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4.7 out of 5 stars68
4.7 out of 5 stars
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...and not just because it's my favourite Kraftwerk LP. But largely because the previous CD transfers were absolutely rotten. A fact which seems to have escaped most people.

"Computer World" is the only Kraftwerk release, in my view, which DEMANDS a re-master. The only one for which my usually undiscerning ears - not normally concerned with such trivialities as mastering - would actually be able to detect any difference. Maybe this was Ralf und Florian's way of telling the world to buy vinyl? Or even tapes? "Computer World" is, after all, the ultimate ghetto blaster album. There's a raw element to the sound - a sound that emanated from the best studio deutschmarks could furnish at the time, and ironically, became the blueprint for the early bedroom techno EPs released later that same decade on Transmat and NuGroove. Sonically it's just better suited to analogue than digital.

Maybe the fact that not ALL the equipment Hutter/Schneider/Bartos/Flur used was as hi-tech or as expensive as you might've assumed, was what inspired the kids (this kid anyway) to test their Casio VL1s to the absolute limit. A humble Stylophone features prominently on "Pocket Calculator" and, possibly, maybe, allegedly, some sort of Texas Instruments speak 'n' spell-type thing on "Computerworld" and "Numbers".

So anyway, how does this new edition sound? Much better, though, not 100%. The solo on "Computer Love" still suffers from a little "wow and flutter", though nowhere near as badly previous editions, which I suspect is due to "limitations with the source material" (or whatever excuse it was manufacturers used to give for the underwhelming sound of some CDs). Other than that, the transition's been made from analogue to digital more or less satisfactorily this time around.

And what about the music? Well sure, we now live in a Computer World, so enough said on that score. But what I always found interesting is that the music is in places quite anti-computer. "Interpol and Deutsche Bank, FBI..." hardly a utopian dream is it? "By pressing down a special key it plays a little melody" - what the hell use is that on a calculator? Exactly. Then there's "Computer Love" which seems to be saying leave your computer alone and get out more. The album takes a bit of a different turn for the last two tracks which, although they don't have the acid house TB303 sound, have a very similar structure to later records such as Phuture's "Acid Tracks".

Without doubt this is the definitive edition of one of the most influential releases of the 20th century.
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on 3 February 2002
i remember having this, first time around and it blew my mind then as it still does now.tracks like :computer love[excellent electronics,ahead of their time],this is a must in any electro collecters c.d. cabinet. every track a musical must
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on 9 November 2011
Computer World by Kraftwerk is one of the best albums of all time. The original version had a gorgeous 3D sound with deep bass extension on a half decent hifi and fantastic deep mixes with masses of space around the sounds. Pocket Calculator in particular was ground breaking in this respect.

However, what Ralf Hutter has done here is a real dumbing down to the iPod generation. As other reviewers have said, the sound is now compressed, the bass EQ way too high, and the outstanding detail and subtlety completely ruined.

Sounds I could hear 20 years ago on my Sony Walkman cassette recording of the vinyl lp are now completely obliterated by the booming bass track.

There are also some horrendous errors on Computer Love with the EQ lurchign across teh sound field.

I'm sending this back (if I can) and sticking to the original mastering which may not be as loud but at least can be listened to on a decent system and preserves the very subtleties that make this such a fantastic album.
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on 16 September 2012
As other reviewers noted, this remaster has too much bass and it is too loud. Disclaimer: I'm an idiot that sold all my vinyl, including Computer World, back in the day. So I don't have that to compare to. I have 3 CD versions. While it is hard for me to make comparisons to original album about warmth, it is not hard for me to remember that the music was not dominated by bass.

One problem with the bass on this one is that the track of the bass line itself seems to have its volume pushed up so that the bass melody jumps out at all times. I know that sounds more like remixing than remastering. But who knows what happened in the studio. Also, the bass line itself has been eq'd so it has the "rounded" or fat sound on the bottom end favored today with enough high end to make it pop out from the mix. The end effect is that the bass doesn't just drive the sound as on the original version. Now it's pushed out so much that it distracts and, on some songs, like Pocket Calculator, it wrecks the beat established by the drums and synths.

