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Printed editions...

The Crack In The Cosmic Egg - book

Encyclopedia of Krautrock, Kosmische Musik, & other progressive, experimental & electronic musics from Germany
The definitive encyclopedia of Krautrock, Kosmische Musik and all things weird and wonderful from Germany. A huge comprehensive 1kg book with an awesome 1177 entries, 2500 albums, plus non-LP singles, compilation contributions, as well as two 16 page picture sections, including many rare photos, 150+ LP covers.
Praised by the media & Krautrock musicians, see above!
Well-over 4,000 copies sold! 1st print run December 1996 (2000), 2nd print run May 1997 (2400 approx).
Out of print. Now rare & collectable! Worth $500

The Crack In The Cosmic Egg - revised 2008 magazine

A printed version of the CD-Rom in magazine form.
24 x A4 magazines, with a colour cover, 60 pages total.
Edition of approximately 200 copies. Retail was £60.00
Part 1: Introduction & Behind The Scenes, Part 2-7: Krautrock Scene,
Part 8: Cuckoos & Scrambled Eggs, Part 9: Austria & Switzerland,
Part 10: DDR [East Germany], Part 11: Beat & Historical / Retro & Neo-Psych,
Part 12: Avant-Garde / Sonic Art & Noise, Part 13-14: Jazz & Fusions,
Part 15: Folk & Ethnic / Neo-Prog / Metal, Part 16: Neue Deutsche Welle,
Part 17-18: Synth & New-Age, Part 19: Rumours & Mysteries,
Part 20: Rejects & Misfits / Reformations, Part 21-22: Samplers / Festivals etc.,
Part 23-24: Labels & Distributors

Out of print. Now rare & collectable! Worth $100

The Crack In The Cosmic Egg - special 2013 edition

You wanted a printed version of the CD-Rom for easy reference? The 24 magazine edition was too expensive? A new leaner version, in the original book cover is now available!
This is the main "The Krautrock Scene" section, with abridged intro and key collectable labels. All solid text, revised info from the CD-Rom edition and with many artists not in the original book! 607 artist entries. In all, a hefty condensed and very informative read.
A4 128pp, bargain limited numbered edition of (2x20) 40 copies!
4 x 36pp magazines in the original book cover!
Economical postage: 500g in mail package
Out of print. Now rare & collectable!

Of Cuckoos And Scrambled Eggs

This "Of Cuckoos And Scrambled Eggs" was a special A4, 36pp magazine supplement to The Crack In The Cosmic Egg - special 2013 edition, published by special request.
Basically this is a  condensed reprint from the revised CD-Rom
(or the 24 magazine set pages: sections 8 to 10).
Including: foreigners in the Krautrock scene, Austria, Switzerland, DDR, this is where you'll find the likes of Brainticket, Eela Craig, Krokodil, McChurch Soundroom, Nektar, Paternoster, etc.
Available as a 20 copy limited numbered edition!
Out of print. Now rare & collectable!


original book edition reviews...

The Crack In The Cosmic Egg
Encyclopedia of Krautrock, Kosmische Musik, & other Progressive, Experimental & Electronic Musics from Germany
By Steven Freeman & Alan Freeman

Bible, Qur'an and reading book for Krauts! Not that you think I'm completely turned off now, but the book I'd like to draw attention to is actually all in one for the interested Krautrock lover. To lighten the tension: These are The Crack In The Cosmic Egg by Steven and Alan Freeman, now published in the second, revised edition by Audion Publications.

The bitter first: Englishmen, who make a fantastic Krautrock Bible - how sad that in this country such a thing has long been impossible. Although there was an encyclopedia edition of Günter Ehnert, Rock In Germany, many years ago, firstly the three editions have been deleted for a long time; secondly, the research has not been as good as it has been here for a long time. Let's get to the Cosmic Egg:

Even the cover of the book is clearly reminiscent of record covers by Carthage and Gila. Inside, things are well organized: Mr. Freeman starts off with a neat introduction to the Krautrock story, continues to explain the book itself, then gets details about the sound recordings and concludes the 7-page opening with explanations of various styles. That makes us hungry for the following: We find a (subjective) listing of the Top100-Krautrock interpreters with their records, a map of Germany and a list of cities with assignment of the bands coming from there - all kinds, all sorts. Special chapters then deal with the scenes in Berlin, Dusseldorf, Hamburg and Munich, before starting on page 27 with the alphabetical listing of almost all interpreters who had anything to do with this scene: A starts with Abacus, Z ends with Zyma, and in between there are over 180 pages to hundreds of familiar and only insiders common names. For each performer there is a detailed discography with order numbers, the line-ups of the recordings and plenty of other information that really arouse the awe-inspiring work done.

