Kraftwerk

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early Human League def, yeah that makes sense Turrican

Οὖτις, Wednesday, 23 September 2015 17:20 (three years ago) Permalink

Well, the clue is in the fact that I said "Tumblr fandom". It's mostly young people, crate-digging (or whatever the MP3 and GIF equivalent is) an "80s aesthetic" and see that Kraftwerk fit what they think of as an "80s aesthetic" in suits and skinny ties, early computer graphics, neon, etc. Not realising that Kraftwerk fit that aesthetic because they *invented* it, while the other bands are their aesthetic children or at least nieces/nephews through the Eno/Low Bowie branch.

While - y'know, I'm in my 40s and that's the general age group of ILM - so I can *remember* New Order, OMD, Depeche Mode as bands and events I lived through. But Kraftwerk... I cannot remember a time before Kraftwerk. All of their albums were in place by the time I discovered music. So someone in their 40s, remembering the 80s is going to remember that Kraftwerk were a hallowed influence, but they were not "of the 80s". While a kid today would assign Kraftwerk to "80s aesthetic" because "70s aesthetic" means flares and stuff that looks and sounds nothing like Kraftwerk.

This thread kept making me thinking about the idea of living through a band / music in a personal context versus only experiencing a band in a historical context. (This doesn't have to be a function of just age, it could be cultural, dependent on the country you live in, your demographic, etc.) How does the difference between discovering a band through archeology, or experiencing it through personal memories affect how one approaches that music. Like, the difference between hearing albums as they came out, and living the "progression" in realtime versus getting a giant data dump of "this band's entire discography" all at once. But then I just started reading Retromania this morning and I'd rather stab myself in the eye with a spork than ever start that thread. So.

Dröhn Rock (Branwell with an N), Wednesday, 23 September 2015 17:22 (three years ago) Permalink

I didn't want to come back to EC, but Josefa's post brought it back to mind again. But also thinking about Radio-Activity (sorry, I've been lazy with my hyphen, which is, technically part of the English title). Both of those albums having been singled out time and again in this thread as being "not as good as the others" for some people.

EC is all groove and no concept. Radio-Activity is all concept and very little groove. So, depending on what you're wanting out of Kraftwerk, one of those albums is more likely to be the one that doesn't satisfy you.

The lyrics or slogans (lots of Kraftwerk songs don't have lyrics, but they have a repeated slogan which helps you know what the song is about - be that "Spaaaaaace Laaaaaab" or "It's more fun to compute!") on EC are just ... unsatisfying. The songs aren't really about anything. A missed phone call. Sex Object is... I don't think we ever resolved on that thread what the hell Sex Object was about because we kept getting digressed into robot sex.

Radio-activity is just so rich conceptually in its symbolism and its metaphors and its silly puns. (Radioactivity isn't about atoms, it's about pop, on the radio. But Radio Stars, that's not about pop on the radio, that's about pulsars and quasars. Who wrote a song about pulsars and quasars and actual literal radio stars? Come here. I love you. Marry me. Just marry me because you are the absolute spacerock best.) But despite the jaunty melodies and the lovely bittersweet tunes, there are no bangers on it.

I know I've bitched about this before on another thread, but this is what I really dislike yet again about the new versions of old songs. They took all the ambivalence and ambiguity out of Radioactivity. That it was such a rich and ambivalent song and it could be about pop, it could be about nuclear power, but it was ambivalent about both. And they just ripped all of that beautiful ambiguity out, and NOPE, now it's about NUCLEAR POWER and that's BAD, kids. I hate what they've done to that song so much it hurts.

Dröhn Rock (Branwell with an N), Wednesday, 23 September 2015 17:36 (three years ago) Permalink

Sometimes songs get relevance thrust upon them.

Mark G, Wednesday, 23 September 2015 19:17 (three years ago) Permalink

Again, I agree with Branwell about the way they perform the classic songs now, esp "Radioactivity". The "Stop-Radioactivity" context goes back to The Mix, so it's basically spent longer in that incarnation than in the original, form. I think it worked as a one-off remix but sort of has become the default. By the mid-2000s they added a preamble about "death and skin cancer" which is basically into Chumbawamba-stating-the-bleeding-obvious territory. Not cool.

everything, Wednesday, 23 September 2015 19:58 (three years ago) Permalink

agreed, any sort of political or moral message in Kraftwerk seems off. but I do like the added thump that Radioactivity gets. I find the original a bit dull, honestly

frogbs, Wednesday, 23 September 2015 20:01 (three years ago) Permalink

Business, numbers, money, people
Business, numbers, money, people
Computer world
Computer world

^ best lyric they ever wrote.

everything, Wednesday, 23 September 2015 20:14 (three years ago) Permalink

Creepy intro to 'Radioactivity' is dope live. Heard a recording of one show they did in '98 where they (often) had 'Airwaves' in the setlist at the time and even that started off with a deeper much more menacing tone on the vocoder voice, pretty off with the rest of the track but very powerful and exciting. The live version of 'Numbers' back then was often a lot slower with more pitch-bending and other fx on the voices too. Always interesting to hear how the tracks have changed over time especially since they started doing the entire LP renditions in recent years. I'm still amazed they (hardly unreasonably) loved DJ Rolando's mix of 'Expo 2000' so much they adopted it for the TDF sets and still include it today.

nashwan, Wednesday, 23 September 2015 20:15 (three years ago) Permalink

Business, numbers, money, people
Business, numbers, money, people
Computer world
Computer world

^ best lyric they ever wrote.

