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KRAFTWERK

Progressive Electronic • Germany


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Kraftwerk picture
Kraftwerk biography
Remaining one of the most influential bands in the history of popular music, we mustn't forget that KRAFTWERK typical sound is the result of many years and decades of experimentations, continuous works and researches in the possibilities offered by the acoustic, electronic and rock instruments.

In 1968, the two original members (Florian Schneider and Ralf Hutter, two longstanding friends) formed ORGANISATION. The famous German producer Conny Plank helped them to record their first album "Tone Float". Historically this album figures among the first albums released in the Krautrock genre, next to recordings from CAN, AMON DUUL, TANGERINE DREAM. The tone is floating but above all largely dominated by long, free improvisations, mixing organs, electronic experimentations with acoustic percussions.

During the year 1970, R. Hutter and F. Schneider dissolved the band to form KRAFTWERK whose name means power station (in German). Klaus Dinger and Andreas Hokman join the band and record an album called "Kraftwerk". Very minimalist, the record's cover is a perfect illustration of a repetitive music made of sound manipulations, punctuated by the flute and the electronic organ parts. The atmosphere is slightly "garage", a bit noisy, sometimes ethereal and spacey (Megahertz). At this time, the band's reputation remains discreet, despite a certain success. One year later in 1971, Klaus Dinger leaves the band to form NEU! with Michael Rother. "Kraftwerk 2" is released the same year and pursues on the way defined by the previous album (a lot of experimental guitar parts, distorted sounds, repetitive rhythms, gradual process.).

In 1973, Florian Schneider decides to put the stress on electronic percussions and contemporary sound researches. "Ralf & Florian" marks a turning point in the band's career. The melodies and the sound used begins more and more pop orientated despite that the recordings strive to bring to the fore the talent of Schneider and Hutter as musicians. In 1974, a new start announces the creation of the "Kling Klang" studio; a small laboratory entirely devoted to advanced electronic researches and investments in new synthesisers. In the album "Autobahn" the Mini Moog and others synthesisers supplant definitely the improvisations and the aleatoric experimentations.

With captivated and very efficient melodies this album is the first of a long commercial success for the band. The ba...
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3-D: The Catalogue (8CD Box Set)3-D: The Catalogue (8CD Box Set)
Box set
Atlantic 2017
$40.80
$57.51 (used)
AutobahnAutobahn
Warner Bros./Parlophone 2009
$18.94
$18.94 (used)
The Man Machine 2009 Digital RemasterThe Man Machine 2009 Digital Remaster
Parlophone 2009
$10.00
$15.31 (used)
Trans Europe ExpressTrans Europe Express
Warner Bros./Parlophone 2009
$22.17
$23.25 (used)
12345678 3-D12345678 3-D
Atlantic 2018
$10.79
$11.64 (used)
3-D: The Catalogue (Blu-ray + DVD)3-D: The Catalogue (Blu-ray + DVD)
Blu-ray
Atlantic 2017
$25.24
$29.89 (used)
Computer WorldComputer World
Emi Import 2013
$26.10
$19.99 (used)
Expo 2000 [Vinyl]Expo 2000 [Vinyl]
EMI Import 2000
$39.99 (used)
Tour De France 2009 Digital RemasterTour De France 2009 Digital Remaster
Parlophone 2009
$21.68
$24.98 (used)
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KRAFTWERK discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

KRAFTWERK top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.34 | 142 ratings
Kraftwerk
1970
3.15 | 109 ratings
Kraftwerk 2
1971
3.51 | 105 ratings
Ralf & Florian
1973
3.52 | 298 ratings
Autobahn
1974
3.17 | 185 ratings
Radio-Activity [Aka: Radio-Aktivität]
1975
3.90 | 305 ratings
Trans-Europe Express [Aka: Trans-Europa Express]
1977
3.95 | 355 ratings
The Man-Machine [Aka: Die Mensch-Maschine]
1978
3.84 | 236 ratings
Computer World [Aka: Computerwelt]
1981
2.40 | 102 ratings
Electric Café [Aka: Techno Pop]
1986
3.32 | 96 ratings
Tour De France Soundtracks
2003