Who now thinks that the book is through, that said: Far from it! On other sites samplers are listed, sometimes really obscure and probably untraceable nowadays. Then the names of deserving producers of the then scene follow; afterwards it's all about label customer, past and current names en masse.

Then comes the well-known chapter Rumors & Mysteries, in which one finds all sorts of artists in which the authors were not completely conclusive on account of the classification or where deeper information was missing.

Behind it follows the absolutely necessary band index, which contains roughly 1,300 names - madness! Afterwards a list of musicians from artists who have worked in several bands. That should be around 2,500 names. Finally, a collection of books and magazines that deal with Krautrock.

Conclusion: An incredible diligence, the total of 288 pages brimming with information. In English, well. Unfortunately, this book in Germany is difficult to get, and cheap it is not exactly, the price is between 65 and 70 marks. In my opinion, this is absolutely justified, such a complex work is truly unparalleled. Indispensable!

Google translation of review by Wolfgang Pokall at Musikzirkus

The Crack In The Cosmic Egg

One of the best instruments available to the German progressive rock aficionado, where he can investigate the essential aspects of the German current, better known as "Krautrock". It is undoubtedly this British publication, which is together with "Cosmic Dreams At Play", the indispensable editorial pair for the best knowledge of the most influential scene of contemporary music of the twentieth century. The work, is a compendium of data collected by the authors Alan and Steven Freeman, also publicists of the English magazine Audion, fans and researchers of the progressive and in particular of the Krautrock. In it we can find analysis of the main regional scenarios that settled the main currents of the Krautrock. In the work are detailed: groups, members, biographies, discographies, styles, topics of the musical context and even maps and family trees of the main trends. The list of the hundred best works is offered in the opinion of the authors, without a doubt a basic picture to begin to know by the most select the Teutonic cosmos. The organization of the compendium, has vast indexes and consultative references, as well as color sheets of the most significant covers. The level of knowledge is profound, but its interpretation is very subjective, given the tendency of authors to glorify their favorites and demonize, those who are not. However, the above is an insignificant defect, which does not affect the work can be considered as absolutely essential, even for the amateur novice or just remotely interested in German progressive rock. For the amateur, it is a must to have it in his elementary musical references box.

Google translation of review by Juvenal Aragón Figueroa at progresiva70s.blogspot

Steven Freeman & Alan Freeman
The Crack In The Cosmic Egg

Erscheinungsjahr: 1996 (zweite Auflage Mai 1997)
ISBN: 0-9529506-0-X
Verlag: Audion Publications
Verlagsort: Leicester


Von: Udo Gerhards

It is always amazing how small Krautrock is compared to other countries in Germany himself, what a low level of publicity he "enjoys" in this country. Practically all the more extensive publications on the subject come from fans from other countries, as well as the present work of the two Freeman brothers who publish the British Audion magazine.

"Crack in the Cosmic Egg" tries to be a comprehensive encyclopedia for "Krautrock, Cosmic Music & other progressive, experimental and electronic music from Germany", unlike the rather selective and personal Krautrocksampler by Julian Cope Comparing Dag Erik Asbjørnsen's "Cosmic Dreams At Play", which sets the cut of the recorded albums earlier in time, around 1976, while at the Freemans musically relevant albums can also come from the 80s and 90s.

