There’s always time to fit a few more Krautrock classics in your life, right? Kraan were a high capacity bill across the seas following the release of their eponymous debut and its follow-up Wintrup. The debut speaks highly to their success, following a tougher edge on the genre that’s more technical and a bit less bound to swirling keys than some of their counterparts. The German lyrics may have held them back in The States but they could have easily appealed to fans of King Crimson, Yes or other lost classics like Greek band Pan with their infusion of Jazz elements. The band would develop these elements more and more over the years, eventually protruding heavily into the Jazz-fusion genre, but here, they hold them in the right amount of check. There are flecks of jazz in the soloing and feel of the album, especially on the sidelong, “Head,” but they augment with plenty of zest for the psychedelic hangover and rock dynamics.
The band continued to make albums, peaking with a live album in 1975 that predictably showed off their aptitude for improvisation. Following that album they’d begin to tip the scales towards jazz and away from prog, essentially losing a bit of their core sound, working in that vein through the ’90s. Then they’d break for a ten year hiatus before reforming in the 2000’s for shows. This debut stands as a unique spirit in Krautrock’s stables, progressive and heavy, spacey but with knotty bits of percussion and improvisation that make it feel distinct in its vision. Perhaps the whole catalog isn’t essential for the dive, but for the prog highlight reel, Kraan’s debut is a must listen.
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