Kraftwerk - The Man-Machine / Autobahn / Computer World: Triple Coloured Vinyl Bundle - Save Over 20%!
Save over 20% when you buy these classic albums together with this Limited Edition Bundle!*
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KRAFTWERK - TRIPLE COLOURED VINYL BUNDLE
THE MAN-MACHINE / AUTOBAHN / COMPUTER WORLD
1. The Man-Machine: Limited Edition on Red Vinyl + Booklet
A bold new look, sound and concept for Kraftwerk. Over supple processed rhythms which predate the rise of European techno and trance, they address automation and alienation, space travel and engineering, The seductive allure of urban landscapes and the vacant glamour of celebrity. Clipped and funky, The Robots adds another dimension to Kraftwerk's ultra-dry sense of humour. Behind its intoxicating melodic pulse, The Model is a highly prophetic satire on the beauty industry, so ahead of its time that it only becomes a UK chart-topper by accident three years later. And Neon Lights is Kraftwerk's most achingly romantic song to date, a sci-fi lullaby for cities at twilight. Pure magic!
The Man-Machine (German: Die Mensch-Maschine) is the seventh studio album by German electronic music band Kraftwerk. It was released on 19 May 1978 by Kling Klang in Germany and by Capitol Records elsewhere. A further refinement of their mechanical style, the album saw the group incorporate more danceable rhythms and less minimalistic arrangements. It includes the singles "The Model" and "The Robots".
Although the album was initially unsuccessful on the UK Albums Chart, it reached a new peak position of number nine in February 1982, becoming the band's second highest-peaking album in the United Kingdom after Autobahn (1974).
The Man-Machine is the first Kraftwerk album to have Karl Bartos co-credited as a composer along with Ralf Hütter and Florian Schneider. Emil Schult co-wrote the lyrics for "The Model". AllMusic editor Steve Huey described the album as "closer to the sound and style that would define early new wave electro-pop", and noted its "feel of a divided concept album", with some songs (such as the title track and "The Robots") exploring "the science fiction-esque links between humans and technology", and others (such as "Neon Lights" and "Metropolis") celebrating "the glamour of urbanization". Uncut critic David Cavanagh called "The Model" a "wry pop satire", and wrote that "the sparse lyrics lend themselves to considerable interpretation."
The first German pressing was on red vinyl. The Man-Machine was certified gold by the British Phonographic Industry (BPI) on 15 February 1982, denoting shipments in excess of 100,000 copies. In October 2009, a remastered edition of the album was released on CD and digitally by Mute Records in Europe and by Astralwerks in the United States, with heavyweight vinyl editions released in November 2009.
The artwork for the cover was produced by Karl Klefisch, based on the work of the Russian suprematist El Lissitzky – the words "Inspired by El Lissitzky" are noted on the cover. The back cover image is an adaptation of a graphic from Lissitzky's book for children About Two Squares: A Suprematist Tale of Two Squares in Six Constructions.
Reviewing the album in 1978, Andy Gill of NME stated that "The Man-Machine stands as one of the pinnacles of 70's rock music", adding that "the sparsity of the lyrics leaves the emphasis squarely on those robot rhythms, chilling tones and exquisite melodies." Village Voice critic Robert Christgau also reviewed the album that year, saying: "Only a curmudgeon could reject a group that synthesizes the innovations of Environments and David Seville & the Chipmunks, not to mention that it's better make-out music." Mitchell Schneider from Rolling Stone found that the "chilling restraint and relentless sameness" of the lyrics and music are tempered by Kraftwerk's sense of humour and "sheer audacity", which makes for a listening experience that is "strangely pleasant in an otherworldly way."
In a retrospective review for AllMusic, Steve Huey wrote that the album is "less minimalistic in its arrangements and more complex and danceable in its underlying rhythms" than the group's previous works and noted its "tremendous impact" on subsequent synth-pop artists. NME ranked The Man-Machine as the 57th greatest album of all time in 2013, citing it as Kraftwerk's "definitive" album and the catalyst for the synth-pop "revolution" that followed its release.
