Kraftwerk, The Mix

Barry Walters

By Barry Walters

on 04.10.11 in Reviews

The Mix

Kraftwerk’s most enduring tracks in digital form

Released five years after 1986′s Electric Cafe, The Mix answers criticisms that its predecessor didn’t keep up with dance trends. Essentially a replayed greatest-hits collection released in conjunction with the group’s return to live performance, the album presents Kraftwerk’s most enduring tracks in digital form. Rather than playing most of their synth lines and electronic percussion by hand, many elements here were created through sequencers, and the result is smoother, more automated. Reflecting then-popular club tempos, several cuts are considerably faster than their typically analog originals, and many pound with the four-to-the-floor bass drum thump of house music while suggesting the iciness of Depeche Mode, the synth-pop successors particularly evoked on a rewritten rendition of “Radioactivity.” Whereas the original spun puns of radio waves and radioactivity, this far more forceful remake cites nuclear disasters. “Chain reaction and mutation/ Contaminated population/ Stop radioactivity,” Ralf Hutter warns without a shred of his earlier ambivalence.