Customer Review

31 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The key release in the Kraftwerk "Catalogue" remasters series..., 12 Oct. 2009
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This review is from: Computer World (Audio CD)
...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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Showing 1-10 of 15 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 13 Oct 2009 16:32:44 BDT
Last edited by the author on 13 Oct 2009 16:33:31 BDT
Mr. D. Lewis says:
Fair play to you Colin, a more enthusiastic review would be hard to find!
Whilst I'm not in entire agreement with everything you say, you are the first person to note on how previous issues on CD have suffered with inferior sound.
I've always been disappointed with the flat, thin sound compared with both UK and German orig vinyls (I've always found the German version to be better because of the quality of the pressing).
I'm waiting patiently for my copy of the box set on 16/11, although its been bloody tempting (looking at the separate versions) to buy these as well....

Posted on 13 Oct 2009 18:49:23 BDT
Gerry O'D says:
I actually sought out a copy of the remaster today on the strength of this review. All I can say is it's like hearing Computer World with a new set of ears. I even dragged out the old copy to make sure my new ears weren't deceiving me - and they weren't. This iteration is a lot better.

In reply to an earlier post on 13 Oct 2009 19:45:08 BDT
Last edited by the author on 14 Oct 2009 21:55:59 BDT
Thanks both for your kind words. I'm (actually not all that) ashamed to admit that this is now the 5th copy of "Computer World" I've bought, having owned the UK vinyl, the French cassette (avec "Mini Calculateur") as well as the British and German CDs. I'm reasonably confident this is the last version I'll buy. Then again there is a heavyweight vinyl version coming out...

In reply to an earlier post on 14 Oct 2009 10:50:19 BDT
Yes, nice one Colin. As stated on another review, this is the ONLY CD that I've ever had that I felt needed remastering. My original (bought in 1995) is really quiet. Shame, as it's my favourite album by far.

In reply to an earlier post on 14 Oct 2009 11:14:11 BDT
Bananaman says:
The most AWESOME album ever.....bar none ! I bought the vinyl copy nearly 30 years ago and people laughed at me ! This will be my third version and probably not my last :). The transition from 'Numbers' to 'Computer World pt.2' blows me away and leaves me breathless. And as for 'Computer Love'.............STUNNING STUNNING STUNNING. Incomparable.

In reply to an earlier post on 14 Oct 2009 11:48:26 BDT
Last edited by the author on 14 Oct 2009 11:50:37 BDT
Mr. D. Lewis says:
Who laughed at you?....Complete fools!!...Too right, Numbers into CW 2 is hairs on the back of your neck time.....The instrumental outro in "Computer Love" is the most beautiful bit on the album for me.....The greatest band EVER in my opinion.

In reply to an earlier post on 14 Oct 2009 13:13:47 BDT
Last edited by the author on 14 Oct 2009 13:14:06 BDT
Bananaman says:
My (EX) girlfriend :(. She even went as far as saying 'what did you buy that r*bbish' for and it was still in it's 'OurPrice' bag ! Sacrilege.

Posted on 15 Oct 2009 09:14:57 BDT
5th copy of 'Computer World' Colin? Now THAT's devotion! Great review BTW. I was interested to note the comments you and others made with regard to other albums in Kraftwerk's catalogue i.e. buying the remasters might be a bit pointless as they didn't suffer too badly in their transfer to CD. As I was toying with the idea of picking up the others I've decided I'll make do. Saved me a few quid there, cheers!

In reply to an earlier post on 15 Oct 2009 13:53:48 BDT
Maybe devotion, maybe insanity Kevin. If you ARE interested in any of the others (all of which I do own apart from Tour De France, which even to this devoted fan seemed a bit pointless), I personally would recommend "Radioactivity". Whilst there's nothing inherently wrong with the original, the remaster shows it up in quite a different light. It's the one I enjoyed revisiting the most. Sorry, I might've cost you a few quid there. Incidentally the one definitely not to bother with (besides the aforementioned TDF) is "Technopop/Electric Cafe"- the artwork's not been radically updated and the splitting of "The Telephone Call" into two parts does it no favours. I think I'll be retaining my original CD in favour of that one.

In reply to an earlier post on 16 Oct 2009 08:39:30 BDT
Last edited by the author on 21 Oct 2009 05:19:49 BDT
Thanks Colin - you clearly know your stuff. In light of your advice I'll pick up the remastered 'Radioactivity' in due course! TDF was always a bit of a funny one for me too: perhaps I always gave it a wide berth due to a few divs at my old school who tried to breakdance to it...not a pretty sight.
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Reviewer

Colin McCartney
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Location: United Kingdom

Top Reviewer Ranking: 390