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Kraftwerk - Minimum Maximum CD (album) cover

MINIMUM MAXIMUM

Kraftwerk

 

Progressive Electronic

3.36 | 54 ratings

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AtomicCrimsonRush
Special Collaborator
Symphonic Team
4 stars I want to start this review from the outset with this statement.... "Stop reading and just buy the DVD!"

You're still here? OK, if you must, let me just make the point this music is better experienced seen AND heard. The DVD of Kraftwerk's "Minimum: Maximum" is a visual feast that is indispensable i my collection. My children love the humorous retro visuals and weird chants, my wife likes to quiz me on what the band are REALLY doing behind thier laptops, (the band stand at their consoles like showroom dummies twiddling knobs and moving mouses to create the visual and aural experience and I joked they could be playing Space Invaders or surfing the internet for all we know as we are never allowed to see the inner sanctum of their monitors), and I simply like the experience of being at one of their live performances, an experience I may never have the pleasure to indulge in as they rarely come to Australia.

This CD is identical to the tracks on the DVD more or less. So it is rather an obsolete purchase if you have the DVD. Nevertheless it is great to listen to sometimes, working as a type of best of Kraftwerk, featuring their quintessential classics. The band pour out ambience and percussive electro pulses on every track. The entire set list encompasses the Kraftwerk history from early years to recent treasures, and some versions are even better than the originals. Here is where the CD makes a great replacement for "Radio- Activity" and "Tour de France Soundtracks", both of which are very mediocre releases. In fact the best material on them is featured in the concert.

Kraftwerk sing about very important subjects such as Man as Machine who drives machines such as cars, bikes, and trains. We have a song about a Pocket Calculator, a handy little device well deserved of acclaim as it has saved mathematics students the headache inducing task of calculating fractions to percentages. We have a song about Numbers, a great way to learn how to count to 4 or 8 in various languages. Planet of Visions is a highlight about the future, The Model is excellent as always parodying the runway catwalk, and the futurist techno sounds of Trans Europe Express are incredible, better than the original! It features an extended section with atmospheric click clacking effects resonating an atmosphere of the TEE thrashing down the railways.

The tracks from the more recent 2003 release of "Tour De France" are given a face lift, a revelation as an album that I once detested was reinvigorated by hearing these tracks live. Vitamin is better than I first thought and Radioactivity is the Mix version with Chernobyl warnings. Autobahn is a scaled down 9 minute version with cars swooping past. Neon Lights is well sung and very close to the original.

Four tracks from "Computer World" capture the vibrant exciting energy of that album, Pocket Calculator is actually the Japanese inspired Dentaku Mix version and as a result quite a compelling track. The techno loops and percussive vibrations are wonderful and ineffaceable once they enter the conscious.

The new 'unimproved', in my opinion, version of The Robots is quirky and hypnotic but does not shine a candle flicker on the original. Elektro Kardiogram and Aero Dynamik from "Tour de France" work wonderfully on the live stage. There is thankfully only one track from the underwhelming "Electric Cafe" but it is a great way of closing down the show. Musique Non Stop continues for a while and each band member leaves in turn and the music becomes more minimalist until finally the last band member vacates to a roar of applause and it is all over.

If you get the DVD you will see a great live experience that makes you feel as though you have actually seen Kraftwerk live. The sound quality is A1 with DTS surround capabilities. The visuals are crystal clear. The special features include an MTV appearance in the electro outfits playing 'Aero Dynamik'. The light show is incredible on this clip and well worth a look. Other features are the interactive menu reminding me of their website visuals and the packaging of white cardboard fold out DVD cover is appealing. All in all this is the best record of the band as a live unit and as such is an absolutely essential purchase for Kraftwerk freaks worldwide.

However, the audio version is not so good. I can still rate it 4 stars as it is the best of Kraftwerk in one package, but the DVD is a masterpiece.

AtomicCrimsonRush | 4/5 |

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