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Kraftwerk - The Man-Machine (Die Mensch-Maschine) CD (album) cover

THE MAN-MACHINE (DIE MENSCH-MASCHINE)

Kraftwerk

 

Progressive Electronic

3.93 | 251 ratings

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The T
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars It's difficult to try and give a comment on an album in a genre you don't know that much about, especially when that album has received universal praise from most reviewers.

So I will just give my brief impressions on KRAFTWERK'S "The Man Machine". As pointed out already, this is electronic music, played only in synths, with not a hint of a traditional instrument. This is hardly rock music, even though it has some of its elements. Many have questioned the progressiveness of this album and I also have my doubts, but I think those who have followed the development of electronic music will have a much more definitive and important opinion in the matter.

The music is, well, very danceable, very soft electronic, a little repetitive, a little spacey. Every track honors its respective title: The Robots sounds like a lot of robots marching on an electronic world; Spacelab takes us into a capsule flying in space, I can hear some Jean Michel Jarre on this track, though with less magic (for me). Metropolis paints a picture of high, very high lifeless buildings that ascend to the sky, and then it covers the minutia, the people under the structures; The Model is the most pop track in the album, and I think the music fits the lyrics and the subject perfectly, like the soundtrack for some vacuous person; Neon Lights has a lot of light, luminosity, it is a shining track, especially in the middle section; The Man-Machine lacks all soul, the music doesn't know where to go, even though the same idea is repeated all the way through the track.

I cannot say much about the place of this record in progressive-electronic history, neither can I underline its importance in the development of the genre, as my knowledge is limited. All I can do is rate it according to my ideas and feelings about music. I think this is likeable and maybe even interesting music but I don't believe this record demands many listens. After four or five hearings of "The Man-Machine", it started to get old, as melodies and structures are not really the focus here but the concept of building a new (for the time) electronic musical expression.

I can't give the album a low rating as I admire the kind of "programmatic" sense of the music in that it depicts what the title describes. I also admire each song in its essence. What I don't particularly love is the fact that, once the idea is expressed, it's repeated till the end. I know that would be the nature of electronic-machine-made music. But I don't see it as a very demanding musical manifestation. Enjoyable but perishable.

I think more can be done (and has been done, in the little that I've heard) with electronic music. Probably this album was seminal in its development, so out of respect and because I liked some elements, I give it three stars.

The T | 3/5 |

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