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Essential Kraftwerk

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

  1. Seeker_UK

    Seeker_UK Feelin' nearly faded as my jeans

    Nope. That was Frank Sinatra. Discuss.
  2. Seeker_UK

    Seeker_UK Feelin' nearly faded as my jeans

    To the point that they tried to rice it up again with the "Katalog" release by using the second working title, "Techno Pop" and remixing "The Telephone Call" with a bit of the dire "House Phone"

    Reading recent rumours on the release if the first three (possibly four) albums, the tapes are basically b*ggered and beyond even baking.
  3. Tony L

    Tony L Administrator

    That is such a shame if true. Even then given the technology they have utilised with current reissues to bleach all the lovely analogue tape and VCS3 hiss out of Radio Activity etc I’d happily accept them releasing a digitally processed needle-drop. Those three albums deserve to be heard, they are genuinely historically significant.
  4. crimsondonkey

    crimsondonkey pfm Member

    Opinions and tastes vary I guess. Its a lot better than not terrible and its certainly not pointless to me as I quite enjoy a lot of the material as live remix editions, whilst not as good as the studio albums, still have listening value to me at least. Then again I've always liked Human League's Unlimited Orchestra remix of Dare when others not so much.

    Minimum-Maximum is quality tho', no doubt about that.
  5. kensalriser

    kensalriser pfm Member

    I once owned a copy of Ralf and Florian and very stupidly sold it to fund the purchase of some long since forgotten post punk or new wave album circa 1980. I also lost my copy of Autobahn in a club after a DJ set in the early 90s. Both of these things still cause me a lot more pain than they warrant.
  6. Seeker_UK

    Seeker_UK Feelin' nearly faded as my jeans

    There's always Germanophon. :p
  7. Tony L

    Tony L Administrator

    Maybe I’m being harsh on it, mainly because I thought they’d already done it with The Mix and Minimum Maximum and by that time were just milking it. In some respects it’s quite interesting as it us a reimagining of a whole career decades later. I don’t know, it certainly isn’t one I pull out to play, though maybe I should.

    PS The Human League and Propaganda remix albums were pretty decent and did fit in with the 12” club remix culture of the time. I’ve got both of those along with a fair few 12” singles, so I’m certainly not knocking that type of thing. I view the Kraftwerk as a different thing though, a whole reimagined career in a way.
    crimsondonkey likes this.
  8. tiggers

    tiggers pfm Member

    Me too, still sounds epic even today. Well to me anyway :D
    crimsondonkey likes this.
  9. Tony L

    Tony L Administrator

    I’m not being harsh on it! I’ve just played Computer World from the box, and I’m sorry, it is hopeless. It sounds like a cover version. With the tracks in the wrong order! Like some kid with a Roland JD800, a DR550 and a copy of Cubase has done their own version in their bedroom. All those totally unique sounds, textures and the game-changing aesthetic of the original is diminished. So many sounds Kraftwerk brought into the world that didn’t exist at all prior to that point have been made conventional and almost generic by the red box. I’ve just stuck the UK 1st press vinyl on and it is magical. It is indescribably better in every way. It is also orders of magnitude more dynamic, punchy and alive occupying a vast wide soundstage. This really is a stunningly good record.
    VanDerGraaf likes this.
  10. Tony L

    Tony L Administrator

    Just stuck Electric Cafe on, another stunningly good sounding slab of vinyl. So dynamic and punchy with crazy bass kick! I started with side 2 as I seldom get that far. Sex Object really is channelling Yello to a crazy extent! Definitely not their best album, and by a long way, but a good copy on a good system distracts from that! A demo-grade record!
  11. crimsondonkey

    crimsondonkey pfm Member

    Agree to the extent that Conputer World comes off the worst in the 3D box, on record the dynamics are still Kraftwerk standard but very little can hold a candle to the original.

    Then of course we have the German first pressings which to my ears are even better.
  12. Tony L

    Tony L Administrator

    I’d love to make that comparison, I’ve never seen any in the wild. I do prefer the German language versions of the ones where there are two, but I only have them in the (rather over-processed and compressed) Der Katalog CD box.

    Interesting you say Computer World comes across the worst in the red box. I think I’d have gone with Autobahn, but I’ve never liked The Mix and later versions of that one. I’d be interested to know what folk felt was the best? I guess I’d go with Techno Pop as that’s arguably the only one that could have done with some work.

