Posts Tagged ‘’70s’


Kosmischer Läufer – the amazing story of East German Kraut Rock for athletes

By Stefano on June 6th, 2013


As you all know West Germany during the 1970s was an explosion of musical creativitiy as bands like Can, Neu and Amon Duul married wonderful meandering psychedelic melodies to that very special Motorik Kraut Rock Groove. As for East Germany. Well the music soundtrack was just a little more conservative.

With a totalitarian Communist government running the show and the Stasi secret Police ready to pounce on anyone who stepped out of line, making music that had echoes of the decadent west was not a great career move.

Except for one fella. In a story so perfect that part of me still thinks it might be one giant hoax (UPDATE – this may be the case see the comments), film-sound editor and composer Martin Ziechnete not only managed to create the definitive East German Kraut Rock suite but at the same time beat Nike to the punch in inventing music to exercise to by a good thirty years.

The story runs that Ziechnete’s experiments with electronic music came to the attention of the ruling party who sent a a couple of representatives to pay him a call.

Ziechnete said

“I feared I would lose my job, at the very least. It would be very bad for someone who worked on party films to be seen to be influenced by the enemy. We drove in silence to the outskirts of Berlin to what I later found out was an athletics camp. They knew all about me and my idea. They questioned me about the concept for hours then left me alone in the room.

“Later an official from the Nationales Olympisches Komitee came in and told me I would begin to work on the project immediately.”

That project was an attempt to create music that would inspire the East German athletes of the day – remember at this time they were ultra successful – to even greater heights. So so the music that has just been reissued as Kosmischer Läufer: The Secret Cosmic Music of the East German Olympic Program 1972-83, Volume One was born.

It is a fascinating listen to with or without your shorts on. The opener Zeit Zum Laufen 156 is an ambient piece designed to accompany your warm up. Things then move up a gear with Sandtrommel in which an odd spacey keyboard battles with a very strange, off kilter beat.

The highlight is track four Tonband Laufspur (above) which is closest to the Kraut Rock visionaries that Ziechnete was so inspired by, especially in its mental push yourself to the line finale.

Overall it is a marvellous listen and you really don’t need to care too much about its genesis or its athletics ambitions to enjoy it.

Ziechnete’s music obviously did the business as East German athletes dominated track and field for much of the 70s. Well State Plan 14.25 may have played a role too.

The album is available via Bandcamp for £3.50 here.

And while we are on a Kraut Rock trip check out this superb track from new Aussie psych band Buried Feather who are clearly on nodding terms with the odd Neu record.


Style on Trial: fashion TV on BBC Four

By Colin Chapman on January 19th, 2009


Watching BBC Four’s current series of fashion programmes? If not, shame on you! Hot on the heels of British Style Genius, Style on Trial has the premise of evaluating each decade from 1940s to 1980s in terms of its sartorial elegance. Whilst the programme takes the rather tired focus of fashion=womenswear, there’s enough on show to keep it interesting for us guys. Upcoming: the 70s and 80s (the latter featuring John Taylor from Duran!) Check broadcast times here, or in these days of convenience just watch the whole season via the fabulous BBC iPlayer.

Heroes and Celebrities, News

André 3000 talks about Benjamin Bixby and pledges his love for short shorts

By Isabelle on March 11th, 2008

Andre_3000_benjamin_bixbyIn his latest film André Benjamin (pictured at the preview) got a taste for short shorts, the kind that basketball players wore in the ’70s. Semi-Pro was released last week and is a Will Ferrell comedy about you guessed it, basketball in the ’70s.

Benjamin told the New York Times “by the time we started filming, the shorts were like a
second skin to me,” he says. “It seems like you can cut through the air
a little bit better in them.”

So will they feature in his upcoming Benjamin Bixby collection? Well maybe, the range is scheduled to come out in autumn and is inspired by college football circa 1935, André explains that Benjamin Bixby is someone who is "kind of like your uncle, or your granddad, and he has a
closet full of experiences and clothes, and he’s been around the

I’ve got high hopes for this collection, André is a great dresser and visited Italian Factories and Parisian textile fairs to get some inside info. He even garnered some advice from Vogue’s Anna Wintour so I’m pretty sure it should be a hit. One question though, I love his outfit (which includes a Benjamin Bixby tie worn as a belt) but the trousers seem like they could do with a little tailoring, am I right?


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