Zeitkratzer - Performs Songs from the albums, Kraftwerk and Kraftwerk 2 (CD Zeitkratzer Productions)
Having had the pleasure of seeing these perform live and, indeed, already owning their albums dedicated to the works of Whitehouse and Lou Reed, my bias towards this incredible German orchestra is already pretty strong. If unfamiliar with them, one of their rudimentary premises is to take the work of contemporary avant-garde or electronics artists and reinterpret it using instruments more often found playing classical music, under the direction of founder Reinhold Friedl. Over the years, they have worked on the music of John Cage, Alvin Lucier, Throbbing Gristle, Carsten Nicolai, Keiji Haino and Column One, besides that of those already noted and countless others. Here, of course, they address the first two albums by the highly influential Kraftwerk, who themselves during the time of these recordings were far more avant-garde than their later proto-techno works might suggest. In the wider sense, the choice is an unlikely one, but seems perfectly reasonable when it comes to matters related to this incredible German ensemble. Over the course of the album, Kraftwerk’s originals are rendered dramatic, atmospheric and enmeshed with exhilarating power. Qualities that were there in the Kraftwerk originals, no less, but are respectfully and cleverly transported into new leashes of life here. What ultimately comes over in Zeitkratzer’s approach to music is not only their natural ability, but also both their willingness to further colour some of the most adventurous modern music around and build additional meaning. The fact they do this with such earnestness, passion and a subtle sense of playfulness only affords them greater respect. Fantastic group. RJ.