Test Dept Interview January 2019 – Speaking with Paul Jamrozy and Graham Cunnington

Today I speak with Paul Jamrozy and Graham Cunnington, of the innovative and highly-engaging UK-based musical act, Test Dept – a group which gives new meaning to the expression, “brutal honesty”. 

This is because Test Dept has ever been raining blows upon inanimate objects, albeit in a percussive and poly-rhythmic fashion.

To the uninitiated, these sounds may seem disorganized and shrill, and perhaps even…maddening. 

If you’ve seen the musical “Stomp”, imagine that briefly, if you will.  Then, replace those happy-go-lucky performers with staunch political activists, and then invite Ogre, Al Jourgensen, and all of Einstürzende Neubauten to the party.  This might give your “normal” individual, who may not get out much, some approximation of the sonic scenario here, although, that description is oversimplifying things quite a lot.

In any case, the skittish and faint of heart may be unlikely to enter a venue with Test Dept on the marquee, particularly if they are aware of the group.  The sound of a rabid gray wolf baying outside their front door may prove to be more soothing aurally to such an individual.

However abstract and disjointed Test Dept’s on-stage presence may seem to people who have always tended to bathe in the jaw-slackening sounds of pop music, there is, and has always been, a game plan and purpose behind everything Test Dept does.  And there are also those that know this, and appreciate their activities.


For the record, Test Dept is known globally for their impassioned live shows, and for their use of industrial “found” material (ie. scrap metal), refashioned into more purposeful instruments, with which they make their unique music. 

They have been interpreting the world around them and converting it into vigorous sound since 1981, when they emerged in New Cross, London.  Their mission to make music with a built-in purpose continues to this day.

With over a dozen members come and gone over the past almost-30 years, and many collaborators to speak of, Test Dept has been quite prolific, developing a formidable body of work.  This is work that may certainly be deemed influential to anyone who knows how to recognize when influence has been passed along the winding corridors of modern culture, as modern culture has a distinct tendency towards wilful forgetfulness.

If you’ve seen some of Test Dept’s video output, you will know they are, in addition to being very rhythmic, visually stimulating and cinematic.

 Here is a clip called Program for Progress to demonstrate what I mean.

Recently, the core members of Test Dept has re-formed in order to take the stage once again, motivated by the curious goings-on in global culture.  It is they who I had a chance to put some questions to.  Luckily, they responded.

So, to delay no further, here is my interview with Test Dept, where we discuss a variety of topics.  We start, as logic would dictate, at the very beginning.

For those who don’t know the band or its history, Test Dept, by your own admission, emerged from a decaying culture in South London in the early 1980’s. So much so that you literally grabbed hold of pieces of that crumbling world and started making music with them. Do you remember the first time you did this, and the circumstances around it?

GC: We had been living in Amsterdam when the idea for Test Dept emerged. We relocated to the docklands of South London where we were surrounded by the inevitable consequence of Thatcher’s destruction of the heavy industry and manufacturing economic base in favour of a service economy.  

PJ: Corrugated sheeting, empty beer barrels, gas cylinders, car springs, they were everywhere around us. Deptford Creekside was our playground, we wandered around the old decaying factories, rummaged on the banks of the Thames and scavenged in the scrapyards that proliferated the area.

Stowage, Deptford / mylondondiary.co.uk

Was your music, in the beginning, more a reaction to the music at the time, or the politics? For example, were you bothered at all by the disco duck?

PJ: It began more as a noise thing, a reaction to where we had been after punk, we had a sense of unfinished business. The post punk period, with the wide spectrum of new experimental music that poured out was all very liberating. The politics were already there but developed rapidly with the hate figure of Thatcher to oppose, The Falklands War, followed by the ‘English Civil War’ that was the ‘Miners Strike’ and the wars kept coming. Must say, Disco duck never really caught on in Deptford but must confess it is quite irritatingly catchy.

Do you feel your music is “atonal” or “noise”? For instance, do you think of it as such, or do you think of it as perhaps “nice” or “relaxing” but maybe just an “acquired taste”? Or are you more of the mindset that “yes, it’s an awful racket, but we love it!”?

PJ: I think you pass through a number of states and emotions in the performing and listening modes. Sometimes you had to go through the pain barrier to reach a crescendo or release and that was true of the audience too. Not everybody got that but those who did were very passionate about it. To us it wasn’t an infernal racket; it was co-ordinated and constructed into a giant machine in which we were all components, that sense of utilitarian unity gave us a vision of building something immense and beyond individualist egos.

Once you make an album using pieces of discarded metal and whatnot, does that metal hold any sentimental place in your heart, or do you simply shove it back into the sea or the scrapyard from whence it came? In other words, do you consider yourselves pioneers of worldwide recycling, or are you simply riding the waves of detritus and scrap as it crests, and then surfing away in the opposite direction once the wave crashes down?

PJ: Well we have had some fabulous pieces over the years but through our own transient lives, lack of a continuous space to work in, etc. Many fabulous pieces were lost such as our giant ten-foot trumpet and the sputniks (antique 1950s brewery barrels made of a very distinctive alloy); but some were just too big to keep, like the ten ton tank that nearly brought the Albany Empire ceiling crashing down. Some took a beating and were just destroyed in action. 

demolished Cars and scrap metal ready to be shipped – amsterdam

Bands like Coil, or maybe someone like Alec Empire, seem to have taken a sound you created and distilled it into more palatable tones with some of their albums. Have you ever thought of doing something more contemplative and “new age-y” in the same way as something like Time Machines (Coil) or Low On Ice (Alex Empire)? Hell, even Throbbing Gristle made that “funk” album, right? Perhaps have a sexy female voice singing “skulls crack” could open you up to…ah, forget it.

PJ: I think we have always been diverse in working with a variety of styles including some ambient tracks, think Plastic (Beating the Retreat), Comrade Enver Hoxha (Unacceptable Face of Freedom) and female vocalists, Nadka (Terra Firma),  Gododdin the album with Brith Gof and Totality the album with Katie- Jane Garside.

You have long been associated with the “art” world, whether it be performance, sculpture, concept art, and various counterculture and subversive movements within the “art” world, some dating back decades if not centuries. How comfortable are you being associated with the art world in general?

PJ: The ‘art world’ is far too general a term, we do not sell commodified work to an art market and whilst appreciating work aesthetically, we find that this art world, as an arbiter of taste, is distasteful and totally removed from our lives. However it is true to say we have many artistic influences going back to the movements of Dada, Futurism, Constructivism in the early part of the last century; and on to the multi media of Fluxus, the political stance of the Situationists and other radical art movements in the latter part of the last century. These movements and the art produced was indeed revolutionary and critical of the society it evolved into, using art as a vehicle to expand horizons, or to create visions of a new world of possibilities.

