Friday, July 31, 2009

Kraftwerk


7-31-09 Kraftwerk


I was once upon a time a huge fan of Kraftwerk, the German electronic band.


CD AUTOBAHN EMI DE CDP 746153.2

1974 5 TRKS original CD issue

LP AUTOBAHN PHILIPS DE 6305 231

1974 5 TRKS original issue

12" COMPUTER LOVE EMI UK 12EMI 5207

1981 2 TRKS with pic sleeve

CD COMPUTER WORLD ELEKTRA US 3549.2

1981 7 TRKS

LP COMPUTER WORLD EMI UK EMC 3370

1981 7 TRKS English language

LP COMPUTERWELT EMI DE 1C 064-46311

1981 7 TRKS original issue

CD DIE MENSCH MASCHINE EMI DE CDP 746131.2

1978 6 TRKS in German

LP DIE MENSCH MASCHINE EMI DE 1C 058-32843

1978 6 TRKS original issue

LP ELECTRIC CAFÉ EMI DE 1C 064-240644.1

1986 6 TRKS

LP KRAFTWERK PHILIPS DE 6305 058

1970 4 TRKS original issue

LP KRAFTWERK 2 PHILIPS DE 6305 117

1971 6 TRKS original issue

12" KRAFTWERK'S DISCO BEST CAPITOL US SPRO-8865

1977 4 TRKS no pic sleeve, promo-only

12" POCKET CALCULATOR EMI UK 12EMI 5175

1981 3 TRKS with pic sleeve

12" POCKET CALCULATOR promo WARNER US PRO-A-951

1981 2 TRKS no pic sleeve, promo

CD RADIO-ACTIVITY CAPITOL US CDP 746474.2

1975 12 TRKS

LP RADIO-AKTIVITAT EMI DE 1C 064-82087

1975 12 TRKS insert, original issue

LP RALF & FLORIAN PHILIPS DE 6305 197

1973 6 TRKS poster, original issue

LP RALF & FLORIAN PHILIPS JPN BT-8102

1973 6 TRKS ('79 re-issue)

12" SHOWROOM DUMMIES CAPITOL US 8501

1977 2 TRKS no pic sleeve

12" TOUR DE FRANCE EMI PATHE FR 1545056

1983 3 TRKS with pic sleeve

LP TRANS EUROPA EXPRESS EMI DE 1C 064-82306

1977 8 TRKS poster, original issue

12" TRANS EUROPE EXPRESS CAPITOL US 8513

1977 2 TRKS no pic sleeve



I still have my nice set of German original LP’s. But after “Electric Café”, I just couldn’t keep up. I also have some 7” singles. I suppose I am no longer waiting on CD issues of the first three Kraftwerk LP’s. I started with “Ralf & Florian”, so I really wish they’d do that one.
My original German LP of it has a big poster in it!

So, is Ralf Hutter the only one left, now?

I remember when each and every year, there were release sheets from exporters in my office that always listed a “new LP” that was never forthcoming.

I once went to a costume party dressed as someone from the cover of “Die Mensch Maschine”.

7 comments:

Jim said...

I find that Electric Cafe has aged far better than its original splash would have indicated. In 1986 "side 1" sounded thin and strident, but we didn't know about minimal techno at that time. What sounded disappointing to me in 1986 sounds much better 23 years later. The whole "boing boom tschak" phoneme thing sounds great to me now.

But, yes, Kraftwerk did squander the "lead" they once had on all of their followers. Ralf certainly pumped his trust fund Deutschmarks into hardware R&D that certainly worked for a few years there. Once sampling became widespread I think it completely spooked the band and they became rigid and immobilized as their copyists kept moving on. Eventually, electronic sound processing seemed to hit a brick wall where it became software driven rather than hardware driven, and Kraftwerk's day was certainly over by then!

Their one "new" album after "Electric Cafe" is a pleasant curio but a far cry from the days where they strode the music world like a colossus. The remake suite of "Tour De France" was a misguided waste of effort. Some of the other cuts (Vitamin, Aerodynamik, Electrokardiogramm) were successful but not earth-shaking.

I like the first Karl Bartos album far more than any post 81 Kraftwerk, for what it's worth! That said, I wept for the first 15 minutes when I saw them in 1997.

Ron Kane said...

I am willing to try "Electric Cafe" again, after all these years. I was totally disenchanted with it, upon release. After all "Into Battle" by the Art of Noise was the 'new' Kraftwerk album - and the not-released Mainframe "5 Minutes" album (which I've still not ever heard).

That, and the French wave was happening in '86. I saw Kraftwerk live a few times, always underwhelming, unfortunately. I remember all the talk was about bicycles. They weren't interested in talking about music, they only wanted to talk about bicycles. Adn they wouldn't sign *anything*. I wonder if they would've signed a catalogue of bicycle parts?

All that said, "Ralf & Florian" was one of th albums that really changed me, back about '73 or so. A human face on Krautrock, if you will. I will never forget hearing "Kristallo" *very loud* at KPFK-FM, in the control room - on a super nice stereo. Boing boom tschak, indeed!

chas_m said...

I have a video of a "live" performance of "Aerodynamik" from the MTV music awards (which you can see here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Uor8KYvPpQE&feature=related) in top-quality and excellent sound, and just for a moment there all is right with the universe.

Alas, things fall apart, as Milton said. It's a shame they couldn't have fleshed out that last record and gone out with a bang, but apparently we're just going to get "live retreads" from now on. It will be interesting to see if Florian actually DOES pursue a solo career as was claimed.

Still, those records (I think I entered the scene with "Autobahn," but I *might* have picked up "Ralf & Florian" first, or around the same time -- very different records!

I still have a CD copy of "Tone Float" and vinyl of "Ralf & Florian" but my main interest has always been "Autobahn" and beyond.

chas_m said...

sorry, that third paragraph suffered an "edit malfunction"!

I meant to say that those early albums really did change the landscape for me as well, giving me an early interest in electronic music that served me VERY well by the time New Wave rolled around!

I never got to see them live, and I kick myself for this all the time.

Jim said...

Yes. I'm with Charles' sentiment. That humble, brutal 7" edit of "Autobahn" was my entree into a larger world for my top 40 ears. It is one of the three seminal 45s in my personal canon.

Brian Ware said...

And the other two would be?????

Ron Kane said...

Yeah, Jim - What are the other two? I don't think I could narrow it down like that!