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Kraftwerk - Autobahn CD (album) cover




Progressive Electronic

3.53 | 325 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
3 stars |C| A few great musical ideas spread too thin over the course of the album.

That pretty much sums up one of electronic prog group Kraftwerk's more well know albums, Autobahn. It apparently has pretty good historical points for the development of electronic music in Europe, or at least enough so that my AOR pop rock listening parents had heard of and bought the vinyl in the late seventies, which is why I have it today. I remember looking through my parents' old albums a few months ago and saw this album made by the band Kraftwerk, and thought, "hey wait a minute, isn't that one of the electronic prog bands on the Archives?" I looked at the track listing and was like "dude, it has an epic! Sweet, I can't wait to here this!" On first listen, it sounded really cool, I'd never heard electronic prog before so this was a pretty important album for me to hear. Overall, I am quite pleased with it, and it's definitely one of the better albums from my parents' meager record collection. It has some great melodies and use of keyboard sound effects, but overall the texture of most of the album was too thin and repetitive to really raise it to a four in my book.

Side A, the epic album title track, Autobahn (translating to Highway) is the case where just about all of the musical ideas were wonderful, but they were so overused, extended, and thinly scored for such a lengthy amount of time that it took away from the overall quality of the epic. It was very much like having great toast with great butter, but you had so little butter you had to spread it too thin, resulting in every bite being pretty good but always giving you the feeling there should have been more too it than that. That's pretty close to the feeling I got listening to the album as a whole, especially the epic. Too thin and too repetitious, after sixteen minutes it's like, "okay, I've heard this plenty of times now" and would just get a bit boring. However, the production, composition, and keyboard use, although thinly scored, is really very good.

Side B also included quite thin and overly extended tracks, but overall introduced newer material more constantly, which kept it fairly interesting. Comet Melody 2 is probably my favorite track on the album, here we get more dense textures. Morning Walk was a very interesting track, it included mostly keyboard parts creating forest sound effects; first introduced is the bird chirping sounds, then added are the sound of a stream (sort of reminding me of the intro to Close to the Edge) and the slight roaring sound of the waterfall. All combined they make a pleasing woodsy atmosphere effect, and then added to that is the main melody of the track, played by the keyboard sounding like a recorder, creating a very delightful track.

Overall there are no really weak sounding moments throughout the album, but not too many strong moments either, although there are occasional glimpses of brilliance. This album probably could have been a masterpiece, or very close to it, if there were more material of this quality condensed into a smaller space, this would be a killer album. But thus it falls more in the above average category. I recommend this album to listeners of this kind of music and fans of Kraftwerk. Otherwise, there's really nothing essential about this album.

Isa | 3/5 |


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