I didn't expect it to happen, ever, but a few days ago it did. I bought a Fatboy Slim record. But there's a decent reason - as it's a 7" and it contains the fatboy's cover of Kraftwerk's Radioactivity.
The song is allright I guess. Fatboy Slim bring some "1960s pop" type drums into the mix. This will be noted as his unique input into the Kraftwerk universe. The vocals are sung by a female vocalist called Myriam Tisler (this could be her). In fact, ths song has a friendly feel to it, like a motown version of the big beat sound.
The b side of the 7" is noteworthy as well, as it features Bootsy Collins (!) reading a poem. The words are written by Fatboy Slim's ex bandmate, from The Housemartins, Paul Heaton, who in later years has been known as the leader of The Beautiful South.
All in all, this is one strange record.
I went to see Control, Anton Corbijn's black and white debut movie that tells the story of Joy Division singer Ian Curtis, at the extremely comfortable Electric cinema in London the other day. Ever since it was anounced some months ago that Kraftwerk's Autobahn was included on the movie soundtrack CD, the movie has been the subject of some discussion amongst the online Kraftwerk fans.
After having seen the movie, I can tell you this:
- The song is used in a short sequence, by the water.
- They are not playing the most typical (recognizable) part of the song, i.e. if you are not looking for it you might miss it.
- The version of Autobahn on the CD is 11 minutes and 23 seconds long. A version of that length has never before been released, as far as I am aware. It appears someone has basically cut a section or two in the middle of the song to make it fit on the soundtrack CD. The 22 minutes of the original is a bit much, maybe. But the sound is better than on the officially released Autobahn CDs, which is nice.
See below for my (very rough) translation.
[TODAY'S INTERVIEW: AUDIO OBJEKT FROM LUND]
Q: Why are you called Audio Objekt?
A: We are objects and we deal with sounds.
A2: That's right.
Q: Can't you write your own songs?
A: We can write our own songs, we have written one called Artificial Personality. Apart from that we like covers.
A2: That's right.
Q: Why do you like Kraftwerk so much?
A: Because it's better if you can say something with three notes instead of a thousand.
A2: That's right.
Q: Is it true that you have collaborated with Ralf Hütter from Kraftwerk?
A: A long time ago, a few years ago, he visited us here in our studio in Lund. He was a very likeable person. We felt that we thought and felt... [unintelligable] Ralf Hütter, a great man. But he didn't like the food at Hotel Lundia, and eventually that became a problem.
A2. That's right.
Q. Is it correct that you auditioned when Kraftwerk were looking for new members?
A. We were bicycling through the Ruhr area when we saw an ad in the Düsseldorfer Allgemenie newspaper about an audition. We went there, we bring our synthesizers everywhere so we bought them along. We auditioned, Ralf invited us in but it didnt work out. I don't know why, I think Florian didn't really like us. So we didn't join the band. But at least we've been to the Kling Klang studio. If that was where we were. Was it?
Q. Is it true that you met Kraftwerk during a cycling competition in Bavaria?
A. Yes, that was at the "Bayern runt" competition. It turned out, Ralf is a real mountain goat, but not quite as good at the time trial segments. And Florian proved to do best going downhill.
Q. Your music is socially critical. Are you like anarchists or something?
A. We haven't decided yet... There's a strong tradition in Lund of syndicalism and pragmatism. We haven't yet decided, we're sort of in between. We're mostly into cyclism, escapism.
Q. Is it true that you are also "Tyskarna från Lund"?
A. At least, we do come from Lund. And my grandfather's father was german. Or, he spent a lot of time in Germany. Or if it was Denmark. At least, we come from Lund. We come from Lund.
Q. Why this fascination with Germany?
A. At least, we do come from Lund.
Q. Is it true that one of you plays synthersizers in bob hund?
A. We can neither confirm or deny that. Or confirm.
Q. Why are you wearing glasses? Do you have the same refractive error?
A. We're both astigmatic, -3 on the right eye and -2 on the left one.
A2. -2,5 on the left eye.
A. Is that change recent?
Q. How do you work in the studio? Do you have a lot of cool, old synthesizers?
A: Our studio is a mixture between analogue and digital, between dark and bright sounds, between electronic and acoustic. Between man and machine, one might say.
A2: That's right.
Q. Are you going to release more records? Maybe an album?
A. We release records continuously. We release several records every year, and we are going to continue doing so.
A2. That's right.
Audio Objekt really is a duo, with members Håkan Lidbo and Patrik Persson. Lidbo is the most well known of the two, having released close to 200 records in every conceivable electronic genre during the last 15 years or so, from glitch minimalism to straight pop dance songs.
This video is their version of Kraftwerks "Computer World", which translated in to Swedish and into the 21st century has become "Vår nya värld".
Audio Objekt has also covered Kraftwerk's "The Model", renaming it "Modellen". Also in Swedish. "Modellen" is available in mp3 format here.
Fans tend to loop certain questions. Within the Kraftwerk community, the loops are few but endless:
- When will The Catalogue be released?
- Electric Café was initially intended to be released as "Techno Pop". Are these demos that I found online real?
- What band is the next Kraftwerk?
I dont know the answer to the first question, but the answer to the second one is probably Trans-Europe Express.
Peoples attempts to answer the third question will usually point to somebody from the Detroit area. Drexciya and related projects are often mentioned. But while I like Arpanet and Der Zyklus as much as the next guy, I still think that is taking the easy way out.
This is why I now present my own nominee to the title, Eric Malmberg, and specifically his album "Den gåtfulla människan" that was released by Häpna in 2005. It's all made by one man and a Hammond organ, but listen to that extra dry, barren beat in this sample track, that I have borrowed from the Häpna label website.
It's definitely not electro, but it feels more like Kraftwerk (Autobahn/Radio-Activity era, I guess) than Drexciya ever did (no matter which era).
Eric has just released a new record, called "Verklighet & Beat". The new one is recorded with a full band, which makes it a lot bigger in sound and a bit more folksy than "Den gåtfulla människan". But it's still nice and Bo Hansson is on it, so you should buy both.
Cross-breed Donna Summer (the real one, not this one) with Abba, Blondie, Chromeo, Baccara and Chicks on Speed. Continue by slowing it down a bit, and you've got Glass Candy - an american post CD-r death disco scene act with some weird swedish connections.
Quite recently, Glass Candy did a version of Kraftwerk's "Computer Love". It's an enjoyable version, relaxed almost to the state of drug induced haze.
The song is available on this compilation.