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Kraftwerk - Autobahn CD (album) cover

AUTOBAHN

Kraftwerk

 

Progressive Electronic

3.49 | 206 ratings

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Alucard
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars 'Autobahn' was released in 1974 and was 'Kraftwerk's' fourth album. While the first three records moved on a common ground of avantgarde-electronic music, 'Autobahn' would not only take a differebt direction , but introduced a musical revolution that still shows it's effects today.

In the beginning of 1974 the group decided to buy a 'Mini-Moog'( a more affordable version of his big brother), but at this time still a big investement. Now the 'Moog' was either used for athmospheric music like the one of 'Tangerine Dream' or early 'Popol Vuh' or for Pop-music like 'Popcorn', the infamous 'Hot Butter' hit in 1972. (or in the case of Wendy Carlos classical adaptions) .

'Kraftwerk' were more interested in the 'pop'-potential of synthesized music and in particular the fonction of the sequenzer allowing to create rhythmic and /or melodic patterns. Remember, in this time the music industry still smiled at this 'electronic gadget' and the non-music produced by it, but 'Kraftwerk' already saw the concept of de-humanized robot music-, music played by machines, quite an avant-garde concept in the time of keyboard wizzards playing scales at increasing speed up and down the keyboard.

Side One contains the long title track 'Autobahn'. The theme of the endlessly enfolding motorway fitted quite nicely with the monoton rhythmic pattern. The German artist Emil Schult, long time friend of 'Kraftwerk', designed the cover, a naive painting of a typical German highway with a VW beetle, the average man's car on the right lane and a Mercedes, a rich man's car on the left lane and the sun glowing in the corner, an ironic comment on the after war Germany.

The long track had a quite traditional verse chorus song form stretched out to 22 minutes interwoven with car noises.The vocals followed the same irony as the cover, an simple catch phrase "Wir fahr'n, fahr'n, fahr'n auf der Autobahn" (We drive, drive, drive on the motorway), sounding strangely like 'fun, fun, fun auf der Autobahn.(and getting them the nick name of the German Beach Boys inthe States) The simple song structure made it easy to reduce the long track to a single( one of the reasons for the huge success of the record in the states, BTW the first single with German lyrics to show up in the charts reaching number 25,(the LP stayed number 5 for 22 weeks!!) , with big airplay on FM and AM radios, and showing that the Americans were much more sensible to 'Kraftwerk's pop-potential, while 'Kraftwerk' had difficulties to change their image in Germany.

Side two is a continuation of the first 3 records. 'Kometenmelodie 1 and 2' both build around a simple melody line K1, a slow version and K2 an uptempo 'dance tune'. 'Mitternacht' is a short athmospheric track la 'Tangerine Dream ' and 'Morgenspaziergang' a tongue in cheek illustration of a 'mornig walk in the sunshine'.

'Autobahn' was going to be a blueprint for every kind of intelligent dance music to come and influenced namely Bowie, Eno , Front 242 , the whole Chicago-Hous- scene up to Techno and other forms of pop music.

A masterpiece and one of the most important records of the 70's.

Alucard | 5/5 |

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