Archive for the ‘Electronic/ Krautrock’ Category

021

Trans-Europe Express – Kraftwerk   1977 EMI (Originally on Kling-Klang)

022I was recently on an Electronic/ Krautrock kick and I wanted to replace my much-to-well-worn copy of Trans-Europe Express. While at the record store I got skunked on the Kraftwerk, but re-discovered another great electronic album from a very unlikely source(more of this to come). So, basically I am reviewing my original copy that has…a lot of…character. It’s not that bad, actually…I am just kinda crotchety when it comes to these things.  Anyway, I will not say much about T-E E because so much has been said about it already, be it in reviews or, more importantly, by other artists albums which were so strongly influenced by Kraftwerk’s landmark album. If you listen to Radiohead, Bowie’s incredible “Berlin Trilogy”, most New-Wave bands or even Afrika Bambaataa’s classic, Planet Rock, one cannot help but notice that none of this music 024would’ve sounded like this without Kraftwerk. Just check out The title track’s synth line after the vocorder “trans-Europe Express” chant amd then look up Planet rock…you get the picture. Kraftwerk will someday be regarded as important to popular music as the Beatles, the Stones, Jimi Hendrix…you name it. They didn’t push musical boundaries, because they forged a new kind of music. There were no rules. They built their own instruments. Nothing could sound like this.  Here are some tracks…enjoy

011

Trans – Neil Young   1982 Geffen Records

And now for the sleeper. The last guy anyone would expect an electronic album from. Neil young has given the world some of the most beautiful acoustic music it has ever heard as well as some of the most introspective and daring electric guitar jams. He was known and loved for these two things…which is probably what made him make this album. He is famous for being extremely prolific and when record label execs would try to corner him by saying”we want a classic rock album”, he delivered them an album of rock-a-billy cheese…because he could.

012He had recently got his hands on a Synclavier and a Vocorder and started to make these songs(he admitted later, under the influence of Kraftwerk) that would baffle his fans and critics alike. It was generally hated and it was never released on cd in the U.S.. Hence, it is basically unknown and that is a shame because it is amazing. As with everything Neil does, it is beautifully recorded and mastered. The pressing is great and it’s lack of popularity kind of assured it being in near mint condition and very inexpensive. Songs like We R In Control actually still manage to rock. Transformer Man has heart and almost resembled an opera if Klaus Nomi performed it. The album brings a warmth and soul to the so-called Krautrock genre that is usually not present. Also, the album art is great…from the Deloreon type space cars on the cover to the heart-in-blade runner and computer font on the back. I was very happy to pay only 3.99 for this near-mint copy of a 30 year old classic…until I thought about it more. It’s kind of sad the something like this could be relegated to a bargin-bin. There is more background to the story that made me thing this(from 1980-1982 he was spending most of his time with his son Ben, who was going through therapy sessions after being born with Cerebral Palsy and was not able to speak. The songs he was writing were laced with the emotions he was dealing with and the lyrics and tone of this and the album previous, Re-ac-tor, reflect that). I guess I find it hard to write off an artists work simply because it wasn’t what people wanted at the time. No matter, through technology, you don’t need a record player to hear this work now…here it is

We R In Control

Transformer Man

Sample and Hold

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