KRAFTWERK Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.84 | 18 ratings
Concert Classics
1998
3.36 | 52 ratings
Minimum Maximum
2005

KRAFTWERK Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

3.92 | 34 ratings
Minimum Maximum
2005
3.92 | 12 ratings
Kraftwerk And The Electronic Revolution
2008

KRAFTWERK Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.15 | 10 ratings
Kraftwerk (1 and 2)
1972
3.00 | 1 ratings
Kraftwerk 2
1975
1.38 | 11 ratings
Exceller 8
1975
3.67 | 3 ratings
Pop Lions - Autobahn
1976
3.00 | 6 ratings
Doppelalbum
1976
0.00 | 0 ratings
Kometenmelodie 2 (Compilation)
1976
0.00 | 0 ratings
Kraftwerk 1
1977
3.33 | 3 ratings
Highrail
1979
2.84 | 67 ratings
The Mix
1991
3.50 | 2 ratings
The Model
1994
4.00 | 4 ratings
The Capitol Years: Three Originals
1994
0.00 | 0 ratings
The Best Of Kraftwerk
1995
0.00 | 0 ratings
Kraftwerk (Box Set)
1997
4.70 | 14 ratings
The Catalogue
2009

KRAFTWERK Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

0.00 | 0 ratings
Ruckzack
1970
3.79 | 6 ratings
Kohoutek - Kometenmelodie
1973
4.75 | 5 ratings
Kometenmelodie 2
1974
0.00 | 0 ratings
Mitternacht / Morgenspaziergang
1974
4.00 | 3 ratings
Trans Europa Express
1977
4.00 | 1 ratings
Showroom Dummies
1977
3.00 | 1 ratings
Les Mannequins
1977
4.50 | 2 ratings
Das Model
1978
0.00 | 0 ratings
Die Roboter
1978
4.15 | 8 ratings
Neon Lights
1978
0.00 | 0 ratings
Computerwelt
1981
0.00 | 0 ratings
Numbers
1981
0.00 | 0 ratings
Taschenrechner
1981
0.00 | 0 ratings
Computer Love
1981
4.19 | 16 ratings
Tour De France
1983
4.00 | 1 ratings
Musique Non Stop
1986
0.00 | 0 ratings
Der Telefon Anruf
1987
4.13 | 8 ratings
Die Roboter
1991
0.00 | 0 ratings
Robotnik
1991
5.00 | 1 ratings
Showroom Dummies (1992 Single)
1992
0.00 | 0 ratings
Homecomputer
1997
1.56 | 7 ratings
Expo 2000
1999
4.00 | 6 ratings
Expo 2000 (Remix)
2000
3.57 | 7 ratings
Expo Remix
2001
3.71 | 7 ratings
Tour De France 2003
2003
3.00 | 1 ratings
Elektro Kardiogramm
2003
2.35 | 7 ratings
Aerodynamik
2007

KRAFTWERK Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Radio-Activity [Aka: Radio-Aktivität] by KRAFTWERK album cover Studio Album, 1975
3.17 | 185 ratings

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Radio-Activity [Aka: Radio-Aktivität]
Kraftwerk Progressive Electronic

Review by SonomaComa1999

2 stars REVIEW #12 - "Radio-Aktivitat" by Kraftwerk (1975). 07/28/2018

I have to decided to do a new series of reviews based on this site's random album generator, and this was the first one that came up. Now I admit I had never heard of Kraftwerk prior to stumbling upon this album; I was surprised to see that they have a pretty decent following and are well known (at least in Europe). Receiving almost ubiquitous critical acclaim for pioneering electronic music, this German band which was founded by members Florian Schneider and Ralf Hutter rose out of the city of Dusseldorf during the Cold War, which had split the once proud German nation into two shells of its former self, the capitalist West and the communist East. Prior to the release of their 1975 album "Radio-Aktivitat", they had achieved mainstream commercial success with the album "Autobahn".

