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Monday, December 26, 2005

Madame Curie Raked The Lawn 


A few days ago I was writing a lot about Kraftwerk, and I mentioned an album called Computer Welt.

What I didn't say at the time was that this album (Computer Welt, not Computer World) was on my Christmas list, but that I didn't hold out much hope of actually getting it.

Surprisingly, I got it. Although new copies could not be found in the U.S., or even in Germany, Santa brought me a CD which contained both Computer Welt and Radio Activität.

I had never heard of the latter. Despite my love of Kraftwerk, the only two albums with which I am familiar are Autobahn and Computer Welt/World. And Tour de France came later. Here are excerpts from the(English) discography from Connolly Co:


1971 KRAFTWERK I (HIGHRAIL)
1972 KRAFTWERK II (VAR)
1973 November RALF AND FLORIAN
1974 November AUTOBAHN
1975 November RADIO-ACTIVITY
1977 April TRANS-EUROPE EXPRESS
1978 May THE MAN MACHINE
1981 May COMPUTER WORLD
1986 November ELECTRIC CAFE
1986 ROBOTS



Here's a portion of the Kraftwerk biography from All Music Guide:


Kraftwerk's first album to be issued in the U.S., 1974's Autobahn was an international smash; an edited single version of the epic title track was a major hit at home and abroad, and in America the previously unknown group reached the upper rungs of the pop albums chart....

Kraftwerk resurfaced in 1975 with Radio-Activity, a concept album exploring the theme of radio communication; indicative of the group's new global popularity, it was released in both German and English-language editions, the latter appearing early the following year. Train travel emerged as the subject of 1977's Trans-Europe Express...the line became even further blurred with the follow-up, 1978's aptly titled The Man Machine....Having reached the peak of their influence, however, the group disappeared from view, the first of many extended absences to follow; they did not return to action prior to 1981's Computer World, a meditation on the new global dominance of technology — a society their music long ago predicted and pre-dated. After topping the British charts with the single "Computer Love," Kraftwerk again vanished, enjoying a five-year layoff culminating in the release of 1986's Electric Cafe....



So you can see that Radio Aktivität is closer in chronology to Autobahn than to Computer Welt. And I'm sure that not everyone is as enthralled as I am by the lyrics:


Radioactivity
Is in the air for you and me

Radioactivity
Discovered by Madame Curie

Radioactivity
Tune in to the melody



Musically, the feel is closer to Autobahn for obvious reasons. By the time of Computer Welt, Kraftwerk had learned from their imitators and become a rocking dance band (kinda like what happened to Devo by the Total Devo days). Radio Aktivität is not all that danceable.

From the Ontario Empoblog (Latest OVVA news here)

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