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Essential Kraftwerk

Discussion in 'music' started by davidsrsb, Oct 23, 2022.

  1. davidsrsb

    davidsrsb pfm Member

    I realised that I only have Man Machine. What should I add to this?
  2. Tony L

    Tony L Administrator

    All of it. Not joking. No duds in that catalogue. At the very least Autobahn through to Computer World, though there is no excuse for not adding Electric Cafe (their weakest proper album) and Tour De France (which was a real return to form). Buy original mixes too, certainly don’t start with the fairly recent red remix box.

    PS I’m not mentioning the first three (Kraftwerk 1, 2 and Ralf & Florian), not because they aren’t good, but because they do not want you to have them. They haven’t been available legally since the 1970s. Certainly worth researching, but don’t buy pirates. I’m sure you’ll find them on YouTube or wherever. The absolutely essential stuff is Autobahn through to Computer World. That is one of the best continuous runs of albums to be found anywhere in popular music and very likely the most influential.
    kernow, cupples, sideshowbob and 12 others like this.
  3. robs

    robs should know how this works by no

    Minimum Maximum is a very well recorded 'best of' live album, highly recommended.

    Or the alternative as Tony says above!
    Farthings cat and dreamer69 like this.
  4. dalryc

    dalryc pfm Member

    Minimum Maximum is also available in a surround sound DVD which is stunning. Almost exactly like the show they toured with a few years ago.

    You could think of it as a greatest hits album.
  5. Big Tabs

    Big Tabs looking backwards, going forwards

    I would start from Radio Activity to Computer World, but get one album at a time and play it for a while. The albums are quite different to each other, some not having the pace of The Man Machine. Computer World is miles (planets) away from Radio Activity.
    sideshowbob and paulfromcamden like this.
  6. Alex N

    Alex N pfm Member

    Computerwelt, Die Mensch-Maschine, Trans Europa Express, and Radio-Aktivität are my faves, maybe in that order.

    The last I’ve played though are the twelve of ‘Tour de France’ and what eventually came next, Electric Café (since re-titled Techno Pop), not so loved as the run of albums before it, but worth getting for the awesome first side / half. From that album, and featuring the visual aesthetic still used today, here’s the state-of-the art video for ‘Musique Non Stop’ by Rebecca Allen, who unusually also provides some vocals...

  7. Tony L

    Tony L Administrator

    FWIW if forced to rank them I’d go: Computer World, TEE, Radio Activity, Man Machine, Autobahn, Tour De France Soundtracks, Electric Café.

    From a historic/learning basis I’d just buy them in release order (Autobahn, RA, TEE, TMM, CW, EC, TDF). These are all staggeringly influential albums and seeing each jigsaw piece arrive one after the other is the best way to appreciate it.

    PS If on a budget I’d pass on both The Mix and the red remix box and just buy Minimum Maximum as that gives the modern presentation/reinvention, but does it far better IMHO. I’d not use any of these to learn about their core catalogue. So much of what is amazing about Kraftwerk is the original sound aesthetic and all these remixes and reinterpretations kind of move things into a post-Pet Shop Boys/New Order/EDM world despite the original albums having actually created that world. I like them a lot, especially Minimum Maximum, but the reason Kraftwerk are one if the most important bands of the 20th century is diluted somewhat with the shift to the modern synth and drum machine technology that is now so ubiquitous.
  8. Seeker_UK

    Seeker_UK Feelin' nearly faded as my jeans

    +1 for @Tony L response. If you want to know what to go for first, check this out:

    You can legally buy the first three albums (plus the pre-Kraftwerk outing as Organisation) as original vinyl but check via YouTube if they're you're cup of tea, as they cost a few quid now.
    irons1965 likes this.
  9. theadmans

    theadmans pfm Member

    If you are going get an album from the "Swept Under The Carpet Years"...

    ...go for "Ralf and Florian":-

    ...try to not be too distressed by Ralf's sheep botherer look (he got his hair cut soon after).
    Wolfmancatsup and irons1965 like this.
  10. Seanm

    Seanm pfm Member

    IMO Electric Cafe and Tour de France are both quite missable, all the other original LPs essential.
    Big Tabs likes this.
  11. Alex N

    Alex N pfm Member

    Yeah, I love that album, especially that pineapple symphony. Heretical I know, but I don’t really much like or listen to the album after it though...
    VanDerGraaf and theadmans like this.
  12. irons1965

    irons1965 pfm Member

    My personal favourite in many ways, no weak tracks for me:cool:
  13. madmike

    madmike I feel much better now, I really do...

    I love this video of the model...

    theadmans likes this.
  14. Snufkin

    Snufkin pfm Member

    When I listen to their first album I hear everything that came after except it’s done predominantly with acoustic instruments that have been electronically treated. In many ways it’s my favourite.
  15. Seeker_UK

    Seeker_UK Feelin' nearly faded as my jeans

    It's the one that's as close to "Autobahn" as you can get, but the first Kraftwerk Album is the one to go for.

    Alex N likes this.
  16. Jono_13

    Jono_13 Duffer

    Definitely Computer World is the next logical purchase, it and Man Machine are closely linked in time and style.

    I have The Mix, only for fans of remixes
  17. eevo1969

    eevo1969 pfm Member

    As said above, all of it.
    I actually think it’s a good intro to Kraftwerk for the uninitiated, much better than crashing into the Pre ‘75 releases as a introduction.
    kendo and Jono_13 like this.
  18. Tony L

    Tony L Administrator

    Trans Europe Express, Man Machine and Computer World just changed everything. Modern electronic music started right there. It is impossible not to have heard these albums as they are three of the most sampled records on the planet! They are everywhere. I’d personally add Radio Activity into the essentials as that was such a huge influence on OMD, Human League, Gary Newman etc. It was the birth of UK synth-pop. The next three shaped rap, techno, house, trance and pretty much everything since.

    PS I’ll happily argue Kraftwerk were exponentially more important and influential than The Beatles! Aside from Oasis no one copied the Beatles after about 1970. Their influence stayed in their timeframe and was gone by the time say Hendrix, Floyd, Can etc turned up. Music moved on. Kraftwerk’s influence is absolutely everywhere today 45 years later!
    Finnegan, kendo, Jono_13 and 3 others like this.
  19. Jono_13

    Jono_13 Duffer

    I think you probably should hear the originals first, but it's not a bad start point.
    Big Tabs likes this.
  20. Jono_13

    Jono_13 Duffer

    You could be right based on the sampling spread. I was playing Stephen Morris's FAST FOWARD playlist on Spotify yesterday and had forgotten they are sampled by Afrika Bambaataa on Planet Rock

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