Synth-happy German label Bureau B kicked off their compilation series Kollektion with a superb first volume focusing on the nascent Krautrock label Sky Records, lovingly and painstakingly curated by Stereolab co-founder Tim Gane. While the scope of Stereolab's influence on generations of electronics-dabbling indie rockers is unchartable, the deep cuts that surface throughout Kollektion 01's 17-track running length are a testament to the massive influence the Sky Records roster had on Stereolab themselves. The label began in 1975 and would be a home for the boundless creativity and unchecked experimentation for big names in the instrumental Krautrock canon such as Cluster, Neu!'s Michael Rother, Dieter Moebius, and even collaborations between Brian Eno and some of these players. Gane's combing of the archives turns up to be much more than a "greatest-hits"-styled collection, veering instead toward both the ridiculous and the sublime. Highlights include Cluster's fuzzy, lo-fi synth blurts on "Seltsame Gegend," placid reflection from Roedelius on "Regenwurm," and a wintery proto-house bassline warped into joyful pop, complete with sleigh bells and Brian Eno's distinctive vocals on "The Belldog," a meeting-of-the-minds track from Eno, Moebius, and Roedelius. Michael Rother and Wolfgang Reichmann offer up the type of repetitive, melodic drones that Stereolab took notes on early in their career, and a weirder side of rhythm and repetition is explored on the queasy micro-funk workout "Doppelschnit" by Moebius and Beerbohm. Though by no means a beginner's course, Kollektion 01 still offers a lot to get lost in for either the Krautrock connoisseur or passive listener. Gane's curation clearly comes from a place of pure, longstanding enthusiasm and he considerately welcomes everyone to take a look into the strange, beautiful world that formed around the Sky Records camp.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by Fred Thomas