A massive answered prayer for fans of Krautrock, without which “hip hop, techno, electropop, ambient and post-rock might never have evolved.”
Rock writers have a tendency to describe a critically acclaimed but less-than-popular style as "misunderstood." Krautrock, the 1970s-era electronic-based subgenre was perfectly well understood; it just wasn't particularly beloved. Listening to music by the likes of Kraftwerk, Popol Vuh, Can, and Faust, it's understandable why the genre didn't cross over into the mainstream: with its robotic beats and tangle of electronic sounds, Krautrock is oftentimes difficult and flat-out inaccessible. However, it played an important role in combining dance and punk, something that artists like The Mars Volta, My Bloody Valentine, and even Beck have utilized to great artistic and critical success, and that fact alone justifies an in-depth study of the music and its effect on its birthplace of Germany. A contributor to U.K. rock magazines Melody Maker, NME, and others, Stubbs (Fear of Music: Why People Get Rothko But Don't Get Stockhausen, 2009, etc.) comes off as the world’s foremost expert on Krautrock, for which he deserves massive credit. The author neatly ties in his discussions of the genre’s roots with coverage of the upheaval that defined Germany during the time, explaining with conviction and authority how one influenced the other. The sections that will most appeal to casual fans deal with the handful of non-German artists who embraced the German sounds, most notably David Bowie and Brian Eno. Furthermore, the author makes readers want to check out some Krautrock, which is an impressive feat in itself.
Stubbs' doorstop is well-researched, well-written, intensely detailed, and oftentimes gripping, but unless you have a couple of Ash Ra Tempel albums in your collection or are intensely curious about German culture in the 1970s, you might be hard-pressed to make it through this exhaustive study of a relatively short-lived genre.