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COMPUTER WORLD (COMPUTERWELT)

Kraftwerk

Progressive Electronic


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Hangedman
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars I very rarely see Kraftwerk get any credit for the advancements they made in electronica and synth based pop. "Computer World" came out eleven years after their first recording and by the band, and at this point the style that they were pioneering was becoming to be more universal. "Computer World" (despite being only 35 minutes long) proved that Kraftwerk could more than hold their own amongst all of their new disciples. The number of times this album has been sampled is unreal.

The focus here is electronic minimalism. Electronic drums, synthesizer based (composition and just sounds). It is maddeningly catchy, and flows rather nicely with theme reprisals throughout the entire album. It is also a concept about an overtly computer based society. The lyrics are mostly just there to complement the songs, but it does all fit in conceptually even if they are enjoyably silly. This is some of the best formulaic electronica out there.

This recording is very quirky. With upbeat little synth lines, simplistic... well EVERYTHING the album all fits in nicely. The key to great electronica is repetition without becoming monotonous. This is achieved very nicely on the album. I give my guarantee that you will not get bored, this album is anything but dull.

The album, however, doesn't tread any new ground. A small complaint, but to really be blown away by something it has to do something new and appropriate. Kraftwerk was playing it safe, and just released something they knew would be good without having to take any risks. 35 minutes is also fairly short for any type of album.

"Computer Love" is an amazing track, the lyrics (although weather its bad English or intentionally bad writing is unknown to me) actually come off as well thought out if the inherent silliness is ignored. The synth is easily amongst the greatest and catchiest electronic compositions. I honestly cant help but mime the playing while I listen. "Pocket Calculator" is hilarious and lighthearted, and one would have to be a grouch not to admit they like it at least a little. The two "Computer World" tracks lay the foundation of the album and stand out, even if only because of the reprisal. "It's More Fun To Compute" would have to be the worst track because it fails to measure up to an entire album of quirky, excellent, minimalism.

If you are an electronic fan, you need this album. It manages to fit into the new electronic scene of its time, without straying from the Kraftwerk sound. Give it a spin, you'll not be disappointed

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Send comments to Hangedman (BETA) | Report this review (#34621)
Posted Wednesday, April 06, 2005 | Review Permalink
robert.murphy
5 stars this record is one of the most important electronic records. it is the sgt pepper of techno-pop. it has been sampled and borrowed to excessive limits. it is krafted to glouriously minimal limits and is still fresh to listen to today. anyone who enjoys electronic music must own this record.

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Send comments to (BETA) | Report this review (#34622)
Posted Friday, June 03, 2005 | Review Permalink
theinfiltrate
4 stars Not bad but not their best. With this one Kraftwerk follows the same style they had developed on "The Man-Machine"...no, wait, they don't! This is completely different. It seems to me this one is more "realistic" and "down to earth" than that one, with less complex melodies and so. But it's not bad, the title track is pretty cool and there's nothing wrong here, even if songs like "Computer Love" are not very inspired. "Home Computer"'s pretty nice and so is "Pocket Calculator". Not their best one but good enough as to be easily listenable thanks to it's nice textures.

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Send comments to (BETA) | Report this review (#35195)
Posted Friday, June 03, 2005 | Review Permalink
Syzygy
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Following the excellent Man Machine album, it took Kraftwerk 3 years to produce a follow up. At the time, Computer World seemed like a disappointment to some; it was less than 35 minutes long, and the track Pocket Calculator seemed like a welcome dose of humour to some and like an irritating novelty track to many. The intervening years have been kind to this album, however, and while it is not quite up to the standard of Man Machine musically, it now seems like a spookily accurate vision of the future.

