BRAIN RECORDS - The brain workers of Krautrock

BRAIN RECORDS - The brain workers of Krautrock

"Brain. Some sit on it - we stand on it", is the slogan, thick, big, black on white on top of the very first print advertisement that Brain Records placed in March 1972. "Every album DM 22,- without obligation. Guide price incl. VAT" is very small at the bottom left. 22 DM for "Lonesome Crow" by the Scorpions, "Together" by Jane, for Gomorrah's "I Turned To See Whose Voice It Was", for "Neu!" by Neu! and Spirogyras "St. Radigunds". The covers of these five albums are shown on the advertisement, they are the first ones ever released on Brain Records. They are the beginning of a perhaps non-commercial, but certainly artistic success story.

Even if the US journalist Lester Bangs asked in 1975 in the magazine "Creem": "Where's rock going?", to give the answer himself: "It's just being taken over by the Germans and the machines", at the time when the Brain company existed - from 1972 to the early eighties - the present-day significance of the label in particular and of rock music made in Germany in general could not yet be foreseen. Today, forty-five years after its foundation, Brain is considered the most important Krautrock label alongside Ohr.

Artistically and economically valuable

Everything began in times of political, social and artistic upheaval, which also took place in music since the end of the sixties. The album as an art form had prevailed mainly thanks to British bands. Progressive, avant-garde, experimental music was not only artistic but also economically valuable. So it's no wonder that big record companies founded Unterlabels during this time to offer this new music a platform. EMI founded Harvest in 1969, Philips launched Vertigo in the same year. At the same time Deutsche Grammophon presented a similar subdivision with cuckoo records and offered the first stage for progressive music. Out Of Focus, their children, Deuter, Eberhard Schoener released there. The German offshoot of the Swedish Metronome Records also started the sublabel Ohr in 1969. Under the leadership of the music journalist Rolf-Ulrich Kaiser, Ohr released albums of Tangerine Dream, Ash Ra Tempel, Klaus Schulze, Guru Guru, Floh de Cologne, Bernd Witthüser, Embryo, Birth Control and other German cross-, forward- and new thinkers until 1973.

The ear is also the germ cell of Brain Records. Rolf-Ulrich Kaisers of Timothy Leary influenced LSD experiments, his condescending appearance as well as his esoteric aberrations and confusions led to disputes with the media, musicians and staff. Subsequently, the two A&R managers Bruno Wendel and Günter Körber, who had previously worked for Ohr, separated from Kaiser and founded Brain Records in Hamburg in 1972, also under the umbrella of Metronome.

Kaiser himself, who had already launched the Pilz label (distributed by BASF Musikproduktion) in 1971 and released albums by Popol Vuh, Hölderlin, Wallenstein and others, had another mainstay with the Kosmische Kuriere record company. Recordings by Klaus Schulze, Witthüser & Westrupp, Ash Ra Tempel and Wallenstein appeared there. In addition, Kaiser assembled unused and unauthorized recordings of those groups and published them as records of the so-called Cosmic Jokers. No wonder that Klaus Schulze, Walter Westrupp, Bernd Witthüser, Ash Ra Tempels Manuel Göttsching and other legal steps were taken against the emperor. In 1975 the last album was released on Kosmische Kuriere. Kaiser disappeared from public view.

Lest mehr im eclipsed Nr. 189 (04-2017).