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Kraftwerk - Concert Classics CD (album) cover




Progressive Electronic

3.84 | 18 ratings

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3 stars It looks like a throwaway bootleg, and certainly isn't endorsed by either Ralf or Florian. But this belated live album is pure gold to fans of classic Kraftwerk, offering a rare glimpse at an era unrepresented elsewhere in their official discography, early in the band's electro-pop puberty after the success of the 1974 "Autobahn" album.

The packaging is sketchy, with inaccurate credits, misnamed track titles, and no information about the gig itself (May 1975 in Denver, according to my research). And the band photos shown on the album cover and CD image are all wrong, dating from years later in their career. But the audio quality is better than expected: a soundboard rip, I'm guessing, complete with stray feedback, long silences between songs (several minutes in one instance), and a curious phasing sound in the background throughout the entire concert.

The tunes depart significantly from their studio models, too. "Kling Klang" (not "Morgenspaziergang, Part 1", as it's listed on the cover) is really a new melody altogether, improvised on the spot, and miles away from the immaculate laptop extravaganzas of later concerts. At one point Ralf Hütter actually apologizes for the delay caused by a malfunctioning drum machine.

But the occasional performance goof and technical faux-pas have the not unwelcome side effect of humanizing the budding man-machines on stage. In Middle America circa 1975 the band was little more than a funny German novelty act, still performing on homemade instruments built from tin foil and household glue. This was Kraftwerk playing music instead of merely programming it, and their growing pains only make the show more appealing.

Neu!mann | 3/5 |


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