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Essential Kraftwerk

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

  1. Mike Hughes

    Mike Hughes pfm Member

    Was at a family party in the 1970s when one of my cousins put on Autobhan. Didn’t go down well but I was fascinated. Despite this my first album was probably The Mix. Worked backwards and see no reason to go beyond Computer World. All downhill after that.

    Seen them live twice. If you’ve not then you must. Clearly the band and the innovation is gone but as an all enveloping experience it’s excellent.
  2. Tony L

    Tony L Administrator

    Michael45’s take on three real classics.

    PS Shame he doesn’t mention UK 1st pressings.
  3. theadmans

    theadmans pfm Member

    Around 1984 I got my first Kraftwerk CD - Autobahn...

    My first LP had been an Autobahn Vertigo LP bought secondhand circa 1977 from Oadby library for 50p.

    I bought a TDK metal tape and recorded my 1984 CD (Philips CD 104) at an obscenely high level.

    My 6th form college refectory had a half decent system of Nad 3020, Aiwa cassette deck and AR speakers.

    Because the Autobahn tape was recorded so much louder than anything else it literally stopped the room...

    ...people choked on their cheese and onion cobs.

    ...the lads playing pool suddenly miss cued.

    The Asian hip hop crew wanted to record all my Kraftwerk records.
  4. Tony L

    Tony L Administrator

    Mine was a library copy too! Can’t remember which library, but bought whilst I was at school so it would only have been a couple of years old. I’ve since replaced it, but I’m still looking for a better copy of this one. The weakest by far in my collection.
    theadmans likes this.
  5. theadmans

    theadmans pfm Member

    Oadby (where I found my Vertigo copy of Autobahn) was a fairly posh but very small outlying district of Leicester.

    Oadby was the birthplace of John Deacon (Queen) and also Phil Oakey (Human League).
  6. Seeker_UK

    Seeker_UK Feelin' nearly faded as my jeans

    My late 70s UK pressing is quite thin, but the W German Phillips is very good. I'd recommend that.
    Tony L likes this.
  7. crimsondonkey

    crimsondonkey pfm Member

    So views on the 3D vinyl boxset editions? I recently picked one up and yes they've monkeyed around with some of the beats and so on and there's some dance/ techno wig outs here and there, but overall the quality and dynamics are just great. That bass on Die Roboter!
  8. Tony L

    Tony L Administrator

    I’ve got the CD box and feel it is the least significant item in their whole catalogue. It’s not terrible, but I view it as pretty pointless. I’ve no idea what it is for other than a way to resell the same albums yet again. One can maybe argue they’ve improved Electric Cafe a bit, but it is a bit of a stretch to buy a whole box for that.

    For Kraftwerk’s ‘revisionism of the core catalogue’ phase my favourite by far is Minimum Maximum. That really is a great live album and I often dig it out (I have both the vinyl and CD/DVD boxes). It has more than enough of the post-The Mix techno reworking without the need to meddle with everything. It has some real atmosphere too. Maybe surprisingly one of the great live albums.
  9. sideshowbob

    sideshowbob Champagne fascia aficionado

    I saw them play in London as part of the tour Minimum Maximum was made from. An incredible gig, the sound was immense and crystal pure. It was very psychedelic. They are a great live band, despite not being in any way traditional performers.
  10. Paul Mc

    Paul Mc pfm Member

    I love Kraftwerk, but to argue that they have been more important, musically, than the Beatles, doesn't hold up to scrutiny. The Beatles' influence didn't end in 1970 as Tony suggests, and it still part of the musical and cultural world we live in. Everyone, with an interest in popular music, knows the Beatles, in one form or another. Their sales alone tell that story. And whilst Kraftwerk has influenced generations of musicians in the UK, I think they are seen somewhat differently in their own country.
    sideshowbob likes this.
  11. Seeker_UK

    Seeker_UK Feelin' nearly faded as my jeans

    This. The only way I can rationalize it is to think of it as the 'live album' from the 'album a night' concerts they ran.