The album gets off to a strong start, with 'Interpol and Deutsche Bank, FBI and Scotland Yard' being the main players in the Computer World of the title: data is king, and these are the organisations who monitor and control it. Kraftwerk were always ambiguous about the technology they wrote about, and what seemed almost like paranoia in the early 80s now seems like a remarkably accurate vision of the digital age we live in today. Pocket Calculator follows, something of a concert favourite where audience members were encouraged to play their own musical calculators and similar devices during the song. The novelty wears off pretty quickly - if they'd had sufficient material, this could have made a worthy b-side to a single, but it lets down an otherwise strong album. The first half continues with Numbers, which is the punk 1-2-3-4 intro recited in different languages (including Japanese) over a minimal electronic backing, which segues into a reprise of the main Computer World theme.

The second half of the album makes up for any shortcomings that may exist in the first. Computer Love is where Kraftwerk expose the human heart that beats somewhere inside all of their work, and the subject matter - looking for romance via the computer - again seems like a glimpse of the future, this time of chatrooms, forums and online dating. It's also a singularly heartfelt and moving piece - perhaps the best song in this style that Kraftwerk ever produced. Home Computer is another prescient song - 'I programme my home computer/Beam myself into the future' - and is another musically strong effort. The closing track, It's More Fun To Compute, is a solid Kraftwek song but not as memorable as the two tracks which precede it.

Computer World was a hugely influential album, and effectively ended a remarkable sequence which began in 1974 with Autobahn. Kraftwerk were by no means a spent force, but after this album they would never sound quite so futuristic again.

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Send comments to Syzygy (BETA) | Report this review (#45845)
Posted Tuesday, September 06, 2005 | Review Permalink
philippe
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Content Development & Krautrock Team
4 stars Kraftwerk's trademark in digital electronic "cold" music. Closed to the two previous efforts, Schneider and friends put the stress on efficient, "robotic" melodies accompanied by a very chirurgical electronic beat. My favourite from the post-70's and a supreme combination of technologies; drum machines, synth voices and computers. The title track is an other popular hymn of Kraftwerk, just as "Trans Europe Express" and others. A beautiful, oppressive, dead theme about "dehumanization" and the victory of computer control on mind, artificial intelligence...an image which illustrates the world of "Metropolis" or the novel "1984". A mechanical synth voice announces with repetition the title "Computer cold". "Pocket Calculator" is a humorous, nice track which describes the kind of "naive" funny, simplistic melody we could make with a pocket calculator..."It's more dun to compute" is an other dark, cold, abstract composition using the same kind of electronic gadgets and precise rhythms as in the opening tune. An enjoyable work and a must for electronic progheads.

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Send comments to philippe (BETA) | Report this review (#57242)
Posted Monday, November 21, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars As all Kraftwerk albums, this one has it's theme: "Computer World". Of course you can analyze this message/reflection/prediction about this "Computer World"-concept (I'll leave that up to each listener to figure out). In today's computer age, this early eighties computer visions seems quite unharmful to me. The visual concept is as in all Kraftwerk albums extremely artistic and makes the total concept homogenic. When it comes to these "total concepts", there is no band on earth that beats Kraftwerk. The tradmark "Kraftwerk" is extremely strong today and it is albums like this that has created it.

"Computer World" is the most clinical Kraftwerk album. Pure and simple, often minimalistic. The major change in comparison with previous "Man Machine" is the direction towards techno. Some even say that "Computer World" is a milestone in the developing of techno. Listen especially to "It's more fun to Compute" to hear these early techno vibes. The playing time, under 35 minutes, is a small minus about this record. But all tracks, especially the first four, "Computer World", "Pocket Calculator", "Numbers" and "Computer World pt.2" (side A on LP) fits extremely well together. These form the strongest half of the album. In my opinion "Computer World" may not be the best of Kraftwerk's albums, but it's for sure the most interesting!

