Search - Kraftwerk :: Autobahn

Genres: Dance & Electronic, Alternative Rock, World Music, New Age, Rock
  •  Track Listings (5) - Disc #1

Though they'd recorded three previous albums, Kraftwerk's modern pop legacy starts with the sounds of a few footsteps and a slamming car door--the beginning of a 22-minute musically impressionistic excursion down Germany's...  more »


CD Details

All Artists: Kraftwerk
Title: Autobahn
Members Wishing: 9
Total Copies: 0
Label: Toshiba EMI
Release Date: 1/3/2006
Album Type: Import, Original recording remastered
Genres: Dance & Electronic, Alternative Rock, World Music, New Age, Rock
Styles: Electronica, Europe, Continental Europe, Progressive, Progressive Rock
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaCD Credits: 1


Album Description
Though they'd recorded three previous albums, Kraftwerk's modern pop legacy starts with the sounds of a few footsteps and a slamming car door--the beginning of a 22-minute musically impressionistic excursion down Germany's famed superhighway. An unexpected hit on both sides of the Atlantic, Autobahn's "fahren, fahren, fahren" refrain echoes "Fun, Fun, Fun" by the Beach Boys (just one of Kraftwerk's unlikely influences), while the entire concept recalls Brian Wilson's frustrated attempts at creating what he called "a pocket symphony." The rhythmic synth pulse that carries the title track will be familiar to Kraftwerk admirers, while cofounder Florian Schneider's flute work and other more delicate melodic touches hearken back to the band's prog-rock foundations (as do the atmospheric "Kometenmelodie 1 & 2," "Mitternacht," and "Morgenspaziergang"). Kraftwerk's fascination with technology has been well documented, but the revelation of Autobahn is the playful human spirit behind the robots' masks.

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CD Reviews

Returning to states from Germany in mid-70's, great to hear
Heavy Music | Utopia | 03/27/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Maybe it's because I'd come back to the states from Germany, being an army brat, back in the mid-70's but to hear Autobahn being played in Kentucky pool halls was just a bit surreal. I've always enjoyed this album, even here in 2009; so for an album to be listened to for over 30 years there really is something to it. Some will say the title track is the whole album and the other songs aren't worth listening to - but I differ on that opinion in that each track has something to offer and as is so true in life, sometimes the best things come in small packages - sometimes the best music is the smaller tracks."
One Of Three Seminal Records That Changed My Life
J. Donato | 05/06/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)

"The brutal 7" edit of the title track from this album is one of the three top 40 singles that changed my life. Like "The Velvet Underground & Nico" in the 60s, this was the record of the 70s that has had the most dramatic and long lasting influence. Listen to the transition of electronic music from art to pop begin in earnest with this album."
A Superb Electronic Rock Record!
Chappa | Olympus Mons, Mars | 08/09/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Electronic music pioneers Kraftwerk released their fourth LP "Autobahn" in 1974 and it marked a turning point in the band's career signaling the beginning of the band's classic electronic sound with a pop sensibility yet at this point, the band still retained a few of the more avant-garde inspired experiments of the three previous LPs. In addition to the duo of Ralf Hütter (vocals/keyboards/synth) and Florian Schneider (vocals/flute/synth) was Wolfgang Flür (electronic drums) and violinist/guitarist Klaus Röder. The five compositions set aside for release were recorded at Conny Plank's Studio in the city of Cologne, West Germany sometime in 1974.

The classic title cut opens the LP but before the music starts, the sound of a car's closing door is heard. After the car's engine starts a robotic voice sings the title in a droning manner and so it begins: the unforgettable +22 minute journey through Germany's autobahn highway! The composition alternates between the catchy vocal parts (this section was edited for a single release cutting down the overall length to three minutes and it became the group's first ever hit) and some long instrumental bridges where you'll hear some nice flute/guitar phrasings and sometime later there's more percussive sound effects plus the sound of cars speeding by made with the synths. But for the last six minutes or so, a new section is introduced that uses the motorik 4/4 beat. On top there are a lot of cool inventive synth textures plus some mixolydian scale based notes! If you enjoy this last section, then check out the kraut-rock group Neu! and the songs "Hallogallo" from their self titled debut and "Für Immer" from "Neu!2". Also check out the group Harmonia. I'm pretty sure you'll like them!

Although the title cut is definitely the highlight of the album, the four remaining compositions are masterpieces too! "Kometenmelodie 1" (comet melody) starts with some atmospheric notes. This intro section could be considered as early ambient music! A few moments later it becomes darker with a thick synth texture. A whistle-like sound doubles the main melody. Listen carefully, in the middle a piano briefly joins. Eventually the notes merge with the beginning of "Kometenmelodie 2". This one is much more up-tempo and catchier. Again there are some cool mixolydian scale melodies in the middle. The main theme has a slightly melancholic feel that becomes more apparent towards the end. It fits well with the song's title since comets (even the short period ones) come with their spectacular light show but once people say goodbye, they are gone forever (in human lifetime terms) making it a once in a lifetime sight...That's what I felt when I heard the song's conclusion: the sad feeling of taking that last look at it before disappearing forever! It makes me think of for example comet Hale-Bopp which made its closest approach to Earth in 1997 and since it is a long period comet, it won't be coming back for at least 2500 years! Think about it...will the human race still exist by the time it comes back in about the year 4490? What will the Earth look like then? Only time will tell...
Anyway, track number four "Mitternacht" (midnight) finds the band a different mood: dark and eerie. This is the most avant-garde sounding tune here. I like the synth effects that mimic what sounds like water droplets smashing into a pond inside a cave or something. Röder added a violin overdub that enhances the dark atmosphere nicely making some strange noises. However the last composition called "Morgenspaziergang" (morning walk) it's much brighter as the title suggests. In the beginning you'll hear the birds singing (made with the moog synth) plus a very pleasant melody played on the flute and towards the end, a piano joins as well making for a very relaxing piece! Sounds kind of oriental. Excellent ending to this masterpiece of an LP!

For the people interested in electronic music this excellent group called Kraftwerk is essential listening and so is this album!
Thanks for taking the time to read!