Wednesday, June 28, 2017

La Bamba (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack) (1987)

Here is a rare occurrence. I've seen the corresponding film to this soundtrack. Amazing. And, I liked the film very much, though watching it is a truly sad experience. Eight of the twelve tracks are performed by Los Lobos. Other artists appearing are Brian Setzer, Bo Diddley, Howard Huntsberry, and Marshall Crenshaw. I'd argue that this is a pretty good collection of tunes and the cover versions are all very well done.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Lenny Kravitz: Circus (1995)

Circus, from 1995, is a 10" record that was also released on CD. It contains the album and acoustic versions of Circus plus two live tracks: Tunnel Vision and Are You Gonna Go My Way (with no question mark). There are far far better Kravitz videos, if you know what I mean (nudge nudge, wink wink).

Monday, June 26, 2017

Kraftwerk: Aerodynamik + La Forme Remixes (2007)

The original mix of Aerodynamik, from the Tour de France record, is fantastic. I really like it. I'm not so crazy about the Hot Chip remix here. I think I can see the intention, but I am not sure. The flipside of this UK 12" is La Forme (King Of The Mountains Mix). I would make the same statement about this tune. I don't hate the remixes. I just think the originals are better.

Friday, June 23, 2017

Kraftwerk: Tour de France Soundtracks [Tour de France] (2003)

The 10th Kraftwerk album was released under the title Tour de France Soundtracks in 2003. The 2009 pressing, which I have, was simply entitled Tour de France. Obviously, the original pressing will cost you more. I have read that some fans hate this record (a friend of mine concurs). Others praise it. C'est la vie. For the record, I like the LP, though I think perhaps some earlier stuff was better.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Kraftwerk: The Robots (1991)

The Robots (Die Roboter) single was originally released in 1978. This 12" version was released in 1991 and contains the remixed version from The Mix. Side A has: Robotnik (Kling Klang Extended Mix); Side B has The Robots (Single Edit) and Robotronik (Kling Klang Mix). I don't hate the remixes as much as some Kraftwerk fans seem to.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Kraftwerk: The Telephone Call (1987)

Once again, this is a Canadian 12" single with a remixed version of The Telephone Call on side A. Side B has a track called House Phone and the German version of the tile track (Der Telefon Anruf).

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Kraftwerk: Musique Non Stop (1986)

This Canadian 12" single contains the 12" version of  Musique Non Stop on side 1 and the 7" version of the same track on side two. That's it. I don;t remember where I bought it or how much I paid.

Monday, June 19, 2017

Kraftwerk: Electric Cafe (1986)

One starts to worry when vast periods of time pass between records, unless it's Peter Gabriel, of course. After a five-year wait, we got Electric Cafe, and it was something of a disappointment, to my ears at the time anyway. I listened to the record recently, and I have to say that I think I like it better than I thought I did. I know, lots of people will argue that this is an awesome record. I like it, but it is just not up to the level of the previous records

Friday, June 16, 2017

Kraftwerk: Computer World [Computerwelt] (1981)

Computer World is Kraftwerk's eighth record.
The album deals with the themes of the rise of computers within society. In keeping with the album's concept, Kraftwerk showcased their music on an ambitious world tour and issued several different versions of the single "Pocket Calculator" in different languages: namely, German ("Taschenrechner"), French ("Mini Calculateur") and Japanese ("Dentaku", or 電卓). A fifth version, in Italian ("Mini Calcolatore"), was lip-synched to on Italian television in 1981. The compositions are credited to Ralf Hütter, Florian Schneider, and Karl Bartos. As was the case with the two previous albums, Computer World was released in both German- and English-language editions. The title of the final track, "It's More Fun to Compute", is in English in all releases, as it is based on the slogan "It's more fun to compete!", which could be seen on old pinball machines. There are some minor differences in the mixes used on English- and German-language releases. [source]
Because I am not a fan of Cold Play, I had no idea that they had sampled Kraftwerk's Computer Love, found on this record, until very recently, when I was finding music from this record on youtube. I don't understand the fuss about Coldplay. To be, they are as offensive as Nickleback.

This album, on the other hand, is a triumph. Maybe it's the best Kraftwerk record? I'm not sure. Sadly, I will have to agree with Allmusic that this is the "last great Kraftwerk album."

Friday, June 09, 2017

Kraftwerk: The Man Machine [Die Mensch·Maschine] (1978)

The two big tracks on this record are The Robots and The Model. This is a more pop-oriented record, and it seems to belong to the early new wave movement.  I'll just paste in two excerpts that will summarize things better than I could:
The NME wrote a glowing review and said: "Kraftwerk manage to convey the entire 'melange of elements' by musical means alone: the sparsity of the lyrics leaves the emphasis squarely on those robot rhythms; chilling tones and exquisite melodies." Critic Andy Gill also praised the "complexity of construction", saying "there's a lot more than electronic percussion in there" [source]
The Man-Machine is closer to the sound and style that would define early new wave electro-pop -- less minimalistic in its arrangements and more complex and danceable in its underlying rhythms. Like its predecessor, Trans-Europe Express, there is the feel of a divided concept album, with some songs devoted to science fiction-esque links between humans and technology, often with electronically processed vocals ("The Robots," "Spacelab," and the title track); others take the glamour of urbanization as their subject ("Neon Lights" and "Metropolis"). Plus, there's "The Model," a character sketch that falls under the latter category but takes a more cynical view of the title character's glamorous lifestyle. More pop-oriented than any of their previous work, the sound of The Man-Machine -- in particular among Kraftwerk's oeuvre -- had a tremendous impact on the cold, robotic synth pop of artists like Gary Numan, as well as Britain's later new romantic movement. [source]
This band was always ahead of its time. Again, I have a Canadian pressing, for $5.99! Sehen Sie sich dieses Video an, um die Band zu sehen. (Yes, I used Google translate).

Thursday, June 08, 2017

Kraftwerk: Trans Europe Express [Trans Europa Express] (1977)

I only wish that they have given us a full side (22 minutes or so) of the title track. That would have transported me to a hypnotic state. This album is simply stunning and ground-breaking. I have a repressing from the 80s.

Wednesday, June 07, 2017

Kraftwerk: Radio-Activity [Radio-Aktivität] (1975)

This is the Voice of Energy
I am a giant electrical generator
I supply you with light and power
And I enable you to receive speech,
Music and image through the ether
I am your servant and lord at the same time
Therefore guard me well
Me, the genius of Energy

I have the original US pressing of this LP from 1975. The original German pressing from the same year carries the title Radio-Aktivität and that will cost you a bit more. Allmusic's review is brief but to-the-point:

"A concept album exploring themes of broadcast communications, Radio-Activity marked Kraftwerk's return to more obtuse territory, extensively utilizing static, oscillators, and even Cage-like moments of silence to approximate the sense of radio transmission; a pivotal record in the group's continuing development, the title track -- the first they ever recorded in English -- is their most fully realized electro-pop effort to date, while "The Voice of Energy" precipitates the robot voice so crucial to their subsequent work." [source]

I like it.