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Send comments to 1971 (BETA) | Report this review (#60023)
Posted Saturday, December 10, 2005 | Review Permalink
Zac M
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars This is one of my favorite Kraftwerk albums and a highlight in the popular electronic music genre. Kraftwerk started out in a more Krautrock direction, but by Autobahn, they started using more and more electronics in their albums. While this isn't Kraftwerk's masterpiece (that award goes to The Man-Machine), it is still one of the more popular and interesting Kraftwerk releases. Also, contrary to their earlier works, this is a much more mainstream effort and an easier listen.

The songs on this album all flow together well and the album itself is somewhat conceptual, dealing with the idea of machines taking over society or something to that effect. My favorite songs here are Computerliebe and Computerwelt. Computerliebe to this day is probably my favorite Kraftwerk song. I'm not as fond as the remix on The Mix, but that's another album. Truly, there is not one weak track and definitely no filler on this very innovative album.

Kraftwerk were pioneers in the electronic music genre, and this album shows that. This is probably there most commercial and popular release and there is good reason for that. I recommend that anyone who wants to listen to Kraftwer starts here. This is a highpoint of the 80s in Progressive music, but like I said is still not quite a masterpiece. Also, if you can, get the German version (Computerwelt). I prefer the vocals in German, as they were originally released that way. Computer World is an excellent release and addition to any Prog (or pop for that matter!) collection, well deserving of four stars.

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Send comments to Zac M (BETA) | Report this review (#62280)
Posted Thursday, December 29, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars Unlike previous LPs, this is Kraftwerk predicting the future, and how. In 1981 the computer was part of society, but as a monolithic object, the preserve of business, academia, industry and the military. It would be sometime yet until the home computer was the everyday object it is now. Ironically no computers were used in the making of this LP.

Kraftwerk's oeuvre has always been to talk about everyday life, or "alltagsmusik" as Ralf Hutter has often called it. Here they predict mass communication of data (Computer World), the reductionism of technology (Pocket Calculator), Internet Dating (Computer Love), and even have time to poke a little fun at things (It's More Fun to Compute). They stripped down these concepts to simplistic ideals with a beauty that no other artist has matched. The conceptual globalisation of data is represented by the different languages used, from German and English to Italian, Russian and Japanese.

As in their previous album, Kraftwerk took these themes and allied them to a rhythmic template that would underscore much of the electronic dance music that would follow them. As T.E.E and Die Mensch Maschine were inspirational in the source of new romanticism and synthpop, so Computer World would inspire much of Detroit Techno and Electro.

The sparse but warm and pure analogue sounds that pervade this album are testament to Kraftwerk's flawless sound design and engineering. "Computer Love" in particular, whilst not only having one of Kraftwerk's finest ever melodic codas, is the sign of a band who can reject any accusation of lacking soul out of the window. And to further counterbalance the steely facade Pocket Calculator is their dance masterpiece - the sign of a band at the height of their powers, not taking themselves too seriously.

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Send comments to Bleep43 (BETA) | Report this review (#98347)
Posted Saturday, November 11, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars This album may not appeal to some prog fans, because it sounds too ' techno', but after listening to this I came to the conclusion that techno is an offshoot of progressive music, much like ambient and world music are. For me what mnake this album a masterpiece and a milestone is of course thew share innovation and influence on (you guessed it) on techno. But there is still a strong sense of proginess in terms of it beiong a concept album, and the extended rhythms that hint back to Kraftwerk's Krautrock past. What I like about this album is it's powerful rhythms, its computerised concepts and mmusical sound effects such as the calculator tune on Poket Calculator, or else the various voices counting that are also used as an instrument. What also makes this a classic is that fact that it's not only a dance album but also an artsy one made for you to think about the concept as well as Kraftwerk's odd sense of humour. I love the atmosphere of the keyboards and the mechanical ideas. If you listen to this album with an open mind then you'll realise the scope and diversity of prog, and also Kraftwerk's innovation in the music scene. Sadly many of these innovations have become cliches in the tehno world, but that happens in genres its happened to many contemporary Symphonic Rock bands, using the innovations of Yes and Genesis. I makes me think if Kraftwerk pioneered techno and techno bands that appeared as a result of Kraftwerk aren't considered prog; then perhaps, if bands such as Yes and Genesis pioneered Symphonic rock, perhaps then contemporary Symphonic rock shouldn't be considered prog but merely an innovation of prog alongside, world music, ambient etc. I'll leave that thought to the forums. Anyway a real inspired effort and Kraftwerk's last classic album, 5 stars, just be opened minded and prepare to question what you consider prog to be.

