Cope and Krautrock

Steve Stapleton

The Wire, Jun 1997

Steve Stapleton (aka Nurse With Wound) on german experimental music of 70's, aka 'krautrock'. Thanks to Fabio for sending this to the list.

"What happened in Germany was unprecedented - I mean, it only lasted for a maximum of 4 years, but what it produced in those years is absolutely stunning, even today," he rants. "I always knew that one day it would turn around, one day people would appreciate them." So what does he think of the current Krautrock revival, of Julian Cope's book? "I'm ecstatically pleased about it," he continues, "I think it's brilliant, even just personally so as I can get all the CD reissues as they come out. I think what Julian Cope's done is fucking brilliant, I loved his book. So many people can now experience the real thing, they don't have to listen to fucking Stereolab - listen to Neu!, listen to where Stereolab ripped off all their ideas from. All these techno bands who ripped off Kraftwerk - people don't know about how Cluster single-handedly started off the whole acid house movement. Check out the first couple of Möebius records, years ahead of their time and the first Kraftwerk album, it's just so stunning and revolutionary and advanced, no one's beaten it even today.

"I think it's the most important movement in modern music. I mean, fuck The Beatles! Krautrock had nothing to do with The Beatles, it came from classical avant-garde and free jazz, it didn't come from pop. It was really self-contained, brutal, hard, and cold, and I just loved it. I think the only reason Can came up with the story about how they heard The Beatles' 'I Am The Walrus' and were inspired to start a band was because they wanted to be accepted by western musicians and fans - they're gonna say that just to get 'in'. Schmidt came from Stockhausen, Liebzeit from free jazz." So were the Nurse seeds planted out in Germany? "Oh yeah, for the first time I really felt that I'd found real kindred spirits, this was what I wanted to do - especially the cold relentlessness of the first two Kraftwerk albums, Kluster, Amon Duul, I was absolutely moved by it. Later, through my label United Dairies, I tried to bring over Krautrock music which I felt had been totally ignored and put it out in England. I released the Guru Guru album and recorded some stuff with Uli Trepte (the Hot On Spot/Inbetween LP UD024) who used to be in Neu! and Faust. I got other people like Pole, Limpe Fuchs, Anima - I released them on United Dairies and involved as many Krautrock people as I could in projects."

Steve Stapleton, "Cope and Krautrock", The Wire 1997, © The Wire

ref: The Wire