20090902

Sehr Gut Kommt Sehr Gut


Here a release that I guess has confused a music lover or two over the years.

By appearance, this is a compilation featuring tracks by some of the greatest german electronic/ndw bands from 1980 and around. There's a Mittagspause track, and songs by Der Plan, Deutsch-Amerikanische Freundschaft, Kraftwerk and others. But no, it's all one man's work, a man with - as it appears - tons of studio time. That man is Xao Seffcheque (whom we have previously mentioned here). And his "Sehr gut kommt sehr gut" is basically a critical parody of the german hits compilations of the time.

Seffcheque has mixed his own, very well performed, impersonations of more or less know bands with some made up artists and his own, real project Xao & Die Pest, who'se "Fortschrittsträume" here basically is some kind of funky new wave/ska interpretation of DAF's "Kebab-träume" (or it's predecessors, Mittagspause's and Fehlfarben's "Militürk", perhaps), with "Wir sind die Türken von morgen" (we are the turks of tomorrow) replaced by "Wir sind die hippies von morgen" (we are the hippies of tomorrow). And there are more musical references. Die Lemminge's "Why we Hate The Residents" is more or less a weird version of The Beatles' "Eleanor Rigby". And the same goes for fake band Not Mean Themselves' "Wrong Colours". "Eleanor Rigby" again.

When I got the album a few years ago, it took me a while to locate the fake Kraftwerk songs, "Stalagmit" 1-12. They are listed as being the last songs on each side, but there's just nothing there. But when listening through the album, I noticed notice some short beeps or sweeps between each song - lasting about a second or two each. Well, it turns out these short signals are the "Kraftwerk" contributions. Excellent.

Tracklist, A-side:

1 Die Geldschweine - Sehr gut kommt sehr gut
2 Xao + Die Pest - Fortschrittsträume
3 Vielleichtors - Bring deinen körper auf die party
4 Mittagspause - Es hat keine disco hier
5 Sternhagel - King Kong
6 Not Mean Themselves - Wrong Colours
7 Kraftwerk - Stalagmit 1-5

B-side:

1 The Wirtschaftswunder - Hinweise zum neuen klang
2 Der Plan - Fehlplan (Wir sind so müde)
3 Siluetes 61 - Mannesmann
4 Die Lemminge - Why we hate the Residents
5 Die Nachdenklichen Wehrpflichtigen - Ist Free-Jazz Heilbar?
6 Deutsch Amerikanische Freundschaft - Sample & Hold
7 Residenz - Alles
8 Der KFC - Endlösung
9 O.R.a.V. - Punk Supermarkt
10 Kraftwerk - Stalagmit 6-12

Xao Seffcheque - "Der Plan - Fehlplan (wir sind so müde)":



Xao Seffcheque - "Deutsch Amerikanische Freundschaft - Sample & Hold":


20090827

Techno Pop, House Phone



As we all know by now, Kraftwerk's Electric Cafe will have it's name changed to Techno Pop when re-released in october this year, as part of The Catalogue. If you don't know why, read the Wikipedia article on the subject. What we didn't know already, is that the tracklisting will also change slightly.

The tracklist for the original Electric Cafe edition looks like this:
  1. Boing Boom Tschak (2:58)
  2. Techno Pop (7:41)
  3. Musique Non Stop (5:44)
  4. The Telephone Call (8:03)
  5. Sex Object (6:51)
  6. Electric Cafe (4:17)
But in the tracklisting for the upcoming Techno Pop release, the tracklist contains an additional song:
  1. Boing Boom Tschak
  2. Techno Pop
  3. Musique Non Stop
  4. The Telephone Call
  5. House Phone
  6. Sex Object
  7. Electric Café

The addition, "House Phone", is most likely the remix of "The Telephone Call", engineered by François Kevorkian, that was originally included on the 12" version of "The Telephone Call" single in 1986. My personal guess is that "The Telephone Call" will blend seamlessly into "House Phone", as that is the way Kraftwerk tend to do it. My guess is also, even though I strongly object to the changing of movies and records after they have been released (hello Star Wars), that this might be quite nice.

House Phone can be heard here, courtesy of YouTube.

20090811

Money Mark

Kraftwerk's "12345678 The Catalogue" - on Mute, on vinyl

This new press release evokes hope.



Kraftwerk

12345678 THE CATALOGUE

FOUR DECADES OF MASTERWORKS
CD, CD BOX SET, VINYL & DOWNLOAD
Mute: 5th OCTOBER 2009

KRAFTWERK: Electro Pioneers, living legends and globally revered masters of electronic sound, celebrate the 35th anniversary of their landmark 1974 hit ‘Autobahn’ by releasing digitally remastered versions of eight astounding albums on 5th October 2009. Rolling back musical barriers with every forward-thinking phase of their career, Dusseldorf's Zen masters of electronic minimalism laid the foundations for four decades of computerised pop and dance music. By chain reaction and mutation, they have influenced generations of artists in all genres, mapping musical futures yet to come. From Bowie to Daft Punk, Aphex Twin to Portishead, Dr Dre to LCD Soundsystem, and almost everyone in between, the mark of Kraftwerk is endless, endless.

In 2009 Kraftwerk have upgraded their Kling Klang masters with the latest studio technology and these eight magnificent recordings still sound like nothing else in the history of music. Kraftwerk are unique, pristine, profound and beautiful. Decades may pass, but their streamlined synthetic symphonies stand outside time, as fresh as tomorrow, transcendent and sublime.

12345678 The Catalogue will be released across the following formats;

  • 8 x individual CDs presented in special slipcases featuring newly expanded artwork, including many previously unseen images all of which have been reproduced to the highest technical standards.
  • CD Box Set containing 8 x CDs in ‘mini-vinyl’ card wallet packaging, plus individual large format booklets.
  • 8 x individual heavyweight vinyl LPs with large format booklets.
  • Digital downloads.

After their recent jaw dropping 3-D show at the Manchester Velodrome, Kraftwerk’s next UK live appearance will be as headliners for Bestival on 12th September.

For further information please contact Caroline, John, or Nicki at Out Promotion on 0207 434 4525 or firstname@out-london.co.uk

www.mute.com / http://www.kraftwerk.com/

12345678 THE CATALOGUE

AUTOBAHN (1974)

With its iconic Emil Schult sleeve, Kraftwerk release their international breakthrough album. The symphonic title track, an epic ode to the joys of motorway travel, wraps a mesmerising motorik rhythm around a sampled collage of car horns, engine noise, whirring tyres and radio crackle. In edited form, it becomes a revolutionary hit single around the world.

Elsewhere, in wordless industrial folk music, the band reveal both their light and dark sides – ‘Mitternacht’ is all creeping midnight shadows, while ‘Morgenspaziergang’ is fresh with morning dew and birdsong. Two versions of ‘Kometenmelodie’, one a starkly gothic prowl, the other a sunny electro boogie, provide further instrumental sound paintings. Pure and strong and bold, Kraftwerk compose cinema for the ears. The pop world falls in love with them.

RADIO-ACTIVITY (1975)

Kraftwerk embrace the atomic age with mixed emotions. Surfing on sine waves, scanning the stratosphere for stray radio signals, they plug themselves into a buzzing grid of energy and communication. From the stately eco-angst anthem ‘Radioactivity’ to the synthetic Gregorian chants of ‘Radio Stars’ and the melancholy machine processional of ‘Ohm Sweet Ohm’, a sombre but engrossing monumentalism dominates.

With heavily processed vocals in both German and English, Kraftwerk go global with depth and majesty. If factories and power stations are the new cathedrals, they write liturgies for a new industrial epoch.

TRANS EUROPE EXPRESS (1977)

Kraftwerk celebrate Europe's romantic past and shimmering future with a glistening panorama of elegance and decadence, travel and technology. The infinite vistas of ‘Europe Endless’ and ‘Endless Endless’ bookend the album, which includes the unsettling Kafka-esque fable ‘The Hall Of Mirrors’ and the hilarious ‘Showroom Dummies’ - Kraftwerk's elegantly ironic reply to critiques of their deadpan manner.

But it is the streamlined rhythmic locomotive of ‘Trans Europe Express’ which dominates with its doppler-effect melodic swerves and hypnotic, pneumatic, piston-pumping rhythm. Along with its sister track, ‘Metal On Metal’ which New York DJ Afrika Bambaataa would re-construct five years later for his own seminal ‘Planet Rock’, this milestone in avant-pop modernism later becomes a crucial influence on the early pioneers of hip-hop & sampling, electro and industrial music. Poetry in motion.

THE MAN MACHINE (1978)

A bold new look, sound and concept for Kraftwerk. Over supple processed rhythms which predate the rise of European techno and trance, they address automation and alienation, space travel and engineering, the seductive allure of urban landscapes and the vacant glamour of celebrity. Clipped and funky, ‘The Robots’ adds another dimension to Kraftwerk's ultra-dry sense of humour. Behind its intoxicating melodic pulse, ‘The Model’ is a highly prophetic satire on the beauty industry, so ahead of its time that it only becomes a UK chart-topper by accident three years later. And ‘Neon Lights’ is Kraftwerk's most achingly romantic song to date, a sci-fi lullaby for cities at twilight. Pure magic.

