Kraftwerk : Song by Song

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Re: Kraftwerk : Song by Song

Postby Toby » 18 Apr 2018, 09:17

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Autobahn



Engineer – Konrad Plank*
Music By, Concept By, Producer, Vocals, Electronics – Florian Schneider, Ralf Hütter
Painting [Cover] – Emil Schult
Percussion – Wolfgang Flür
Photography By [Back Cover Photo] – Barbara Niemöller
Violin, Guitar – Klaus Roeder*

Released November 1974

Year Zero then perhaps. No mention of the "man machine" theory yet (this would come a year later) but the articulation of the pastoral electronic sound that Hutter and Schneider had been cooking alongside a solid pop-like concept of modernity. We hear their voices, not overly confident, for the first time as well.

Wir fahr'n fahr'n fahr'n auf der autobahn
Vor uns liegt ein weites tal
Die sonne scheint mit glitzerstrahl
Die fahrbahn ist ein graues band

Weisse streifen, gruener rand
Jetzt schalten wir das radio an
Aus dem lautsprecher klingt es dann
Wir fahr'n auf der autobahn


It is a song that does not outstay its 22 minute excursion either. A glorious sun-drenched paean to the simple pleasure of driving - nothing more, nothing less. Child-like lyrics, an almost absurdly stupid melody and the sense that in the mid-seventies electronic music just might be able to capture or provoke a feeling or emotion that previously wasn't possible. Kraftwerk's profound ability to capture the romance of something emerges.



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Re: Kraftwerk : Song by Song

Postby Toby » 18 Apr 2018, 22:02



Kraftwerk only played a handful of gigs in 1974 - one of which features a 41 minute version of Autobahn (6 months or so before the album was released).

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Re: Kraftwerk : Song by Song

Postby soundchaser » 19 Apr 2018, 07:11

Possibly Kraftwerk's finest ever song: it is absolute genius.

Thanks for posting the video, it brought back happy memories of seeing them around this time In Bournemouth.

We, the audience, were expecting a bunch of hairies to come on stage: instead we got bank managers.

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Re: Kraftwerk : Song by Song

Postby Toby » 19 Apr 2018, 20:42



A year later, but live on the Midnight Special on US TV.

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Re: Kraftwerk : Song by Song

Postby never/ever » 19 Apr 2018, 23:03

Hadn't seen that one before. Really great!
Ever notice that anyone going slower than you is an idiot, but anyone going faster is a maniac?."

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Re: Kraftwerk : Song by Song

Postby ConnyOlivetti » 20 Apr 2018, 15:55

Nice!
Need a time machine, would love to be at a gig in 1975!
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Re: Kraftwerk : Song by Song

Postby Toby » 23 Apr 2018, 09:17



Kometenmelodie 1

Reworked for the album after the single release a year earlier. That twinkling piano melody wouldn't really ever leave Kraftwerk's sound - you can hear elements of it right up to "Vitamin" on Tour de France Soundtracks. Part of what Hutter calls his "silly little melodies"....

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Re: Kraftwerk : Song by Song

Postby Darkness_Fish » 23 Apr 2018, 10:13

To be honest, it's a track I don't really like much at all. It's a bit of a dirge, an experiment that doesn't have much in the way of depth or development. The earlier single release had a cheaper sound, which give it a bit more of a playful edge and charm, which this is entirely lacking.
Like fast-moving clouds casting shadows against a hillside, the melody-loop shuddered with a sense of the sublime, the awful unknowable majesty of the world.

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Re: Kraftwerk : Song by Song

Postby ConnyOlivetti » 23 Apr 2018, 10:26

I like side two of Autobahn. It is what it is ... tiny steps to the future greatness
Would be interesting to know in what order the tracks were created
The title track is such a huge step forward that side two seems to belong to another era
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Re: Kraftwerk : Song by Song

Postby never/ever » 23 Apr 2018, 12:49

They do sound like two different bands on this one. Kometenmelodie is a whisper in the wind after the burnout of side one.
Ever notice that anyone going slower than you is an idiot, but anyone going faster is a maniac?."

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Re: Kraftwerk : Song by Song

Postby Toby » 24 Apr 2018, 11:25



Kometenmelodie 2

All this talk of it being a "dirge"! It's glorious! An absolutely beautiful bit of music by them.

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Re: Kraftwerk : Song by Song

Postby Darkness_Fish » 24 Apr 2018, 13:22

Well, "Kometenmelodie 2" is an entirely different kettle o' fish, much more pleasant, and references a melodie much more than the previous track. Lovely summery stuff.