    PS FWIW I’ve been disappointed with the remastering in Der Katalog which I assume extends to the current vinyl. The dynamic processing is really destructive IMO. As an example the UK 1st press of TEE has an obvious dynamic swing through the title track building up to an almost scarily dynamic crescendo in Metal On Metal. It sounds amazing. They just flattened it all out on the remaster, the whole ‘journey’ of the song has been squashed almost flat. I noticed it instantly as that is maybe my favourite 10 minutes of Kraftwerk so was the very first thing I stuck on. I’ll play it again, but from memory the red box flattened it out even more with it now just being a few new noises appearing. This isn’t something one only notices on giant Tannoy monitors either, I remember loving that transition from TEE through Metal On Metal way back on my first Lenco/Quad/JR149 system. It is fundamental to the music IMHO.
    Robn likes this.
  13. Robn

    Robn pfm Member

    My very favourite Kraftwerk passage.
  14. Seeker_UK

    Seeker_UK Feelin' nearly faded as my jeans

    I'd say the "3D Mix" is the duffer in that box. An absolute waste of zeros and ones.
  15. Tony L

    Tony L Administrator

    So, what are people’s favourites in the red box?

    One thing I find so odd about the red box is how it actually strips stuff out, everything is made shorter, more concise, nothing is extended or developed. Computer World clocked in at just 27 minutes on the CD display IIRC. I’m sure the LP is a good ten minutes or so longer. That is a heck of a lot to strip out of an album that is so perfect. As such I’d say they were the exact opposite of say the Human League and Propaganda remix albums mentioned above which stretch and extend ideas. In some ways it makes the red box interesting in that it can be viewed as a decades-later distillation and reduction of ideas almost down into soundbites. I’m not sure anyone has done that before. Or wanted to. It is a very strange thing.
  16. crimsondonkey

    crimsondonkey pfm Member

    Man Machine for me is the best in the box. I don't view these as competing for attention with the originals, but they do have many enjoyable moments where they've done some clever reprogramming of the drum sequences and edited/ resequenced synths and other effects. Different, but no not better as such.
  17. irons1965

    irons1965 pfm Member

    I'm ashamed to say I've hardly played it Tony.
  18. JustJohn

    JustJohn pfm Member

    Remember these were created for the live 'Catalogue' shows, with each night dedicated to a particular album. That was the theory, but in practice they shortened the original LPs to allow plenty of time to go through the rest of the 'greatest hits'. I went to the Tour de France Soundtracks show at the Tate fully expecting a note-for-note rendition of the original LP, which is just short of an hour or so. But no, they got through it in 30 minutes and then launched into the catalogue highlights. A good time was had by all. If you go to see Kraftwerk you want hear Trans Europe Express and The Man Machine and Radioactivity, don't you?

    I like the red box. It's not perfect. Computer World is certainly lacking, as are some of the other arrangements, such as Europe Endless and parts of Radioactivity. But the good stuff is the Techno Pop/Musique Non Stop mix, and the Tour de France Etapes. It's probably best enjoyed on the edited two-disc vinyl edition –– all killer.
    Last edited: Mar 21, 2023
    crimsondonkey likes this.
  19. Tony L

    Tony L Administrator

    Just listening to the red box Man Machine now, and yes it is better than CW. Some of the arrangements are nice, though there is something very flat about the production. It sounds really small, sterile, bleached and dead against similar versions on Minimum Maximum (I’ve just compared The Robots CD to CD). Minimum Maximum is great!

    I know it sounds like I’m being hard on this box set, and I guess I am. I’m a Kraftwerk fan and I’d hate someone to discover the band via this collection. The box is fine as a curio for the likes of me who’s known the band for a lifetime, but it gives very little indication as to what was so amazing about these albums in the first place. It is a very clear step backwards from Minimum Maximum IMO (and I would recommend that as a starting point).

    PS I’ll play Techno Pop later. I suspect it is the main justification for the box. I’m sure it will miss the simply astonishing sound quality of the original record, but that is the one work in their catalogue that had real room for development.
  20. Tony L

    Tony L Administrator

    A couple of tracks into Techno Pop, and yes, this is rather good and in a lot of ways justifies the box. It’s interesting in that in their revisionism they moved it aesthetically closer to Computer World and away from the Fairlight/Synclavier & Linn Drum aesthetic of the original. Sex Object still sounds exactly like Yello though!

    PS I wish it had some dynamic range!

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