COMPUTER WORLD (1981)

Kraftwerk beam themselves into the future by writing about home computers, online dating and globalised electronic surveillance years before these phenomena truly come into being. A journey into the bright hopes and dark fears of the booming microchip revolution, ‘Computer World’ is a serenely beautiful and almost seamless collage of sensual melodies and liquid beatscapes. Tracks like ‘Numbers’ and ‘Pocket Calculator’, with their weightless bleeps and elastic beats, predict the silky rhythms of Chicago house and inspire a generation of Detroit techno artists. Kraftwerk's fanfare for the silicon age still sounds ageless, timeless and throbbing with invention.

TECHNO POP (1986)

Kraftwerk return from five years of silence to reclaim their throne as leaders of a machine-pop revolution that they themselves began over a decade before. Their ‘Techno Pop’ album, first released under the name ‘Electric Café’ but now restored to its originally intended title, provides a 360-degree overview of a multi-lingual, multi-channel, musically diverse global village.
From the block-rocking beats of ‘Boing Boom Tschack’ to the electronic funk and computer animation of ‘Musique Non Stop’, Kraftwerk soar into the digital age. Their first excursion into digital recording finds both beauty and unease in a polyglot world of permanent media overload. Once again, Dusseldorf’s test pilots of the musical future effortlessly break new ground.

THE MIX (1991)

Kraftwerk's first fully digital album confirmed their clubland credentials and reworked 11 of their best-loved tunes for a new generation. Painstakingly reconstructed and sequenced in the band's Kling Klang studio, new versions of tracks like ‘The Robots’, ‘Trans Europe Express’ and ‘Home Computer’ now feature more funky rhythms and cleaned-up, liquid-crystal sounds. A stark warning about pollution at Sellafield is added to the glistening overhaul of ‘Radioactivity’, sparking a war of words with British Nuclear Fuels. But most of all, ‘The Mix’ is a career-spanning collection of legendary electro anthems and a classy acknowledgment of the two-way traffic between Kraftwerk and club culture.

TOUR DE FRANCE (2003)

The year 2003 marked the centenary of the Tour de France, the conceptual starting line for Kraftwerk's first album for over a decade. Although it features an immaculate new version of a 20-year-old former single, the exquisitely graceful ‘Tour de France’, pop nostalgia is not on the menu. From the chunky cyber-funk of ‘Vitamin’ to the restless metallic shimmers of ’Aéro Dynamik’, this is emphatically the sound of 21st century techno visionaries.

www.mute.com / http://www.kraftwerk.com/

Edit: updated with new album art.

20090716

"Go online, look up Kraftwerk"



My idol KRS-One and Buckshot takes on the talent/autotune problem, while namedropping both Kraftwerk and Roger Troutman. Not bad at all, really.

20090625

The Catalogue



Let the rumors start, again! The Dutch EMI site lists Kraftwerk - Boxset (8CD) in their soon to be released-list. The release date is set to September 7th.

Also on that same date, according to the same EMI list, these albums will be (re)released:
  • Autobahn
  • Radio-Activity
  • Trans-Europe Express
  • The Man Machine
  • Computer World
  • Techno Pop
  • The Mix
  • Tour de France
Fingers crossed that this means that we finally get to buy The Catalogue, the box set of 8 remastered Kraftwerk albums that was initially promoted back in 2004.

And after that, time should be right for the re-release of the first three albums.

20090623

Clock DVA - still losing it



Again, I have been eagerly looking forward to the Clock DVA reissue box, to be released by Mute Records, and the possibilities of new material from both Clock DVA and T.A.G.C. But these guys are really doing their best to extrude me. On christmas eve (!), I received this message via MySpace. And today, there's another one. Again, it was sent by Jane Radion Newton, wife of Clock DVA founder Adi Newton, and currently a Clock DVA member in her own right. Here it is:
Paul Browse??? Please give myself, Adi, DVA,T.A.G.C the respect to delete our profiles if you wish to keep such "personalities" who without reason have exploited our work and caused untold personal problems by thier actions.Thankyou

We check all new friends requests before accepting to see if they have any of these EX-members profiles in your friends
Nohno/ Kibuka (Dean Dennis)
Paul.A.Browse.
(Bob Baker) Shadowranglers/Shadowranger
Andrew Mckenzie(Hafler Trio)

If you have any of these above profiles we are sorry but we cannot accept/keep profiles that consider these individuals as their friends, as they certainly are not ours and are NOT a welcome part of DVA/TAGC I have deep regrets ever inviting them into my work- oil and water do not mix.