There is a recurring theme which surrounds this album, that being the concept of electricity and its functions. Although the album's title, which translates to "radioactivity", may be perceived as having nuclear connotations, it rather serves as a pun to refer to radios (Radio activity, or the activity of radios). As opposed to previous Kraftwerk albums, the band relies almost entirely on electronic sounds, which makes for a rather quaint futuristic sound while remaining nostalgic. Think of how the video game series Fallout was set in the future, but still retained an element of 1950's culture which allowed it to have this alternate reality; Kraftwerk's album has the same dynamic, but with the bleak and tense atmosphere of Cold War Europe and the 1970's. It makes for a rather homely sound which does not sound too disturbing or radical, almost like what people would have expected what society was like in the year 2018 back in 1975. "Radio-Aktivitat" was Kraftwerk's first album to top the charts, doing so in the nearby nation of France.

The album is opened with the sound of a geiger counter, which subliminally refers to the literal interpretation of the album name. This is considered its own track, but segues rather flawlessly into the first true song, which is the title track and the lone single to come off the album. Just like the album, it performed very well in France as a single, and further pushed the band into prominence. We are introduced to the Kraftwerk style of music, which relies upon recurring themes and motifs of electronic music coupled with rather repetitive phrases of lyrics. The band lyrically shifts back and forth between the concept of radio waves and radioactive decay between the sinister and foreboding tone of the digital background. Making prolific use of electric drums and synth, as well as some morse code which repeats the song name, we are treated to a rather fitting introduction to the album which basically encompasses what we are to hear going forward. I will admit that electronic music is not a niche of mine, but this is a fine song. The same can be said for the next tune "Radioland" which focuses the themes towards the short-wave radio, a device used by Germans on both sides of the Iron Curtain to communicate with each other during one of the modern world's most tumultuous and fear-inducing conflicts. Through the band's music you can feel the reserved atmosphere of the German nation as it is carried along in the rapids of what seemed like a never-ending stand off between the United States and Soviet Union. I particularly liked this tune as it had a much more comfy tone to it as opposed to the opener; both Schneider and Hutter share vocals on this track, and vocal distortion is used to spice things up. Continuing on with the concept, the band shifts the topic over towards modern forms of radio communication with "Airwaves" which is a more fast-paced and active tune that introduces another new sound to the listener. I could say that this tune is maybe more optimistic than the previous two, while it still retains this avant-garde mischievous sound that the band seems to have a bit of a knack for. One problem I have early on is that the band is relying on this rather long songs which largely lean on an almost homogeneous sound, which tends to get rather boring past the half-way point. "Airwaves" is the perhaps the greatest offender yet, although it will by no means be the worst by the end of the album. To salvage this issue, the band is not being outright annoying with these sounds, and we get another moment of quaint cold-war nostalgia with the segue into an intermission followed by two more short tracks which include a spoken word news report on radioactivity as well as a brief scientific interlude to open the second side of the album.

