wing groups ( Floh de Cologne , Ton Steine ​​Scherben , Lokomotive Kreuzberg ) is remarkable . Agitation Free had their practice room in K1 and often played during actions of the hash rebels . Also noteworthy is the fact that groups like Omega (Hungary) and Nektar (GB / USA) are often counted among the herb dryers due to their success in the FRG.

The only common basic tendency is the tendency to more complex structures, which is closely related to progressive rock / art rock and jazz rock . From today's perspective, it should be emphasized that a noticeable number of musicians experimented with the then new synthesizer technology. In addition to Can, this applies above all to Tangerine Dream and its surroundings ( Klaus Schulze , Ash Ra Tempel), which thus possibly provided the basis for the later global success of Kraftwerk (Autobahn, 1974).

Austrian Krautrock bands are z. B. Ixthuluh and Gypsy Love (with Karl Ratzer and Harri Stojka ).

Since, from hip-hop pioneer Afrika Bambaataa to techno - "originator" Juan Atkins, many musicians of the following generations explicitly referred to this "electronic" field internationally, Krautrock is, in retrospect, of great importance in pop history, too if this was neither intended nor foreseeable at the time. Clear Krautrock influences can be seen in indie bands like Sonic Youth (especially Can) and Stereolab (especially Neu! ).

Around the turn of the millennium there was a renaissance of old Krautrock bands, first in the USA, then also in Germany. This development continues to this day and leads to reunions, that out of print records are reissued and that relatively new bands, such as For example, the band Space Debris , founded in 2001, call their music "Krautrock".

Important representatives

Electronic music musicians and bands



  • Ulrich Klatte: Cosmic Price Guide to original KRAUTROCK records 4th edition. CPG-Verlag, Hamburg 2018, 448 pages, ISBN 978-3-9810109-4-7
  • Henning Dedekind: Krautrock - Underground, LSD and cosmic couriers . Hannibal Verlag, Höfen 2008, ISBN 978-3-85445-276-8
  • Julian Cope : KrautRockSampler. One Heads Guide To The Great Cosmic Music. Translated by Clara Drechsler and Ronald Rippchen. Werner Pieper's MedienXperimente, Löhrbach 1996 (= Der Grüne Zweig 186), ISBN 3-925817-86-7
  • Ingeborg Schober : Dance of the Lemmings . Sonnentanz Verlag, 1994. ISBN 3-926794-20-8 . (Autobiography from Amon Düül's environment; first published in 1982 by Rowohlt Taschenbuch Verlag.)
  • Pascal Bussy, Andy Hall: The Can Book . Verlag Sonnentanz, 1998. ISBN 3-926794-07-0 .
  • Christian Graf: "Rock Lexicon Germany". Verlag Schwarzkopf & Schwarzkopf, 2002, ISBN 3-89602-273-3 .
  • Martin Büsser : "Antipop". Ventilverlag, 2002. ISBN 3-930559-45-5 . (Essays and reports on pop culture in the 90s, including a chapter on the “Krautrock Myth” and a detailed interview with the former Faust member Arnulf Meifert.)
  • Nikos Kotsopoulos: "KRAUTROCK. Cosmic Rock And Its Legacy", Black Dog Publishing 2009, ISBN 978-1-906155-66-7 .
  • Dag Erik Asbjørnsen: "Cosmic Dreams at Play - A guide to German Progressive and Electronic Rock", Borderline Productions 2008, ISBN 1-899855-01-7 .
  • Steven Freeman, Alan Freeman: "The Crack in the Cosmic Egg", Ultima Thule 1996, ISBN 0-9529506-0-X (only available as CD-ROM and as a greatly expanded new edition in 24 issues with three times the size of the book)
  • Wagner, Christoph (2013): The Sound of Revolt: The Magical Years of the West German Music Underground, Mainz and others: Schott.
  • Alexander Simmeth: Krautrock transnational. The reinvention of pop music in Germany, 1968–1978 , Transcript Verlag, Bielefeld 2016, ISBN 978-3-8376-3424-2


  • Kraut und Rüben - About the beginnings of German rock music , 6-part WDR Rockpalast documentary series (2006)
  • Robots don't eat sauerkraut , director: Stefan Morawietz, 90 min. Documentation (2008)
  • Klatschmohn , documentary from the German Rock Super Concert in the Festhalle Frankfurt (1973)
  • Kraut-Rock - State of a Music Province , Author: Michael Stefanowski, 47 min. Documentary (1975)
  • Krautboys - The One and Only True Al Gringo Story , Director: Hansjörg Thurn, Actors: Francesco Pahlevan, Nicka v. Altenstadt, Hans Uwe Bauer, Rolf Zacher, the Krautboys, and others. a., music: Al Gringo and the Original Pschobilly Krautboys on Moonshine, 88 min., color, 16 mm, Germany (1992), comedy

Web links

Commons : Krautrock  - collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence