When your biggest song on what was the biggest station in the world is nothing but beats, counting and sound effects, you probably think you can get away with anything. That was Kraftwerk on its 1981 Computer World track “Numbers,” which was championed by New York’s WBLS at the height of its trendsetting R&B powers and immediately became a breakdancing anthem along with its similarly minimal 1983 single “Tour de France,” the soundtrack for a key dance in the 1984 b-boy film Breakin’. So when the Dusseldorf quartet two decades later built a new album around that standalone ’83 track, writing substantial new melodies probably didn’t rank high on its artistic agenda: Several cuts are compositionally nothing more than accelerated, modernized or merely rerecorded versions on “Tour de France,” and most of the rest are melodically minimal variations on each other. But the sound of the band’s 2003 album — its only studio disc since 1986, and the first crafted on software synths — is distinctly and extraordinarily visceral; it feels like a cycling journey through Kraftwerk’s digitized Europe.
By Barry Walters on 06.18.12 in Icons
If you made a list of bands whose cultural influence and current stature outweigh its original popularity and sales, Can would show up somewhere near the top. But unlike most other cult acts that wowed rock critics, the...
By Marc Hogan on 12.16.14 in News
The record industry's older recognition-bestowing body has just shown up its younger sibling. Earlier today, when the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame announced its 2015 inductees, nominated candidates such as Chic and Kraftwe...
By Marc Hogan on 10.09.14 in News
This year, the current decade's '90s revival hit the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in full force with the induction of Nirvana. The list of nominees for next year's ceremony keeps the door open to what used to be called Alt...
By Laina Dawes on 04.16.14 in Features
Laina Dawes talks with the German metal duo about their infernal influences.