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Band Name Kraftwerk
Album Name Autobahn
Type Album
Released date 1974
Music StyleNew-Wave
Members owning this album23


1. Autobahn
2. Kometenmelodie
3. Kometenmelodie 2
4. Mitternacht
5. Morgenspaziergang

Review @ InfinityZero

18 September 2010
Some people may find it surprising that someone who listens death metal and black metal bands like Carcass, Burzum, Autopsy, and Emperor would have any interest in a band like Kraftwerk, but I do. From the moment my dad brought out his long-forgotten Kraftwerk record to test on my brand new turntable, I've been very interested in the highly original German band who is given a lot of credit for starting electric music.

This particular album, Autobahn, is Kraftwerk's fourth album, and the first album that the members of Kraftwerk actually like. Unlike the previous three albums, Autobahn has much more noticeable music structure, and is far less experimental than Kraftwerk's previous albums. It brings so much into the equation that Kraftwerk hadn't used before, and from the first 3 minutes of the lengthy title song, it's blatantly obvious.

The first track, meant to stimulate traveling, is what many people consider to be the highlight of the album. It takes up one entire side of the record, and clocks in at 22 minutes. The thing I really like about Kraftwerk is that their longest songs don't seem to wear on you at all, and there's enough switching of pace and pattern to keep the listener interested throughout. Not to mention it's potent atmosphere and warm charm, something that (in my opinion) Kraftwerk would lose in their later albums. That's really what makes Autobahn such a gem in Kraftwerk's discography: while it uses a lot of electronic noises throughout the album, it comes off as warm, rather than sterile and roboticized, like Die Mensch-Maschine was. The use of organic instruments throughout, like flute, guitar, and violin, don't contrast too harshly and really compliment the music. Not to mention a couple of lyrics here and there - although there are only lyrics in the title song. The only section in this song I find a bit boring is the "highway section" that comes at about 10 minutes into the track. Outside of that, this track is pretty much perfect. But to me, the real treat is side B of this record.
The second part of the record perfectly completes this album. It's certainly the polar opposite of the title track (except for Kometenmelodie 2). It goes for the sparse, minimalist approach, and is just about the only proof on this album that this is the same Kraftwerk who released the experimental albums. It starts with the two-parter, Kometenmelodie. The first part is basically a slower, deeper version of part 2, with different synths, giving it a slightly darker feel. There's also a pretty neat piano section here that I just love. It all comes together really well, and makes a nice, meditative song, before hitting you with the strong uplifting feeling of Kometenmelodie 2. Although it uses the same basic pattern of the first song (that being the reason that the songs are connected) it really does feel like you're hearing a different thing. The sleepy, almost ominous feel of the first one is replaced with a lot of bounciness that reminds me of some old cartoon traveling music from the 70s. It's pretty cool.

The next song is Mitternacht, and damn is it creepy. I mean, this is Kraftwerk, arguably the biggest electronic band ever, and they've made something that could easily fit into the soundtrack for Stanley Kubrick's 'The Shining'. A menacing keyboard riff accompanied by creepy ambient screeching noises that somewhat resemble laughter... and then it fades away, and all you can hear is water dripping, and then the keyboard riff comes back, stronger and deeper than before, with more creepy noises underlining it. And then, almost as suddenly as it came, it's gone. It deffinitely leaves quite an impact on me when I finish the record, and right now it's one of my favorite Kraftwerk songs ever.

The last song is the perfect outro for the album: wierd electronic beepings and boopings accompanied by flute and then piano. It's a completely relaxing song, it perfectly sums up the album for you.

Autobahn is definitely Kraftwerk at their best. It's an atmospheric masterpiece that defines Kraftwerk and their capabilities as a band. Not to mention that this album came along in 1974 and it was something that had never been heard before. Autobahn is just one of those really great albums, and I would recommend it to anyone. You don't have to like electronic music to like this album, because I know I'm not a fan of electronic music, but I'm definitely a fan of Kraftwerk.

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