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Send comments to Cheesecakemouse (BETA) | Report this review (#139700)
Posted Saturday, September 22, 2007 | Review Permalink
ZowieZiggy
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars This work is some sort of a return of their earlier days: minimalist and too repetitive to my taste.

Even if the band used the fans to its electronic and hypnotic beats up here, the typical sounds from the eighties are very much present and difficult to apprehend in my case.

The hardest moment being Nummern'' as far as I'm concerned. The band gets back to fine melodic instants like during the good old days with the title track. Catchy, pop, attractive. This is ''Kraftwerk'' at his best, but unfortunately ''Computerwelt'' is rather short.

Some melancholy or even sadness with ''Computer Liebe'' also conveys a better musical feeling. But the global mood is disappointment: three years after the excellent ''Man Machine'' were needed to release this follow-up. But the great ''Kraftwerk'' spirit seems to be gone by now.

This album is certainly harder to approach for prog fans. A good electronic album: that's what it is. As such I will upgrade my rating to three stars (from five out of ten really).

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Send comments to ZowieZiggy (BETA) | Report this review (#200462)
Posted Saturday, January 24, 2009 | Review Permalink
UMUR
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars "Computer World (Computerwelt)" is the 8th full-length studio album by German experimental electronic pop/rock act Kraftwerk. The album was released through Kling Klang/EMI/Warner Bros. in May 1981. The group´s last two albums "Trans-Europe Express (Trans-Europa Express) (1977)" and "The Man-Machine (Die Mensch-Maschine) (1978)" impressed me greatly and I find them both excellent electronic pop albums. With "Computer World (Computerwelt)", Kraftwerk enters the eighties and take full advantage of the new electronic devices available at that point.

The music is electronic pop with repetitive and at times hypnotic trance like electronic beats, simple and memorable synth motifs and processed robotic vocals. The themes are not as memorable as on the two excellent predecessors though and upon initial listens I found myself to be a bit disappointed by "Computer World (Computerwelt)". I´ve grown to appreciate it a bit more after repeated listens but to my ears it doesn´t reach the heights of "Trans-Europe Express (Trans-Europa Express) (1977)" or "The Man-Machine (Die Mensch-Maschine) (1978)". It´s a fairly short album with a playing time of 34:32 minutes distributed over 7 tracks. My major complaint about the album is probably the sound which is not at all as edgy as the sound on the two predecessors. "Computer World (Computerwelt)" features a more "soft" sound production and it´s like the tracks pass by without leaving much of an impact. My attention occasionally wanders and the music becomes pleasant background music instead of music I´m paying real attention to.

While "Computer World (Computerwelt)" doesn´t appeal as much to me as it´s two predecessors do, it´s still a pretty good and pleasant electronic pop album deserving a 3 (60%) star rating. As a new listener I would start with the two predecessors though.

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Send comments to UMUR (BETA) | Report this review (#241951)
Posted Tuesday, September 29, 2009 | Review Permalink
Bonnek
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Prog Metal Team
4 stars Three years have passed since Man Machine and the world had changed. Countless synth-based new wave bands like Ultravox, Gary Numan, Simple Minds, Depeche Mode and New Order had picked up on the blueprint created by Kraftwerk. So how would Kraftwerk answer to that?

Well, simply by continuing to do what they had always been doing: stay true to their principles and look further ahead. With Computer World and Computer Love they delivered strong synth-pop songs like they had on the preceding albums. (By the way, didn't Coldplay nick the theme from Computer World for one of their own hits?)