Here's where things begin to deteriorate for this album. The second side of "Radio-Aktivitat" in my humble opinion is a total flop. While "Antenna" is an okay yet once again repetitive dance-oriented synth-pop tune which fits in with what we were exposed to on the first side, what perhaps take the cake for being the most annoying song on the album is the three and a half-minute "Radio Waves", which consists of nothing more than a very annoying bubbly synth motif with some overlaying vocals. I wouldn't doubt that if the KGB stole information from the West Germans, they would have stolen this track and used it to torture East German political dissidents. That's how bad this tune is; it is a mere waste of your time to listen to; I really can't see how anyone could rationally like this. It's supposed to be about pulsars and quasars, but this was not evident upon my several listens of this album - I guess it's because I can't speak German. Anyway with that behind us, we move on to the shorter "Uranium" which really is not much of a reprieve from the noise that just assaulted my ear drums. The band breaks out the Orchestron for some more weird avant- garde sounds in tandem with some more equally weird distorted vocals. I would qualify this as more of an ambient tune, hammering down the fact we have gone completely off the beaten path from where we were just five minutes ago. Thankfully this is not as long as the abomination which preceded it, and the subsequent "Transistor" is a return to that homely feel that I have sort of have grown to appreciate from this album. Wrapping things off is the closing track "Ohm Sweet Ohm", which is an extension of that feeling, going almost six minutes in a more accessible tone that allowed me to complete the album without wanting to rip my head off. While it ends the album decently, it really isn't that much of a consolation for what is an obviously weak second side.

I tried listening to "Radio-Aktivitat" several times given my lack of familiarity with electronic music. However, this album just never really grew on me outside of the first side; I hesitate to even call it progressive outside of the literal definition of moving music forward. Sure we have an interesting concept related to electricity and radioactivity, but it ultimately falls flat under a lot of synth and avant-garde mush that gradually grows tiring. This album barely falls short of forty minutes, but it feels like an hour at least just based on the sheer repetitive nature of the content. I was surprised to see that this album actually charted here on America's Billboard 200 album charts, although it only hit #140 as opposed to #1 in France, #4 in Austria, and #22 in the band's native Germany. I had never heard of Kraftwerk up until now, and while I will still give their other albums an opportunity in the future if I stumble upon them, I am not impressed. For their 1975 offering, I will give it a two-star (66% - D) rating; this is rather generic and boring electronic music, with only one real listenable side. I would only really recommend this for fans of the electronic music genre, as they may find some sort of sympathy for it. I will prefer to stick to my analog guitar and symphonic vocals, thank you very much.

 The Man-Machine [Aka: Die Mensch-Maschine] by KRAFTWERK album cover Studio Album, 1978
3.95 | 355 ratings

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The Man-Machine [Aka: Die Mensch-Maschine]
Kraftwerk Progressive Electronic

Review by WFV

4 stars There's a story by Steve Hillage where he states before one of his concerts in a club setting in '77 there was a disco party for young people, and the DJ had an advance copy of Man-Machine. Hillage watched the young people dance to Spacelab and We are the Robots played by the DJ over and over again. He said to Miquette "If young people are dancing to Kraftwerk, electronic dance music must be the music of the future".

How true. It took me a long time to appreciate this record, and finally it was pow! I can hear Man Machine in pop music from all over the world, especially Europe and even USA acts like Madonna and Prince. These guys were really onto something and knew it. Even their enigmatic appearance and interviews and image were highly influential. I think Kraftwerk can stake a claim as the second most important post Elvis Presley act in popular music behind the Beatles.

Diatribe over, this is an electropop album of the highest order and Kraftwerk at their peak. It's a pop masterpiece, not a prog one. In fact, because of the spin off genres that came from Kraftwerk like New Wave and Synthpop this may be the record that stuck a knife into the golden age of prog.

 Computer World [Aka: Computerwelt] by KRAFTWERK album cover Studio Album, 1981
3.84 | 236 ratings

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Computer World [Aka: Computerwelt]
Kraftwerk Progressive Electronic

Review by MaxnEmmy

5 stars This album was a true breakthrough for Kraftwerk as they become extremely popular in the early 1980's after this release. The compositions are tight and fun to listen to. They peaked on this album as evidenced by the fact they play these tracks 40 years later, and they still sound fresh and innovative. This album should be regarded in the time it was made, as it was well ahead of it's time in electronic realization. The band was hitting it out of the park and they made music "non stop". Unbelievable synthesis and control, what more could you want from the next generation of Milton Babbitt and Karl Hienz Stockhausen, who invented the genre.
 Computer World [Aka: Computerwelt] by KRAFTWERK album cover Studio Album, 1981
3.84 | 236 ratings

