Kreidler's forte is rhythmic instrumentals that straddle rock, synthpop, club techno, ambient, dub, repetitive minimalism and always some degree of avant-garde strangeness. Their brand of 21st century Krautrock shows an amazing flair for meshing harmony and noise.

artist:
Kreidler

country of origin:
Germany

style(s):
Krautrock, ambient rock, techno, neoclassical, electronica

decades active:
90's - 10's

essential releases:

  • Kreidler (2000, Mute/Wonder Records)
  • Eve Future (2002, Wonder Records)
  • Eve Future Recall (2004, Wonder Records)
  • Mosaik 2014 (2009, Italic)
  • Tank (2011, Bureau B)

Reviewed by Mike G

A leftfield yet surprisingly accessible band from Dusseldorf in Germany, Kreidler has been a big hit with elements of the indie rock scene, though that association hardly begins to describe what their remarkable music sounds like.

The core group consists of former art school students Thomas Klein, Andreas Reihse and Detlef Weinrich. Their forte is rhythmic instrumentals that straddle rock, synthpop, club techno, ambient, dub, repetitive minimalism and always some degree of avant-garde strangeness. Their brand of 21st century Krautrock shows an amazing flair for meshing harmony and noise. It's precise music rather than Berlin-school psychedelic - they hail fromĀ Kraftwerk's Cologne side of the Krautrock divide after all - but it's still poetic, engaging, even other-worldly at times.

Their early albums date from the 1990's and are interesting but fairly derivative, traversing Krautrock terrain very similar to that explored by fellow Germans Kraftwerk, Faust and Cluster in the 1970's. On the self-titled album Kreidler (2000), however, the band creates enough distance from its influences to craft a distinctive sound. The music is a kind of bridge between the old-school ambient and art rock of the 70's and the sounds of the techno and dance music generation. There's electronic beats, bleeps and metronomic repetition but also rock drumming, treated guitars and/or lovely old keyboards and synths on tracks like "Circles" and "Sans Soleil". Even when the music is not melodic ("Do It") it's oddly engaging and hypnotizing nonetheless. Meanwhile, the lush strings on "Bewitched" hint at the style of the band's next two releases.

The mini album Eve Future (2002) and its big sister Eve Future Recall (2004) unexpectedly embrace classical motifs and chamber orchestrations in brilliantly original ways. It's a kind of eclectic, intimate chamber music for the modern world, soundtracks for films that haven't been made yet. It's melodic and structured, like Baroque music. In parts it is very simple and develops gradually, like the 20th century minimalism of Philip Glass et al. Some of its melodies echo folk and pop. A good deal of the instrumentation is actually sampled electronics, yet such is Kreidler's programming chops that many of these tracks sound like the work of live players. Featured sounds include strings, harp, vibraphone, piano, woodwinds, kettle drums and - last but not least - the glorious glockenspiel.

Ending a five year wait since Eve Future Recall, the excellent Mosaik 2014 (2009) leaves the classical sounds behind for more familiar rock-electronica territory, picking up where the Kreidler album from 2000 left off. The band is still pushing, testing, trying new things, discarding the rubbish and leaving us with beautiful, strange, innovative instrumentals. This time there's lots of pulsing, complex, mid-tempo rhythms and futuristic synth stabs and washes, creating a mood with undeniable science fiction undertones. "European Grey" is a stunner, perfect driving music with epic keys washing out to the horizon and a series of poly-rhythmic patterns relentlessly powering it on.

As good as Mosaik 2014 is, Kreidler's next release Tank (2011) is quite possibly their masterpiece. Featuring consistently longer tracks then ever before - averaging seven minutes - the band fashions a series of lumbering, intense, rock-inflected jams with fantastic drumming from Thomas Klein. Remarkably the album was recorded virtually live in the studio with a minimum of post-production, showing what a superb live band they've become. Melodically simple, texturally complex, sonically heavy and deeply trance-inducing; Tank is a 21st century vision of Krautrock with few peers.

The feeling that Tank represents a creative peak for the band is confirmed by the two albums that follow it: Den (2012) and ABC (2014). Den sometimes pushes the minimalist monochrome repetition thing a little too far, while ABC is more adventurous but rather too erratic and seemingly lacking a unifying theme. Both are non-essential, though still with something to offer hardcore Kreidler fans. If you're new to the band, get Tank and Eve Future Recall first and start digging deeper from there.

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