But with songs like Numbers, Home Computer and It's More Fun To Compute they delivered a new outline for later generations. Numbers is pure industrial in my ears, be it done in the usual gentle Kraftwerk way. The main thing Ministry and Nine Inch Nails had to add was to make it louder.

The two closing tracks list among my favourite Kraftwerk tunes and they announce techno in a big way. Front 242, Underworld, Orbital and many generations after them would emphasise the entrancing beats, grooves and the typical synth sequences/bleeps that appear here.

As Umur already pointed out, the sound is generally too soft and muffled here. I had hoped the 2009 remaster would solve this but it didn't. Luckily my favourite tracks also appear on Minimum Maximum in an enhanced format. Anyway, boost the bass and treble and you have another masterpiece. Even at a length of 35 minutes I'm tempted to the maximum rate again.

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Send comments to Bonnek (BETA) | Report this review (#251748)
Posted Thursday, November 19, 2009 | Review Permalink
AtomicCrimsonRush
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Symphonic Team
5 stars Program your home computer to beam yourself into the future...

Kraftwerk are one of the first prog bands I got into along with Pink Floyd and as such I am sentimental about their music having heard it as a small child. It floored me then and it continues to floor me today. The music is so cold and clammy and techno futurist it is easy to see why they influenced me so much as a sci fi and prog enthusiast. This album features some of their best material and is almost flawless.

The title track is a real treasure with some of the quirkiest lyrics 'Interpol and Deutsch bank, FBI and Scotland Yard... Computer World'. I love the techno riffs and computerise vocals. Stirring stuff and we return to this at the end of side one (vinyl). 'pocket calculator' never grabbed me and 'Numbers' was a throwaway in my opinion that taught me how to count in various languages if nothing else, although the band treasure it as a live favourite.

Side 2 is absolutely brilliant and features all my favourite tracks. 'Computer Love' has an infectious melody, so much so that Coldplay stole it and it became a huge hit for them recently. Other highlights are 'It's More Fun To Compute' with a Dr Who sound effect and lengthy instrumental section that is progressive and incredibly mechanised, sounding at times like a printer shunting back n forth fighting with a computer game. The mechanisation of the music is well ahead of techno and ambient rock. 'Home Computer' is a wonderful track that informs you that he has programmed his computer to "beam myself into the future". That's about the size of it really, and the rest is hyper computer effects and techno percussion to the max.

Overall this has to be one of the definitive Kraftwerk electro prog albums and deserves 5 stars as a result.

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Send comments to AtomicCrimsonRush (BETA) | Report this review (#276782)
Posted Wednesday, April 07, 2010 | Review Permalink
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.

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Send comments to Easy Livin (BETA) | Report this review (#293347)
Posted Wednesday, August 04, 2010 | Review Permalink
SouthSideoftheSky
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Symphonic Team
3 stars I program my home computer, beam myself into the past

Computer World was released the same year that I was born. My mother owned this album on vinyl LP and I used to love it when I was a child and often requested her to play it in the house. My younger sister and her husband are both big Kraftwerk fans and their albums are often played at our frequent family gatherings! Their three year old son is obsessed with trains and loves to watch Trans-Europe Express on the Minimum Maximum DVD. Sorry for this autobiographical detour.

I actually still enjoy this album to the present day (even if not in the same way that I like most other music I like) and not purely for reasons of nostalgia. The progressive compositions like Autobahn and Trans-Europe Express were a thing of the past at this point and so were the mindless noise experiments of Radio-Activity. This is rather catchy electronic Pop music, but more elaborated than The Model. The sound consists to 100 % of electronic blips and beeps and the only "human" element are the vocals (many of which are processed though some device to sound "robotic"). This creates a quite mechanical and sound (which is probably exactly what they were aiming for here). The only thing that keeps it from sounding too cold and sterile is the melodies. And the humour!

