Thursday, May 3, 2012

AUTOBAHN   -   Kraftwerk

YEAR:  1974
LABEL:  Philips
TRACK LISTING:  Autobahn,  Kometenmelodie 1,  Kometenmelodie 2,  Mitternacht,  Morgenspaziergang
IMPRESSIONS:  It's astonishing to me that this album is from 1974 because I first encountered it when my parents brought it home sometime in the late 70's (circa 1979 probably).  This album always seemed to get played during springtime when the windows in the house could finally be opened and spring cleaning undertaken.  The title track is obviously perfect for driving with the car windows down on a sunny spring day.  The album cover pictured above is the version I know from the vinyl LP we had back in the late 70's; however, the current remastered cd version has the blue and white graphic which can be glimpsed in the upper left corner of the photo above.   
MY FAVOURITE TRACKS:  How can you NOT listen to the entire album so I'm afraid it's all of 'em again.  But especially the towering "Autobahn", natch.
FACT SHEET:  AUTOBAHN is Kraftwerk's fourth album.  Kraftwerk are Ralf Hütter (vocals, electronics), Florian Schneider (vocals, electronics), Klaus Röder (violin, guitar) and Wolfgang Flür (percussion).  The cover painting is by Emil Schult.  A severly editted three-and-a-half minute single version of the title track was released and went to #11 on the UK charts and #25 on the US Billboard Hot 100.  While much of the album is electronic, there are analog instruments including violin, guitar, flute and synthesizer.  The title track features both untreated vocals as well as vocals filtered through a vocoder; the rest of the album is instrumental.  "Autobahn" of course is meant to evoke the feeling of driving on Germany's superhighway; passing through the landscape, accelerating into the fast lane and the general monotony of a long road trip evoked by the hypnotic rhythm of the track.  Specifically, the track is meant to refer to the first Autobahn stretch of the A555 from Köln to Bonn.  The rest of the tracks have a two-part structure of an introduction followed by a main section; all of which loosely based on a nighttime theme.  "Kometenmelodie" means "Comet Melody" in German.  "Mitternacht" translates to "Midnight" and "Morgenspaziergang"means "Morning Stroll".  "Morgenspaziergang" utilizes electronically-created birdsong and concludes with an extended variation of the melody heard in the first section of the title track. 

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