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Kraftwerk - Autobahn CD (album) cover

AUTOBAHN

Kraftwerk

 

Progressive Electronic

3.52 | 309 ratings

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Tarcisio Moura
Prog Reviewer
5 stars One of the most influential albums of musical history of all times, Kraftwerk´s third album is definitely a landmark on contemporary music. I can understand the low ratings it got here on PA since their influence was mainly felt on dance and techno-pop genres, which a lot of progheads seems to have a deep love to hate them. However, their music open new roads into many different ways and it was, for the time, revolutionary and groundbreaking. By shedding away most of the avant guard elements (but not all of them), taking catchy melodies into electronic and giving them a steady beat, they did something unheard of. So much so that when an american manager asked them to release a 3 minute version of the title song in a single, the result was a top twenty hit in America! It was the first time a German band achieved that feat. And to top it all, it was sung in their native language!

But the album showed much more than that. The long version is quite bold and interesting: written to simulate a ride by car from Berlim to Bonn in their autobhan. USA, with its freeways might explain the unlike relation to the song, plus the vocal line is an obvious lift from the Beach Boys Barbara Ann. It was minimalist music taken to new heights. The remaining tracks are also good, although not as remarkable, with the exception of Kometenmelodie 2 (Comet Melody 2 ), with its beautiful melody line and driving beat. Mitternacht (Midnight ) is their link with the former avant guard/electronic past. Morgenspaziergang (Morning Walk ), on the other hand, is a bucolic piece, featuring acoustic piano and recorder (played by Florian Schneider), the last time they ever used acoustic instruments on record. For this LP the original masterminds Florian Schneider and Ralf Hutter recruited two new members: Klaus Roeder (violin, guitar) and Wolfgang Flür (electronic percussion). Roeder is hardly noticed and soon would be gone, but Flür would become part of the so called "classic" line up, with future member Karl Bartos. Much credit must be due to legendary engineer and producer Konrad "Conny" Plank, who helped build the new sound and never got it.

It´s interesting to listen to this record today: It sounds a little "bland" and primitive. Maybe because it was so imitated. When David Bowie heard it and decided to adopted the style for himself the musical change was a long and powerful one. That would be hardly possible without Kraftwerk´s pioneering work. And the band would prove themselves to be no hoax in their future releases.

Rating: musically nowadays and for personal tastes maybe the record itself deserved only 4 stars, but for its historical importance there is no way to deny its classic status, and it is a masterpiece of progressive music. Love it or hate it. 5 stars.

Tarcisio Moura | 5/5 |

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