Krautrock (sometimes called "kosmische Musik", German: "cosmic music") is a broad genre of experimental rock that developed in Germany in the late 1960s. The term "krautrock" was originated by English-speaking music journalists as a humorous name for a diverse range of German bands whose music drew from sources such as psychedelic rock, the avant-garde, electronic music, funk, minimalism, jazz improvisation, and world music styles. Largely divorced from the traditional blues and rock and roll influences of British and American rock music up to that time, the period contributed to the evolution of electronic music and ambient music as well as the birth of post-punk, alternative rock and New Age music. Important acts of the scene include Can, Kraftwerk, Neu!, Ash Ra Tempel, Tangerine Dream, Popol Vuh, and Faust.
Links To Peel
When West Germany began to develop its own, more polticised equivalent of the UK and US hippie underground scene, British papers such as Melody Maker and Friends carried reports and write-ups on bands associated with it, such as Can and Amon Düül II. Peel showed an interest and played some tracks on his shows, and as a result early albums by these and other artists were imported from Germany and sold by Virgin Records, through its shops and mail-order service. Eventually Tangerine Dream and Faust were signed to the Virgin label. As its popularity grew, Peel became an avid enthusiast of the movement and would often play tracks from the genre in the early/mid 70's. He described Tangerine Dream as the best of the "Kosmische Musik" bands and described listeners' varied reactions in an article published in The Listener (later reprinted in the Olivetti Chronicles, Corgi edition, page 193):
"Whenever any of their extended works are played on the radio there is a heavy mail from listeners. Most of the letter-writers are for it, those that are against it are very against it indeed".
In reference to Krautrock, Peel mentioned in the same article that "the most interesting and genuinely progressive music anywhere in the world is coming from Germany." In the late 1970s, when punk started to become prominent in his playlist, long tracks of the type Peel refers to in his Listener article rarely got played. although earthier styles of Krautrock, as found in the work of Can and Neu! in particular, were still heard on Peel shows during the punk and post-punk eras and the later decades of the DJ's career. Moreover, Krautrock's influence proved to be long-term, and its many admirers included Peel session artists such as Julian Cope (who wrote a book on the subject in 1995 called Krautrocksampler) and Stereolab.