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on 14 August 2000
This is a fantastic idea - Kraftwerk retooled for a strings quartet - and it works superbly. The arrangements are both amusingly precise (witness the electronic noises at the beginning of 'The Robots') and loose enough to work in their own right, and it's a million miles away from the standard 'The LSO plays the music of the Beatles'. For whatever reason, the Quartet have covered the dancier versions of the songs from 'The Mix' (most obvious in 'The Robots'), and not the originals. All but 'Pocket Calculator' (vocals by Alexander Balanescu himself) are instrumental, usually with a violin taking the vocal melody. As a bonus there are some other songs tacked on the end - one by David Byrne, the others by Miranda Sex Garden.
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on 13 December 2001
The spine tingling reworking of several well-known Kraftwerk tracks at the beginning of the album are enough to justify the purchase price alone, but the final four tracks add even more value. The Quartet add so much to the music with this interpretation of electronic music, and track 2 (Model / Robot 2) stands on its own as a haunting piece of classical music, quite beyond the interest value the album would have to Kraftwerk fans.
This album would make the perfect introduction to classical music for any electronic music fan who wants to broaden their horizons. Similarly it would provide solid proof to any Classical music snobs that electronic music makes a valuable contribution to the musical world.
One final point that can't be overemphasised - this album makes a great CD to test new hi-fi equiptment with! It stretches any CD player / Amps / Speakers with its combinations of very low double-bass notes overlayed with rich detailed cello and violin work. A must for the hi-fi shop demo room!
All in all, a masterpice of technical skill on the instruments, from an arrangement which borders on genius.
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VINE VOICEon 15 August 2007
The reason I believe that people will want to own this recording is that they will be able to listen to an interpretation of some great Kraftwerk tracks.

They will get this here. But there's a snag.

What has been done here is in fact a direct substitution of the synthesizers for the string instruments. So what you have is some expert playing of string instruments quite accurately imitating synthesizers, note for note.

I suppose I was expecting a 'classicalisation' of the Kraftwerk, much in the way Senor Coconut 'Latinised' the band.

So if you are intimately familiar with the original Kraftwerk, you will not get any surprises here.

That said, Kraftwerk release a new album of material once a decade and this will fill the gap.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 5 November 2009
This is in my opinion the best Balanescu Quartet album. It starts off with cover versions of popular Kraftwerk songs, adopted to a string quartet format and then adds four own pieces to complete the album.

The Kraftwerk covers are obviously very different to the originals but in my opinion broaden the appeal and bring out the best from the originals. The additional, Balanescu Quartet own compositions, are in a totally different league, though. They are haunting, surprising, the harmonics are very different from what one is used to or expects. The pieces are all reasonably long and none of the subsequent albums can match the brilliance and peculiarity of these four songs.
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on 25 July 2003
Kraftwerk are classically trained musicians that spent the late 60s and 70s removing 'real' instruments from their recordings by designing electronic replacements.
This ironic recording is also iconic in the way in which it restores the underlying classical undertones to the tracks whilst remaining faithful to the originals.
Interestingly whilst some might describe the original Kraftwerk pieces as sparse in this performance they appear lusher than your standard quartet pieces.
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on 26 August 2014
there's only one Balanescu
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on 12 April 2003
...althouh the novelty value is quite high.
The strength of the composition of the kraftwerk tracks shine and they are played with amazing precision and stamina.
There's more to this CD than the kraftwerk though with a few original tunes from Balanescu. I found the mammoth title track a bit difficult but the catchy 'want me' I very much enjoyed. Reminded me of Nyman but not quite so bloody minded.
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on 22 June 2013
Absolutely brilliant stuff. Possessive. You can easily get addicted to this album. Every track is fantastic and very different to others.
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