The Freemans, like Julian Cope, also fall into the fan trap and overestimate the influence and creative richness of their object when it says "Almost every groundbreaking new form of music started in Germany". Well. Such statements can be found again and again, and you have to stop to classify. And even "The Crack In The Cosmic Egg" is not free from factual errors (the legend of Dutch descent Rolf-Ulrich Kaisers mentioned by Ralf JG in his review of the "Krautrocksampler") is repeated here, both written off at the same source Nevertheless, the Freemans have researched more carefully than Cope and Asbjørnsen, have conducted interviews with a number of German musicians and almost all of the albums presented have probably even heard :-)

The main component of the album is an alphabetical list of bands relevant to the above-mentioned claim with short biographies, discographies, music descriptions and staffing lists. This part occupies almost 200 of the total of 288 DIN A4 pages. This is informative, comprehensive and suitable for browsing and browsing. The true strength of the book, however, are the many complementary contents: after a short general introduction, various regional Krautrock scenes with textual description and family tree graphics are presented in more detail. Very helpful is the printed map of Germany, which illustrates not only the foreigners, but also in geography less well-versed locals the situation of the different centers ...

Very useful is also the detailed index, including a cross-reference index, which shows each band for each musician all bands in which the member or at least one recording was involved. Other sections are devoted to the various Krautrock labels, well-known non-musician scene personalities (sound mixers and producers), off-screen, yet noteworthy albums, etc. Another chapter lists legendary albums that nobody knows ... This part is now After more than 7 years since the tape was first published, it has become somewhat obsolete, as some of the aforementioned obscurities such as "Flaming Bess" and "Tricolon" have even found their way onto CD.

Despite the above-mentioned weaknesses here is a very elaborate, lovingly assembled work before, which also contains a pile of information that stimulate at least for their own research and bargain hunting on eBay. Unfortunately "The Crack In The Cosmic Egg" is currently out of print (February 2004) and will probably not be reissued in book form. However, a soon to be reissued in CD-ROM form is planned, a format that lends itself to the many cross-connections within the scene.

Google translation of review by Udo Gerhards at: babyblaue-seiten

Krautrock A to Z, March 11, 2005 - By Robert Carlberg (Seattle) - from Amazon

Between the late 1960s and the mid-1980s, there was a veritable EXPLOSION of creativity on the German rock scene. Fueled by an influx of American ex-pat jazz musicians seeking color neutrality, the new portability of music with cassettes and portable radios, the worldwide spirit of experimentation, new instrument technologies and, yes, the popularity of psychedelics, the resulting body of work has been nobly documented by brothers Steven & Alan Freeman.

Other books cover some of the same ground -- Archie Patterson's "Eurock" and Dag Erik Asbjornsen's "Cosmic Dreams at Play" for two -- but none are more comprehensive or more compulsively readable than "Cosmic Egg." The level of detail and fair, reasonable analysis make this the gold standard against which all others are measured..

A Crack In The Cosmic Egg Steven Freeman & Alan Freeman AUDION £23

When shown a book such as this, one can any doff the old topper in admiration.
Similar in size, scope and intent to Vernon Joynson's encyclopaedias of British and American psychedelia, this is the brothers Freeman's repository for their vast knowledge of German rock, Kosmiche music, prog and its myriad, often indefinable offshoots - knowledge amassed over 20 years of absorption in the subject.
The main, alphabetical tranch covers the bands everyone knows: Tangerine Dream, Faust, Kraftwerk, Can, Neu, through aficionados' favourites like Guru Guru, Cluster, Frumpy and Cosmic Jokers to mare obscure German proggers, the electronic "classical" avant garde, jazz-rock fusers, heavy bands from other countries who touched the scene, punk and synth bands of the '80s who took up the baton, and many names that are dimly recalled or may have only ever cropped up once on a sampler - come on down Eilliff, Floh De Cologne, lkarus, Janus, Thirsty Moon and Hairy Chapter. All entries carry as complete a discography as the Freemans deem appropriate.
Then there are family trees for each of the major German cities, brief guides to the most active labels and some notable compilations, many pages of sleeve reproductions, and the Freemans' personal selection of the 100 best Krautrock albums ever made. It's an amazing feat of information-gathering, only let down, like Joynson's books, by the rather unappetising design and the detail-biased writing - the uberfan's concerns being markedly different from that of the casually curious. One or two more yarns to round out the histories would have helped propel the novice towards the music, as evinced by Julian Cope's brief, breathless but inspiring Krautrocksampler.
Nevertheless, there is much to enjoy and explore here and anyone with mare than a passing interest in European rock history will want a copy. (It should be available at good rock book stockists but you can order it by post for £25 from Audion Publications, c/a Ultima Thule, 1 Conduit Street, Leicester, LE2 OJN.) Jim Irvin [Mojo 40, 3/97]