― everything, Wednesday, September 23, 2015 8:14 PM (17 minutes ago) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

The lyrics to that track are superior in German, I think.

Turrican, Wednesday, 23 September 2015 20:32 (three years ago) Permalink

And if there's not a direct line from that to "Genetic Engineering" OMD, I say wo.

Mark G, Thursday, 24 September 2015 09:40 (three years ago) Permalink

yeah, Computer World is one of the cases where the German being much more explicit provides a different context for the song which makes it way, way better.

I'm sure I've told this story before (if not on ILX then elsewhere) about Computer World was the first Kraftwerk album that anyone ever sat me down and made me listen to in full. In about 1989? And I HAAAAAAAAAAATED IT. I thought it was absolutely terrible, and the person who recommended it to me was mystified as to why I hadn't liked it because it seemed so completely something I'd like.

The truth being, that in 1989, I was working on a giant project to digitise and computerise fingerprint records for the criminal justice system. And realising that I hated that record, because I just felt like "this shit is MY JOB! That I HATE! I don't want to hear songs about it!" But now, I'm like... "wow, that record was so prescient in predicting in 1981, things that would be happening in 1989." and also "Yes! Here are songs about my life as a data analyst, Ralfie and Flori, you know how I feel, ILU ILU ILU!" because I'm a lot more reconciled to my profession than I was then.

Dröhn Rock (Branwell with an N), Thursday, 24 September 2015 09:49 (three years ago) Permalink

Yeah, that's not so far off for me, except that it was more that other people were "lol this is your life isn't it? You computer people are all like THIS right?"

This was not true at the time, but hey! All you people that do internet/twitter/facebook - This is YOUR life now lol isn't it?

(Which isn't true either, but hey.)

Mark G, Thursday, 24 September 2015 10:17 (three years ago) Permalink

3D show was amazing. The most genuine fun I've experienced at a show in a while.

welltris (crüt), Tuesday, 29 September 2015 05:19 (three years ago) Permalink

so what kind of German accent *is* it that pronounces "für dich und mich" as "for dish und mish"?

Is that what they mean by their Düsseldorf accent making them sound as comical as Brummies?

Dröhn Rock (Branwell with an N), Wednesday, 30 September 2015 11:22 (three years ago) Permalink

i thought it was a pretty great show -- one of the highlights was actually the extensive tour de france section, a record that's never really been in my regular rotation. my only complaint would be that i thought the sound was a bit quiet...but then, my ears are kinda scorched from playing too many shows. oh, and a totally ratchet group of ladies behind us who were shushed a couple times, then left halfway through. i don't think they knew why they were there. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

i feel pretty fortunate to have seen kraftwerk (2015), michael rother, and roedelius all live! i was thinking about that while walking out of the show, probably looked like this :)))))))))))

dronestreet, Wednesday, 30 September 2015 13:33 (three years ago) Permalink

I saw them in Boston last weekend, they were terrific. Granted, I'm not sure they weren't just surfing Facebook or something, but it all looked and sounded great.

Gerald McBoing-Boing, Tuesday, 6 October 2015 23:26 (three years ago) Permalink

This one has sound (and Ralf being adorable but I didn't say that):

https://instagram.com/p/8e80asC7ML/

Dröhn Rock (Branwell with an N), Wednesday, 7 October 2015 06:37 (three years ago) Permalink

at work but double hell yeah

bonobo voyage (Noodle Vague), Wednesday, 7 October 2015 09:17 (three years ago) Permalink

two months pass...
three months pass...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VXa9tXcMhXQ

F♯ A♯ (∞), Thursday, 24 March 2016 19:03 (two years ago) Permalink

#!%E3%82%AF%E3%83%A9%E3%83%95%E3%83%88%E3%83%AF%E3%83%BC%E3%82%AF%20%E3%82%BB%E3%83%BC%E3%82%BF%E3%83%BC

glandular lansbury (sic), Saturday, 26 March 2016 00:59 (two years ago) Permalink

Is that the knitting pattern?

