Saturday, 23 May 2020

Album Reviews for Kraftwerk's 'The Man Machine'

I’d been aware of Kraftwerk from their ‘Autobahn’ single a few years earlier, but nothing else. As the punk scene began to fragment at the end of the 1970’s the pace-setters to come next were the New Romantics and the New Wavers. They were looking for new sounds and styles and the synthesiser was readily available and harked back to the punk ethos of “anyone can do it” because of its ease to use. But the newer bands were still melding electronic music with traditional band line-ups. Kraftwerk had been doing their thing for at least a decade at that point, ignoring the two guitars, bass and drums set up and indeed with someone who could sing. The main point of ‘The Man Machine’ was that Kraftwerk had begun to introduce beats that you could dance to. I can remember this album getting played to death at Birmingham clubs such as Holy City Zoo and The Rum Runner.

The sound of Der Mencsh Machine is, to me, like cities made of glass crackling with blue tongue licking lashes of electricity.

It is the most pop leaning record of the band's career to that point, with "The Model" being perhaps their best known piece and representing the band's success in honing the new technology they had been working with into instruments which could be accepted and embraced by generations of musical purists.

The Krautrock revolution, as it has become known (though when I mentioned the term to a German friend she did not know it and thought it rather insulting) was the sound of Germany looking to put it's past behind it, but not by jumping on the bandwagon of the popular American music dominating the airwaves. It was the search for a new identity from the ruins of a troubled history.

Its influence is far reaching. I could name LCD Soundsystem and Daft Punk songs that directly lift some of the melodies from Metropolis and The Robots without apology.

No comments:

Post a comment

Thanks for your comment it will appear on the blog shortly (if it's suitable for a family audience).