Monday, February 10, 2003

KRAUTROCK, BITTE?

KRAUTROCK, BITTE?

Posted By on Mon, Feb 10, 2003 at 4:00 AM

Morvern Callar
Various Artists
(Warp)
Well, what do you know? It's our old friend, the soundtrack as aesthetic defining point and semi-pop marketing device. In the case of the disc accompanying director Lynne Ramsay's acclaimed Morvern Callar, there's something of a twist to the usual soundtrack CPR: The disc serves to reposition Can, the early-'70s German prog-rock group, as a pop band. By including Can's two most immediately memorable songs (1972's "Spoon" and 1976's "I Want More," the latter an actual hit record in England) and two similarly hooky cuts by bassist/producer Holger Czukay ("Cool in the Pool" and "Fragrance"), it offers Krautrock at its friendliest. For record geeks who've been attempting to foist this stuff on people for years, it'll serve as a godsend. It's helped along by a bunch of other hipster-friendly selections. As befits a Warp records release, there's plenty of that Sheffield label's avant-electronica, with smart selections from Aphex Twin, Boards of Canada, and Broadcast. We also get a welcome edit of Stereolab's endless "Blue Milk," some dub from Lee Perry, some gamelan, and a pair of country parodies, one good (Ween), one stupid (Nancy Sinatra and Lee Hazlewood). But considering what mishmashes soundtracks tend to be, one that keeps its focus as straight as this one is a blessing, even when it stumbles. Grade: A-

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