Thursday, September 26, 2013


I have been really liking Camera's Radiate out on Bureau B now, but beyond stating the obvious, duh, Krautrock, er, Neu!, don't have anything very original to say. Fortunately, Ben Graham at the Quietus has the whole thing under control. He says:

Just when you thought you didn't need another contemporary neo-krautrock outfit in your life... along come Camera, whose heavy kosmische grooves are not only near-irresistible, but who have more claim than most to be upholders of the kraut tradition, whatever that may be. Genuine Berliners, for a start, the three-piece have also been championed by Michael Rother of Neu! Rother gave the young band several early support slots before inviting them to play a joint show with him and his old Harmonia buddy Dieter Moebius, who was equally impressed with the way Camera have not only appropriated but extended the motorik machine music he and his peers pioneered throughout the 1970s.

The old school radical krautrockers may have been equally appreciative of Camera's liking for guerrilla gigs in public spaces, with stunts like gatecrashing the German Film Prize after show party, setting up and playing until security realised they weren't actually booked and booted them out, somewhat reminiscent of the anti-establishment, near-situationist streak that was such an important part of the make-up of bands like Neu!, Faust, Can and Amon Duul, but which inevitably has been filtered out as new bands take on the sounds without any of the political philosophy.

While setting up and playing in a Berlin underpass or public toilets may not equate with raging against the Nazi relics still holding public office in the late 60s / early 70s, or harbouring members of the Baader-Meinhof gang in your band squat, it does at least exhibit a taste for mischief-making and confrontation, and a disdain for conventional music biz careerism, that the old guard must have been relieved to find was still on the agenda.

Another quality of their forebears that Camera retain is a love of improvisation. Initially formed with no intention of recording or even of writing songs as such, the trio laid down Radiate! live in the studio, using just a couple of guitars, a synthesiser and a pared-down drum kit. The result is a muscular spontaneity that makes even the more by-numbers moments come alive, imbuing familiar musical phrases with an urgency and velocity that many more considered, reverential players often lose.

There's a bit more track by track description here.

I've always really liked the Quietus. I tried to write for them a while ago, but it didn't work out.

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