Fluxus street theatre

Obviously, Test Dept has no problem making “regular” people uncomfortable with your music, both in recordings and live performance. Surely, even as new people get exposed to your music, they are still as uncomfortable now as they were when you first arrived on the scene. There will always be suburbanites and people racing down Wall Street who, at most, would cast you a disdainful and utterly fed up / confused glare. Assuming you have always enjoyed people’s squirming discomfort at what you bring to the table, do you still enjoy it today?

GC: There are certainly some artists who’s main focus seems to be on making people uncomfortable in a sonic sense, but this is not our aim. We make music that we feel reflects and comments on the world around us, which at the moment is pretty uncomfortable. Our sonic palette is partly gathered from our surroundings and not based on standard ideas of ‘musicality’ (although harmony and melody can have their place at times). There is certainly beauty, and even musicality, in noise. Sound is just vibrating air and all objects that vibrate to make a sound when hit or plucked or bowed (or simply turned on in the case of mechanical objects) are potential instruments; its just about how one perceives or places them. What is comfortable for some is uncomfortable for others – before the C20th atonal music was considered uncomfortable (if not incomprehensible), now it is accepted as a mainstream musical form. It’s all down to perception and taste.

What are your thoughts on bands that people consider to be flag bearers of industrial music who came along after you like Ministry and Nine Inch Nails? Has your influence on them been acknowledged by them, or anyone else, and what do you think of what they’re doing in relation to what you’re doing?

PJ: Trent Reznor has made positive statements recognizing our influence (in fact he has said that NiN are not industrial but rather have industrial influences) but it is not something that really concerns us. In media terms we were pushed to the periphery having not had the majority of our back catalogue available for many years. That was why it was important to publish the ‘Total State Machine’ book to show our history and all the diverse projects that took us into many unchartered waters way beyond the industrial.

I think the majority of these American ‘industrial’ bands are more akin to traditional rock bands that have incorporated electronic and noise elements into their sound, which is fine. However I think we come from a different place, a very European heritage of found sound, electronic experimentation,  the classical avant-garde and noise aesthetic with a heavy load of tribal drums thrown in for good measure.

What can you say about Some Bizarre Records, in terms of how the label operated and some of your label mates. In relation to the last question, bands like Einstürzende Neubauten seem to be a more an apt comparison to Test Dept vs. a band like NIN, but is that how you see it, or do yourself as having nothing to do with any of these groups?

PJ: Some Bizarre were responsible for bringing many of the best experimental and alternative acts under one roof and were almost untouchable for a long period. All these acts were very different but shared a sense of creative adventure that is rare. We were always fiercely independent while recognizing that which we had in common with bands like Neubauten, Laibach and others, which was largely our sense of being European in the midst of the cold war.

As the world seems to get only more zany and steeped in various real and imagined conspiracies, how do you see your place in it today?

GC: We try to comment on what we see around us in the real world. Conspiracies used to be political or industrial cover-ups of power-plays or incidents involving subterfuge, mistakes or outrages; these days they are often whole world-views, propagated and expounded upon by a multitude of voices requiring little or no concrete evidence. Anything can be extracted and extrapolated to fit any theory if only limited and specific data is highlighted as proof. 

PJ: We have entered a new era of what has been termed ‘Surveillance Capitalism’, where every action, every click is monitored, captured and sold. Information is on the money. Avoiding Facebook or other capture vehicles only slightly minimizes the risk. Be under no illusions the Trojan horse is already within all of our firewalls. You have been Googled.

Test Dept – Selected Discography

History – The Strength of Metal in Motion (1982)

View on Test Dept website

Ecstacy Under Duress (1983)

View on Test Dept website

The Unacceptable Face of Freedom (1986)

View on Test Dept website

Terra Firma (1988)

View on Test Dept website

Bang On It (1993)

View on Test Dept website

Tactics For Evolution (1997)

View on Test Dept website

West German Underground – A Brief History of Krautrock

krautrock band

Sauerkraut (literally “sour herb” or “sour leaf”) is a salty cabbage dish from Germany that’s really quite delicious. It’s often eaten with mashed potatoes and ham or sausages. From this popular cabbage dish, the term “kraut” arose as a slang word for a German person, usually in a derogatory sense.

The term “Deutsch-Rock” (German Rock) was used until 1973 for the rock groups coming out of West Germany.

But in the early 1970s, the British music magazine known as Melody Maker coined the term “krautrock”.

It was first used more to ridicule or make fun of the bands, but as krautrock caught on in Britain the term lost any negative or mocking connotations it once had, though many German “krautrock” bands still rejected the name.

It is thought that krautrock was more of a British phenomenon that focused on how the music was received in Britain, rather than how the West German music scene felt about the music.

Characteristics of Krautrock

Krautrock may sometimes be referred to as “Kosmische Musik” (meaning Cosmic Music), which suits its sound in my opinion, because there are aspects of this music that feel otherworldly, like they can’t have been composed here on Earth by other humans.

There are elements of the unexpected – it is unpredictable, slightly strange, a little bit out there. I think it’s also interesting to note that the word “komisch” means strange in German, which is not a far cry from “kosmische”.  You could always call the music space-y, and that would fit as well.

night sky

But what does Krautrock mean, musically speaking?  It is, essentially, a genre of experimental rock which pulls from psychedelic rock, funk, jazz, avant-garde, and electronic music.

It arose from West Germany in the late 1960s and early 1970s. The genre deliberately tries to distance itself from the American rhythm and blues genre and instead draws on German influences, while still keeping a distinct rock rhythm.

A band member of the popular krautrock band Faust stated that they tried to forget everything typical of the rock and roll genre, including the three-cord pattern and the usual lyrics. They wanted something totally different.

Here’s a little taste of Faust…

Krautrock is a very experimental genre, breaking out of old, tried-and-true habits and delving into the untouched, the unthought of, the new and strange. 

A 4/4 rhythm known as “motorik” is common of the krautrock genre. Motorik means “motor skills” in German. This drum pattern was pioneered by Jaki Liebezeit, drummer of the popular krautrock band Can, and was also used early on by the band Neu!.

The motorik 4/4 beat was later used by many other krautrock bands.

Early Beginnings

In the 1960’s, the hippie movement and political activism that was rampant in North America and Europe demanded a new type of music.

