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'The Brain Box: Cerebral Sounds of Brain Records 1972–1979'

'The Brain Box: Cerebral Sounds of Brain Records 1972–1979'

The opening act on the first disc of this eight-CD set is the last one you would expect to represent the experimental boom in Seventies German rock: Scorpions. That is partly because the central titans of so-called krautrock – Faust, Kraftwerk and Can – recorded for other labels. But Brain 1001, the first album issued by the movement's Hamburg-based counterpart to Elektra Records, was Lonesome Crow, a quality hard-rock freakout by Scorpions' original psychedelicized lineup with teenage-guitar tyro Michael Schenker. Founded by two refugees, Günter Körber and Bruno Wender, from the important but erratic Ohr imprint, Brain Records lacked the equivalent of a Love or Doors to crystallize its label aesthetic and A&R vision. But many of Germany's best from that time passed through the catalog anthologized here – cosmic travelers Tangerine Dream, Popul Vuh and Klaus Schulze; power-trio freaks Guru Guru; early-Genesis admirers Jane and Grobschnitt – while those just outside history's spotlight (Thirsty Moon, Yatha Sidhra, Curly Curve) warrant the astute, selective treatment here. Due to licensing issues, Brain's great pulse-rock band Neu! is absent. Harmonia, a superunion of Neu! guitarist Michael Rother with the electro-space duo Cluster, are not.