    "Electric Cafe" was fine as it was, but I guess haters gonna hate. ;)
    CTank likes this.
  12. Tony L

    Tony L Administrator

    I’m just not convinced by it. It was the point they stopped innovating and started following to my mind. There’s nothing there that hadn’t already been done way better years before by ZTT, The Art Of Noise, Thomas Dolby, Martin Rushant and a whole world of hip-hop etc. It actually sounded dated on release, which is amazing given their legacy and the knock the ball way out of the park perfection of Computer World. For me their later regrouping for Tour de France Soundtracks stands up a lot better and that one is a really nice album even though it fitted right in with the electronica of the time rather than breaking new ground.

    I get the impression Kraftwerk themselves fully understood Electric Cafe was poor hence the hugely delayed release and endless attempts to knock it into shape. It is not entirely devoid of interest, but it is a huge shame that one is in print and the first three exponentially more interesting and significant Philips/Vertigo albums have been erased from history.
  13. kensalriser

    kensalriser pfm Member

    The difference is Kraftwerk were seminal innovators whereas The Beatles were simply part of a continuum, albeit a very significant part.
    CTank likes this.
  14. Paul Mc

    Paul Mc pfm Member

    This really in nonsense. The Beatles reinvented popular three times in seven years.
    sideshowbob and tiggers like this.
  15. kensalriser

    kensalriser pfm Member

    What did they invent?
  16. sideshowbob

    sideshowbob Champagne fascia aficionado

    The entire late 20th century concept of pop music, essentially
    Paul Mc likes this.
  17. tiggers

    tiggers pfm Member

    Apart from the concept album, the idea of being a recording band only, the notion of using the studio as another instrument (and a huge amount of corollary here), the music video, adding lyrics to their albums, performing in stadiums, the idea that hit record did not have to be less than 3 and half minutes long and having their own self contained record label I have no idea :D
    Paul Mc likes this.
  18. Tony L

    Tony L Administrator

    Not seeing it. They started out playing US rock ‘n’ roll and blues covers, wrote a lot of very good pop songs, they then became very influenced by the psychedelic thing happening in the USA and repackaged that with pip sensibilities. Later they went to a performance of Skockhausen’s Hymnen and wrote their finest work, Revolution No. 9.

    Obviously I’m understating their considerable creativity and the sheer quality of song writing. There is no denying Lennon & McCartney a seriously good ear and could churn exceptionally high quality pop music out by the yard, but other than arguably breaking through a corporate barrier early on and moving pop music into the creative arena other forms (folk, jazz, blues etc) had enjoyed forever where artists write their own content rather than just being an X-Factor-grade puppet for a management company I’m struggling to see much lasting influence beyond say Oasis and the music-hall bits of Queen, both of which are best avoided IMHO.

    I’d argue the first track on the first Neu! album actually had more lasting influence than the Beatles, let alone Kraftwerk who’s legacy is literally everywhere in current pop, dance, electronica, hip-hop, rap, film music, advertising etc etc. I can’t imagine what modern music would be without Kraftwerk.

    PS Not knocking The Beatles. I just honestly feel their legacy is strangely rooted to their timeframe. It just didn’t translate forward the way say the first VU album, Neu!, Radio Activity, TEE, Man Machine, or Computer World have.
    Nick_G, irons1965, Robn and 4 others like this.
  19. kensalriser

    kensalriser pfm Member

    I disagree. Pop music evolved from a myriad sources; in today's jargon it was crowd sourced. The Beatles were heavily influenced by blues and rock and roll. Ever heard McCartney's facsimile of Little Richard's whoop?
    irons1965 likes this.
  20. Tony L

    Tony L Administrator

    I’ll dig in even deeper and attempt to argue the exponentially less interesting Rolling Stones have had far more lasting influence than The Beatles as reheated white blues-rock is still all over the place in this century!

    (ducks, covers)

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