Avant-garde music was emerging, droning on with ambient synthesizers and other psychedelic sounds. This genre of music largely inspired the krautrock movement.  

In 1968 in the city of Essen, a rock festival took place, and this was one of the first places that krautrock was performed and heard.

From here on, the krautrock genre took hold and many bands began producing music with this spacey, ambient and electronic sound.

A Closer Look at the Pioneering Bands

Let’s take a look at Can, one of the pioneering bands of krautrock. Can was formed by two students of the famous and praised composer Karlheinz Stockhausen.

Stockhausen was called one of the most influential and also controversial composers of the 20th century. He was well educated in music, having attend the University of Cologne and the University of Bonn.

He was known for his influential compositions, his work with electronic music and his theories.


Evidently, his students learned a lot from his unique teachings, and went on to form the krautrock band Can, which was using techniques that were, at the time, very new and unheard of.

It is one thing to see a new genre of music after it has been invented and think, “that doesn’t seem so hard to come up with, the idea was sitting right in front of them”, but it is another thing entirely to create a new genre from thin air.

Of course, Can was not the only band pioneering the krautrock genre, but they certainly had a big hand in it.

Can band photo

For a super detailed history of Can, go here

Can was formed in 1968 in Cologne. The band mainly consisted of four members: Holger Czukay on bass and Irmin Schmidt on keyboard (the two members who studied under Stockhausen and formed the band), Jaki Liebezeit on drums (from whom the motorik beat originated) and Michael Karoli on guitar.

The group did not have one permanent singer, but rather many temporary ones.

Tago Mago album cover

Schmidt, the band’s keyboardist, had been heavily influenced by avant-garde musicians such as Terry Riley, Steve Reich and La Monte Young on a trip he took to New York.

From this, he began to see the new and different possibilities of rock music. In 1968 the band released their first album “Monster Movie” with vocals by Malcolm Mooney.

Then in 1971, they released another revolutionary and unconventional album, “Tago Mago” with vocals by Damo Suzuki. “Tago Mago” was a very influential album, featuring great tracks such as the dreamy “Paperhouse” and the hypnotic “Oh Yeah”.  Have a listen to the song “Paperhouse” below.


Another band that helped lay the groundwork for krautrock was the band Neu! (meaning “New”).

If you’re wondering why the band was named “new!”, it was inspired by the rise of advertising in the bigger German cities at the time, and “new” was one of the most powerful words for selling different things to the public.

Neu! was formed in 1971 in Düsseldorf by Klaus Dinger and Michael Rother. Dinger and Rother were two former members of the popular band Kraftwerk in its earliest days, but left to start Neu!.

 Although Neu! had less commercial success than Can, it was still a pioneer of krautrock and inspired many punk, rock and electronic bands in the years that followed.

The band’s first album, entitled “Neu!”, was released in 1972 and sold 30 000 copies, which was not very much when compared to mainstream competitors, but a decent amount when considered that they were an underground, off-beat band.

This album has come to be praised by many big names in music such as David Bowie, Brian Eno and Iggy Pop. Songs like “Hallogallo” demonstrated the quintessential motorik beat.

During the production of their second album, Neu! 2, Rother and Dinger began to run out of money. Therefore, on the second side of their album, they simply remixed and played with their already recorded single “Super”, sometimes slowing it down, sometimes speeding it up, and manipulating it in other ways.

The song “Super 16”, one of the manipulated versions of the original song, was used in Quentin Tarantino’s movie Kill Bill Volume 1.

The duo Dinger and Rother were quite different from each other. In their third album, “Neu! ‘75”, they decided to each pursue their own personal style, making half the album a solo album for Dinger, and half the album a solo album for Rother.

This album is seen as a very diverse krautrock album. After its release, the duo split up and went their separate ways.


As mentioned before, Dinger and Rother were originally in the band Kraftwerk in its early days, before leaving to form Neu!. Kraftwerk was another influential band of electronic music.

It was formed in Düsseldorf in 1970 by Ralf Hütter and Florian Schneider. The band experimented with krautrock in its early days, featuring instruments such as the synthesizer, drum machines and self-made instruments.

Kraftwerk really helped to popularize the lesser-known krautrock genre and make it available to a wider audience.


They released three albums in the early 1970s: “Kraftwerk” in 1970, “Kraftwerk 2” in 1972 and “Ralf und Florian” in 1973. They performed as a duo during the years of 1972-1973, as their lineup was not steady.

In 1974, they had commercial success with their hit album “Autobahn”, which they were able to tour with the financial help of Phonogram Inc.

After this tour, they began working on their next album which was released in October of 1975, entitled “Radio-Aktivität”, or “Radio-Activity” in English. Kraftwerk is still active in 2018, working on new projects.

You can listen to the album “Autobahn” below.


Lastly, we’ll take a look at Faust, who we gave a sample of near the top of the article. 

Faust is a band named after the protagonist of a classic German tale. Faust was a popular band that was formed in 1971 in Wümme. Faust paved the way for many other krautrock bands. Although their debut album had poor sales, it did attract a small but loyal fan base, and was praised for its innovation. Their second album, “So Far”, did better than the first and was one of the albums that made krautrock accessible internationally. Here is the title track from that album.

Some other notable krautrock bands include Tangerine Dream, Embryo, Cosmic Jokers and Cluster, among many others.

The Influence of Krautrock

Krautrock had a considerable influence on many genres, including electronic, post-punk, rock and British new wave. A notable musician who was inspired by the krautrock scene was David Bowie.

Bowie, who began living in Berlin in 1976, later created the “Berlin Trilogy”, a sequence of three albums, “Low”, “Heroes” and “Lodger” as a tribute to the music scene he experienced in Berlin, which included krautrock and kosmiche musik.


Krautrock, while it may have been named so as a mockery at first, has actually become a highly influential and fascinating genre. It features cosmic, dreamy and ambient sounds and often uses the 4/4 motorik rhythm.

I think the krautrock genre is commendable in its non-conformity and innovation of the rock genre.

Downtempo – A Guide to the Great Artists and Their Best Songs and Albums

What is Downtempo Music?

Downtempo is a killer subgenre of electronic music, with little to no vocals and simple beats. It’s laidback like ambient music but has a beat you can groove to, unlike ambient music.

Okay, that is a total lie. At the bottom of the article we have included several of the best downtempo artists and some of them include vocals, but for the sake of this brief introduction to the genre, and to help familiarize you with it, let’s go ahead and say that most downtempo music uses soft vocals for audible texture but not so much to tell a story.

