Showing posts with label Kraftwerk. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Kraftwerk. Show all posts

Wednesday, 20 November 2019

Trans Europe Express - Kraftwerk

Kraftwerk singles are rather hard to find, so every time I manage to buy one for a reasonable price, I am quite pleased. 'Trans Europe Express' was the title track of the German band's sixth album, released in 1977. The album was recorded at Kling Klang Studio in Düsseldorf. Artistic control over the songs was strictly in the hands of members Ralf Hütter and Florian Schneider, with Karl Bartos and Wolfgang Flür contributing sequenced electronic percussion. The four of them went to railway bridges to listen to the sounds the train would actually produce. The group found the sound the train made was not danceable and changed it slightly.

The single became their first hit in Sweden, peaking at number 15 in the singles chart over there. In Canada, it was actually the band's last charting single, peaking at number 96 only.

My collection: 7" single no.  6206
Found: Record fair, Utrecht, November 17, 2019
Cost: 4 euro
Tracks: 'Trans Europe Express' / 'Franz Schubert'

Wednesday, 13 March 2019

Die Roboter - Kraftwerk

Kraftwerk singles are pretty rare, so whenever I see one for an affordable price I leap at the chance to own it. Even if, in this case, the state of the sleeve is a bit questionable. 'Die Roboter' is the original German version of the track better known as 'The robots' in English speaking countries, and it was released in 1978.

Taken from the album 'Die Mensch Machine', the single reached number 25 in the German singles chart and number 23 in Austria. The track was remixed for the album 'The Mix' in 1991 and got to number 18 in Germany then.

My collection: 7" single no. 6006
Found: Record fair, Den Haag, March 2, 2019
Cost: 2 euro
Tracks: 'Die Roboter' / 'Spacelab'

Tuesday, 2 December 2014

Radio-activity - Kraftwerk

Kraftwerk are pioneers of techno pop, and have been responsible for some of the most astonishing records of the Seventies. It's remarkable that they were able to produce music that sounds timeless even now, mostly thanks to the technology that has become mainstream now, but was quite difficult and expensive back then.

The hyphenated title of the album 'Radio-activity' (1976) displays Kraftwerk's typical deadpan humour, being a pun on the twin themes of the songs, half being about radioactivity and the other half about activity on the radio. More word plays are evident in the track listing: "Radio Stars", which as a title could refer to pop stars, but upon listening is revealed to be about quasars and pulsars. The title track was issued as a single and reached number 7 in France and number 31 in Italy - but failed to chart everywhere else.

My collection: 7" single no. 5433
Found: unknown
Tracks: 'Radio-activity' / 'Antenna'

Saturday, 14 May 2011

Radioactivity - Fatboy Slim

At a time when nuclear facilities are again messing up the environment, it's time to listen to Kraftwerk's timeless 'Radioactivity' again. That song is quite alarming, despite their clean and tidy way of mixing words with music.

This bouncy cover version is something else. It was recorded by Fatboy Slim for the compilation album 'Late night tales' in 2007. The track was released as a limited edition 7" single in October of that year.

My collection: 7" single no. 5109
Found: La La Land, May 14, 2011
Cost: 5 euro
Tracks: 'Radioactivity' (Fatboy Slim) / 'Everything is everything' (Bootsy Collins)

Monday, 12 April 2010

Das Model - Kraftwerk

Hard to believe, but although Kraftwerk's 'The model' has become some sort of Eighties classic, the track was actually released in 1978. It just goes to show how ahead of their time the German perfectionists were even in the beginning of their career. The German version of 'The model' was called 'Das Model', and was released in Germany with the English version on the B-side.

When radio DJ's started playing the B-side, EMI re-issued the single in December 1981 – apparently against the band's wishes – with 'The model' as the A-side. That single reached number 1 in February 1982 and spent a total of 21 weeks in the UK singles chart.

My collection: 7" single no. 4788
Found: Record fair, Utrecht, April 10, 2010
Cost: 1 euro
Tracks: 'Das Model' / 'The model'

Tuesday, 11 August 2009

Tour de France - Kraftwerk

The cycling mania of some of the band members of Kraftwerk has been well documented. Ralf Hütter and Fritz Hilpert have been known to take part in cycling events. The track was originally recorded with the intention of being included on the subsequently abandoned album 'Techno pop'.

The single was remixed by François Kevorkian in New York and reached number 24 in the UK singles chart. In 2003, Kraftwerk would release a new album 'Tour de France Soundtracks', featuring a new recording of this track.

My collection: 7" single no. 3972
Found: Record Exchange, London, August 5, 2009
Cost: 2 pounds
Tracks: 'Tour de France (remix)' / 'Tour de France'

Wednesday, 15 April 2009

The robots - Kraftwerk

Released as the first single from their 1991 remix album 'The Mix', Kraftwerk's 'The Robots' was a big success in the UK, peaking at number 20. 'The robots', remixed by the band, was originally released in 1978 as a single from their seventh album 'Man machine'.