Incidentally, you can play them both at the same time while they're on this page, and it works quite well.
Like fast-moving clouds casting shadows against a hillside, the melody-loop shuddered with a sense of the sublime, the awful unknowable majesty of the world.

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Re: Kraftwerk : Song by Song

Postby Toby » 25 Apr 2018, 09:41



Morgenspaziergang

Probably the last time we hear a "natural" instrument on a Kraftwerk song. Florian's flute would still appear, heavily processed, for a couple more years.

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Re: Kraftwerk : Song by Song

Postby Toby » 25 Apr 2018, 20:41



Mitternacht

During the Min Max tour, Kraftwerk would play this before their midnight gigs. It certainly is a precursor to the darker sound of Radioactivity, and the musique concrete noises are reminiscent of Hall of Mirrors.




This live recording of their Croydon concert (HOMETOWN ALERT) features a lovely improvisational piece of Mitternacht, moving into an embryonic "Showroom Dummies" at the end.
Last edited by Toby on 29 Apr 2018, 09:33, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Kraftwerk : Song by Song

Postby Toby » 26 Apr 2018, 10:20

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Geigerzähler / Radioaktivität

Artwork [Graphics] – Emil Schult
Engineer – Walter Quintus
Percussion [Electronic] – Karl Bartos, Wolfgang Flür
Photography By – Robert Franck
Producer – Florian Schneider, Ralf Hütter
Technician – Peter Bollig
Voice, Electronics – Florian Schneider, Ralf Hütter

Radioactivity is the cut off point between the old and new Kraftwerk. It ushers in the "classic" period with Flur and new member Karl Bartos, which would see them record another 4 albums together. It's the beginning of the "Man Machine" concept and the dualism of nostalgia and modernity is almost fully fledged immediately. Flushed with the unexpected commercial success of Autobahn, they embarked on building KlingKlang and it seems, venturing down a pathway where pop music would supersede their previous experimental ventures.

For me, this is their warmest record - even though it contains chilling moments of darkness. It doesn't have the elegaic vision of TEE or the aesthetic completeness of Man Machine, but there's child-like quality to it that I think has kept it in my heart at least. Over the years I've grown to think of it as my favourite, where the pastoral climate of their early work meets the machines.

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Re: Kraftwerk : Song by Song

Postby Darkness_Fish » 26 Apr 2018, 10:31

Now we're talking. Absolutely fucking magnificent. Probably my favourite Kraftwerk album, and one of their finest track. It's a massive leap forward in my view, it has that essential simplicity that all the best Kraftwerk tunes have, such a simple repetitive melody, but they've properly realised how to construct a fully fleshed out, deep sound. That choral synth backing is majestic, a proper touch of genius. I wouldn't say this is where pop music would supersede their experimentalism, I'd say it's where they realised that the experimentation can sit well within the confines of a pop tune as a coherent whole.

It is bloody good, isn't it?
Like fast-moving clouds casting shadows against a hillside, the melody-loop shuddered with a sense of the sublime, the awful unknowable majesty of the world.

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Re: Kraftwerk : Song by Song

Postby ConnyOlivetti » 26 Apr 2018, 10:39

A masterpiece for sure!
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Re: Kraftwerk : Song by Song

Postby ConnyOlivetti » 26 Apr 2018, 14:16

Been reading a lot about Bartos role in the group
Some claims the "pop sensibility" came from him
but I think they had it from the beginning, via Hütters melodies
and Bartos is credited as co-composer first on The Man-Machine
It's not like he made some major work since he left the group, imho
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Re: Kraftwerk : Song by Song

Postby Toby » 26 Apr 2018, 15:08

I agree. His solo material isn't particularly good. The melodies most definitely come from Hutter in the main.

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Re: Kraftwerk : Song by Song

Postby jimboo » 26 Apr 2018, 17:49

Darkness_Fish wrote:Now we're talking. Absolutely fucking magnificent. Probably my favourite Kraftwerk album, and one of their finest track. It's a massive leap forward in my view, it has that essential simplicity that all the best Kraftwerk tunes have, such a simple repetitive melody, but they've properly realised how to construct a fully fleshed out, deep sound. That choral synth backing is majestic, a proper touch of genius. I wouldn't say this is where pop music would supersede their experimentalism, I'd say it's where they realised that the experimentation can sit well within the confines of a pop tune as a coherent whole.

It is bloody good, isn't it?


It is the moment that they finally destroyed the myth that the fabs were the most influential band.Following the brilliant Autobahn this was almost too good to be true.
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