Partygoers, ravers and clubbers will be familiar with this genre, as well as DJs, of course. 

The music is a lot more chill than others in the electronica genre. Seasoned DJs will leave downtempo to the end of the set when the party draws to a close.

downtempo music

This music is also played in side rooms of clubs or designated “take five” areas. The beats are slower and super groovy, perfect for a break from dancing or wrapping up a party.

Most clubgoers, whether they recognize and know downtempo or not, will automatically get the signal from this type of music that it’s late into the night.

If you’ve ever seen Portlandia, the theme song is a prime example of downtempo music with a chill beat that is easy to listen to and very enjoyable. There are some vocals but they’re airy and non-dominant. 

Non-dominance is a good way to define downtempo. It’s got elements of ambient music and serves listeners the same way: it can be enjoyed either as a focal point or be ignored while still providing an atmosphere. It neither overpowers nor disappears. 

It’s a beautiful genre for summer driving.

You will often hear downtempo in lounges.

It’s great for a casual hangout with friends or any time you need to relax.

A bit of history

It all started with the synthesizer. This instrument became more affordable to people in the late 1960s – early 1970’s and so musicians, being the experimental and curious artists they are, ever-searching for the perfect tool for self-expression, fell in love with it. We had the beginnings of ambient music in the 1970s; 

Electronic music really came into huge popularity in the early 1990’s. The club scene brought in all kinds of new genres after the : electronica ruled the soundsystems everywhere because it didn’t require a live band and provided dancing crowds with non-stop movement to inspire their dancing.

It was an obvious new experimentation with the synthesizer, which at the time had only been around for a couple of decades. There was plenty left to explore on that instrument with so many options.

Downtempo is usually played on a synthesizer as well as a drum machine and a few other things.

Electronica is typically faster paced, and so downtempo was created not as an antithesis but simply as an alternative for lounge areas and chill-out rooms at festivals and nightclubs. 

Dancers could go into these rooms and sit for a while, taking a break from the intense energy of the dancefloor and enjoying a drink. 

You’ll notice rather a hypnotizing element to downtempo, the same way electronica brings you in and holds you.

The genre originated on Ibiza, a Mediterranean island, well known for its nightlife and electronic music. Tourists from all over the world come to Ibiza as a destination for this type of holiday.

DJs have always known how to read a crowd (or, they should) and know how to bring up the energy and bring it down. On the island of Ibiza, where they party til sunrise, the DJs start playing downtempo to bring the crowd down after a full night of partying.

Here’s a “Best of Ibiza” chillout downtempo playlist if you want to feel a little bit of that vibe for a while.

Oh, and downtempo is sometimes called trip hop, taking elements from hip hop, drum and bass and ambient music: these are combined altogether over a lower tempo. These days the music also incorporates more melodic instrumentals.

The Artists

Now that we are familiar with the genre, let’s have a listen, shall we?

Here are some of the best downtempo artists out there. Some were around for the advent of the genre and helped shape it; others showed up along the way and furthered the genre’s popularity by keeping it alive. 

Thievery Corporation

Thievery Corporation has been around since 1995. This electronic duo has opened for Paul McCartney and worked with artists such as David Byrne and Wayne Coyne.

They bring an overtly political message with their music and actions, performing at the Operation Ceasefire concert and supporting human rights and the World Food Programme.

Visit the Thievery Corporation official website


Flume is a young’un, born in 1991 and has been making music since 2004. He has risen to popularity rather fast, having remixed several famous songs by artists like Lorde and selling 40 000 tickets for his first national tour.

He is from Australia and his work incorporates many electronic elements from hip hop to dub. Here is his self-titled debut album. 

Visit Flume’s official website 

Blue Sky Black Death

Another duo on our list, Blue Sky Black Death hails from San Francisco, California. They produce their music with a drum machine, sampler, keyboard, synth and guitar. They’ve been on the scene since 2003.

The phrase “blue sky black death” is a skydiving phrase alluding to beauty and death. They got their start making beats to rap over but soon gave up rapping to pursue producing. Below you can hear their third full-length album, Noir.

 Visit the Blue Sky Black Death Bandcamp page

Kruder & Dorfmeister

Kruder & Dorfmeister get automatic points from us for their G-Stoned cover, which resembles the famous Bookends cover by American duo Simon & Garfunkel.

Peter Kruder & Richard Dorfmeister comprise this Austrian duo and have been making music together since 1993. They got their start playing big festivals and were instantly loved by the audience. They have gone on to tour the world and continue producing music to this day. They’ve also put out their own solo albums and albums under aliases. They have at least 9 studio recorded albums available.

Here is their first album, G-Stoned.

Check out the Kruder and Dorfmeister Facebook page

Samantha James

Samantha James stands out from others on our list for her vocal style. Many downtempo artists are producers and rarely feature vocals in their work. Rather the vocals are presented as a soft ambience over the beat.

Samantha’s singing is incredibly soulful and gives a whole new life to this style of music. Coming from Los Angeles, she became involved with the underground dance scene there as a teenager.

She has been making music of her own since 2007. Her first single, Rise, was an instant hit in 2006 and she has since toured the world with her wonderful blend of electronic and soul music.

She has two full-length albums and has reached #1 on the US dance charts.

Listen to her first album, Rise, here:

Check out Samantha James on Om Records

Helicopter Girl

Helicopter Girl is a Scottish musician and has been active since 1993. She gives downtempo a unique spin incorporating elements from several genres, including dance music, indie pop and jazz.

Helicopter Girl is widely revered for her vocal style and the lyrics offer a listening experience that speaks utter truth. Straight badass. You’ve just got to give a listen and experience this for yourself.

We’ve included a link to her video for Glove Compartment but we also recommend listening to her song Angel City.

Glove Compartment is mysterious and fateful; Angel City is rockier than everything else on this list, but the vocals are cool, calm and sultry, chilling you right out with icy proclamations.

Check out Helicopter Girl on Dharma Records


Portishead are one of the better known artists on this list. They remind us of Helicopter Girl a bit – with their infusions of other genres like indie rock laid on top of downtempo – and a bit of sex appeal.

This is music you can throw on for driving or grooving out at home, and works just as well in a lounge setting. Portishead has been around since 1991, taking a brief hiatus from 1999 through 2005. They took up music again after the break.

They’re an English band, well known in this genre because they were one of its pioneers. Despite their dislike for press coverage, their music has been successful internationally.