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Computer World [Aka: Computerwelt]
Kraftwerk Progressive Electronic

Review by Modrigue
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Kraftwerk's second best album

After 3 years of silence from the Germans, "Computer World" carries two heavy responsibilities. The first one is to take over from its iconic predecessor, "The Man-Machine". However, even more difficult is the second one: to open a whole new decade, the 80's, often slippery for 70's prog bands and not particularly tender for electronic music. Will KRAFTWERK succeed at fulfil these two complicated missions? So will the musicians continue to be still pioneering and pertinent in 1981? Pretty much.

Although the band had made vocations emerge for numerous young new-wave formations, and despite the style was beginning to gain huge popularity, KRAFTWERK do not follow this path. Keeping its pioneering status, the synth-pop fathers continue to pave the way for future genres to come. As a result, "Computer World" is one of their most influential release, especially for the techno genre, but also for other styles such as breakdance and even hip- hop. Featuring their coldest titles, the compositions were still ahead of their time for 1981.

Furthermore, this opus is - alongside "Tour de France Soundtracks" - the one where the thematic is the most explored all along the tracks. Personal computers were beginning to populate houses, as numerical devices, and electronic instruments were more and more common in popular music. Nowadays, the relations between human and algorithms still remains an important actuality topic.

Concerning quality and inspiration, the Germans manage to evolve again and to propose pleasant tracks on "Computer World", even if some of them are a little redundant, contrarily to its great predecessor...

Side 1 is overall nice but surprisingly not the most interesting. The title track is a very good opener and carries well its name with its synthetic blips. Cool! The playful "Pocket Calculator", whose variation is listed as "Dentaku" - its Japanese translation - at concerts, offers a few video-game sonorities but is rather monotonous and tends to become a little repetitive. The weakest passage of the album. The enigmatic "Numbers" sounds like a ramshackle calculation machine and introduces "Computer World 2", a short aerial variation of the title song.

Side 2 is the best. The soft futuristic synth-pop ballad "Computer Love" possesses some Asian accents, like YELLOW MAGIC ORCHESTRA, the Japanese KRAFTWERK. This catchy title, depicting the loneliness of the man besides his computer, will even be covered by the rock band COLDPLAY in "Talk", from their 2005 record "X&Y". On the opposite, the dark beat of "Home Computer" is simply terrific, with a mysterious decomposing electronic loop reminding "The Hall of Mirrors". Furthermore, its follow-up "It's More Fun To Compute" is even more icy and thrilling! These two tracks will be remixed by numerous bands...

At the dawn of the 80's, as other KRAFTWERK releases, "Computer World" does not follow the new-wave flow, but instead shows the way for the genres to come, more modern and innovative. No wonder the Germans has inspired Detroit Techno with their futuristic sonorities and robotic beats. A page has been definitely turned and a new chapter is about to begin.

Unfortunately, this will be the last truly influential and impacting album of the Düsseldorf pioneers. After that, the musicians will be less inspired and visionary.

Although a bit dated nowadays and not as essential as "The Man-Machine", "Computer World" still remains a fun and very good pre-techno disc, as well as their most danceable! Very recommended to electronic music lovers!

 The Man-Machine [Aka: Die Mensch-Maschine] by KRAFTWERK album cover Studio Album, 1978
3.95 | 355 ratings

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The Man-Machine [Aka: Die Mensch-Maschine]
Kraftwerk Progressive Electronic

Review by Modrigue
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Kraftwerk's best album

4.5 stars

Seventh studio opus by the Düsseldorf music workers, "The Man-Machine" is the first and only one to feature only original and structured songs. This tune, the band has finally refined its formula and fully focused on every title: no more experimentations, no more fillers (such as the middle tracks on "Radio-Activity") and no variations from existing themes (such as "Metal On Metal" on "Trans-Europe Express"). Clean and precise. The result is simply one of the most successful achievement of electronica in history, pioneering for the 70's and highly influential for the decades to come.

