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Kraftwerk - Radio-Activity [Aka: Radio-Aktivität] CD (album) cover




Progressive Electronic

3.18 | 202 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
3 stars First of all, I prefer to tell you beforehand that this review might be biased. And let me first tell you why.

I am unfortunately old enough to be a contemporary of this recording, and to be fully honest it was the first work from ''Kraftwerk'' I was in contact with. I dug into their previous repertoire after this one, but only up to ''Autobahn''. It is only ages later later that I discovered their experimental early albums, of which I am not a great and devoted fan.

I would not consider the fact of discussing if the German or English version is best; I will only tell that I have never been able to digest German lyrics (''Grobschnitt'', ''Novalis'') but that the ones from ''Kraftwerk'' were probably the most bearable.

In one word, this is a fine electronic album.

Romantically German, melodically repetitive (''Airwaves'', ''Ohm Sweet Ohm''), averagely minimalist (''Radioland''), passably funny (''Geiger Counter''). But definitely significant and precursory of the cold wave which would raise several years later. It is also obvious that such music was a deep source of inspiration for dear David in one of his masterpiece (''Low'').

When I listen now to ''Antenna'' and ''Radio Stars'', there is no question about who influenced the weird band ''Suicide'' and their extremely dark and terrifying (just listen once to ''Frankie Teardrop'' if you ever have the occasion) debut album released two years later. I witnessed them live as an opening act for .Elvis Costello in '78 and it was quite an adventure).

This was a legendary live show that ended with the band being booed off the stage and the police heavily knocked down fans after the very short, but brilliant, set of an angry Costello (forty-five minutes, no encore). The riot was prolonged outside the concert hall (Ancienne Belgique). A great souvenir, for sure!

When one listens to the full album (and not only to the title track), one has to admit that this work is far from being a commercial record. Minimalism and avant-garde are still very much present in this work (''Radio Stars''). Therefore, while the title track was aired extensively, the remaining songs of the albums were confined to a strong silence on the air waves. Needless to say that I just love the title track of course.

I would say that this album has more a pioneering flavour than really a powerful feeling of a great musical moment. As such, three stars seem to be an equitable reward to this influential release. But you could easily add one, or even two stars depending on how essential you consider this album for the huge influence it will have on the future development of electronic music.

ZowieZiggy | 3/5 |


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