Autobahn Original recording remastered
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Autobahn is an iconic record made up of several essential elements: the graphic motorway symbol on the cover, the slamming of a car door and starting of an engine that precede the music, the rasping vocals and the whoosh that imitates the approach and passing of cars. It’s a 22-minute synthetic symphony to the possibilities of road travel that combines seemingly innocent enthusiasm with a note of deep caution.
Its melodic progress and the sheer pleasure taken in exploring the sonic possibilities of the newly available synthesizer make it as accessible to an eight-year-old as the most wizened critic. Although the lyrics of the title track hint briefly at the presence of nature in the sun’s glittering rays and the green edge of the motorway, it’s roundly addressed by the suite on the original b side of the record. Although less familiar, the four instrumentals represent a counterbalance to the harsh industrial daylight of Autobahn. They trace a journey that takes in night-time comets, an eerie midnight and ends with a morning walk serenaded by flutes and acoustic piano.
The motorway is an all-too-familiar presence in our lives, but listen to parts of the title track – for example, the passage that begins 10 minutes in – and it’s clear that Kraftwerk are holding up a mirror to the world to reveal its strangeness. Although the group have occasionally been chastised for failing to present a more critical perspective, Autobahn’s deliberate ambiguity is an essential aspect of art and has ensured its longevity 35 years after its original release.
Autobahn is the first of eight albums that Kraftwerk have chosen to re-master and re-release. Although a controversial decision in some quarters, its predecessors Kraftwerk 1 and 2 are lesser works that lack the thematic unity and musical distinction of the rest of the group’s oeuvre. As with the other reissues, much effort has clearly been devoted to the remastering and presentation of the work and the uniting of Emil Schult’s illustrations with the UK motorway symbol is particularly satisfying. Absolutely essential. --Colin Buttimer
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Top Customer Reviews
With its release Kraftwerk had created an electronic prototype for a style of music which would take the world by storm and remains a major influence today. Thats a lot for album to live up to, but Autobahn is equal to the task.
Turn the hi fi on, sit back, close your eyes and drift away with possibly the finest popular music lp ever made. It has everything - art ('A simply perefect musical painting of a drive down the motorway''), tune and beauty. Its a masterpiece, if you don't own it already your music collection is not complete.
The tunes are timeless and it has aged so much better than most lps released at the time. No lp comes with a guarantee that you'll like it, but this is about as close as one gets to having one. Brilliant.
Don't listen to Autobahn when stuck on the M25, but if you're driving long distance at night, put this track on repeat and go into a trance and feel yourself at one with your car - ManMachine indeed!
If the other more 'experimental' tracks from the album appeal, you could do worse than searching out some early (pre-1975) Can albums.
But I have just acquired this 2009 remastered edition, and am decidedly ambivalent about it. On the plus side, they haven't compressed it to hell as part of the "loudness wars" - the dynamics are intact. But I feel they have been very over-zealous with noise reduction. On the original master, quiet tracks like Morgenspaziergang have audible broadband hiss and even a bit of mains hum in the background. I can see why they thought they need to "fix" this - but they've gone far too far, and instead of hiss, there are now quite noticeable digital gurgle-wurgle artefacts. It's a real schoolboy error and I'm very surprised to hear something as hamfisted as this on a band who pride themselves in sonic perfection.
Also, removing Wolfgang Flür's head from the back cover photo is rather meanspirited as well.
The title track is one of Kraftwerk's greatest achievements... a twenty-two minute-long piece of music that manages to capture the lulled ambience of a long motorway trip (from the sense of freedom as you hit the open-stretch, to the endless possibilities suggested by the road laid out in front, with the swirl of landscapes blurred on either side, the buzz of passing motorists and the eventual frustration of a last minute jam all adding to the overall sense of confusion), all wrapped up in a propulsive swirl of evocative instrumental flourishes, disarming production effects, chanted vocals, and an approach to pop music not a million miles away from the Beach Boys!!Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
An enjoyable album, It is a remarkable cd I really enjoyed electronic soundscapes on the tracks, they sound beautiful in one of tracks, I like this band, they influenced many... Read morePublished 1 month ago by RPM
GOT IT TO PLAY IN MY PORSCHÈ 22 MINUTES OF FUN FUN FUN ON THE AUTOBAHNPublished 1 month ago by MR R.
Having discovered that my cherished cassette version of this album had sadly had it's day i was delighted to find this remastered CD version was available. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Mark H
...as I was. The title track takes up all of side one and is around twenty minutes longer than the single version. Read morePublished 5 months ago by Mike the Fish