By exploring the concept of interaction between man and machine, KRAFTWERK reaches its pinnacle of his retro- futuristic ambitions, musically speaking, and instrumentally too. Way ahead of its time, this clever mixture of cold robotic sonorities with catchy melodies foreshadows multiple genres, such as techno, new-wave, synth-pop, and will become a huge success all over the world. "The Man-Machine" also marks the first participation of drummer Karl Bartos at composition.

The first side is just gorgeous. I was blown away when I discover "The Robots" and its futuristic ramshackle electro pulse. This is nearly techno... in the 70's! An anomaly, a genuine sonic meteorite, truly innovative at a time progressive electronic was just turning melodic and becoming accessible to people. This sounds even more modern than 80's new-wave and house music! Needless to say more, simply my favorite KRAFTWERK song ever! After a mysterious introduction, the dreamy "Spacelab" will softly transport you in orbit. Supported by a disco beat à la Giorgio Moroder, this classy relaxing track is a real little trip to space. Beautiful! Certainly a reference to Fritz Lang's well-known science-fiction movie, "Metropolis" is on the contrary dark and oppressive, well transcribing the retro- futuristic vibe of the city. You're running through the Kafkaian city escaping an invisible threat, like Blade Runner, a few years before! The unexpected rhythm change is great, this section has maybe inspired Chris Huelsbeck for his "Turrican" video-game soundtracks.

The second side is also good but contains a few lengthy moments. Released as a single, "The Model" is a deliciously retro catchy synth-pop tune, foreshadowing DEPECHE MODE and new-wave during the following decade. Surprisingly, although KRAFTWERK contributed to its birth, the band won't follow the genre, even in the 80's, remaining faithful to their techno-pop direction. Longest title of the disc, the floating "Neon Lights" is also the slowest. Synthesizers display an enchanting and ethereal atmosphere, slightly evolving through nice crystalline additions. Pleasant, although a bit long. The album concludes with its title song, which is unfortunately the only average passage of the record. Quite odd, as, since "Autobahn", all title songs were the best tracks of their respective opuses. This robotic tune is rather fun and playful at the beginning, but repeats itself without much variations and therefore tends to become a little monotonous.

Anyway, "The Man-Machine" remains KRAFTWERK's artistic summit and a visionary disc. By polishing their formula on each track and applying delicious melodies on futuristic sonorities, the German delivers here the best electronic pop album of the 70's, fully opening new horizons for numerous artists for the years to come.

A milestone, the one to start with if you don't know the band, and simply essential for anyone interested in electronic music in general!

 Minimum Maximum by KRAFTWERK album cover DVD/Video, 2005
3.92 | 34 ratings

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Minimum Maximum
Kraftwerk Progressive Electronic

Review by rdtprog
Special Collaborator Metal / Heavy / RPI / Symph Prog Team

4 stars If this is the future of concerts music, we should stop hiring humans to play those instruments, because we can just program our music and let the machines do the rest. Oh, yes we still have to push a few buttons... And to give a good impression to the audience, we still need some animations to go along with the music. Let's say that if you have heard many times "the guys were static on stage", you haven't seen anything yet here. So what's the point of looking at this concert? It's a way of testing your home theater to hear the impressive display of the surround sound blasting your rears speakers with special effects and keyboards sounds. Oh, yes there is the music, cold, repetitive, poppy, the perfect robot music! I wonder at times if these guys were human, they seem to talk. I am sure that they are making a parody of robotic music where we can't be sure that the music here has been created by humans... Did I forgot to say that that we have here in 2 hours of music great compositions by one of the most influential bands of that genre.4 robots!
 Trans-Europe Express [Aka: Trans-Europa Express] by KRAFTWERK album cover Studio Album, 1977
3.90 | 305 ratings

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Trans-Europe Express [Aka: Trans-Europa Express]
Kraftwerk Progressive Electronic

Review by admireArt
Prog Reviewer

2 stars A highly cheesy approach to synth pop which found its way to trascend through an awesome iconic like visual concept beyond its mere boring and simplistic songwriting. KFRAFTWERK was like a joke which became relevant to most of its followers to the point of idolatry.

