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on 5 April 2016
all Kraftwerk CD's but 3 were remastered ... Kraftwerk 1 + 2 + "Ralf und Florian" were never released "officially" ... so if You want to complete YOUR collection, don't wait for a miracle to happen, this is it ...
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VINE VOICEon 30 January 2013
Many people think Autobahn (1974) was Kraftwerk's first album, and Kraftwerk would like you to believe that too. Although Ralf Hütter has mellowed and is starting to show some affection for the band's first three records, there is as yet no sign of an official release, so fans of what the band calls its "archaeology" will have to make do with this unofficial release.

When Kraftwerk 2 was recorded in late 1971, Ralf had just rejoined Florian Schneider after the latter had soldiered on as a three-piece with drummer Klaus Dinger and guitarist Michael Rother (who split to form the amazing Neu!). Ralf and Florian recorded this album as a duo, with percussion provided by a drum machine for the first time. As such, it's a fascinating pointer towards the future, but it's still a long way from the Kraftwerk we all know. So, what's it like?

As with most German electronic music at the time (such as Tangerine Dream and Cluster), Kraftwerk II is entirely instrumental and abstract. The lengthy opening track Kling Klang (which gave its name to the studio that band has used ever since) is probably the most recognisably 'Kraftwerk' piece, shuffling along with a cool but understated melody carried mostly by Florian's flute. It's hardly energetic, but it's still the liveliest track on the album. The other tracks are slow, almost formless pieces that move with understated, almost glacial slowness.

Overall, it's a very cold album that would have surprised the band's early fans, who had seen the driving rhythms of Kraftwerk 1 develop into an almost heavy metal grunge under the Schneider/Dinger/Rother line-up (which never released an album, although a fascinating live bootleg called K4 emerged in 2006). Apart from Kling Klang, most of the tracks are rather forgettable and seem to be poor imitations of Cluster and Tangerine Dream. The exception is the moody, menacing and excellent Strom. Fans of Kraftwerk and fans of Krautrock should certainly give it a listen, but I wouldn't pay too much for it.
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on 25 November 2012
By no means the finished article. Sometiimes rough round the edges but a fantastic piece of work. It's also fascinating to campare with their later more polished work
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 30 October 2013
I am really sorry to 'slag off' an iconic band like Kraftwerk but while I love a lot of their albums and have bought my fair share of their stuff in my time I have to say that the groups early recordings are abysmal with a capital A. I guess pioneering new things always has to start somewhere and to pioneer at all you have to be inventive, push the boundaries and steer clear from the norm but at the end of the day to release an album of experimentation without the hint of a song, a melody, or any vocals throughout is pushing things too far.

I can fully understand why the band did not want these early albums re-released and the most important thing I can do here is warn those of you looking at this because you love a lot of the bands later, more popular work to GET A LISTEN TO THIS BEFORE YOU BUY IT. Think, atmospherics, radio interference, electric frequencies, reverb, feedback, silence, noise, abstract sounds and minimalism taken to the point of farce and you have 'Kraftwerk 2'. There is nothing remotely like a song on this record and no vocals. The 'tracks' (because that is all you can call them) have very minimal instrumentation and what instrumentation they do have revolves around a simple riff replayed over and over both in tune and out.

The one good thing I can say about this album is that listening to it does help you to understand how and why it was these guys that went on, by adopting the synth into their soundscapes, to become the musical icons the are today (rightly so). To gain such an insight, however, you will need to suffer this excruciating mess for about 40 minutes and so if I was you I'd take my word for it!

Look, I love Kraftwerk and marvel at what they later achieved just like everyone else but this and 'Kraftwerk' are the nearest thing to musical hell I have ever come across.

0 out of ten for the 'music' (allegedly), 1 out of ten for the history lesson.
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on 5 July 2014
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