Autobahn - the animated short film

in 1979, british animator Roger Mainwood did an amazing animated film around Kraftwerk's "Autobahn", while working at the Halas and Batchelor studios. This short film was Mainwood's first assignment for the company.

The Halas and Batchelor Colllection website describes the clip this way:

A visual interprtation of Kraftwerk’s music Autobahn. A fast paced experimental film which proved to be a ground breaking combination of electronic and manual animation. It has now become an icon of late seventies design and music. One of the first films produced specifically for video disk.
The clip has recently been restored, and is now available via YouTube:

There is also a short documentary/behind the scenes type clip about the making of the Autobahn animations available. See it here.

Kraftwerk on BBC (get it here)

BBC Radio 4 - Factual:

Kraftwerk: We Are the Robots

Thursday 22 November 2007 11:30-12:00 (Radio 4 FM)

Marc Riley traces the career of Kraftwerk, whose 1970s electronic music owed more to the experimental German classical compositions of Karlheinz Stockhausen than to any pop tradition. They were part of a new generation of young West Germans, living in the shadow of the Cold War, who identified with the need to recapture a German cultural identity distinct from that of Britain and America.

Followed by News.

Here's an mp3 of the show, that I found on-line. Kudos to the person who recorded it.


More Kraftwerk Covers!

It's mp3 time again. Let's do it:

Shadowy Men From A Shadowy Planet - "Autobahn"

Shadowy Men From A Shadowy Planet were formed in 1984, in Canada. They played instrumental rock, and their greatest acheivement and heritage is probably that they recorded the theme song to the tv-series Kids In The Hall ...

This, however, is their cover of Kraftwerk's "Autobahn". The song was never officially released - it originates from a tape that was transferred into this Chunklet post.

Listen or download here:

Busy P - "It's More Fun to Compute"

This guy is the manager of Daft Punk and the owner of Ed Banger Records. But he also finds time to make music and release his own records. This is his version of Kraftwerk's "It's More Fun to Compute". As far as I know, it was only released through Busy P's MySpace page.

Listen or download here:

Bonus cover:

The Divine Comedy - "Radio Activity"


Kraftwerk comics

I've written before about the spanish cartoonist Calpurnio, and his el bueno del Cuttlas stories, that from time to time include the four Kraftwerk characters. But now, it's time to take a peak at two Swedish examples.

This first one is from the strip Rocky, published daily in Dagens Nyheter. This is from a few days ago. Look at the wall, next to other excellent choices such as MF DOOM and Yngwie Malmsteen, and you will see four familiar album covers.

Then there's this, from the Galago magazine and the year 2000. This is a 6 page story called "GOD" by Swedish surrealist/cartoonist John Andersson, who once published an entire comic album starring Florian Schneider, called "Schneiderduschen".

In the story sampled below, the first sentence on page one is "God is a lefthanded office clerk and as you can see, he bears a striking resemblance to Florian Schneider". Brilliant stuff.

Hey, click the images for larger versions.


Rheingold is (looking) back

It appears Rheingold have woken up. And in the process they have covered themselves, as well as a number of other interesting acts from the Düsseldorf past. Listen to this.

Rheingold, a German NDW band active during the early 80's, probably most renowned for their electronic hit "Fan Fan Fanatisch" from 1984, has been quiet for a long time. Their last complete album was released somewhere around 23 years ago.

But last week they popped up from nowhere again, on several music download sites (such as Juno, Emusic) with a brand new concept album, "Electric City - Düsseldorfer Schule".

The album contains one new Rheingold track, "Alte Shule" (old school), but apart from that, it's a cover album from start to end. Every song is a cover of a song by a band from the Düsseldorf area, including La Düsseldorf, Kraftwerk, Fehlfarben, Michael Rother and Propaganda, as well as their own "Dr. Mabuse" from 1985. This is the complete track list:
  • La Düsseldorf – “Geld Regiert Die Welt" (1978)
  • Fehlfarben - "Es Geht Voran" (1980)
  • Rheingold - "3Klangsdimensionen" (1980)
  • Electric Music - "Crosstalk" (1992)
  • Propaganda - "Dr. Mabuse" (1985)
  • Michael Rother - "Karussell" (1976)
  • Karl Bartos - "Life" 2003)
  • Kraftwerk - "Autobahn" (1974)
  • Rheingold - "Alte Schule" (2007)

The label behind the release is a bit of a mystery to me. It's called 3Klang Records. There was a 3-Klang Records (note the hyphen) in the early 90's, that re-released some other German classics in a similar genre (DAF, Grauzone and a few others). I don't know if this is the same label or not. If it is - what the hell have they been doing for the last 15 years?


Duran Duran bring Kraftwerk to Broadway

During their currently ongoing 9 date new-album-release-concert-extravaganza on Broadway in NYC, Duran Duran has split their set into three parts. The first part contains tracks from the new album and the third part is the "hits!" runthrough, to keep fans happy going home. But we're going to take a closer look at the middle, second part. The part that has been refered to as the "techno set" or "electro set".

Combined with some of their own tracks, Duran Duran (for this part of the show lined up in a straight Kraftwerk-like line) performed covers of Kraftwerk's "Showroom Dummies" and "Warm Leatherette" from The Normal. The complete list for their techno/electro set was:
  • Showroom Dummies
  • Last Chance on the Stairway
  • All She Wants Is
  • Warm Leatherette
  • I Don’t Want Your Love
  • Skin Trade

So, what did it sound like? And what did it look like? Well ... You be the judge.

Showroom Dummies:

All She Wants Is / Warm Leatherette


Kraftwerk history revisited (sooner or later)

I read this one short sentence on a Kraftwerk mailing list just now, and felt it was the more interesting sentences I've read in a looong time. It might not look as much, but it is:

Mr. Hütter promised that the 3(!) pre Autobahn albums will be released as remastered cd's after the Catalogue.

Pretty good news, if you ask me. And judging from the source of the quote, it might very well be true.


Underground Resistance

In the latest issue of The Wire, the following Kraftwerk/age related quotes are credited to Underground Resistance mystery man "Mad" Mike Banks:

"But why should you give up at forty years old? Kraftwerk is a great inspiration. I don't know how old they are. They don't even seem to have an age, they seem like some sweet-ass aliens that don't age, because they still tour, they still make records."

"But I think Kraftwerk were great pioneers in the beginning and now they act as great inspirations, because I've seen them play live many, many times but I've never heard anyone talk about their age. Never. To their credit, I always say great things about them, because in the early days, I never heard anybody say anything about their race. They weren't Germans, they weren't white, in fact we thought they were robots. For the longest, we thought they were robots. We had no idea they were human beings till we saw their show. They played in Nitro's in Detroit way back in the day."

An unedited transcript of the interview with Mike Banks can be read here.