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KRAFTWERK

Kraftwerk

 

Progressive Electronic

3.35 | 91 ratings

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Rivertree
Special Collaborator
Psych/Space Team & Band Submissions
4 stars Reflecting another facet of the band ...

Kraftwerk play Coachella April 26. The chances of them performing Ruckzuck there are slimmer than Dick Cheney winning the Nobel Peace Prize (found somewhere at an unknown blog)

This is the first KRAFTWERK album despite the fact that Ralf Hütter und Florian Schneider had produced 'Tone Float' before under the moniker ORGANISATION with the special intention to capture the british market. Now it's confusing that KRAFTWERK's official website discography starts with 'Autobahn' first which manifests the turn away to another style and exclusively electronically produced music. For some reasons the former albums actually are ignored by the band. But there's really no need to conceal them I would say - they should be proud on the contrary. Digital reissues were known only from illegal sellers like Germanofon for example but whilst writing this review I detected a reissue of the british Sounds Of The Universe label combining the first two KRAFTWERK albums which looks like to be a legalized one.

This debut is spiked with a lot of uncommon sound effects and expresses an avantgarde attitude. It sounds ahead of its time and is produced by ... engineering pioneer Conny Plank of course. Anyhow - it surprisingly entered the german LP charts. Ruckzuck developed to an often demanded song in subculture discotheques and additionally the minimalistic main theme was used as the title melody for a longtime political magazine on german television. Looking at the line-up first you might expect an emphasis on drum instruments. But 'Tone Float' is much more percussion drenched. On the other hand Klaus Dinger is with the band now who later formed NEU! and continued to follow the kraut paths. He appears with a repetitive monotonous drum playing preferably to hear on Ruckzuck which has a very special drive also caused by the staccato flute played by Florian Schneider. The weird middle section of the song is mostly ignored but an excellent example for more sophisticated improvised krautrock. This song was celebrated as a prefered part of their live performances (ditto for the late ORGANISATION gigs) - often with a very experimental approach and anything but monotonous.

Another reason which makes this album unique is the use of a tubon by Hütter. This special portable organ might represent the transition from traditional organ to the new synthesizer era and is responsible for several unusual tones sometimes sounding near to guitar, bass or saxophone. Stratovarius follows as a good example for that with a scary organ start-up detached by crazy Stockhausen alike and psychedelic grooving parts - finally ending into a furious finale. Except the drums and some decent violin and flute contributions thîs must be completely realized by the tubon - fascinating!

The song title Megaherz anticipates the subsequent KRAFTWERK intention to express the relationship of humans and machines within their music - appearing as a more spaced out interpretation - atmospheric, relaxed, with lack of percussion. Vom Himmel Hoch is the title of a german Christmas song and seems to be symbolically used as an appeal against the war - supported by effects sounding like aircrafts attacking with bombs. An intensive drum and organ duel with some jazzy moments is dominating this song further on.

I recommend to open up for KRAFTWERK's avantgarde approach and to take enough time for some rounds. It differs to the later times when they decided to take the 'Autobahn'. Fans who like their newer electronic style reflecting a pop appeal might be confused and disappointed listening to this. On the other hand it's a must have for prog fans who want to discover and collect early german experimental output.

Rivertree | 4/5 |

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