The lyrics reference the revolutionary technique of robotics, and how humans can use them as they wish. The Russian lines "Я твой слуга" (Ya tvoi sluga, I'm your servant) and "Я твой работник" (Ya tvoi rabotnik, I'm your worker) appear repeatedly both in the original version and in this remix.

My collection: 7" single no. 2354
Found: Marlyn Music, Eastbourne, June 28, 1995
Cost: 2 pounds
Tracks: 'The robots (single edit)' / 'Robotronik (single version)'

Tuesday, 17 March 2009

Autobahn - Kraftwerk

Perhaps Kraftwerk's best known track, 'Autobahn' is an ode to the German expressways. The track is intended to capture the feeling of driving on the Autobahn: from the high-speed concentration on the fast lane, to tuning the car radio, to the monotony of a long trip. For the single version, the original 22 minute track was edited down to a mere three minutes.

Released in 1975, the single peaked at number 11 in the UK singles chart and number 12 in the Netherlands. The album of the same name was equally successful, peaking at number 4 in the UK and number 9 in the Netherlands.

My collection: 7" single no. 2686
Found: Beanos, East Croydon, London, July 3, 1996
Cost: 2 pounds
Tracks: 'Autobahn' / 'Kometenmelodie 1'
Download: here

Friday, 13 March 2009

The telephone call - Kraftwerk

Taken from their album 'Electric cafe', 'The telephone call' followed up 'Musique non stop'. The track appeared on side two of the album, which meant that it had a more conventional pop song structure. 'The telephone call' is notable for being the first and only Kraftwerk song to feature Karl Bartos on lead vocals.

The sleeve of this single features stills of the facial animation that was seen in the video for 'Musique non stop'.

My collection: 7" single no. 2617
Found: Record fair, February 10, 1996
Cost: 5 guilders
Tracks: 'The telephone call' / 'Der Telefon Anruf'

Thursday, 5 March 2009

Musique non stop - Kraftwerk

In 1986, Kraftwerk released the album 'Electric cafe', an album that took the band almost half a decade to produce. Work is said to have begun on the album as early as 1982. 'Musique non stop' was one of three tracks that took up the 'A' side of the album. 'Boing Boom Tschak', 'Techno pop' and 'Musique Non Stop' were all similar in atmosphere and instrumentation. 'Musique non stop' was remixed and edited for the single version, and two different edits appear on the single.

Although the single didn't chart in any country, a version of 'Musique Non Stop' – slower and more melodic – was used extensively as a jingle on the MTV Europe channel. 'Musique Non Stop' has been the closing track of Kraftwerk's concerts since its release.

My collection: 7" single no. 2790
Found: November 9, 1996
Cost: 5 guilders
Tracks: 'Musique non stop' / 'Musique non stop'
Download: here

Saturday, 28 February 2009

Radioactivity - Kraftwerk

The original single of 'Radioactivity' was released in 1976. In 1991, Kraftwerk released the album 'The mix', which contained remixed versions of some of their most popular tracks. The album included a remix of 'Radioactivity'. For the single, 'Radioactivity' was remixed by François Kevorkian and William Orbit.

The single peaked at number 43 in the UK singles chart. The album 'The mix', Kraftwerk's first since 1986's 'Electric cafe', did even better: it peaked at number 15 in the UK albums chart.

My collection: 7" single no. 2332
Found: Parkpop, Den Haag, June 25, 1995
Cost: 2 guilders
Tracks: 'Radioactivity (François Kevorkian 7" remix)' / 'Radioactivity (William Orbit 7" mix)'

Monday, 23 February 2009

The model - Kraftwerk

If you should define the German group Kraftwerk with one song, this would be the one. They are known for their electronic, mechanical-sounding, almost inhuman music, but this track is proof that they were definitely capable of writing a melodic popsong.

In his book 'I was a robot', about his time in the group Kraftwerk, Wolfgang Flür wrote that his former bandmates Emil Schult and Ralf Hütter had been obsessed with the model Christa Becker and that she had been the inspiration for the song 'The model'. Apparently they weren't amused with this becoming public knowledge, so they tried to sue him. It didn't work: the secret got out.

My collection: 7" single no. 1221
Found: Record fair, Den Haag, April 22, 1990
Cost: 5 guilders
Tracks: 'The model' / 'Computer love'

Friday, 6 February 2009

Radioactivity - Kraftwerk

'Radioactivity is in the air for you and me'. The seemingly soulless, mechanic music by Kraftwerk has always had intriguing lyrics. I don't mean 'Mensch / Natur / Technik' of their infamous track 'Expo 2000', of course, but their earlier work. It's hard to believe when you hear 'Radioactivity' that it was released in 1976.

'Radioactivity' was released as a single, and became a hit in France after it was used as the theme to a popular music show. Coincidentally, my copy of this single is a French one.

My collection: 7" single no. 3037
Found: Record fair, Leiden, November 1, 1998
Cost: 2 guilders
Tracks: 'Radioactivity' / 'Antenna'
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