Like those previous Kraftwerk albums, this one too is conceptual and the concept is not hard to figure out; it's about computers. No less than five of the seven tracks have 'computer' and 'compute' in their titles. It is very hard for me to take this music seriously, but it is fun and enjoyable. Kraftwerk had a sense of humour that most of their followers like Depeche Mode completely lacked. Lyrics like "It's more fun to compute" and "I'm the operator with my pocket calculator" are simply hilarious. Computer Love is very interesting as it describes a future that is a reality today, in an age when many people employ dating websites to meet people. They sing "I call this number for a data date"! It is hard not to giggle at such crude lyrics but it is equally hard not to be impressed by the group's ability to see into the future. We do indeed live in a "computer world" today, and Kraftwerk seems to have predicted that some 29 years ago!

Overall, this is a rather pleasant and entertaining album even if it holds much less interest for fans of progressive music as compared to albums like Autobahn and Trans-Europe Express.

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Send comments to SouthSideoftheSky (BETA) | Report this review (#293774)
Posted Sunday, August 08, 2010 | Review Permalink
colorofmoney91
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Computerwelt is one of the Kraftwerk albums that I didn't really get into until recently, but now that I'm into it, it is suprisingly gloomy in sound. One thing that's always stood out to me on Kraftwerk recordings is how dead everything sounds - it's all extremely robotic besides the vocals, which are even vocoded occasionally. This effect stands out very well on this album. The robotic melodies are very short and precise, and sometimes even quite catchy. Of course the "dead" sound doesn't have to mean that the music is pessimistic. On the contrary - "Taschenrechner (Pocket Calculator)" is quite cold and dead, giving off the impression of dead and cold machinery that is also fun. Some of the material here is very pre-dance-electro, and seems very much like a predecessor to modern groups like Autechre or Aphex Twin.

I'm sure anyone looking for a good start in progressive electronic would find this enjoyable, as would many progressive rock fans looking for some generally good music.

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Send comments to colorofmoney91 (BETA) | Report this review (#437913)
Posted Friday, April 22, 2011 | Review Permalink
Warthur
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Kraftwerk were no longer alone in the synth-pop field, but with this album they showed that of all those experimenting in this area only they were able to laugh at themselves. Playing up their robotic image to the extreme and full of early-1980s home computer noises, the album is simultaneously a quaint memento from a time when home computers were often seen as rich nerds' toys and at the same time a clear-sighted assessment of the potential of the computer age. With sonic experiments verging on the industrial - featuring beeps and boops which would eventually be adopted by the likes of Ministry and Nine Inch Nails in their more electronic moments - it marks the close of Kraftwerk's most creatively successful period.

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Send comments to Warthur (BETA) | Report this review (#568086)
Posted Tuesday, November 15, 2011 | Review Permalink
b_olariu
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars Computer welt or Computer world is the first studio album Kraftewerk released in the ;80's, issued in 1981 after 3 years pause. To me this one is in same league with predecesor, while not so popular or inventive as previous one. Same attitude pop electronic experimental music with prog touches, this album is maybe little mature then before works. Anybody knows that the '80's was the decade of pop and all the subgenres emerged from pop with additional experimental electronic keyboards aproach by some bands. Kraftewek manage to survive and above all manage to create again a good album showing that they are still in bussines after a decade of non mainstream music and being quite original most of the time. They were and still is the fathers of electronic music, the computer that just take wings in early '80's is succesfuly integrated in this album, with distorded vocal arrangemnts, a rythmic passages, mechanica sound in the end so Kraftwerk , musicaly speaking. Not a bad album at all, but as I said on previous review this is not my kind of music I want to hear daily, but from time to time I can experiment a little bit and hearing this unusual for my taste music. 3 stars, fairly good but with lack of emotional spirit.

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Send comments to b_olariu (BETA) | Report this review (#640049)
Posted Friday, February 24, 2012 | Review Permalink

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