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Kraftwerk - Computer World (Computerwelt) CD (album) cover

COMPUTER WORLD (COMPUTERWELT)

Kraftwerk

 

Progressive Electronic

3.78 | 148 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Easy Livin
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
3 stars A PC in very home? One day maybe

After the release of"The man machine" in 1978, Kraftwerk took a three year break from the studio. They returned with an unchanged line up in 1981 with "Computer world" (or "Computerwelt" in their native German), an album which secured further critical acclaim. This success was largely on the back of the single "The model", a track from the previous album "The man machine" which had been belatedly released as the B side of "Computer love" from this album. The single was flipped over when radio stations stared to discover the B-side, and a massive hit single was inadvertently achieved.

The album was released as two different versions, in German and English. While the instrumental tracks used were the same, the English language version omits some of the passages which appear on the German release, overall though, the mechanical nature of the vocals result in the two versions sounding very similar. The album's computer theme may now seem rather prosaic in the digital age, but at the time of its release computers in the home were still a futuristic fantasy, with mainframe computers occupying entire buildings.

"Computer world" finds the band retreating from the more melodic aspects of "Trans Europe Express" and "The man machine" back to a minimalist style with greater emphasis on distorted spoken vocals and repeated rhythms. This tends to make the album less accessible; those discovering the band via "The model" soon realising that there is nothing nearly as catchy here.

The chosen single, "Computer love" contains a simple melody which has since been sampled or borrowed (with permission) by the band Coldplay for their song "Talk". The vocals on the song are strange in that in between the usual spoken monotone, the title refrain is actually sung. The following track "Home computer" speculates on a day when one can "program our own computer" in the comfort of your own home, pure fantasy!

For me, this album was and is something of a disappointment. In the 1970's, Kraftwerk had established themselves as a pioneering band, willing to push the boundaries and explore new dimensions. Here, they rest on their laurels somewhat, and even turn backwards towards their minimalist roots. "Computer world" has its moments, but it could have been much better.

Easy Livin | 3/5 |

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