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

THE MAN-MACHINE (DIE MENSCH-MASCHINE)

Kraftwerk

 

Progressive Electronic

3.91 | 249 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Tom Ozric
Prog Reviewer
4 stars I recently visited a second hand record shop which was full of crusty old, mildew-ridden vinyl, and I stumbled across 3 copies of 'Computer World' (1981), so what did I do when I got home, I pulled out this record instead, an album I don't spin often enough. At first glance, the four electronic musicians that make up this line-up of Kraftwerk may resemble fashion floor mannequins, but their brand of new-wave electronica will always be revolutionary and highly influential. The absolute success of their formula was fully realised on this release 'The Man- Machine', dating back to 1978. The album contains 6 compositions, and most are of a high quality. Initially, visionaries Ralf Hutter and Florian Schneider composed experimental music within the Krautrock sub-genre, and the seeds were sown. For me, I personally enjoy their early work more than this current phase, (mainly for the use of more 'organic' instrumentation) but the sheer inventiveness and originality they displayed here is undeniable. Opening track, 'The Robots', created a bit of a stir at the time and sets the scene immediately - an industrial, robotic alien with processed vocals and a catchy melody - in fact, the album through is full of delicious melodies. On the surface, their music may strike some as a bit goofy, but beneath it lies a complex world of meticulously arranged synth sequences and electronic sounds only few could dream of assembling in such a way. They beat the 80's to the 80's, and even sound a bit like the material TANGERINE DREAM came up with in the 80's (I'm always reminded of 'Midnight in Tula' from the 'White Eagle album of 1982). 'Spacelab' is the next song and takes on a more 'electro-pop' guise. The track I favour most is 'Metropolis', with an urgent rhythm and dark progression. The lead melodies are usually taken care of by Hutter and his Mini-Moog and really sound mesmerising. Side 2 comprises of the memorable short song 'The Model', which is quite an achievement, given it's pure hit-single nature (more so than 'Autobahn', from a few years earlier IMO), accessible, features a natural vocal (!) yet remains distinctively German and experimental. 'Neon Lights' is the longest track (at 9min3sec, says the inner sleeve) and is probably the weaker piece here as it doesn't change much and its melody is somewhat syrupy - quite acceptable, though overlong for what it is. The album is drawn to a close with the decent title-cut, more electronic rhythms and blipping synth patterns. This approach Kraftwerk took to their music paved the way for many to come, but I feel that the band never went further than this with their next couple of releases. Possibly the best album from the 'showroom dummies' phase - 4 stars.
Tom Ozric | 4/5 |

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