M. Detko | Scarborough, Ontario Canada | 09/23/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Was only familiar with their material up to Computer World. Decided to try this one from 1986 and was very pleasantly surprised. There are a few nominal similarities to Computer World, but this is definetly a more advanced and finely crafted work. Aestetically the sound is wonderful, crystal-clear and still retaining that fat analog sound but using electronic sources (though I think on one track I detected some bass guitar, and maybe even guitar). The Karl Bartos - sung "Telephone Call" is reminiscent of Depeche Mode at it's best. There is much that looks to the future on this, including breakbeat and ambient electronica. Check it out if you like electronic experimental, dance etc. Not a dull moment on this, and a MUST-HAVE for Kraftwerk fans. (Try to keep tonge-in-cheek when listening to Sex Object.)"
Brian St John | Moorhead, MN, USA | 01/19/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I am going to contain my exuberance for this album and try to write a concise review. I hope you can feel my enthusiasm for this fantastic, seminal work of electronic music!
Album summary: An incredible tour-de-force of electronic music-making. There are 6 tracks on this album, all of which have influenced the course of electronic music in their own way since the album's 1986 release.
1) "Boing Boom Tschak" is their overture on this album. What we get here is a creative interplay of these three words, drum machine, keyboards and the occasional "ping" and/or "zong." If you remember it's the overture, then the track makes perfect sense.
2) "Techno Pop" -- Are they the ones who coined this term? Pascal Bussy, in his book about Kraftwerk, seems to think so. This infectious track, which is 7:42 in length, features a blistering groove, smoking bass licks, and keyboard hits that crept into the hip-hop world. You'll be surprised at what you recognize as being "borrowed" by hip-hop acts.
3) "Musique Non Stop" clocks in at 5:42 and features a rarity: a female computer voice. This was in tribute to the young lady who generated the computer images of their faces that they use in concert (still, to this day) and on the cover of the disc. They told her (paraphrasing here) "You made computer images of four men, so we made a computer image of a woman's voice." Source: Pascal Bussy, _Kraftwerk: Man and Machine_.
4) "The Telephone Call" -- This is my favorite song on the album. I cannot express how beautiful this song is. Great tune, great beat, inventive approach to the use of telephone blips and messages, wonderful words. Get the disc for this tremendous song, alone!
5) "Sex Object" is perhaps one of the most odd songs in the Kraftwerk ouvre. "I don't want to be your sex object, show some feeling and respect." This just doesn't seem like the typical Kraftwerk song or even subject matter. Some devotees might be offended that Kraftwerk wrote a song that is so emotional and personal, but, personally, I enjoy the iconoclastic nature of this one. The almost orchestral approach to the writing, along with the offbeat subject matter, makes this song intriguing.
6) "Electric Cafe" serves as the coda to this album. Hey, if we have an overture, we gotta have a coda, right? This one features a melody that is obviously reminiscent of "Trans Europe Express," perhaps as a nod to old school fans? While, in my opinion, not the strongest track on the album, it does serve well as a summation.
In summary, Kraftwerk fans seem divided on this album. This one features more concise, less sprawling compositions that some of their earlier works and that sense of accessibility can divide the purists out there. I, however, love the more "pop" sensibility of this album and I think anyone who loves electronic music will enjoy this one. As a matter of fact, I would recommend anyone new to Kraftwerk to start out with this one, then move to ComputerWorld. Enjoy!"
Boom Boing Chuck
Tim Brough | Springfield, PA United States | 04/09/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"The last Kraftwerk album of the 20th Century was looked on rather softly at the time. After all, it was almost five years since the boundary shattering "Computer World." Hip-hop was already starting to find electronic sampling as a source of inspiration, and suddenly, those ideas seemed a bit old hat. However, I have always considered the original side one of this album to be a masterwork of electronic music, on a par with Kraftwerk's "Trans-Europe Express" or even "Autobahn."
Those first three pieces, "Boing Boom Tschak," "Tecno Pop" and "Musique Non Stop," formed a perfectly building suite of the machines that make the music, building from the elemental three words to the final explanation of purpose. "Boing Boom Tschak" (pronounced 'chuck') set out everything that Kraftwerk considers musical in three simple words. The electronic percussion begins to layer underneath and "Techno Pop" is born. Finally, "synthetic electronic sounds, industrial rhythms all around" wrap it all up. It is as close to a summation of electronica as has ever been recorded, and I love "Electric Cafe" because of it.
The other half of the CD is pedestrian by comparison. Where before Kraftwerk would lay down electronically altered robot-voices, this time much of the work is sampled. "The Telephone Call" was a minor dance hit, but it seems less groundbreaking and more of the times. Same with "Sex Object," which seems like the aftermath of "Computer Love" - "you turn me on, then you forget." The CD comes to a satisfying conclusion with the title track, a chill piece. Little did we know that it was the last we would hear from them till 2006 and the "Tour de France Soundtracks." Fortunately, the art on the front may be the only thing on the album that's dated. "Electric Cafe" has really gathered luster over the years."