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Top Customer Reviews
The subjects of this biography - in particular Herren Hütter und Schneider - are notoriously uncooperative and uncommunicative, but David Buckley has done a great job of piecing together their story by interviewing a wide range of former band members and well-known fans of the group. As a music journalist of considerable experience, and a resident of Munich for over 20 years, he writes with an authority that matches his evident warmth for the subject. The prose is rarely less than smooth and engaging, though I spotted a few typos and (as a book editor) there are a few passages that I would like to tinker with.
For me, this is a better book than Pascal Bussy's "Kraftwerk": Man, Machine and Music, and it is of course more up to date, so if you're only going to read one, pick Buckley's. That said, as a huge fan of the group, I'm happy to have read both. They inevitably cover much the same ground, but there are sufficient differences in tone and structure to make it worthwhile.
Of course any book about Kraftwerk is going to be somehow incomplete - the hermetic seal around the group means that there will always be a lot of unknowns.
However, Herr Buckley (see what I did there...) has managed to reveal some of the inner workings of the group by the extensive research and interviews he has obviously conducted. I have read the three main previous Kraftwerk books:
- Man-Machine by Pascal Bussy
- Kraftwerk: from Dusseldorf to the future by Tim Barr
- Kraftwerk : I was a robot by Wolfgang Flur
and I have to say this is the one I rate most highly!
Entertaining and for a long-term fan it brought back a lot of memories (such as sneaking out of school in 1981 in order to see Kraftwerk play at the Dome in Brighton five days after my 17th birthday).
Some things I didn't quite like:
- I feel it runs out of steam a bit towards the end (but I guess some people would say the same about...)
- I wish the albums had been analysed in a bit more depth (at one point I thought he wasn't even going to mention Neon Lights...)
But these are minor personal niggles and the fact is that:
- It looks fab (always been a fan of Malcolm Garrett)
- Mr Buckley has managed to get comments from a lot of interesting people (Peter Saville, Andy McKluskey, John Foxx not to mention Karl Bartos and Wolfgang Flur)
- It is highly readable (in my opinion more so than Buckley's book on Bowie which I can't seem to get through despite 3 attempts...)
All in all highly recommended!
Now Buckley - where's that book on the Human League...?
It is beautifully researched and written and is certainly no hagiography.
Hutter and Schneider's dubious treatment of Conny Plank, Karl Bartos, Wolfgang Flur (and even of each other!) comes under critical and unflattering scrutiny.
However, the author's instinctive love of Kraftwerk (and the band's legacy)combined with the author's residence in Germany make him the uber choice to fashion the tale.
It is quite simply superb and contains incidental lists of Kraftwerk-influenced music that will have me researching for years to come.
I have two perhaps minor niggles:
1. The author includes unhelpful comments from the notorious Germanophobe and all-round nob Simon Winder (see my other review of his recent literary offering)
2. The book's name and design are so obscure that a casual browser on the internet would be forgiven for thinking that this was an industrial catalogue/manual rather than a superbly informed book.
I know that the design is meant to be some kind of cool Kraftwerk in-joke but it really is counter-productive. EVERY Kraftwerk fan deserves to be led to this book and not be off-put for an instant.
"Kraftwerk: Publikation" (320 pages) brings the story of the legendary German electronics band. The author did not get any direct input from or access to the two main Kraftwerk members (Ralph Hutter and Florian Schneider) but he did interview many of the past members of Kraftwerk, including Karl Bartos (who writes a short "foreword"), and others. The best part of this book is early on, as the author brings great insight how the band evolved from its humble beginnings in Dusseldorf and had many musicians coming and going. As a lifelong fan of Kraftwerk, I found this book a pleasant reading, and even found some new things along the way that I didn't know before, such as: the track "Radio-Activity" being in part based on the Billboard listing of "radio-activity" of songs (it was only later that the song would become an anti-nuclear anthem); the art work of the "Autobahn" album (showing the 4 band members in the rearview mirrir) being redone at the last minute to airbrush new band member Wolfgang Flor's head into the picture instead of Emil Schult; and the speculation that the lyrics in "Hall of Mirrors" are directly about David Bowie ("He made up the person he wanted to be/And changed into a new personality/Even the greatest stars change themselves in the looking glass"). Bowie is of course also name-checked in the title track of "Trans Europe Express".
The book comes in 8 chapters, purposefully mimicking the Kraftwerk "1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8" melody from "Numbers", and then again subdivided in 8 subchapters.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Really interesting to read not only for insights on the band but also as a social commentary on the whole development of popular culture. Read morePublished 3 months ago by bluejon
Book arrived promptly. This book has not disappointed me. This book has been well researched and well written. I wanted it to go on forever as Ralf Hutter would say.Published 15 months ago by lisa flynn
Excellent read. Well researched. But looses Its in-depth view after "Electric Café", i.e. the year 1986 as witnesses seem to have become scared of Mr Hutter's wrath.Published 17 months ago by Roland Korg
Book was for my son. He was delighted with it. Excellent condition.Published 18 months ago by Mrs. L. P. Cunnell
I couldn't put this down. A child of the 70s and 80s I know very little about Kraftwerk apart from the Model single. Read morePublished on 27 Mar. 2014 by S. Luke
This was an interesting book giving an insight to Kraftwerk. I,m a big Kraftwerk fan and this is an excellent book to have.Published on 9 Feb. 2014 by Kimberley Brown.
This is a well written and informative book. It starts with an account of the groups early days from Eberhart Kranneman which gives an insight into Kraftwerk without Hutter. Read morePublished on 30 Aug. 2013 by gary the guard