Jan 2017

Tubular Bells of Dune. Or “Two extended pieces of live music from the first half of the 1970s”

The first is a 41 minute version of Autobahn performed by an embryonic Kraftwerk in a noisy club in Leverkusen in 1974. I like the club ambience but I can see how others might find it distracting. Whether you do or don’t though; there are sections of this performance that are flat out astounding. In the full-on, no-holds-barred,  “Astounding Tales!!!” sense of the word.

Assuming you like this kind of thing in the first place.

By about six minutes in I have a smile on my face and it remains there. For all the talk of Kraftwerk being the preserve of po-faced music critics and ironic chin-strokers….

And look, there’s no doubt, Kraftwerk would tend to attract more of that demographic than — let’s say —  Maroon 5 featuring Kendrick Lamar.

Psychedelic industrial space jazz from the future draws those dudes like a moth to a flame.

But along with the chin-strokers come the people who just find themselves smiling, and filled with good humour and mirth when they hear psychedelic industrial space jazz from the future.

And even if you don’t like the music. I get that, I really do. But even if you don’t like the music, you have to be a willful contrarian to deny the sheer Greatness of musicians who can literally tear a rift in the fabric of reality and allow a small audience in Leverkusen in 1974 to listen to the future for 41 minutes. I’m not saying “this was the sound of the music of the future”. I’m saying “this was what the future itself sounded like as it echoed back through literal wormholes in the fabric of spacetime”. Literal. Wormholes.


The next one is from the previous year.

Ahh… 1973, a golden age… a time when a hippy and his mates could go on telly and perform a mellow 25 minute multi-instrumental prog groove that was so well-received and so beloved he didn’t really have to do anything else after that. There was a very short window of time in which that could happen. I love that Mike Oldfield found it.

Let’s face it, the purple bit in the middle is basically every episode of Doctor Who up to that point. Only a lot better and much easier to watch in one sitting. And if you don’t give a little audible yelp of joy when the man says “two slightly… distorted guitars” and then follows up with “man-DO-LIN!!” or at least grin and think “yes!” when the choir joins in right at the very end then… well you’re probably Donald Trump or L. Ron Hubbard or Dracula or someone.

While those two performances are very different, personally I love them both. And while I suspect I’m in a small minority on that, I think we can all agree that the tapestry of human existence, the very stuff of human culture is objectively improved by having these two things mixed into it.

I mean… … Literal. Wormholes.

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