Even Rolling Stone referred to them as Gothic hip-hop. They’ve been around so long making this kind of music that they have been played in all kinds of underground clubs and gothic scenes.

Visit the Portishead website here

The Evolution of Tommy Tallarico

One of the fun parts of watching the technology scene is watching the same names come around through different generations. One massive surprise, at the same time Atari is trying to drag its hardware corpse back from the dead, is Intellivision having another go at arcade fame.

The project is led by Tommy Tallarico, a name that should ring a bell for any 16-bit gaming fan. He’s the audio brains behind Earthworm Jim 2, NFL Blitz, Batman: Revenge of the Joker and many more.

The recent news that he has acquired the rights to the Intellivision brand and plans to relaunch it shows how much love people have for even the oldest technology. Intellivision was famous for its numeric keypad and the $299 console sold millions in its early years.

Expect more news on this in October, when the project goes live. You can sign up to the website for more details.

When he’s not composing or launching new businesses, Tallarico is famous as the leader of the Video Games Live concerts. Perhaps the best way to see games music live, Tallarico will often take to the stage to play his hits from Earthworm Jim and others while the games play on giant screens in the background as a full orchestra belts out the tunes.

Not a bad encore for a guy who mostly has “sound designer” on his resume. Check out a full rendition of Video Games Live here.

Diving back into his personal archive, Tallarico has over 300 games to his credit as composer or sound designer.

At Virgin Games, his first job was on the Game Boy Version of Prince of Persia, bringing the sound of the orient to Nintendo’s curious mix of a pair of pulse wave generators, and a PCM 4-bit wave sample plus noise generator. It’s not the most thrilling of soundtracks, but helped get Tallarico out of his game tester role at the company and into the music side of the business, where he promptly formed his own company.

Things hit the big time with the Cool Spot soundtrack, a game tying into the 7-Up brand. Opening up with a version of the Beach Boys’ Wipeout, this was always going to be a hit game and the antics of the red blob hero made the game a big seller.

Moving things up a big notch, as new systems came to market, came the chance to work on the Terminator Games for the Sega CD with its full-strength audio capabilities.

Tallarico’s orchestrating capabilities came to the fore with epic renditions set around the cyborg anti-hero’s arcade shooter. These helped highlight his prowess with the guitar and synth.

With more freedom to choose projects. Tallarico’s studio won plaudits for MDK an all original title that packed in an hour’s worth of creepy, spacy sci-fi tunes with a hectic pace to keep up with the shooting action.

The great work continued with a BAFTA Outstanding Achievement in Sound Design nomination for Nintendo’s Metroid Prime in 2002.

His work continues in the modern era with Advent Rising on Xbox given a full orchestral soundtrack with vocal contributions from the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.

The game’s sales may have failed to live up to the epic soundtrack, but truly demonstrated the class of the composer, and likely led to the ideas for Video Games Live which also started touring in 2005.

Tallarico also started releasing albums of his gaming work. Starting with Virgin Games Greatest Hits, Vol. 1 in 1994, helping create the market for game music in the west.  Albums covered MDK, Bond game Tomorrow Never Dies and an Earthworm Jim Anthology.

For more, check out a recent interview with the man, always good for name-dropping his cousin Steven Tyler!

A Disjointed, Open-ended Essay on the Significance of Noise

by: A. Martellacci

I have of late, become obsessed with noise.  Semantically, aurally, visually; noise.  All my sketches, paintings, sculptures and textiles are littered with disordered overdrawing and unsettling half dreamed images from deep within the static.  The last song I composed received a review of, “Why?”, from one of my most honest and unpretentious friends.  It was a .6 second loop of a loose bass string; split, layered, cut and re-layerd until it sounded convincingly like two chainsaws fucking in a small bathtub (I’ll spare your ears), for seven and a half minutes.  The arguments with friends about what constitutes art have become more and more difficult as my credibility as a creator of anything that could remotely be called “art” dwindles in their eyes.  Even I am beginning to wonder.  Noise.  What is it?  Why is it?  Why me?

The google widget defines noise:

Now, can we live with that?  Does that make sense?  According to my music critic buddy I suppose it does.  Apparently noise also suggests deliberate sounds made with an emotional quality.  Given some other honest friend reviews included laughing out loud, extreme relaxation, fear and even arousal, I’d say there was an emotional quality.  I certainly intended to convey extremes of emotion in the piece.  As for the technical definition of noise, I’d assert my composition readily complies.  It is comprised entirely from anomalous sounds generated by arranging otherwise discernible signals in “random” or usually meaningless ways.  I call this, music.  Though I forgive you if you don’t.  And since we’re using it as an example, I guess I better let you hear it after all.  Consider the quickly hacked together stock footage a bonus.

Visually, there are ways to experience noise as well.  Just ask any photographer during the photo editing phase.  Certain types of image noise are the bane of those who cannot afford their dream equipment (which is almost everyone).  I recommend letting this guy explain the types of image noise to you if you like maths. If you find yourself interested, Professor Guillermo Sapiro teaches a course on Coursera, by Duke University, called, Image and Video Processing: From Mars to Hollywood with a Stop at the Hospital. It’s a great image processing course, but enrolment cutoff is April 30.  Hurry.

It is fascinating how much can be said on the subject of grappling with noise.  Simply searching, “audio noise”, returns myriad ways to get rid of it; all of varying technical difficulty.

Anyway, where was I?  Ah.  Noise.  Yes. Sometimes it’s difficult to concentrate.  Last week a new friend accused me of having a noisy brain.  He is correct.  My fascination with noise (not to play too much the psychoanalyst) probably comes from being the sole, nearly feral, rural child of busy parents.  With acres and acres, and hours and hours I developed an affinity for listening and looking so hard eventually the object of my attention would lose context, then meaning.  Images and sounds without context are often the reality of lonely children.

It’s exactly like when one says a word over and over.  First there’s the word.  Potato.  It is connected to the image of a lumpy brownish thing.  Next.  Po-ta-to.  The discovery of the delightful texture of the word.  Po-TA-to.  PO-ta-to.  Po-ta-TO. Poe.  Tae.  Toe.  Potato, potato, potato.  As your delighted brain masticates away, the context is digested.  Once context disappears, the word becomes temporarily meaningless; aka, noise.  At that point, a creative mind can do whatever it likes with those syllables.

One can do the same sort of thing with a hill of ants or the sound of cars on a far away country road.  The noise in my mind comes from a lifetime hobby of trying to dissolve the meaning of everyday things; to render them harmless or significant as per my fancy.  It is therapeutic, in a way.  It allows me to take myself from any context and observe; strip away preconceptions.  As a child I used this power to anesthetize loneliness.  As an adult, I use it to empathize with others and reduce anxiety.  The therapeutic use of noise has not gone unnoticed by better minds either. 

