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




Progressive Electronic

3.18 | 202 ratings

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Special Collaborator
Symphonic Team
1 stars Achtung!

After the successful Autobahn which contained a long conceptual and distinctly progressive composition, came this much more experimental album. Paradoxically perhaps, this was also the birth of Synth Pop; if the majority of this album is truly "radio- active", a couple of songs are instead radio-friendly! While tracks like Antenna, Airwaves and the title track are rather pleasant (proto-) Synth Pop tunes, much of the rest of the album is a sonic disaster on a par with Chernobyl!

Kraftwerk experiments here with lots of different noises including assorted blips and beeps, some of which are distinctly Morse-code and others that sound like different alarms and warning signals. As this was released a couple of years before the first Star Wars movie, it is quite probable that George Lucas was inspired by this album when he created the sounds of R2D2 and other Star Wars sounds.

The album begins with a short track called Geiger Counter which is wholly based on the sound of a - surprise! - Geiger Counter. A Geiger Counter is a device used to detect whether objects emit nuclear radiation. Initially, this album seems to be radiation free, but before this opening track segues into the album's title track, the device indicates heavy radiation as if the group wanted to issue a warning to the listener! The title track then begins with a Morse- signal, presumably another nuclear warning, this time a decoded one! This track is, however, a very good one and a Kraftwerk classic so you might wonder what the warning was about really. But there is reason for all the warning signals, believe me. And often that reason is the warning signals themselves!

Radioland is a slow number based on the sounds of radios being tuned in and out of different frequencies. A surprisingly listenable tune actually! After some more R2D2 noises, we can witness the inception of Synth Pop in Airwaves, another surprisingly listenable and catchy little tune. This song is a predecessor to future songs like The Model.

This first portion of the album is actually quite interesting, but by the time you arrive at Intermission it is downhill from there. Intermission is... well, intermission. News is... news, yes it is literally a German radio news announcement! Die Stimme Der Energie (or The Voice Of Energy as the English version has it), is a spoken word piece done with a robotic voice telling us, among other things, that it is a giant electrical generator and that it is both our servant and lord. Another catchy Synth Pop tune follows in Antenna before the album starts to become seriously headache-inducing!

If you for some reason would want to go completely insane, put Radio Stars on repeat and it will take about two or maximum three plays until you achieve your bizarre goal! As if this was not enough the atonal repetitive electronic mantra continues into the next track, though it is soon replaced with another robotic spoken word passage (this time incomprehensible) over a wall of unpleasant noise!

One good song and some other decent to half-decent bits, but overall a complete nuclear disaster!

SouthSideoftheSky | 1/5 |


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