STEVEN & ALAN FREEMAN: "The Crack In The Cosmic Egg ~ Encyclopaedia Of Krautrock, Kosmische Musik, & Other Progressive, Experimental & Electronic Musics From Germany" (£20+P&P £5 U.K., £8 Euro, £17 U.S., £20 elsewhere to Ultima Thule, 1 Conduit St., Leicester LE2 OJN.)
Obviously modelled on Vernon Joynson's Borderline Productions series of specialist rock books, this is an obvious rival to Borderline's own look at the genre last year, Cosmic Dreams At Play. As I can't find the office copy, I'm afraid I cannot give you a detailed comparison. But the Freemans' long-standing interest in the field is enough to guarantee that the book's accuracy and insight ought not to be in dispute. Over 1,177 artists are featured here, covering some 2,500 albums and a mere 180 singles (Krautrock wasn't tailored towards the single format). It's illustrated with 150 album sleeves, including a section of colour plates, and the whole beguiling caboodle is prefaced by charts, definitions and a Krautrock Top 100. (MP) [Record Collector]

Krautrock feature
...the absolutely indispensable encyclopaedia of Krautrock, The Crack In The Cosmic Egg. The latter was written by Steven and Alan Freeman, the owners of Leicester' s Ultima Thule record shop and the undisputed authorities on anything Kraut and Kosmische. There is more in their book than you could ever hope to digest, and it's your best possible guide to navigating the plethora of re-releases and finer points of detail concerning the originals (as well as admiring their many wacky sleeves). [Record Collector 254, Oct 2000]

The Crack In The Cosmic Egg: Encyclopedia Of Krautrock, Kosmische Musik & Other Progressive, Experimental & Electronic Musics From Germany
By Steven Freeman and Alan Freeman AUDION (PBK £20)

Bypassing the entry on Velvet Universe, consider this summary of Vinegar: "Reputedly pre-Electric Sandwich, Vinegar played a much more spiced psychedelic rock in the realms of Tractor or Elias Hulk." That summary is this encyclopedia in microcosm (mikrokosm?); the detail is astonishing and the list of ludicrous group names would fill this review. Try Tanned Leather, Hairy Chapter and Steak, for starters.
Authors Steven and Alan Freeman run the Ultima Thule record shop in Leicester. The shop has a reputation as a haven for Kraut arcana, but there are no less than 1177 artist entries here. Comprehensive, certainly. The two brothers have edited the shop's Audion magazine for a decade, so they are steeped in this stuff. They reckon that any non-appearance of groups is due to their being stylistically inappropriate, not good enough, or so obscure they haven't heard of them -which they feel is unlikely (although the authors did initially dispute the authenticity of the recently reissued music credited to 70s groups Cozmic Corridors, Galactic Explorers and Golem).
Their coverage of Neue Deutsche Welle (German New Wave in the 70s is less successful as it's based on a subjective assessment as to whether the group falls into the book's remit. So Xmal Deutschland are not included, presumably because they are not deemed good enough, neither are Material Schlakte: too obscure? Not good enough?
To keep things manageable there is a 1985 cut-off point. But older groups' discographies extend beyond if, in the authors opinion, they remained relevant. This gives rise to debatable appraisals of Kraftwerk's canon, post-1978: "Mainstream techno pop." And Einsturzende Neubauten's discography extends only as far as 1 984 because, "as usual, international recognition resulted in compromise to gain a wider appeal that naturally backfired." Really? But credit to the Freemans for ignoring their own rules by including Caspar Brötzmann Massaker as a modern-day keeper of the flame. Elements of taste don't figure quite so strongly in connection with the older groups, although if you want to check on Spliff or Elephant, go to the "Rejects And Misfits" category at the end of the book.
The hideousness of most of the 180 pictured record sleeves is astonishing. Many guilelessly combined the formidable ugliness of Expressionists Georg Grosz and Otto Dix with Warhol's modernist tackiness, but without the style of either: some achievement. One of the reproduced sleeves originally graced Cross Collateral, an album by 70s jazz fusion group Passport, which has lain unplayed in my own collection for a decade or more. Heartened by the Freemans' positive write up, I played it. It didn't sound bad at all. Finally it felt that the purchase had been vindicated. MIKE BARNES [The Wire]

C. Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Cosmic Dream sand Cracked Eggs (but were afraid to ask of a German)
Along with the growing number of vinyl and CD reissues (both legal and boot) of Krautrock albums and the general rising interest in Germany's alternative rock history came the cry for a decent book listing all those wonderful artists, bands and records, and if possible providing some background info. Up to a few months ago nothing really 'serious' was available about the European continent's largest producer of psychedelic and progressive music but in a short period of time two books have become available, both dealing in detail with the aforementioned very extensive subject. What luxury!...
Both books were released in 1996. The first one is called "Cosmic Dreams At Play" and written by the well known Norwegian record collector Dag Erik Asbjornsen who subtitled it "A Guide to German Progressive and Electronic Music". This glossy-papered, A4-sized book starts with a short intro and a three-page index of all the bands and artists featured (485 in total). The next 189 pages are devoted to those 485 acts, ordered alphabetically. Dag tells the story of each band or artist in brief (varying from one line of text to several pages) and lists their releases (only LPs)....
The other book, "The Crack In The Cosmic Egg", is also A4 and glossy papered and carries the subtitle "Encyclopedia of Krautrock, Kosmische Musik & Other Progressive, Experimental & Electronic Musics from Germany". It was written by Steven and Alan Freeman, contributors to the quality collectors' magazine Audion. Their book has a somewhat larger musical scope and deals with more artists and bands than the "Cosmic Dreams" volume. Steven and Alan incorporate a few worthwhile East-German (don't forget: the Krautrock. thing happened mainly in West-Germany), Austrian and Swiss bands into the review, which is an intelligent idea since musical styles are not stopped by borders (and most people outside of the European continent hardly know the difference anyway). A big, well appreciated extra in this book is the inclusion of 10 pages of historical notes about the various local scenes in Berlin, München, Düsseldorf and Hamburg (an approach I favour, since 'no man is an island', or in this case 'no band is an island'). Other valuable extras here are a few pages devoted to the 'people behind the scenes', meaning a short biography of the most important producers and sound engineers (Konrad Plank, Dieter Dierks, etc.), a list with the catalogues of 63 important German labels (both old and more recent ones), a 16-page section "Rumours and Mysteries" that looks like a list of bands and records the Freeman Brothers don't know a lot about, and 16 pages of "Rejects and Misfits" with a list of bands considered to be of only marginal historic and/or musical interest (again, according to the authors). It's a list of pretty obscure acts ~ but I for one don't understand why the names of The Blizzards or Dirk Steffens are included here.
What's the verdict? Difficult to say because these 'hard' facts don't tell us the whole story. Let me first point out that the quality of the historical notes is excellent in both volumes. The size of an individual band biography can differ between books due to differences in appreciation. When Dag Erik Asbjørnsen wrote his "Cosmic Dreams At Play" he took the point of view of an experienced collector so his comments on individual albums (and tracks!) are sometimes quite detailed. The book only deals with acts between 1968+/69 up to 1980, however. "The Crack In The Cosmic Egg" by Steven and Alan Freeman has a wider scope (1968/1969 up to 1985) and also incorporates worthwhile releases in the late 70s/early 80s experimental, weird new wave/industrial genre (I even found a few decent 'neue Deutsche Welle' bands) which makes sense to me. This also partly explains the considerable difference in the number of acts reviewed (552 vs 1179). "Partly" - I said: the Freeman brothers work more like 'historians' and found more material to include (although I found acts in the "Cosmic Dreams" book that were unknown or neglected in the other one). Another thing allowing for the difference in numbers is that "Cracked Egg" uses a smaller letter type and has no illustrations between the band biographies and reviews, while "Cosmic Dreams" features 180 black & white repros of album sleeves in between the text, making for lighter and more entertaining reading. A thing worthy of note is that neither of the two books tells a lot about the intense, blooming 60s mod/beat/R&R scene in Germany. Isn't this a challenge for anybody in Germany interested in this material to write an encyclopedia about this era. It would complete the picture of German rock!
Final conclusion: I think that both books are valuable and beautiful encyclopedia that will please anybody interested in the subject. Most of the time, my personal preference goes to "The Crack in the Cosmic Egg" because it provides me with more names and historical background data (very useful for articles or radio programs). But there's a wealth of info to be found is "Cosmic Dreams at Play" as well, and if you're dealing with an unknown band or album it's nice to have a second opinion. So my advice is: buy both books and compare, it will only make the picture more complete (and give the economy a boost as well, L.).
Kapellmeister Markus von Pilzenstein [Crohinga Well 13, April 1997]

