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Kraftwerk - The Mix CD (album) cover

THE MIX

Kraftwerk

 

Progressive Electronic

2.72 | 44 ratings

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SouthSideoftheSky
Special Collaborator
Symphonic Team
2 stars From Autobahn to Electric Café in one hour

Appropriately listed here as a studio album, The Mix was something of a mix between a best of compilation and a remix album. While remix albums are usually done by someone other than the original artist, the present album is by Kraftwerk themselves; and while compilation albums usually contain a selection of previously released material, the present album contains only re-recorded versions of older songs. The basic idea seems to have been to modernize and streamline some of the group's most popular tunes and make them viable for the Dance floors of the early 90's. The base materials here are taken from the six albums that begun with Autobahn in 1974 and ended with Electric Café in 1986.

Autobahn is represented here by the title track which has been trimmed down to less than half its original length (but it still manages to be the longest track on The Mix). While I think that the original version is the best and most interesting composition ever released by Kraftwerk, this updated version is actually not bad at all and is clearly the highlight of The Mix for me. But needless to say, I still much prefer the original version. 1975's Radio-Activity is also represented by its title track. This one is interesting as they have added some extra lyrics to it in order to transform it from an unconcerned observation to a political anti-nuclear song. They have added the little word 'stop' in front of 'radio-activity' and also added names of several places where there have been nuclear disasters such as Chernobyl, Harrisburg and Hiroshima. This gives the song a whole new meaning which makes for a worthwhile update on the original song (even if I'm not at all an opponent of nuclear power as such). Besides, the album from which the original version is taken was a bit of a "nuclear disaster" in itself so The Mix is probably even preferable over that one!

Trans-Europe Express is represented by its title suite, which includes Trans-Europe Express, Abzug and Metal On Metal presented here (as on the original album) as separate tracks. Given the semi-compilation nature of The Mix maybe it would have been better to merge them into a single track? Had they done that, it would be longer than Autobahn. Trans-Europe Express is together with Autobahn the most progressive composition Kraftwerk has ever made and this version is again rather good. Like most tracks here it doesn't divert very much from its original version, but it is a fine if a bit unnecessary version of this electronic classic.

The rest of The Mix is... well, mixed. Or bland, is perhaps more accurate to say. While none of the songs taken from Man Machine, Computer World and Electric Café are bad as such, they add very little of interest to their original versions. The Robots from Man Machine opens this album and it is a rather danceable version that does very little for me. Computer World is represented by no less than four tracks, but again these are very similar to their original versions except the modern programmed beats. Finally, Electric Café is represented by Musique Non Stop (which also contains Boing Boom Tschak from the same album) and this closes The Mix. This song really feels like a remix and as such it is different from the original, but hardly better in any sense.

One of the best things about this album is actually that we don't have to listen to the ridiculous Synth Pop of The Model! Synth Pop was popular in the 80's and while Kraftwerk followed that trend then (that they originally helped inspire), in 1991, Dance music was more popular and here they follow that trend instead.

If you have the original studio albums, there is not much reason for you to get the present album. If you don't have the original albums and want to check out Kraftwerk, you would be better off going for the original albums. It is indeed hard to imagine who would benefit from the present album. Maybe those who liked the Dance music scene in the early 90's?

While not bad as such, this release is largely unnecessary and is strictly for those with special interests in this direction.

SouthSideoftheSky | 2/5 |

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