Well yeah, this coulda been a lot better. Or at least I was hoping it woulda been. After all, those other krautrock books that have been comin' out since the mid-nineties were so informative and downright awe-inspiring, and not only that but they gave us all a good explanation as to just why many of these groups were closer to the New York gutter and Detroit-epicenter than they were to the import bin likes of Yes and Genesis (Tangerine Dream and Nektar notwithstanding). But this just limps along giving us little insight that we didn't already know coupled with personal anecdotes from various krautrock fanatics that differ little from the reams of artist appreciations we've seen in MOJO and even SPIN over the past twentysome years. It does have a lotta boss and hardly ever repro'd pictures tho.
Maybe I shouldn't complain, for KRAUTROCK does have the right amount of spirit to at least (re)present the genre as it stood in the canon of rockism from the late-sixties onward. If you never read a book on the subject this would be a good place to start, and I can't fault any of the writers for putting their opinions to paper even if I may disagree with certain conclusions and opinions that just don't quite jibe with my own. But I do have a few quibbles with this 'un, and although they aren't exactly anything that might deter me from giving this a generally halfway there approval they do warrant mentioning.
Por ejemplo, if all of those obscure album covers are going to be reproduced in this book then why not a little bitta text on these groups as to where they fit into the entire krautrock scheme? Also, if an act like Gila can be considered important enough to get their own entry why not Ton Steine Scherben or Walpurgis? And if someone like Sir Plastic Crimewave or Ann Shenton can write about how krautrock impacted their lives why is a true original like Hot Scott Fischer missing from the mix? Not knocking SPC or Shenton in the least, but Fischer was the guy who was notifiying Mr. and Ms. Rock Mag Reading Ameriga to the Euro scene back when it was all happening, and schmucks like myself were only trumpeting the clarion call back inna eighties when it seemed hardly anybody could care in the least!
Don't get me wrong because KRAUTROCK is a book to get especially with the rare photos (early Tangerine Dream and Neu! live being worth the price of admission) and shards of information that just might inspire you to drag out your old albums and give 'em a go. Just be sure to read the other ones before you dish out the lucre for this and maybe you too can eke some feeling outta this that's akin to imagining that you're actually some German teenager back in 1971 listening to Can and Amon Duul II right as they happened and right in their native environment while the walls came crashing down all around. Only remember to wash up a little more'n you would have been wont to do...from what I've heard it ain't like deodorant's exactly flying off the shelves over in Europe, and frankly if there's any olfactory discomfort to be experienced around my nostrils it better be mine and MINE only!