You may feel that this is a strong response but we ask you to trust and respect that our decision is based on necessity and issues that cannot be resolved. We hope you continue your respect as their actions and activities have also affected buying fans being behind fake DVA/TAGC products taking money from innocent fans irrespective of any lie they care to invent to justify this, they were also behind a fake ClockDVA profile now deleted through our exposure of its exploitation; therefore this is not a personal issue and we hope you would empathize by reflecting back on this as if these forms of exploitation were the same abuses of your own work.

These profiles also usually follow on our heals to filch friends of DVA/TAGC after we have accepted them.

With Respect

Adi Newton – Founder/Creative director ClockDVA/TAGC 1978-onwards and Jane Radion Newton.
So, there you have it. Another attempt to keep the online community "in check", accomplishing nothing but proving their own complete comfusion regarding the purpose and meaning of online tools like MySpace. And the related issue of online "friendship".

Why does everyone have to fail eventually?

Related:
Clock DVA - losing it.

20090618

Krautrock: Cosmic Rock and Its Legacy



Coming in October, published by Black Dog Publishing - Nikolaos Kotsopoulos' 192 page book "Krautrock: Cosmic Rock and Its Legacy". And the foreword seems to be written by none other than Steven Stapleton from Nurse With Wound. And David Tibet/Current 93 is also in it. Interesting.

Here's the sales pitch:
Krautrock charts the history of this influential music genre, from its roots in free jazz, psychedelia and the music of Karlheinz Stockhausen, to the groundbreaking experiments of Faust, Kraftwerk and Can.

The late 1960s in West Germany was a period of profound breakthroughs, upheavals and reversals. Communes were spreading, protests organised throughout the entire country, the desire to begin everything anew permeating the young. Out of this climate, a music scene exploded that would forever change the face of Western rock; at times anarchic, at others mystical, and utopian, it pushed rock beyond any known limits.

From the relentless drum beating of Amon Duul I, to the eastern tinged mysticism of Popol Vuh and the sonic assaults of Conrad Schnitzler, Krautrock: Cosmic Rock and Its Legacy traces the history of this complex and eschewing definition phenomenon.

Illustrated with concert photos, posters, record cover art and other rare and previously unseen visual material, this book is the ultimate tour-de-force of a movement whose influence and impact is still being felt today. With essays by Michel Faber, David Keenan, Erik Davis, Ken Hollings, a foreword by Steven Stapleton of Nurse with Wound, and testimonials from Gavin Russom (Delia and Gavin), Ann Shenton (Add N to (x)) and David Tibet (Current 93) this is the first ever comprehensive survey of its kind.
That's it. I'm ordering a copy right away.

20090503

Kraftwerk in 3D



No new music, but there was some interesting news visually when Kraftwerk performed in Wolfsburg a few days ago. 3D glasses were handed out to the audience, and a good portion of the projected graphics were in 3D. I'm not sure what I think of this... but hey, if it is supposed to be a multimedia show then why not?

Some more images, courtesy of mókamóka and diwiesign on Flickr:



20090420

Kraftwerk - Kakteen, Wüste, Sonne (1971)

Old, unseen, and with a title that translates to "Cacti, Desert, Sun", "Kakteen, Wüste, Sonne" was originally recorded for the german tv show Beat Club in 1971, but as it appears it didn't make it on the air until April 19th 2009. I.e. yesterday.

20090414

Trouble Funk Express



I received an e-mail from Per, tipping me off about a song Henry Rollins had played on his LA radio show yesterday.

The song was "Trouble Funk Express" as performed by Trouble Funk - one of the bigger acts in the funk subgenre go-go (with Rare Essence, The Junk Yard Band) and it is basically a funk cover of Kraftwerk's "Trans-Europe Express".

While "researching" this, I read somewhere that Rare Essence (the wickedest band alive) also used to play a version of the song, "RE Express", but I haven't been able to find it online or on any records. Any leads?

20090407

Africa Bambaataa's "Planet Rock" - the making of



Click to read the story behind the creation of Africa Bambaataa's classic "Planet Rock", as told by Richard Buskin @ Sound on Sound.

