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Kraftwerk - The Man-Machine [Aka: Die Mensch-Maschine] CD (album) cover




Progressive Electronic

3.95 | 346 ratings

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Easy Livin
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
4 stars New age for a new age

Having enjoyed great commercial success in both the albums and singles chart in recent years, Kraftwerk returned in 1978 with "The man machine". While the album as a whole relied heavily on the formula which had worked so well for them, the album spurned what would become arguably their most successful and best known song ever. Nowadays, "The model" is an icon of the late 1970's, the sound in fact being that of the 1980's. This, in a nutshell, demonstrates what it was which captured the imagination of the usually conservative buying public, Kraftwerk were quite simply ahead of their time.

The six tracks here beg and borrow from previous albums, "The robots" being another "Radio activity" while "Spacelab" is in the mould of "Autobahn". The emphasis as usual is as much on the atmospheres and the landscapes the music creates, as it is on the melodies. Indeed, the melodies in their rudimentary form are often simplistic. They tend to be played as monophonic synth renditions supported by repetitive electronic rhythms. Such is the simplistic style and emphasis on moods that in 50 years time such music will probably have become the norm for new age records.

With only six tracks to chose from, it is perhaps churlish to select favourites, but I will anyway. Apart from the obvious choice of "The model", where Krautrock and pop combine in an unlikely but totally successful 3 minutes of pure delight, it is "Metropolis" which captures my imagination. Here a polyphonic synth sound dominates the track, the single word lyrics simply functioning as another electronic instrument.

"Neon lights" is perhaps the most surprising track. At almost 9 minutes it is the longest on the album, and by and large it follows the Familiar Kraftwerk template. The singing on the track however is devoid of distortion or effects, being, dare I say almost human.

In all, a fine album by Kraftwerk which finds them playing to their strengths. "The man machine" will not appeal to all prog fans by any means, but those who enjoy the digital side of the genre should find this to be a highlight.

Easy Livin | 4/5 |


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