In an August 2010 issue of, eContact, a publication of the Canadian Electroacoustic Community (CEC), sound artist and musician, Brenda Hutchison, tells the touching story of developing an interface to help her friend and fellow artist communicate after severe memory issues caused by metastasized breast cancer.  Ann Chamberlain’s memory was only three seconds long when she and Brenda (and Jean-Michel Couturier) began to collaborate on this compelling project.  A Wacom drawing tablet became Ann’s portal back into her beloved art world.  It’s a moving piece and some of the works to come from it are truly wonderful.  You can read the article here.  Ann’s previous work on memory is also profound and will require an entire post; may she rest in peace.

It figures the trail of this piece is tough to trace, but I swear I have a point.  The significance of noise is undeniable.  We have visceral reactions to it.  Agitation, anger, arousal, calm, giddiness.  We eradicate it in images and music like the hostile destroyer of order it may be.  We seek it in underground clubs and the depths of subreddits.  We re-insert it carefully into photographs.  Sometimes it can even heal us.  It is more than just a conversion error or a ghost of a sound in a recording.  It’s bigger than watching trails of ants form and reform, or losing time in a tree making the wind sing with the banging of hay wagons on stony roads.  Meaning is the background radiation noise creates for us.  The noise always exists.  We have to fight it to conceive our reality.

Noise is an ever shifting pool of ideas and innovation.  To me, inside noise exists all art; every muse.  It’s the ceaseless whizzing of the smallest particles of thought.  Even theoretical physicists are intimidated by fast moving, hazily defined points.  Sometimes I think if I just keep scribbling, something good will come out.  Sometimes I look at the scribbles and see something good already has.  In a world preoccupied with meaning; or worse, the deeply meaningful ironic rebellion against meaning, could it be useful to engage in a kind of… Zen nihilism? Generative oblivion?  Brain scribbling?  I don’t know what to call it.  The embracing of noise.  It seems like some real, ‘one hand clapping’, kind of shit.


Native Instruments Kontakt Digital Sampler VST Review

Hey guys, Daniel Kern here, and if you don’t know me, well, I am a music producer who comes from Vienna, Austria and I work professionally as a composer, arranger, and freelance musician.  I have done many projects in my day, and today I am here to talk about Kontakt, which is a long-standing piece of go-to digital sampling software using VSTs that is used by producers everywhere, and, I must say, something that I use frequently for my own various musical projects.

Let me get to the point – Kontakt is amazing!  If you’ve been in the music production business for very long, this is probably something you know yourself.  You may also know that Kontakt has gone through various incarnations, and that it is not necessarily easy for a beginner producer or musician to penetrate its complexity right away.

New to this and don’t know anything about it?  Ok, so Kontakt is a VST Plugin environment from the company Native Instruments that allows the user to integrate different kinds of Libraries either in Kontakt’s .nki file-format or you can also upload .wav files and spread them across a virtual keyboard for use however you like. So it actually makes it possible to create “your own VSTs”, or, you could say, Kontakt-Libraries. 

However, it is worth noting that you can use your own recordings as well – slice them, dice them, pitch them up or down, or put different samples on different velocities of the same key, etc.  All without having to worry about programming a VST Interface.  This is what I use Kontakt for, and I like it a lot.

These days, you’ll find Kontakt as part of a software suite called Komplete.  On it’s own, Kontakt is still impressive, but Komplete takes it up a notch.  Komplete itself comes with an incredible amount of libraries, to be more specific: 87 instruments and over 18.000 sounds to choose from! All in all it’s over 500 GB worth of goodies, and so your hard drive had better be ready.

Feature Pick

Native Instruments Komplete 11 Software Suite

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But thats not all. There are nearly infinite additional products you can purchase (or download for free) from other companies in order to augment and adapt your situation, such as Project Sam, Samplephonics, 8DIO, Sample magic and many more.  FYI, I recently developed a few Kontakt Libraries myself, so look for them on my website at www.danielkern.at.

Each of KONTAKT’s instruments has its own unique interface, providing you with different options to select presets, adjust the sounds you want to use, modulate them, etc.  This means you can make music for all different types of genres.  I have done soundtrack work, hip hop, and even some chiptune / 8-bit stuff with Young Coconut.

In the KOMPLETE bundle you will receive not only sample-based instruments like Pianos, Drumsets, Percussion and so on, but also Synthesizers like Reaktor, FM8, Razor, Kontour, Massive and many more.  This package has kept me busy for ages, and so I suggest you stay organized, or you might get lost in there.

The bundle also includes a load of Virtual Effects like Guitar Rig, Driver, different EQs, Compressors, Reverbs and so on.

Basically, it’s like this: If you are new into producing, this bundle is a great start and gives you everything you need for getting started, so I highly recommend it.

There are a bunch of other VSTs that KONTAKT Instruments cant compete with, but in nearly all of my productions you will find at least one or two Kontakt stems.  As I said, it’s great, so if you can afford it, I’d say go for it.

Read an interview with Daniel about Kontakt to learn more about it

Electronic – Johnny Marr and Bernard Sumner’s 80’s Synth Rock Band Bio


The English alternative band Electronic started in 1988 when Bernard Sumner, singer and guitarist of 80s rock band New Order, wanted to add more synth programming to the band’s music.

When the other members turned down the idea, he decided to experiment with the use of the synthesizer on his own, entreating the help of ex-Smiths guitarist Johnny Marr. And this is how Electronic came to be.

Johnny Marr and Bernard Sumner

Electronic’s music combines rock, pop and dance music, with touches of guitar, synthesizer, and other electronic instrumentation. Their music personifies many of the most quintessential 80s trends.

Getting Away With It

In 1989 Sumner and Marr, along with guest vocalist Neil Tennant of Pet Shop Boys, released their debut single “Getting Away with It”. In this song we see three very different icons of the 80’s collaborating at the end of the decade to create something that takes all the best influences of 80s rock and pop.

The chorus of the song repeats the line “However I look it’s clear to see – I love you more than you love me”; these lyrics, along with others such as “I’ve been walking in the rain – just to get wet on purpose”, were intended to be a sort of parody of Morrissey’s infamously depressing and morose lyrics. Of course, this is a sentiment with which I’m sure we’re all very familiar. The lyrics of this song are brutally honest and pure; nothing is hidden or sugar-coated.