This remaster also suffers from too much loudness all the way around. There is nothing that just sits back in the mix, in a supportive way. Every little click or synthetic high hat must be in the spotlight at all times. It's an aesthetic I just don't care for. It it as if a set lighting designer decided to forgo use of shadow and used banks of dental chair lights to reveal every wrinkle and pancake make-up smudge on every actor across the stage. Is this from too much loudness or from an overuse of eq on every track? I think it's both.

The older CD releases had a thin sound as others said. My suggestion is just use a little eq in your stereo system to fix it. Another possibility is permanently change it in an audio editing program. Even garageband will do a great job. Even using the poor eq'ing options in iTunes does a decent job of adding bass. On the other hand, you can't eq away the in-your-face loudness of this remaster.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 14 October 2009
(Let me apologise upfront for being a bit long-winded with this review. I've waited so long to share my thoughts about this album that - now it has been remastered - it seems like the perfect opportunity to share my thoughts on both aspects: the music first, then the remaster).

I am not by inclination an electronic music fan nor, for that matter, a particular fan of Kraftwerk. That said this recording is simply exceptional and a genuine benchmark of not just electronic music but music in general. When I was first introduced to this album (around the time of its release) I was simply astounded by the musical ideas, unique sounds and beautiful execution of the whole concept. Unlike some who may find the glacial sounds and overarching theme a somewhat sterile and ascetic experience, I have always found myself deeply moved by the conclusion of this album. There is no doubt that lyrically and thematically the album can leave the listener with a sense of alienation: we are given a dystopian glimpse of man's increasingly intimate relationship with technology which by the end sounds terribly desolate indeed. The last track in particular strikes a particularly bleak note as we are enjoined by a synthetic voice who assures us repeateddly 'it's more fun to compute'. These sentiments married to the vaguely eastern musical motif and propulsive arrangement of the keyboards make for a highly peculiar - and sinister - musical experience.

However it would be wrong to single out any particular track for praise as the material throughout is equally (and amazingly) strong. There are lighter moments (who could not be charmed by 'Pocket Calculator'?) but the dystopian theme continues throughout. What stops me as a listener from disengaging from what could be seen as an exclusively 'electronic' or synthetic album is that it still (for me at least) retains a 'human' voice. To put it another way: this album still has 'soul'. The song-craft and musical discipline is evident throughout (check the way the robotic and clinical 'Numbers' segues into 'Computer World 2'): every bleep and beat seems to be perfectly judged and placed. Honestly - even after all these years - this still has the power to blow me away.

Now at long last they've given this album the treatment it deserves. Compared to the previous issue this is a quantum leap. In fact I could not bring myself to listen to the previous CD version due to its extremely thin and weedy sound (which is really saying something as this is recording is in my 'all time top 10'). Now however I'm thrilled to report that it sounds almost as good as my old pre-recorded cassette version (sadly long-since gone) that I used to play through my brick-sized Walkman. The beautiful analogue sounds are wonderfully recreated: deep satisfying bottom end and crisp (not tinny) top notes. The mid-range is not too shabby either! At last I can listen to this utterly outstanding album pretty much as I remembered it...

So there you have it: one of the best albums ever in pop and rock now restored to its original sonic glory (or as near as dammit). What further recommendation do you need?
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VINE VOICEon 2 February 2016
Having noted the criticisms of the sound of this particular remaster, all I can ask is that the dissenters of the sound here,try the German version, which sounds less 'processed' and more of a 'straight' transfer of the original recordings, as the original German CD was, to my ears anyway.

I have the original UK vinyl of this album bought shortly after original release and to me, this remaster just magnifies oddities in the English language version - a sort of slow pumping 'Leslie speaker' effect here and there, most noticeably for me on most, but not all of 'Home Computer.' Obviously I don't have access to the original tapes, but I don't think it's a fault with an ageing analogue master, or an over-spiced remaster either (these remasters are meticulous in levelling and relative lack of compression if my 'wave editor' is to go by), just mixing choices at the time, shown up by a less compromised digital format than an LP or cassette (I have no idea whether the UK issue LP was cut from German made master tapes or copies therefrom). Do please be aware that 'commercial' vinyl cuts mostly used to have bass turned down, so the finished LP could be played on less than good quality record players without the stylus jumping. The extra bass on the digital remasters may well be a return to what was originally recorded, rather than added in for the remaster, if you see what I mean.

