Kollektiv was an almost unknown Krautrock formation hailing from Krefeld and originally consisted of Waldo Karpenziel (drums), his twin brother Jogi (bass), Jürgen Havix (guitars) and Klaus Dapper (flute and sax) who played before together with Ralf Hütter (who founded pre-Kraftwerk band Organisation soon after) in a band called “The Phantoms”. Waldo, Jogi and Jürgen started playing together in a school band already back in 1964. After listening to Frank Zappa, Blodwyn Pig and King Crimson records and a couple of jazz musicians like Jimmy Smith, Wes Montgomery and Cannonball Adderly they gradually got bored by Beat music they decided to do something completely different and much more exciting. They started using effect machines, sometimes homemade, a zither played with drumsticks on an amplifier, metal sheets and rotating discs, played the bass with a bow and emplyed any type of exotic instrument. To make a long story short Kollektiv had been a Krautrock band in its very original sense doing really inventive music mainly based on improvisations of minimal themes, often in excess of 10, 15 or more minutes. Some people compare them with closely related band Neu! but if one should draw comparisons at all I hear rather some similarities with Organisation’s “Tone Float”-album (which is for me the best work done by Kraftwerk). I’ve to say that the music presented here is much more diversified and elaborate than the one of Neu! and moreover despite all free-form and loosely structured nature much more enjoyable and comprehensible. Honestly this album has even reinforced my interest in such type of music which gave initially a rather disappointing impression for me after listening exclusively to its famous forerunners. I read an interview with Klaus Dapper published in Sounds magazine in 1974 explaining very well how collectively organised this band was and how they finally reached to the type of music they were actually doing. Basically they were using rock, jazz and pop music as stocks and extracted the best ingredients from each of them or in other words omitted their individual drawbacks. Let me say it in his very own words:
“The high complexity in harmony and melody of jazz music and its overvaluation of instrumental virtuosity is quite disturbing for some of us and a non-expert can easily get the impression that it’s a kind of competition between musician and listener which is successful for the former if he plays more complicated than the latter is able to support. In several domains of rock and pop music on the other hand melodies, lyrics, arrangements and improvisations are sometimes that much uninspired and poor. We’re trying to find a blend between those genres and other forms of music (free-form and electronic) without taking over those mistakes mentioned. Our music has a structure which is simpler than it’s used to be in jazz, instead we pay more attention to tones and moods. It’s predominantly improvised music what we’re doing. Even most of the themes and determined parts are originally based on improvisation. We broaden the common range of tone colours by using sometimes a rather strong electronic alienation of guitar, flute or saxophone. According to our experience our music is well appreciated by both jazz and rock fans since each of them can find sufficient elements of their preferred style respectively.”
I think it’s rather futile and redundant to describe the six musical pieces presented here in detail. Nonetheless I’d like to contribute with my review a bit to provide more recognition for this unique band than it actually gets. I’d highly recommend both their debut, the one with recorded SWF-studio sessions and as well the one done after their reformation with exceptional Swedish bassist Jonas Hellborg not only to all Krautrock fans but to anyone open for free-form rock/jazz/electronic who might have been alienated so far by music done by Can, Neu! or Kraftwerk for example. That's why I'll use here the maximum rating option since this work must be considered a masterpiece in progressive music IMO.
get this gem here