The song incorporates a full orchestra giving the tune a full, flowing sound. The song also includes a guitar solo by Marr. The song has an upbeat rhythm and a catchy chorus that made it quite popular when it was released. Ben Thompson said in his review in the NME, “A lovely, airy melody that drifts in and out of the song: gently weighted with obtuse, lovelorn one-liners.” You can listen to the song here.

The first release of “Getting Away with It” in 1989 featured the title track on side A of the album and an instrumental called “Lucky Bag” on side B. “Lucky Bag” was an ode to the music genre Italo House, a type of house music originating in Italy, which Sumner and Marr both shared an enthusiasm for. It is the only song they did in this style.

Electronic – Debut Self-Titled Album

A year and a half after “Getting Away with It”, the band released their first album in 1991, “Electronic”, which was well received by critics and included two chart-topping songs, “Get the Message” and “Feel Every Beat”. The album sold over a million copies over the world. The melodies in the album have an upbeat feel; they’re songs you can dance to. The tunes are light and breezy, uncluttered by heavy-sounding instruments.

Feature Pick

Electronic: Special Edition

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Listen to “Feel Every Beat” here.

Raise The Pressure

Feature Pick

Raise The Pressure

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Twisted Tenderness

After “Raise the Pressure” the group came out with one more album, “Twisted Tenderness” which they made as a more conventional 4-piece band with the help of bassist Jimi Goodwin of Doves and drummer Ged Lynch of Black Grape.

Although there has never been a formal disbanding of the group, in 2003 Marr did state that the band had “reached its natural conclusion.”

In conclusion, if you like New Order’s dance rhythms and electronic instrumentation and you like the Smiths’ morose lyrics and vibes, you will definitely appreciate Electronic.

Can (Band) History, Some Analysis, and Discography

History of Can (as in the band)

Founders and the artistic core of the band Can were the keyboard player Irmin Schmidt and the bassist Holger Czukay. Both had studied composition with Karlheinz Stockhausen at the Musikhochschule in Cologne .

can german band

In early 1968, they gathered together musicians with contrasting musical backgrounds, forming an experimental musical collective.

David C. Johnson was, at that time, a lecturer for electronic music. Free jazz came from the drummer Jaki Liebezeit, who had previously worked with Manfred Schoof.

Guitarist Michael Karoli still sought musical identity. At first, the band called themselves Inner Space. From a concert of June 1968, the singles Agilok & Blubbo (July 1968) and Kamasutra (November 1968) were released.

From 1968, the band first rehearsed at Nörvenich Castle, where they met in June 1968 for a jam session with the personnel of Karoli, Czukay, Schmidt, Liebeszeit and Johnson.

They were supplemented by Manfred “Manni” Löhne (vocals, percussion, flute).

This jam session was published in 1984 as the bootleg Prehistoric Future, which was published in limited editions of 2,000 copies and contained samples of the student unrest at the Sorbonne in Paris.

From 1968 to 1973

In November, 1968, Can recorded the soundtrack to the Kinofilm, Kama Sutra – Completion of Love, which came out on June 5, 1969 in theaters.

The first LP Monster Movie was created on July 25, 1969 in Nörvenich Castle and includes spontaneous compositions.

Only 500 copies of the first edition were sold in two weeks. From the end of the year, the band renounced the “The” in their name and now called themselves simply Can.

monster movie the can

At concerts, Malcolm Mooney was also struck by these performances in a negative way. On the advice of his psychiatrist he returned a little later to the United States, due to Can’s avante-garde-ness getting the better of him.

This was followed by the LPs Soundtracks (recorded from November 1969 to August 1970) and Tago Mago (November 1970 to February 1971), also recorded in Nörvenich.

Soundtracks included a compilation of film music from the last five films, for which Can was responsible as composer.


Between 1971 and 1978, eight studio albums were created. The first LP from the new recording studio was Ege Bamyasi (December 1971 to June 1972), followed by Future Days (released in August 1973).

At the suggestion of Conny Plank, René Tinner took over the role of sound engineer from 1973 onwards, and in 1978 he continued the studio as a CAN studio.

In September 1973, Damo Suzuki left the band.

From 1974 to 1977

The LP Future Days Limited Edition (1974) was only planned with an edition of 15,000 copies, but was expanded to the Unlimited Edition in 1976 and contained unpublished titles.

This was followed by the LPs Soon Over Babaluma (August 1974), Landed (February to April 1975).

The double-LP Unlimited Edition (March 1976) was an extended version of the LP Limited Edition and included recordings between September 1968 and September 1974, Flow Motion (June 1976) and Saw Delight (January 1977).

From 1978 onwards

After the sessions on LP Can in February 1978, the group eventually broke up. In the same year, Karoli left the band. In 1980, Schmidt moved with his family to Provence.

Subsequent performances took place under the name Can Solo-Projects with individual former band members.

On 18 June 2012, the CD Can – The Lost Tapes was released with missing recordings of about 30 hours of playing time. They were found when the Can studio “Inner Space” was disbanded in November 2007 and re-built in Gronau (Westf.)

By the Rock’n’popmuseum. Jaki love died on 22 January 2017 at the age of 78 years at a lung inflammation. On September 5, 2017, Holger Czukay was found dead in his home in Weilerswist.

can the lost tapes

Movie Music – Spoon – Singles

To a larger audience, the band became known through film music, such as Tom Toelle’s television movie The Million Play, broadcast on 18 October 1970. On the LP Can Soundtracks, titles from the films Girls with Violence (Germany’s premiere on 19 February 1970), Deadlock (October 15, 1970) and Cream – Schwabing Report (August 27, 1971).

As of September 24, 1975, the Crimean Eurogang ran with the Can-Single Hunters and Collectors (from LP Landed ).

The single I Want More (from the LP Flow Motion ) came in August 1976 in the British charts down to 26th place, the only British chart listing the group.


The band was very well known in Great Britain despite the restrained sales figures. The first tour through England took place as of April 28, 1972, beginning in London and ending on May 8, 1972 in Colchester; Since then, they have regularly appeared here.

An extensive tour of England started on 16 February 1973 and ended only after four weeks on 18 March 1973. On 9 August 1971 they were at the Beat-Club in front of the cameras.

Can gave on 3 February 1972 a concert in the sold out Cologne sports hall, which was recorded by the WDR television and broadcast on 25 September 1975 in WDR 3. The last performance took place in May 1977 in Portugal.