Most of these Trans-Europe Express, 1977, tracks repeat KRAFTWERK's formula - short sequencer riffs , electro-drumming and the "happy" hooks they are well known for. I myself have always felt disappointed with KRAFTWERK's highly inventive visual/marketing concept and the middle of the road music they actually deliver. Sadly this release just confirms my quiet low expectations.

Anyway, lots of people get their kicks from these guys in some way or another, but I can't hardly distinguish one song from the other, aside from their monotonous robotic sung lyrics.

If you could not care less for their visual concept or biography but for the music itself, as I do, well leave it to its loyal followers to lend you a copy and buy, non PA included, ULTRAVOX's "HA!-HA!-HA!", far more daring and fun and released that same year.

**2.5 PA stars.

 Ralf & Florian by KRAFTWERK album cover Studio Album, 1973
3.51 | 105 ratings

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Ralf & Florian
Kraftwerk Progressive Electronic

Review by Pastmaster

5 stars Ralf and Florian is the third studio album from electronic group Kraftwerk. While the strange Kraftwerk 2 didn't feature any electronic elements as well as having little to do with the self-titled debut, Ralf and Florian (named after the duo themselves, Ralf Hütter and Florian Schneider) shows the first signs of the groups pioneering electronic sound. It would take Autobahn for these ideas to fully take form, as there are still remnants of the band's Krautrock beginnings, but that has no effect on the quality of this release.

The thing that sets Ralf and Florian apart from it's predecessors is that they took the best elements of their Krautrock style and melded it with classical music and the very beginning of electronic music. "Kristallo (Crystals)" shows these beginnings of an entirely new kind of music, and is one of my favorite Kraftwerk songs in general. In front of a toe-tapping beat and catchy galloping electronics, are serene keyboards with a slight bittersweet tone. "Ananas Symphonie (Pineapple Symphony)" features more electronic innovation, but on the ambient end. This is a very relaxing track, as well as the longest clocking in at just under 14 minutes, with subtle musical changes that mix together very naturally. It's a song that makes one feel like laying down on a hammock outside and just letting the stress float away. "Heimatklänge (The Bells of Home)" showcase the influences from classical music, in the form of soulful piano.

Often transitional albums will suffer from inconsistency, but Kraftwerk were able to take the styles they knew and blend them perfectly with new ideas. This is an album that sounds both focused and free at the same time, with a goal to create music but with the only boundary being the band's own creativity. Unfortunately overshadowed by Autobahn, Ralf and Florian deserves to be heard as it's both a very enjoyable and historically important album.

 Kraftwerk 2 by KRAFTWERK album cover Studio Album, 1971
3.15 | 109 ratings

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Kraftwerk 2
Kraftwerk Progressive Electronic

Review by Pastmaster

2 stars Kraftwerk 2 is, as the title suggests, the second studio album from electronic band Kraftwerk. With the departure of drummer Klaus Dinger, who went to form the band Neu!, Kraftwerk was reduced to the duo of Ralf Hütter and Florian Schneider. With no drums, how do they continue with a Krautrock sound? Well, they don't, but it's not electronic music yet either. Instead, this is more of a "We'll do whatever weird [&*!#] we want" kind of album. There is lots of random noise to be heard here, which is not something I look for.

