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Kraftwerk - Kraftwerk CD (album) cover




Progressive Electronic

3.34 | 150 ratings

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Tom Ozric
Prog Reviewer
5 stars KRAFTWERK are mostly known for their pioneering, rather stark and industrial approach to programmed electronica, complete with catchy melodies and rhythms, which have been sampled countless times by countless bands since, but their origins are firmly tied in with the highly experimental music which came out of Germany during the late 60's/early 70's, affectionately known as 'Krautrock'. The music on this album very much suits its, rather primitive, flourescent orange 'Workman's Hat' cover-art. Inside the gate-fold shows a photograph of a strange, huge electronic generator, possibly forecasting the obsession the members would have with electricity, and what they could create with it, musically. This, their debut self-titled release from 1970, features 4 lengthy pieces, 2 on each side of the record. 'Kraftwerk' is really the collective name of Ralf Hutter and Florian Schneider-Esleben, with help from various musicians, here Andreas Hohmann and Klaus Dinger man the drum-kits, reputedly Hohmann on the 1st side, Dinger on the 2nd. After working with Ralf and Florian, Dinger would join forces with another Kraftwerk helper Michael Rother and form another Kraut band called NEU! The instrumentation utilised on this recording is simply - Drums, Organ, Tubon (?), Flutes, Violin and Electric Percussion (I'm sure I can hear a Bass-Guitar at times, though it's not credited). 'Ruckzuck' (7.47) opens with Flutes, and their trademark repetitive rhythms kick in full- force. Florian's flute playing is stuttered (stoccatto?) and breathy, and his melodies are a treat. It gets relentless toward the middle, where the tune speeds up and stops dead in its tracks, crushing Organ chords pounding their way through the speakers, like a Giant taking footsteps. The piece then accelerates into a jam, grinding organ all the way backed with phased drums and odd electronic treatments. The original melody returns and, after a false ending, ends abruptly. Hats off to Conny Plank, Producer/engineer extraordinaire, for bringing out a most wonderful result from the band. 'Stratovarius' (12.10) opens with scorching Organ-work, constantly being detuned, wavering in pitch and sounding quite demented, hallucinogenic and quite effective. After a while, percussion noises interrupt and a pizzicato violin melody triggers off a slow, lagging jam, again with overdriven, distorted Organs and strange noises. Another manic, ascending build-up crashes into chaos, and gives way to more jamming, with manipulated Flute squelches and quivering Organ. 'Megaherz' (9.30) is the most beautiful and tranquil piece on the record. It's a highly atmospheric piece with lots of 'space'. The meandering Flauting, the floating Organ lines (recalling PINK FLOYD, surprisingly enough) makes for a most mind-blowing listening experience. 'Vom Himmel Hoch' (10.12) summarises the whole album - a relentless piece featuring similar traits as displayed in previous tracks with some aggressive sounds, and superb Drumming. I urge all adventurous Prog-Heads to plunge head-first into this Kraftwerk - no showroom dummies for now. MASTERPIECE status.
Tom Ozric | 5/5 |


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