Some Analysis As Promised

Can put into their live playing the nature of the interplay and in the production method experimental accents, which deviated significantly from the conventional rock music. Repetitive passages, strong improvisational passages in jazz rock and free jazz became their hallmark.

Can was neither a commercial rock band nor a formation attributable to the mainstream of rock music. The music style of the band did not fit into the marketing scheme of most record companies, so the group initially found it hard to find a record company. This was the reason why the band had to change the record label so often.

Only in May 1975 did they receive a record contract with EMI, Can’s recording habits led to the accumulation of unpublished recordings, which then came to the market only years later. In 2003, Can received the German music award Echo for lifetime achievement.

From the outset, Can was beyond the tradition of rock ‘n’ roll , due to the fact that two of their musicians (Czukay and Schmidt) came from the classical music scene around Karlheinz Stockhausen.

A colleague from Stockhausen, the composer, flutist and live electronicsian David Johnson, was one of the founders of Can.

The only one who could have had experience in rock music at the time of the founding was the young guitarist Karoli, who had already played in different beat groups. In addition, the drummer Liebezeit, who had previously occupied himself with jazz and for a time with free jazz (for example, in the quintet by Manfred Schoof), brought a further contrast into the “musical community” which mainly focused on the opening days improvised music.

Another influence, which shaped all members of the formation, was world music and folklore from all parts of the world.

In the course of their work new influences such as disco, but also technical innovations were added, whereby their sound picture gradually changed.

These constant changes and the peculiar views of collaboration in the collective led to changes of occupation, although the core was always preserved.

Their decisive contribution to the history of music lies in the fact that, like hardly any other band, they developed an aesthetics of repetitive sound compositions independent of the classical song structure.

Influence on other bands

On his album Graduation (2007, Roc-A-Fella Records ) Kanye West uses a sample from Sing Swan Song for Drunk and Hot Girls.

The experiment composer Karlheinz Essl created with Father Earth, the 2007 on its publication SNDT®X, a tribute to Can, which refers to Mother Sky from the LP Soundtracks.

In an interview with The Quietus of 2011, Geoff Barrow of Portishead describes the enormous influence of Can on his creative work: “Can are my favourite and most inspirational band ever, I think. I heard this in the early nineties on the radio, thinking they were the best new band ever. Melodically, sonically and rhythmically this is experimentation with songs.”

Stephen Malkmus, the former singer and guitarist of Pavement, who worked with this band as well as with the Jicks an intensive Can reception, together with members of the band Von Spar 2012, covered the entire Can album Ege Bamyasi at the Cologne Weekend Festival and released the recording 2013 as Can’s Ege Bamyasi.

In June 2015, the magazine Rolling Stone chose the album Future Days in the top eight of the 50 best progressive rock albums of all time.





  • August 1969 Monster Movie
  • September 1970 Soundtracks
  • February 1971 Tago Mago Double LP
  • June 1972 Ege Bamyasi
  • August 1973 Future Days
  • November 1974 Soon Over Babaluma
  • September 1975 Landed
  • October 1976 Flow Motion
  • March 1977 Saw Delight
  • July 1978 Out of Reach
  • July 1979 Can Re-release Inner Space
  • September 1989 Rite Time


  • July, 1968 Agilok & Blubbo / Camera Song
  • November 1968 Kama Sutra / I’m Hiding My Nightingale
  • December 1969 Soul Desert / She Brings The Rain
  • December 1971 Spoon / Shikako Maru Ten
  • 1972 I’m So Green / Mushroom
  • 1972 Vitamin C / I’m So Green
  • August 1973 Moonshake / Future Days
  • 1974 Dizzy Dizzy / Splash
  • September 1975 Hunters & Collectors / Vernal Equinox
  • August 1976 I Want More / … And More
  • 1976 Silent Night / Cascade Waltz
  • January 1977 Do not Say No / Return
  • January 1978 Can-Can / Can Be
  • August 1990 Hoolah Hoolah (double-mix) / Hoolah Hoolah (sun electric mix)

Compilations and Live Recordings

  • 1974 limited edition Collection of rarities 1968-1974
  • March 1976 Unlimited Edition Collection of rarities 1968-1974
  • 1976 opener Compilation of LP material 1972-1974
  • 1978 Cannibalism Compilation of LP material 1969-1974
  • 1981 Delay 1968 Collection of rarities and outtakes 1968
  • 1984 Prehistoric Future The very first session at Nörvenich Castle June 1968
  • 1993 Anthology Compilation of LP and soundtrack material 1968-1991
  • 1995 The Peel Sessions Collection of BBC recordings 1973-1976
  • 1997 Radio Waves Rarities and live recordings
  • 1997 Sacrilege Tribute double album with remixes and covers
  • 1999 Can Live Collection of live recordings 1972-1977
  • June 2012 The Lost Tapes Unpublished studio and live recordings 1968-1977
  • 2017 The Singles compilation


  • Mother Sky Berlin (Waldbühne, 1971)
  • University of Essex (Colchester, May 8, 1972)
  • Horror Trip in the Paper House (Cologne, February 3, 1973)
  • Live at Paris Olympia (Paris, 1973)
  • Live at Sussex University (Brighton, November 1975)
  • Live at Stuttgart (October 31, 1975)
  • Live at Hanover (November 4, 1976)
  • London and Grenoble Live (1976)
  • Germany 1976 Vol. 1 (Hanover, April 11, 1976)
  • Great Britain 1977 Vol. 2 (Aston, March 4, 1977)
  • Radio Waves (Sonic Records, 1997): Live recordings and rarities 1969-1972
  • Zhengzheng Rikang (2006, recordings from 1968/1969)


  • Hermann Haring: Rock from Germany / West – From the Rattles to Nena: Two decades of Heimatklang. Rowohlt, Reinbek near Hamburg 1984
  • Pascal Bussy / Andy Hall: The Can Book. SAF Publishing, 1989
  • Hildegard Schmidt / Wolfkampmann: Can Box: Book. Medium Music Books, 1998
  • Julian Cope : Krautrocksampler. One Head’s Guide to the Great Cosmic Music. Werner Pieper’s Media Experiments, 1996
  • Robert von Zahn: Irmin Schmidt, Holger Czukay, Jaki Love time: CAN. DuMont, Cologne 2006
  • Wagner, Christoph (2013): Sound of revolt: the magical years of the West German music underground, Mainz and others: Schott.
  • Alexander Simmeth: Krautrock transnational. The Re-invention of Pop Music in the FRG, 1968-1978, Transcript Verlag, Bielefeld 2016, ISBN 978-3-8376-3424-2