Review: Kraftwerk - Minimum-Maximum 2 cds
Read this and this for info on Kraftwerk. As an aside, Wolfgang Flur's book Kraftwerk: I Was A Robot was poorly received. To me they've had three stages: their early, prog-electronic period (up to Autobahn), their golden creamy middle period (Radio-Activity thru Computer World) and their we're still here period (the single version of Tour de France is the exception). This 2 disc set from various stops on their 2004 world tour visits them all with loyalty to each as they were in their day. I was able to salvage one full disc of material from the first two stages, banishing the Eurotrash enviro-sounds that open and close the set to the humorless folks who "must get back to Dancecentrum in Stuttgart in time to see Kraftwerk".
Kraftwerk were an incredibly influential band but that doesn't mean the bands they influenced aren't crap. I loved Komputer's The World Of Tomorrow, an ode to Radio-Activity, Trans Euro Express and The Man-Machine. This is also really good.
I'm so glad Kraftwerk didn't modernize "Autobahn" and "The Model", which would have been desperate and sad. Whatever tweaks they give tracks from Computer World I can live with, this album being as close to electronic dance music as I'll get. It helps that I loved the previous five albums.
The sound quality is great and the audience is barely discernible. I saw Kraftwerk on their Computer World tour and didn't want them to vary one note. That's what I came to see: man-machines replicating electronic music as man-machines would. You mostly get that on Minimum -Maximum. If only the new material wasn't so damn weak.....
6/29 update: I watched a bootleg of the London stop of this tour. Florian Schneider seemingly can't sing and play at the same time. It's impossible to figure out how much is real and how much is pre-recorded. I imagine a lot of it was planned because it matches perfectly with the background visuals, often song lyrics in huge letters. These robots were brought out for one song and then the band came back dressed like Tron characters. Pictures are here at the Kraftwerk home page.