This week I'll focus on underground bands from 1970's Europe.
When the Beatles were breaking up and "singer songwriters" like James Taylor were replacing acid rock, bands from Germany developed darker, far riskier music, sometimes labeled "Krautrock". "Brainticket" was one, played on The Fro Show by Jessie next to a remix of Can, also German. The two tracks work with flat, repetitive progressions to allow for improvisation. Notice, though, how Can emphasized small shifts in instrumental texture, while Brainticket exploited bad--trip nuance expressed though the vocalist's spoken word.
Amon Duul II were also German, and specialized in polished, layered space rock. Mike Van Laar played their "A Short Stop At The Trans-Sylvania Brain-Surgery" Watch them play live below, then compare this to the driving approach of England's Hawkwind. Fabio played "Orgone Accumulator" from the live Space Ritual album on Strength Though Failure. This 1973 track was recorded before punk, and is layered with electronic effects. But played next to the studio sophistication of the Amon Duul II piece, "Orgone Accumulator's" grind and urgency takes on a punk feel.
England's Canterbury bands used far more formal structures, mixing classical composition with jazz improvising. Scott Williams played "Rivmic Melodies" by "Soft Machine" (see video below) from a side long suite from their 1969 second album, which placed jazz soloing into short pieces. (Bonus, Scott played some more Brainticket earlier in the set). Henry Cow emphasized complex composition over improvising. Listen to "Half Asleep, Half Awake" played on Dan Bodah's Airborne Event.
Glam, blues-rock, proto-ambient and many other movements thrived in Europe in the early 70's. This post mainly dealt with music bridging the end of psychedelia and the start of art rock. We'll deal with other styles of the period in future posts.