ISSUE #8 FEB 06

Alex Tamosius

Kraftwerk
"Autobahn"

20th May 2004
reviewer: Alex Tamosius
rating: 5 out of 5
published by: Parlophone
released: 1st January 1974
  1. Autobahn
  2. Kometenmelodie 1
  3. Kometenmelodie 2
  4. Mitternacht
  5. Morgenspaziergang

Germany brings us two great motorway related things - no speed limits on their automobile related excursion shorteners, and this album.

By the looks of the band, they’ve taken time out from selling used cars to make the album, and a hell of a lot of time they’ve taken, too - the initial track lasts for the best part of twenty three minutes. When it finishes, you'll be a better person. You’ll have experienced the warmth, the sweetness, the glow in which Kraftwerk treat their songs. It’s so far removed from the idioms of electronic music, and indeed Germany, that you might think you’re senile, and are in fact listening to a small gathering of robins. Unless you're reading this in the bird sanctuary, you'll have to believe me that you're not.

But of course, you’ll need to be told what the album-titling song is. You really do. It’s an electronic simulation of a motorway (Autobahn) journey. Sounds boring. It isn’t. “Autobahn” is the type of song that completely envelops you in its combustion engined goodness – twenty three minutes turns into two. It really is a musical experience of the spiritual kind. As for the rest of the album, there’s another three songs worth of vocoder experimentation, which rarely elevate themselves above a collection of beeps, bleeps and possibly the odd sheep for effect, but never do they reach what “Autobahn” does – that song, nothing else, is what makes this album great.

The four other songs listed on the back cover are initially disappointing, and to be honest, that disappointment probably won’t be dispelled to any great end by the time you’ve finished with it. Even though it all comes to forty minutes in total, you just can’t help but think that another “Autobahn”-styled epic would make this album a classic. But be aware, this electronic über music is the future.

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