StanM, Saturday, 26 March 2016 04:27 (two years ago) Permalink

URL encoded utf8 by the look of it. It's a Japanese website and the path is in Japanese. If you look there are groups of 3 bytes all starting with e3, each of these groups is a character.

koogs, Saturday, 26 March 2016 06:39 (two years ago) Permalink

http://www.fileformat.info/info/unicode/char/30af/index.htm for instance

koogs, Saturday, 26 March 2016 06:41 (two years ago) Permalink

Great video.

Chewshabadoo, Tuesday, 29 March 2016 12:33 (two years ago) Permalink

Would it have killed them to film Florian more. :(

Sehr Kornisch (Branwell with an N), Friday, 1 April 2016 07:24 (two years ago) Permalink

wow, that is the highest quality transfer I have ever seen of the 1981 TV live special. if anyone comes across the rest of that in the same HD quality, please post back here, you can finally even see the shape of the switches & all their gear clearly

Milton Parker, Friday, 1 April 2016 16:57 (two years ago) Permalink

not HD, in fact terrible quality, but someone heard my prayer and filmed Florian chatting about synthesisers for 10 minutes!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JBs0lx0ghgo

Sehr Kornisch (Branwell with an N), Monday, 4 April 2016 08:56 (two years ago) Permalink

three months pass...
ten months pass...

We meet on the eve of the general election, and so, to break the ice, I tell him how, ever since the leaders debates in 2010, pictures of UK politicians stood sombrely at lecterns have come to be labelled by online wits as the “worst Kraftwerk gig ever”. Curious, Hütter looks at a picture on my phone of a besuited Gordon Brown, Nick Clegg and David Cameron, and nods in agreement: “Because there’s only three of them,” he says. “One missing.”

cast your vote for fully automated gay space luxury communism (bizarro gazzara), Friday, 16 June 2017 09:33 (one year ago) Permalink

looooool

frogbs, Friday, 16 June 2017 13:12 (one year ago) Permalink

oh my god no that cannot be real

he not like the banana (Stevie D(eux)), Friday, 16 June 2017 13:17 (one year ago) Permalink

kraftwerk's deadpan humour is one of my favourite things about them

cast your vote for fully automated gay space luxury communism (bizarro gazzara), Friday, 16 June 2017 13:19 (one year ago) Permalink

i loled hard when i read that part of the interview this morning... glad to find someone posted it here.

new noise, Friday, 16 June 2017 19:12 (one year ago) Permalink

I liked this part too

Did it surprise Hütter when black audiences in New York and Detroit took it to their hearts and used it as a building block for hip-hop and techno?

“Yes and no,” he says. “Because I have white and black keys on my piano.”

frogbs, Friday, 16 June 2017 19:25 (one year ago) Permalink

to say i am buzzed to the max re tomorrow would be an understatement ...

mark e, Friday, 16 June 2017 19:27 (one year ago) Permalink

Has Ralf been listening to 'Ebony and Ivory'? :D

The Anti-Climax Blues Band (Turrican), Monday, 19 June 2017 15:50 (one year ago) Permalink

By the way, one thing I noticed in the CD box set is: Every track has very specific credits for words, music, every individual. Not seen that before..

Mark G, Monday, 19 June 2017 21:24 (one year ago) Permalink

one month passes...

finally caved and bought the new CD boxset. it's quite good, the versions on discs 1-6 are more different than the originals (and The Mix) than I expected. kinda cool to see them rearranging the tracks and grouping the similar stuff together, i.e. the "Franz Schubert/Europe Endless" medley. I do think some of the magic is lost but they still sound great. new versions of "Airwaves" and "Antenna" are excellent. plus they turn "Telephone Call" into a real jam and just forego the vocals entirely. I'm on Disc 7 (the 3-D headphone version of "The Mix") and it's giving me a headache. Haven't heard the Tour de France disc yet, can't imagine it's much different though. still, worth the 40 bucks.

frogbs, Friday, 11 August 2017 15:01 (one year ago) Permalink

they turn "Telephone Call" into a real jam and just forego the vocals entirely

Anything to do with the fact that Karl Bartos sang it originally? And Ralf didn't like his vocal either - too emotional.

Tonight I Cut My Temple Teeth (Tom D.), Friday, 11 August 2017 15:13 (one year ago) Permalink

yeah that's probably exactly the reason.

funny to hear a 70 year-old Hutter sing "Sex Object". what a strange tune that is.

frogbs, Friday, 11 August 2017 15:25 (one year ago) Permalink

three months pass...

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b09g0m2q

HCMF40 (Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival - Radio 3)

The programme features music from the arch-experimentalist ensemble zeitkratzer and their tribute to the iconic German band Kraftwerk, with live performances of numbers from their critically acclaimed albums "Kraftwerk" and "Kraftwerk 2".

(disclaimer, i haven't listened to this yet)

koogs, Wednesday, 29 November 2017 09:25 (ten months ago) Permalink

five months pass...
two months pass...

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