Although Kraftwerk's first three albums were groundbreaking in their own right, Autobahn is where the group's hypnotic electronic pulse genuinely came into its own. The main difference between Autobahn and its predecessors is how it develops an insistent, propulsive pulse that makes the repeated rhythms and riffs of the shimmering electronic keyboards and trance-like guitars all the more hypnotizing. The 22-minute title track, in a severely edited form, became an international hit single and remains the peak of the band's achievements – it encapsulates the band and why they are important within one track – but the rest of the album provides soundscapes equally as intriguing. Within Autobahn, the roots of electro-funk, ambient, and synth pop are all evident – it's a pioneering album, even if its electronic trances might not capture the attention of all listeners.
During the mid-'70s, Germany's Kraftwerk established the sonic blueprint followed by an extraordinary number of artists in the decades to come. From the British new romantic movement to hip-hop to techno, the group's self-described "robot pop" – hypnotically minimal, obliquely rhythmic music performed solely via electronic means – resonates in virtually every new development to impact the contemporary pop scene of the late- 20th century, and as pioneers of the electronic music form, their enduring influence cannot be overstated…
After finally releasing a new track, commissioned by Expo 2000 in Hanover, Germany, Kraftwerk proceeded to open it up to a whole new set of remixers. Featuring four remixes by Detroit's influential Underground Resistance, one from British electronic musicians Orbital, one from seminal DJ/producer François Kevorkian, and several from Kraftwerk themselves, this ten-track CD shows what Kraftwerk can sound like in the modern world. Considering that Kraftwerk is often quoted as a major influence on Detroit techno, its unsurprising that the remixes by the Underground Resistance far surpass either of the other two mixes. Revamping the songs in a "Kraftwerk living in Detroit" sort of way, UR pay homage to one of the forefathers of their art. Fortunately, none of the mixes mimics another, a relatively difficult feat when working with material as sparse as a Kraftwerk song. All of the remixes are worthwhile additions to the vast canon of Kraftwerk material.
Japanese release featuring modern eclectic Japanese acts covering the finest that German electronic Pioneers Kraftwerk ever created. Includes Buffalo Daughter doing the legendary 'Autobahn', plus interpretations of 'It's More FunTo Compute' and 'Showroom Dummies'.
Minimum-Maximum is the first official live album release by Kraftwerk, released in June 2005, almost 35 years after the group gave their first live performance. It features two CDs and tracks recorded on their world tour during 2004, including concerts in Warsaw, Moscow, Berlin, London, Budapest, Tallinn, Riga, Tokyo and San Francisco. Minimum-Maximum was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Electronic/Dance Album in 2006.
Like its predecessor (similarly designed right down to the traffic cone cover, though green instead of red), Kraftwerk 2 has never been properly re-released, giving it the same lost-classic aura as the first album, or at least lost, period. Thankfully, bootleg reissues in 1993 restored it to wider public listening; even more so than Kraftwerk 1, its lack of official reappearance is a mystery, in that the band is clearly well on its way to the later Kraftwerk sound of fame. Stripped down to the Hütter/Schneider duo for this release, and again working with Conrad Plank as coproducer and engineer (this album alone demonstrates his ability to create performances combining technological precision and warmth), Kraftwerk here start exploring the possibilities of keyboards and electronic percussion in detail. Given that the band's drummers were gone, such a shift was already in the wind, but it's the enthusiastic grappling with drum machines and their possibilities that makes Kraftwerk 2 noteworthy.
What might have been simply seen as an agreeable enough debut album has since become something of a notorious legend because Kraftwerk, or more accurately the core Hütter/Schneider duo at the heart of the band, simply refuses to acknowledge its existence any more. What's clearly missing from Kraftwerk is the predominance of clipped keyboard melodies that later versions of the band would make their own. Instead, Kraftwerk is an exploratory art rock album with psych roots first and foremost, with Conny Plank's brilliant co-production and engineering skills as important as the band performances. Still, Hütter and Schneider play organ and "electric percussion" – Hütter's work on the former can especially be appreciated with the extended opening drone moan of the all-over-the-place "Stratovarius" combined with Schneider's eerie violin work. But it's a different kind of combination and exploration, with the key pop sugar (and vocal work) of later years absent in favor of sudden jump cuts of musique concrète noise and circular jamming as prone to sprawl as it is to tight focus.