"Many of you already know Kraftwerk as one of the major electronic pioneers, who had a big impact on synth-pop, electronic, dance, and techno. 1974's Autobahn helped launch these guys in to international superstardom. But they already had three albums released prior to Autobahn (not including 1970's Tone Float, when Ralf Hütter and Florian Schneider were with a group called Organisation). After the breakup of Organisation, the duo simply decided to continue on as Kraftwerk and released their debut, Kraftwerk 1 near the end of 1970. If you're only familiar with their dancy synth albums, like Trans-Europe Express or Computer World, this album would be a big shocker. Guitars, flutes, real drums, and organs are used, but no synthesizers. The only electronic sounds here are produced off sound generators. This is the album that sticks closest to the Krautrock scene of the time (which consisted of Amon Düül II, Can, Ash Ra Tempel, early Tangerine Dream), exploring a post-psychedelic style of music relying on jams and experimental passages and electronice effects. Kinda like imagining how Pink Floyd might have sounded like if they learned a thing or two from Karlheinz Stockhausen. This isn't the dance-floor friendly stuff that they'll later be known, to say for sure! The album opens up with "Ruckzack", which will surprise anyone who grew up in the 1980s watching the PBS series Newton's Apple, as that very song from this very album was used as its theme song! The song starts off with that familiar flute theme, with the organ, then they go in to a lengthy and bizarre percussion experiment, before going back to the original theme. "Stratovarius" is perhaps the most psychedelic of the pieces, with lengthy psychedelic guitar excursions, before the electric violin kicks in and start going in to more experimental Krautrock territory. "Megaherz" reminds me a bit of Pink Floyd, especially the organ. Florian Schneider also provides us with some bass flute while the organ is being played. "Von Himmel Hoch" is perhaps the most disturbing one. Electronic sounds simulating the sounds of crashing aiplanes keep occuring for the first couple of minutes before they go off creating more strange electronic effects. This album might not be for the dance crowd like Kraftwerk's best-known albums, but for those who enjoy the experimental side of Krautrock, this is an album to get."
Matt Robot | North Carolina, US | 06/07/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I'm listening to this for the first time as I write this and there's a lot going on. Picture prog-rock mixed with new age, jazz, funk, psychodelic rock...all occuring at different times in what I view as a highly experimental project, considering it was done in 1970. Very similar...in fact the predecessor...to Kraftwerk 2 (1971). If all you've heard is their "robot" electronica, you may be in for a shock...but a refreshing shock. I, on the otherhand, knew what I was getting into: a more organic, earthy sounding Kraftwerk...when they had long hair. Thus, my attempt to prepare you."
Duh, me like this CD
Toe Jam is Fun | somewhere stupid | 06/01/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"What a shame that this is so unavailable! I bought this at a record store for $21.91, and for this record, that's cheap! This is a lost classic, and one of Kraftwerk's best. A song-by-song breakdown will be easier for me to do then actually writing a real review, so here goes:
RUCKZUCK: Dig that crazy flute man! I played this song in my music class and you should have seen their faces. I love this song. It starts off with a nice catchy flute and organ riff, then completely collapses at about 2 1/2 minutes, then picks up again with a new, much weirder riff, than at around six minutes changes back to the original riff, completely stops, comes back, then stops for a photo finish. Needs to be heard! 5/5
STRATOVARIUS: Cool. Starts off with some weird organ, then goes into some factory noises (sounds like they're making a Stratovarius, which was probably the whole point), then goes into an eight-minute Krautrock-y jam. Not as good as RUCKZUCK, but pretty @#$% good! 4/5
MEGAHERZ: Kinda boring. I don't listen to this much. It starts off (I'm repeating myself aren't I?) with engine noises, then just sort of goes into an organ and flute drone, with some electric percussion in the background (at least I think that's what it is, sounds like some kind of amplified shaker). 3/5
VOM HIMMEL HOCH: Crazy good! As one reviewer below stated, it starts off with a couple of minutes of airplanes (or bombs) crashing to the earth, then there's more electronic noises (some of it sounds like electronic quacking or farting, my friend and I cracked up), then some cool organ? and great drumming propelling the song to its climax which is (surprise) more crashing airplanes! Yay! 5/5
What's too bad is they got rid of their acoustic drummers because that goes great with this sound. But the band might not have evolved into the wonderful dance-electronic act it is today, or it might have (gasp) gotten worse! if they hadn't left. Well, that's all the comments I have for today boys n girls, so I'm gonna shut up and leave you alone.
OOOPS! ONE FINAL COMMENT: Buy this or die. "
Before they became robots....
R. Recchia | blodgett mills, ny | 10/06/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Ever wonder what Kraftwerk would sound like if they had acoustic drums? Do you think some of Kraftwerk's later albums are a bit too repetitive? Ever wonder these guys would sound like if they ROCKED OUT? If you answered ' yes ' to any or all of these questions, then you may really enjoy this album like I do.
Me, I love Kraftwerk (even though I'm not a huge fan of the album ' Trans Europe Express ', which some people may say doesn't really make me a Kraftwerk fan), and I consider this, their very first album, to be one of their best....if not, THEE best album they've ever done. I like the use of live, acoustic drumming, I like Florian's breathy flute playing, like how the band actually rocks out at times (albeit in a non-conventional, King Crimson like way), and most importantly, I really like these songs. The first three minutes of the opening track ' Ruckzuck ' is my favorite thing Kraftwerk has ever done. Florian plays a very breathy, but rhythmic and staccato flute line (actually, several flute lines) over a four or five note organ riff from Ralf and some somewhat unsteady drumming and a very simple bass line. It may be the coolest thing I've ever heard them do. At about the three minute mark, the song goes in a completely different direction, but then returns to the main theme at the end.
The two longest tracks, ' Stratovarius ' and ' Von Himmel Hoch ', are the two heaviest tracks and also, the most exciting. ' Exciting ' is not a word I usually use to describe Kraftwerk's music, but it certainly applies here. The heavier parts of the song are pretty intense and ' exciting ', with the band getting in some pretty good jamming. The guitar and violin playing bring to my mind King Crimson during their Lark's Tongue in Aspic period. On the other hand, ' Megaherz ' is a very quiet and reflective piece, and more in line with some of the ambient music on their next three albums.
There is no vocals, so one can't sing along to any of it and there are no danceable rhythms so one can't dance to it. Very different from later Kraftwerk albums and all the more better for it. A great album!"