Kosmischer Läufer Volume II - The Secret Cosmic Music of The East German Olympic Program 1972–83 (2 stars)

Perfectly executed and almost certainly fake homage to Krautrock

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Kosmischer Läufer Volume II - The Secret Cosmic Music of The East German Olympic Program 1972–83

(Unknown Capability)

This is the second volume in what, on the surface, appears to be the Krautrock-inspired creations of Herr Martin Zeichnete – an East German composer of missing synth exercises created to inspire athletes on the training programme of the East German Olympic team throughout the 70s and early 80s. Heavily influenced by the Western Dusseldorf sound of that era, Zeichnete’s appropriation of Neu! and Kraftwerk’s hypnotic rhythms would, in turn, path the way for communist Olympic glory. Only the veracity of this story, and the actual existence of Maestro Zeichnete, seem pretty slim, with various accusations of historical fakery online and in the mainstream music press, and with Titanic-iceberg holes in so much of the releases’ back story.

It’s a nice tale, and an excellently conceived marketing stunt, from the mysterious Edinburgh-based label Unknown Capability. But hoaxes aside, does anyone really care if any of it’s true? Pastiche for pastiche’s sake seems par for the course in our age of musical self-awareness, and the tantric guitars on ‘De Horraum’ wouldn’t be amiss from Harmonia at their most angelic – you’ll feel Rother-esque snippets twisting your musical gherkins on the likes of ‘Morgenrote’ and the melodic radioactivity of ‘Die Kapsel’. This has its moments, for sure.

Is the music fun, though? Somewhat, but one can’t really escape the circle jerk-ism of the Krautrock fetishist throughout, which, in the case of Kosmischer Läufer Volume II, appears to be about as perfectly executed a homage as you’re likely to hear – but ultimately, if it is indeed a fake (which seems likely), it’s just a beautifully packaged brown anorak of a record, composed and/or distributed by anoraks, for anoraks. Which is fine if you’re an anorak, but somewhat tedious for those seeking out truly lost progressive recordings from said era, free from postmodernist lampooning devices. A completist might garner some beloved recall from some of these well-executed tracks, but ultimately it’s about as disposable as a novelty Deutschmark.

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