Don't be completely worried though, as Kraftwerk still relies on repetitive rhythms and still keeps some structure into their music. The opening song's name may sound familiar, as Kraftwerk's private recording studio Kling Klang was named after this opening track. This song takes place as the longest of the album, and the majority of it is based around a pretty boring repetitive melody. I must say though that it sounds interestingly similar to a passage in Autobahn's title track, and props to this song if it led to the creation of that masterpiece. However, it starts out with eerie out-of-tune bells and triangles, which is not pleasant listening in any way. Then you have "Atem", which is just three minutes of someone breathing, giving a pretty uncomfortable vibe plus just being useless.

The second side of the album doesn't have much going for it either, unfortunately. "Spule 4" is just mostly silence with occasional out-of-tune guitar riffs which just sound like someone plucking a guitar for the first time with no previous musical experience. "Harmonika" is just high-pitched noise, that will most likely make your ears bleed. While so far this album sounds pretty bad, there is some saving grace. "Strom" is a pretty decent song, relying on a droning riff and some symphonic instrumentation. The real winner is "Wellenlänge", which sounds like if Tool devoted an entire nine-minute long song to the experimental acoustic interludes of their albums. You hear droning bass reverb, subtle acoustic plucking with a bit of melancholic touch.

Unfortunately, Kraftwerk 2 is a step-down from the debut which had a bit more structure. It is definitely worth listening to "Wellenlänge", but the rest of the album isn't anything worth writing home about. Kraftwerk would certainly find their way on the next album, along with developing what they are known for.

 Kraftwerk by KRAFTWERK album cover Studio Album, 1970
3.34 | 142 ratings

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Kraftwerk
Kraftwerk Progressive Electronic

Review by Pastmaster

3 stars Kraftwerk is the self-titled debut studio album from electronic innovators Kraftwerk. Kraftwerk's first two albums are very different beasts compared to their innovations and the creation of electronic music with albums like Autobahn, being much more in line with the experimental rock music of many other German bands of the Krautrock scene. What is Krautrock? Read on fellow music fans!

At the beginning of the decade of the 70's, the time of many new musical developments, the Krautrock movement in Germany was especially busy. Krautrock wasn't so much a genre, as it was a group of musicians expanding the boundaries of rock music. Can combined tribal rhythms, psychedelic twists, and a rough proto-punk sound. Neu! essentially jammed with hard rock riffs and droning dissonance. Tangerine Dream, another early electronic group, took psychedelic rock and basically left out the rock leading to ambient music. Kraftwerk, before going on to be pioneers of electronic music, were on the similar jamming path as Neu!. This is unsurprising as Neu! was formed a year after this debut by Klaus Dinger and Michael Rother, who were both part of Kraftwerk before leaving to form the aforementioned band. The former playing drums on the final song on the album.

As soon as the opening flute of "Ruckzuck" enters your ears, you'll hear how much of a far-cry this is from Kraftwerk's later material. This opening doesn't last for long though, as the song quickly gaining a repetitive riff with the flute sliding into the background. The song slowly increases speed before the random jamming begins. The next song, "Stratovarius", relies more on noise to disrupt your ears. However, unlike noise "music" of today, Kraftwerk remembers that they still should write a song. Once you get past the five minutes of noise, there's some great guitar riffs and soloing to be found here. "Megaherz" is unfortunately nothing but drone and noise, with no substance to make it interesting in anyway. Fortunately, the album ends on a high note with "Von Himmel Hoch" which certainly surrounds you with a wall of sound. The English translation of the title, "From the Sky Above", is very fitting as there are sounds of bombs going off combined with chaotic drums and droning riffs.

This entirely instrumental album may bear no resemblance to the Kraftwerk we all know and love, but it's still a pretty good album for what it is. Sometimes the noise and drone can get too much, and "Megaherz" is utterly pointless, but despite this it does have enough interesting bits to keep it interesting. If you want to hear electronic music, skip to Ralf and Florian or Autobahn. However, if you like noisy Krautrock jamming, this is probably right up your alley.

Thanks to ProgLucky for the artist addition. and to rivertree for the last updates

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