Back to the music. I cannot add to what's been said already, but this album *for me* is the most 'complete' of them all and I have very happy memories of the time when it first came out and the part this music played in it all. I've played it so many times over the decades and never ever become tired of it :-)

Recommended - Try the German version as well - the mixes are 'very' subtly different here and there and the produced sound quality may be seen as slightly better..
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on 6 December 2001
Some will criticise this LP for sounding over-clean, perhaps clinical. This is understandable, make no mistake, but this LP also lays some vital foundations for much of music in 2001. The vision of the album, with its almost Orwellian take on life in the future, is painted vividly in music. The title track was the closest they got to a protest song, about the introduction of computerised identity cards in Germany. "Pocket Calculator" and "Homecomputer" are entirely accurate snapshots of the rise of computers for the people and the internet, in fact, why this site is here!
Perhaps most important is the construction of the record. Kraftwerk always had a reputation of producing incredibly detailed, stylish records and this is no exception. Their pioneering use of synthesizers, sequencers and sampling technologies put this LP well ahead of the competition at the time it was released. It's clever without a hint of smugness, and detailed with none of the overbearing pomp that led to the (rightful) death of the ghastly prog-rock movement.
Now, twenty years after its release, "Computer World" can still stand next to modern techno releases and sound fresh. While today's musicians may have the advantage of cheap technology at their disposal, Kraftwerk got there first. Buy this album and listen to it, enjoy it's utterly funky, dancey sounds. Then listen to anything from the last ten years in a similar vein, and hear how many samples of Kraftwerk there are. Techno-pioneers? JA.
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on 12 May 2002
It seems incredible to think that a bunch of white guys from Industrial Germany could make such an impression on Black american music culture with a bunch of calculators and a perverse sense of humour. Hiphop, Detroit techno, it all stemmed from this album, as too did the modern dance scene.
We all have Kraftwerk to thank for this, even if, by producing this album they signalled their own musical demise.
Computer world was Krafwerks finest (half) hour. A blend of pop melodies that will drive you mad and innovative electronica. You should buy it if you have even the slightest appreciation for modern dance music and a good tune.
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on 12 September 2013
I'm not reviewing the music itself, just the product. The LP is a substantial weight and the sound is as good as I've heard from vinyl, with minimal surface noise. Nevertheless, considering this is a premium edition and, presumably, one aimed at the "audiophile" market there's no shortage of annoying clicks and pops that keep going through several rotations. I've had better for similar money. One might assume that the price you pay here relates more to the recording and packaging, which are both superb, than to careful handling received by the disc after pressing. A similar experience with other Kraftwerk titles in the series leads me to doubt whether there'd be anything to gain in seeking a replacement. Ah well, nothing that conversion to MP3 and some judicious click removal couldn't solve... just for music on-the-go, you understand!
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on 4 December 2009
The reviews so far have pretty much said what there is to say about the remaster of Computer World, my favourite record of all time. The only gripe I had is the track Computer World itself, which has an odd "pumping" effect to it. Strangely, this isn't an issue on the German version. Furthermore, the German equivalent is amazing and really worth forking out for if you're a big fan. I hadn't checked out Computerwelt until quite recently because I assumed the only difference was, well, the language. However, if you look closely at the running times, they are slightly different, as are the mixes of most of the tracks. If you are just a casual fan of this album, you probably won't notice the differences but if, like me, you know every single bleep, loop, reverb, nook and cranny, the differences are quite noticeable. The vocoder on Computer World is a lot more spikey and the chorus has an extra vocal line on it. Pocket Calculator has an extra percussion effect and the mix is different in a number of places, including an alternative fade out. Numbers, Computer World 2 and Computer Love have slight alterations in the percussion and endings while Home Computer has a more cranked up rhythm section. In addition to all of this, the sound quality is even better than the English version. Again, if you're very familiar with the album, get Computerwelt. If not, Computer World will do fine. And is much better than Tubular Bells.
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