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Kraftwerk - Autobahn CD (album) cover




Progressive Electronic

3.52 | 309 ratings

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Symphonic Team
3 stars "Die fahrbahn ist ein graues band, weisse streifen, grüner rand"

Autobahn was not Kraftwerk's debut, but it surely was their breakthrough album. I cannot compare it with the hard-to-find earlier albums as I have never heard any of them, but compared with their subsequent output it is certainly one of the best ones. The 22 plus minute title track of this album is a true classic of electronic music, and dare I say of music in general? It is also the only progressive (as opposed to experimental) composition by Kraftwerk as I know them. (Progressive yes, but it is not Prog by any means if by the latter term is understood progressive Rock, as this is not Rock). This conceptual piece about traveling on the German motorways does indeed progress and different themes replace each other to return at a later stage. It is melodic, well-structured and, again, progressive. Electronic music is usually not my cup of tea, but Autobahn is indeed a charming piece and undoubtedly a milestone in the Progressive Electronic genre. The lyrics are a bit silly and if you don't understand German (though only very basic skills are required here!), you are not missing much on this occasion!

Autobahn was recorded before Kraftwerk became a (proto-) Synth Pop band and this is not quite as sterile, cold and robotic as some later efforts. It is also much less minimalistic as we hear not only electronic sounds here, but also some acoustic ones like piano and flute.

The second half of the album is clearly not up to par with the epic first, but even here we find some good material. Kometenmelodie 1 and Mitternacht are rather dull electronic experiments, but nothing offensive at all. Kometenmelodie 2 and Morgenspaziergang are a bit more interesting and the former features some appealing synthesiser solos.

I'm very far from an expert on Progressive Electronic, but I would say that this is a pretty good place to start investigating the genre. It is certainly a good place to start your investigation of Kraftwerk.

SouthSideoftheSky | 3/5 |


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