Originally recorded in 1974 and released on the rock label Vertigo in the UK, my copy is a 2009 re-mastered version pressed in 2016 on the Parlophone label. I purchased the hit single “Autobahn” four years after its original release in 1979. It’s amazing how the single was edited down to three minutes from twenty three. The early 70’s was a time of musical diversity and change. To my ears this would have probably been one of the early synthesizer / electronic sounding artists to grab my attention. I remember the sounds of Chicory Tip – singles written and produced by Giorgio Moroder and Pete Bellotte who also launched the career of Donna Summer, an American singer based in Germany around the same time.
The track names appear in German, so I have translated for a better understanding. Interpreting instrumental tracks is subjective as the composer may have had a very different view as to what they wanted to portray too that of the listener. There is a very clever use of synthesizers.
Side one’s iconic track Autobahn contains a minimal vocal all in German, and side 2 is totally instrumental. It’s interesting that the tempo and style of each track actually gives it an atmospheric feeling.
“Autobahn” (motorway/freeway) feels like you are travelling at speed on the motorway and at times slowing down and entering a slip road to join another major motorway and fills the entire side.
“Kometenmelodie” 1 and 2 (comet melody 1 and 2)have a different feel from one another. Part 1 is very dark but Part 2 is much more upbeat with lots of energy,
“Mitternach” (midnight) has an eerie feel, like exploring an old deserted building with all its creeks and sounds and not knowing what or who is around the corner.
Listening to “Morgenspaziergang” (early morning walk) you actually feel like you have stepped out of your house into a misty morning when the dawn has broken and the sun is rising, a slight chill in the air, and sounds of birds and rustling of the trees.
Kraftwerk are from Germany and this was their fourth studio album. Over time many musicians have been involved in producing the Krafkwerk sound and at the time of this recording they were: Ralf Hutter and Florian Schneider – vocals electronics, Klaus Roder – violin, guitar, Wolfgang Flur – percussion and Konrad “Conny” Plank – sound engineer.
The Album was very successful both in the USA where it peaked at #5 on the US Billboard 200 chart (albums) on a 22 week chart run and in the UK where this album began charting in May 1975 and reached #4 in a 21 week run on the chart. Other chart positions included #7 in Germany, #27 in Sweden, #11 in the Netherlands, and also #7 in New Zealand.