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Kraftwerk - The Man-Machine [Aka: Die Mensch-Maschine] CD (album) cover




Progressive Electronic

3.94 | 380 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
4 stars As soon as I see the iconic sleeve, my mind relays the past 28 years since first hearing 'Die Mensch Maschine'. So many faded memories... but as far as the recording goes, it's razor sharp in my mind. Every note, lyric and fragmentary silence between sounds are permanently etched in my brain.

From the striking red, white and black colours displayed on the cover - used elsewhere in German history to great effect - to the purely functional, without fuss approach, I'll always be a huge fan of this album. While American artists like Springsteen were chest beating and crotch thrusting, Kraftwerk displayed a purely synthetic, non human, non sexual mechanical approach which went on to influence more bands than I've had hot dinners. From post punk, new romantics (with their white faces and red lipstick), to techno and hip-hop. Whew! that's one hell of a legacy they hold.

'Robots' is as far away from their origins as you could imagine. Flutes and drums are now the arch enemy, to be eschewed at all costs. The Vocoder vocals over this entirely electronic track sets the scene. Plinky-plonky keyboards rigidly patter out the melody of this Tuetonic pop tune as Ralf Hütter's sexless vocals recites the the hilarious lyrics (in my mind only) 'We're filthy Roboters'. Springy, bouncing synths and playful percussion only add to my amusement.

You'll pretty much get from the above as to what follows - and it does. There are some straight vocals but they still sound like a more tuneful 'HAL' from '2001- Space Odyssey' during it's malfunction phase. The best is left till last with the title track - with its primitive sequencer sound and highly manipulated vocals saturated beneath a pulsing clockwork bass throb. Fragments of which you'll hear in such bands such as New Order, Ultravox, OMD, John Foxx, Skinny Puppy, Front Line Assembly, Aphex Twin, Autechre... the list goes on and on...

Sensibly they put a lid on things during 1981, after Computer World, realising that there really wasn't that much more they could contribute that was ground-breaking or cutting edge. What we're left with is some of the best electronic albums ever put to vinyl - which sounds twice as good on CD format.

Dobermensch | 4/5 |


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