Camera’s first album is fantastic and a great discovery for anyone who enjoys the Kosmiche Musik of Can, Neu!, Cluster, Harmonia, Faust, and others. At first listen, they most closely resemble the robot-chugging motorik of Neu! But while Radiate! shares an exclamation point with Neu! it has echoes that extend far beyond that Dusseldorf band. I hear echoes of the guitar/synth fusions of Cluster and Harmonia in songs like “Utopia Is.” There are hints of Can, Ash Ra Tempel, and even Amon Duul II in songs like “Lynch” and “RFID.” I even get flashbacks to The Cosmic Jokers when listening to “Morgen.” So, these guys know their Krautrock history. They know that history quite literally, in fact–their early performances were all unannounced, unofficial, and probably illegal shows in tube stations and shopping areas (they’d set up, start playing, and keep playing until the cops told them to stop). In this way, they were providing a direct link back to the early performances of Kluster and others in the late 60s. So, really, anyone who loves that music owes it to themselves to check out this album.
But even if you’re not a fan of all these old German bands, then take a listen to Radiate! As I listen to this album, I am struck not by how old it is but how new. This is not a Krautrock cover album or even a Krautrock emulation album. It’s an album that harnesses ideas from the past in the service of music very much in tune with bands like Sigur Ros, Radiohead, My Bloody Valentine, Swans, and all the other (more or less) contemporary bands that make noise with guitars and synths.