2. Autobahn: Limited Edition on Translucent 180g Blue Vinyl + Booklet
The fourth studio album by the German electronic band. It was the band's first album to fully embrace the repetitive electronic sound they would become known for, although organic instruments still remained part of their sonic palette, and was inspired by the titular German highway system. Features the singles Kometenmelodie 2 and Autobahn.
Autobahn is the fourth studio album by German electronic band Kraftwerk, released in November 1974. It was the band's first album to fully embrace the repetitive electronic sound they would become known for (although organic instruments still remained part of their sonic palette) and was inspired by the titular German motorway system.
The radio edit of the title track became a surprise international hit, reaching number 11 in the UK, number 12 in both Canada and the Netherlands, number 25 on the US Billboard Hot 100 chart, and number 30 in the Australian chart.
In 2015, the album was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame.
Autobahn is not a completely electronic album, as violin, flute, piano and guitar are used along with synthesizers. The title track features both untreated and vocoded vocals; the remaining tracks are purely instrumental. Kraftwerk used a Minimoog, an ARP Odyssey, an EMS Synthi AKS, a Farfisa Professional Piano and various devices of their own design and implementation, such as their famous electronic drums.
The title track is intended to capture the feeling of driving on the Autobahn: from traveling through the landscape, the high-speed concentration on the fast lane, to tuning the car radio and the monotony of a long trip.
The remaining ambient tracks have a two-part structure—an introduction followed by a main section—and are loosely based around a theme of the night, beginning with twin tracks "Kometenmelodie (Comet Melody) 1 and 2" (inspired by Comet Kohoutek), then an ominous-sounding "Mitternacht" (Midnight) and the final track, "Morgenspaziergang" (Morning Stroll). This last track begins as a dawn chorus bird-song effect created by the electronic instruments, with an extended conclusion that uses a repeating variation of the melodic phrase heard in the first instrumental section of "Autobahn".
Klaus Röder was not a member of the band for very long and had left before the recording sessions were completed.
The engineer Konrad Plank, who co-produced the very first couple of Kraftwerk albums, had reputedly played a large role in developing the early Kraftwerk sound. Much of the recording and all of the mixing of the work took place at his studio in Cologne.
Wolfgang Flür had played with the band since late in 1973, first appearing with them on a Berlin TV performance to promote their Ralf und Florian album. On that show, he debuted the band's custom-built electronic percussion pads, and these feature heavily on the Autobahn album.
The front cover of the original German album was painted by Emil Schult, a long-time collaborator of Ralf and Florian, who also co-wrote the lyrics to the song "Autobahn". The version released in the UK on the Vertigo label in 1974 had a differently designed cover, produced by the label's in-house marketing department.
The rear cover of the original LP showed Hütter, Schneider, Röder and Emil Schult seated as if in the back of a car. Wolfgang Flür's head was added to the group photo (superimposed over Schult's) when it was decided that he would stay as a permanent member of the band. However, for the 2009 remaster booklet this image has been replaced by the version originally photographed.
Upon its release, Village Voice critic Robert Christgau called the record "the Iron Butterfly of überrock—Mike Oldfield for unmitigated simpletons, sort of, and yet in my mitigated way I don't entirely disapprove." AllMusic later described it as a “pioneering album” in which “the roots of electro-funk, ambient, and synth pop are all evident.” The album was included in the book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die. John Doran of The Quietus said: "The album came at the end of a flashpoint of creativity in German experimental pop and rock music and was based around a beat that signified a march away from recent history."
The NME in a dismissive review said of it that they were ’’dimly fumbling for approachability’’ and ‘’Pinky and Perky noises abound and there’s probably just about enough material in this 40 minutes to suffice for the Pepper’s next chart-shot. For simple minds only.’’
The radio edit of the title track became a surprise international hit, reaching number 11 in the UK, number 12 in the Netherlands, number 25 on the US Billboard Hot 100 chart, and number 30 in the Australian chart. On 6 February 2013 the group played the entire album at the first of their eight-night retrospectives at the Tate Modern in London.
