Future Days

Krautrock and the Birth of a Revolutionary New Music

A sweeping history of the men and women who transformed postwar Germany—and created a musical genre that revolutionized rock and roll and gave birth to hip-hop.

West Germany after World War II was a country in shock: estranged from its recent history, and adrift from the rest of Europe. But this orphaned landscape proved fertile ground for a generation of musicians who, from the 1960s onwards, would develop the strange and beautiful sounds that became known as Krautrock.

Eschewing the easy pleasures of rock and roll and the more substantive seductions of blues and jazz, they took their inspiration from elsewhere: the mysticism of the East; the fractured classicism of Stockhausen; the grinding repetition of industry; the dense forests of the Rhineland; the endless winding of Autobahns.

Faust, Neu!, Cluster, Ash Ra Tempel, Amon Düül II, Can, Kraftwerk—the influence of these groups’ music on Western popular music is incalculable. They were key to the development of movements ranging from post-punk to electronica and hip-hop and have directly inspired artists as diverse as David Bowie, Talking Heads, and LCD Soundsystem.

Future Days is the brilliantly reported, deeply researched story of the groups that created Krautrock, and a social and cultural history of the Germany that challenged, inspired, and repelled them.

DAVID STUBBS is an author and music journalist. Alongside Simon Reynolds, he was one of the co-founders of the magazine Monitor before going on to join the staff at Melody Maker. He later worked for NMEUncut and Vox, as well as The Wire. His work has appeared in The Times of LondonThe Sunday TimesSpinThe Guardian,The Quietus, and GQ. He has written a number of books, including Fear of Music: Why People Get Rothko but Don’t Get Stockhausen, a comparative study of twentieth-century avant-garde music and art. He currently lives in London.

“[A] well-written and enjoyable look at that very fascinating pop music that emerged from Germany from the mid-‘60s onward… An excellent contextualization of German Rock.”
Yahoo! Music

“A massive answered prayer… Well-researched, well-written, intensely detailed, and oftentimes gripping.”—Kirkus Reviews

“Throughout Future Days, Stubbs brings the music to life with sharp critical analysis and vividly impressionistic prose.”

“Authoritative and highly readable, Future Days is the cultural and critical history the genre deserves, a joyful testament to the transformative power of art. ” –The Quietus

“[A] terrific narrative about nationhood and art, how the mainstream and the avant-garde cross-pollinate and how the aloof, addled and politicised young dropouts and eggheads of postwar Germany continue to influence Brits today…”–The New Statesman

“[It is a] clear-headed and sympathetic account of great things that happened in a temporary nation is as serious and entertaining as its subject. “ –The Independent

“[Stubbs’s] book is so well researched and filled with such enthusiasm for its subject that it absorbs from start to finish.” –The Guardian

“Stubbs is a fine, perceptive writer…”–The Stranger

“The definitive guide to Kosmische music, from one of Britain’s most acclaimed writers.”–The Idler