It's an interesting story, and it sheds some new light (for me, at least) on the parts borrowed from Kraftwerk's "Trans-Europe Express" and "Numbers" - still often mistaken for samples but in reality recreations executed by some pay-by-the-hour drum machine owner named Joe.

Florian turns 62 today



Congratulations again, Florian!

See Florian visiting the recent Musikmesse in Frankfurt, here and here.

Illustration above courtesy of Erik Blad

Related:
Florian, 61!
Congratulations, Florian

20090317

Yamo on MySpace



Wolfgang Flür has taken his Yamo project to MySpace. Nothing exciting, except the term Musik Soldat (music soldier) and a caricature. And there are tons of interesting, historic photos in the "My Pics" section.



Computer Liebe in Jazz



Swedish jazz pianist Jan Lundgren and his trio will release the album "European Standards" in April. On the album, a companion to the previously released "Swedish Standards", the trio covers a list of European songs, from The Beatles "Here, There And Everywhere" to Krystof Komeda's "Rosemary's Baby". And Kraftwerk's "Computer Liebe". I heard the entire piece on Swedish radio yesterday, and it's not bad at all.

Short sample here, from the label site.



This reminded me of another Kraftwerk jazz version - "Trans Europe Express" as recorded by Christian Prommer and released last year by Sonar Kollektiv. Preview here. It's track 6.

20090227

Brand NEU!

Horrible news! Oasis and Kasabian will be featured on a soon to be released NEU! tribute record. Ciccone Youth will also be on it, so there is some consolation to be found. But the album seems to be made up mostly from previously recorded songs, which is also boring as hell.

Funny thing - information on this release is all over the internet now. But nobody mentions which label will release the album. That might be because everyone uses the same source, The Quietus.

The full list:

Ciccone Youth - Two Cool Rock Chicks Listening To Neu!
Primal Scream - Shoot Speed / Kill Light
Pets With Pets - We Only Found This Place
Oasis - I Can See It Now
Foals - Titan Arum
Cornelius - Wataridori
Holy Fuck - Super Inuit
LCD Soundsystem - Watch The Tapes
Kasabian - Stuntman
School Of Seven Bells - Device fuer M
Fujiya & Miyagi - Electro Karaoke
Hook & The Twin - They'll Get Your Head
La Dusseldorf - Sketch 1_08
Michael Rother - Neutronics 98

20090123

The Best of Kraftwerk Songbook



It's true, or at least it looks to be true. January 31st, in just a few days time, Bosworth will release a new Kraftwerk Songbook, called "The Best of Kraftwerk Songbook". The songbook contains arrangements for piano, vocal and guitar for 12 Kraftwerk songs, all collected from their 1970's albums "Autobahn", "Radio-Aktivität" and "Trans Europa Express.

As all song titles on the back cover of the book (at least the now publiched version) are in German, I'd expect all lyrics to be written in German, but who knows - the book could be bilingual.



The complete list of songs:

Autobahn
Kometenmelodie 1
Kometenmelodie 2
Radio-Aktivität
Ätherwellen
Antenne
Ohm Sweet Ohm
Trans Europa Express
Metall Auf Metall
Schaufensterpuppen
Spiegelsaal
Europa Endlos

But this is not the first time Kraftwerk's music is released in noted form. There is, for example, this UK published set of sheet music for Autobahn:





... and a US version:





... and Kometenmelodie 2, in both English and German versions:





... and an italian edition of Trans-Europe Express:









... and a version published in the US:





... and Tour De France:







... and The Model, naturally published in the UK:

20090106

Florian Schneider quits



This announcement was made on one of the larger Kraftwerk fan sites yesterday:

Florian Schneider leaves Kraftwerk…

Florian Schneider leaves Kraftwerk after a 40 years partnership with Ralf Hütter.

This partnership has generated an incredible music and huge advances in music technology.

Florian is a great musician, always seeking the perfect sound through technology. Refined and perfected sounds and vocoders to impossible levels of perfection.

Our thanks for the state of art that led to Kraftwerk’s music all these years.

And our wishes for success Florian’s new projects as well as to this new Kraftwerk.


There is nothing to indicate the origin of the message and there is no mention of it on Kraftwerk's site or on their MySpace page.

As Schneider hasn't been appearing live with Kraftwerk recently (his replacement being Stefan Pfaffe), this news item, however bad it might be, shouldn't affect the already planned tour dates.

Still, I am glad that I have been able to see Kraftwerk performing, with Mr Schneider, thrice over the last 20 years or so.

20090102

Knitted Man-Machine



Woderful idea from Mishka. Still available, but in large sizes only - from here and here.