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Kraftwerk - Radio-Activity [Aka: Radio-Aktivität] CD (album) cover




Progressive Electronic

3.18 | 202 ratings

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3 stars Radio-Activity was made right after the very successful Autobahn, whose title track was condensed into a single that sold well on both sides of the Atlantic. By Autobahn, they'd really found their direction, what their sound was, much like Pink Floyd did with Meddle. And here, on Radio-Activity, they are faced with the task of proving their greatness.

The first song is just a taster- Geiger Counter, which is just thudding blips that sounds like- well, a Geiger Counter. This goes right into one of the best songs Kraftwerk's ever made, and possibly the very definition of the Kraftwerk Sound- Radioactivity. This is a ominous, creepy song, making excellent use of synth pads and electronic percussion to build an amazing atmosphere. Also, unlike most Kraftwerk songs, it actually has a traditional message in the lyrics- one against the use of nuclear technology- in addition to contributing to the double entendre that is the album title- the album is about both radioactivity, like with nukes, and radio activity, like activity done on radios. Radioland is a bit repetitive, and not their strongest work, but still relatively enjoyable. Airwaves picks things up again with a very enjoyable electro-pop song- years before electronica became mainstream at all. Intermission is another short pseudo-song in the vein of Geiger Counter- not there as a song, but to contribute to the concept and the texture. And here comes another one, News, which is just whispered talking with some creepy sound effects- pretty good, but still a pseudo-song. And another- The Voice of Energy is a minute of disturbing distorted voice. Antenna is another nice radio-themed electro-pop song. I don't like Radio Stars much, because I find the repetitive swirling noises somewhat irritating- and whats under it isn't that great to begin with. That goes directly into Uranium, which is yet another sub-2 minute song- it's not much more than a synth note with more vocoded vocals- not bad. Transistor is an upbeat, echoing song that reminds me of Kometenmelodie 2, except without the energy and unbridled feeling. Ohm Sweet Ohm slowly builds as drums and synths come in, and it becomes a very happy song- somewhat like being at home after a long day and feeling good. So, Radio-Activity is an inconsistent album, but it has a lot of good things to say about it- most of the tracks here are well-made and inspired, but the album's still somewhat hit-or-miss. So, three stars, recommended to fans of electronica and Kraftwerk in general.

Neurotarkus | 3/5 |


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