The Crack In The Cosmic Egg

Steven & Alan Freeman, Audion Publications, 1996, 288 pages

The subtitle of this book is perhaps a better descriptor than its title: Encyclopedia of Krautrock, Kosmische Musik, & Other Progressive, Experimental & Electronic Musics from Germany. The authors are of course, the same Freeman Brothers who have produced Audion Magazine since the mid-1980s, and have an excellent track record for coverage of German 'progressive' music, whatever that may mean. One of the highlights of this volume, and what sets it apart from others (most notably "Cosmic Dreams at Play")that have attempted to document the German scene is the well-researched section early in the volume ("A Short Guided Tour") that documents the five major 'scenes' of early German rock (Berlin, Dusseldorf, Koln, Hamburg, and Munich). These ten or so pages, complete with diagrams and maps go far to explain the setting within which all German rock from the late sixties grew, and provide an excellent springboard to understanding the bigger picture' Indeed, this writer has been listening to much of the German music in this book for many years, but this is the first time I've read a good overview where all of the dots are connected. There is also a solid introduction with general information on the format that is followed throughout the book. And of course there is a 'Krautrock Top 100' though one has to question how useful list like this is when only slightly better than mediocre releases like Amon Duul's "Psychedelic Underground", "Planeten Sit-ln" and Mythos' "Dreamlab" are included, but classics like Hoelderlin's "Traumstadt" and SFF's "symphonic Pictures" or "Ammerland" are completely ignored.

Throughout this volume one will find well researched entries for almost any German artist one can think of: A concise history of the artist or band (or as concise as possible given the obscurity of some of these entries) is followed by a discography listing all major releases - both the original release, and the CD reissue if one exists, each with a personnel listing. One complaint, however is that sometimes the discographies cut off at some arbitrary point where the authors interests cut off; Kraftwerk is a good example: the discography stops at 1978 and completely ignores anything after "The Man Machine". Most will agree that the band's output in the eighties was less than stellar from a 'progressive' perspective and would be better off ignored, but it is still necessary from a discographical standpoint to document these releases, even if they are crappy. Samplers and "Festival" releases are covered in a separate section. A section of black and white photos includes some album covers and band/artist photos, and a color section includes a number of album/single covers. The back-of-the-book discographies by label are well researched and comprehensive in the areas where most readers will be interested (perhaps in 20 years maybe someone will care about WMMS, Germanophon, Lost Pipe Dreams, and others but they are handled here with a quickie paragraph and no listings). Two additional sections "Rumors & Mysteries" (artists that the authors have heard of, but never actually heard...) and "Rejects and Misfits" (basically, a section of items of marginal interest or stinkers that should be avoided) round out the text nicely.

In all this is probably the best-researched volume on German rock this writer has seen, and while I'm not quite ready to toss all my old copies of Eurock and other books on German rock, this one has now become my primary reference. Highly Recommended.

Peter Thelen (Exposé)

A tip: Google "The Crack In The Cosmic Egg" "Audion Publications" to learn more!

Interesting mentions...
Julian Cope's Head Heritage
Google Books
Analogy band page
Fast 'n' Bulbous


Other editions...

2007 CD-Rom
2020 DVD-rom