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Kraftwerk - The Mix CD (album) cover

THE MIX

Kraftwerk

 

Progressive Electronic

2.72 | 44 ratings

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Easy Livin
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
3 stars Old songs, new songs?

Kraftwerk's productivity in the 1980s was erratic to say the least, with just two full albums ("Computer world" in 1981 and "Electric Cafe/Techno pop" in 1986) being released. Principal band members Ralf Hütter and Florian Schneider became increasingly concerned that people would assume Kraftwerk's days had come and gone, and that the band had ceased to exist. They had however been putting most of their efforts into a radical overhaul of their studios, making the mandatory migration from analogue to digital while also moving from a static studio to a mobile one. With little or no new material prepared, the pair decided to demonstrate the capabilities of their new workshop by re-recording tracks which had appeared on albums from "Autobahn" onwards.

In the meanwhile, the supporting musicians in the band changed along the way, but the relevance of this is limited as Krafwerk will always be Hütter, Schneider and others.

"The mix" thus served several purposes in that it kept the band's name above water, it acted as a demo for the new studios and, on paper at least, it offered a sort of singles or greatest hits collection (note though that "The model", arguably thier biggest hit, is not included!). It should perhaps be emphasised that these are new recordings, not remixes as the title might these days suggest. At the time of its release though, remixes were all the rage; the title was therefore probably more than anything a marketing ploy.

Whether these recordings offer anything substantially new or different is highly questionable. Certainly "Autobahn" is cut down to a more manageable 9 minutes, and a couple of the tracks draw in samples from others which appeared on the same album. Apart from that though, the recordings here are simply updates on the originals. While they exploit the new technologies and recording techniques which were not available when the original recordings were made, this can be a double edged sword. There is no doubt that the digital recordings on show here have a cleaner, more precise sound, something which suits the clinical style of the band. At times however, the sound is rather too clean and predictable, perhaps diminishing the mood of the original piece.

The chosen tracks are among the best works of Kraftwerk, and to that end this set does work as a "Best of" collection (except for the aforementioned ommision of "The model").

Those who have yet to discover the delights of Kraftwerk will find starting here to be a rewarding experience. Those already familiar with the band do not however need to rush out in hope of discovering something substantially different.

Easy Livin | 3/5 |

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