A remastered edition of the album was released by EMI Records, Mute Records and Astralwerks Records on CD and digital download in October–November 2009, with heavyweight vinyl editions released in November–December 2009.
3. Computer World: Limited Edition on Yellow Vinyl + Booklet
Computer World is Kraftwerk's eighth album, released on 10 May 1981. The album deals with the themes of the rise of computers within society. In-keeping with the album's concept, Kraftwerk showcased their music on an ambitious world tour. The compositions are credited to Ralf Hütter, Florian Schneider, and Karl Bartos. As was the case with the two previous albums, Computer World was released in both German and English language editions.
Computer World (German: Computerwelt) is the eighth studio album by German electronic band Kraftwerk, released on 10 May 1981.
The album deals with the themes of the rise of computers within society. In keeping with the album's concept, Kraftwerk showcased their music on an ambitious world tour. The compositions are credited to Ralf Hütter, Florian Schneider, and Karl Bartos. As was the case with the two previous albums, Computer World was released in both German- and English-language editions.
The cover shows a computer terminal (apparently based on one made by the Hazeltine Corporation) displaying the heads of the four band members.
The inner sleeve artwork, created by Emil Schult and photographed by Günter Fröhling, depicts four slightly robotic-looking mannequins (representing the band members engaged in studio activities: performing, recording, mixing), similar to the artwork of the previous album, The Man-Machine, also created by Fröhling. In two photos, the mannequin representing Karl Bartos is seen playing a Stylophone, an instrument which is featured on the track "Pocket Calculator".
Computer World peaked at No. 15 on the UK Albums Chart. It was certified silver by the British Phonographic Industry (BPI) on 12 February 1982 for shipments in excess of 60,000 copies.
The track "Computer Love" was released as a seven-inch single in the UK, in July 1981, backed with "The Model", from the group's previous album The Man-Machine. The single reached No. 36 in the charts. In November 1981 the two songs were reissued as a double A-side twelve-inch single, and reached No. 1 on the UK Singles Chart in February 1982, although "The Model" received the most airplay.
"Pocket Calculator" was released as a seven-inch single in the US by Warner Brothers in 1981, pressed on a fluorescent yellow/lime vinyl, matching the color of the album cover. The flip side featured the Japanese version of "Pocket Calculator," "Dentaku".
"Computerwelt" was remixed in 1982 as a dance version with additional bass and percussion sounds. It was released in January 1982 as a twelve-inch vinyl single only in Germany. The original track was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Rock Instrumental Performance in 1982. "Computer World" was also chosen by the BBC for use in the titles of their UK computer literacy project, The Computer Programme.
Kraftwerk issued several different versions of the single "Pocket Calculator" in different languages: namely, German ("Taschenrechner"), French ("Mini Calculateur"), Japanese ("Dentaku", or 電卓), and Italian ("Mini Calcolatore").
Computer World was ranked the second best album of 1981 by NME.
In 2012, Slant Magazine placed Computer World at No. 25 on its list of the 100 best albums of the 1980s. In 2018, Computer World was listed by Pitchfork as the 18th best album of the 1980s. Pitchfork listed the track "Computer Love" as the 53rd best song of the 1980s. Rolling Stone named Computer World the 10th greatest EDM album of all time in 2012.
In 1982, American DJ and rapper Afrika Bambaataa wrote the song "Planet Rock" and recorded chords inspired from Trans-Europe Express. The song's lyrics also included the Japanese number counting "Ichi Ni San Shi" from Kraftwerk's "Numbers".
Señor Coconut y su Conjunto, an electronic project of German musician Uwe Schmidt which initially covered Kraftwerk's songs, published a merengue-styled version of "It's More Fun to Compute" in their first LP El Baile Alemán, wrongly labeled as "Homecomputer" on the sleeve.
Coldplay used the main riff from "Computer Love" in their song "Talk" from their 2005 album X&Y.
Ricardo Villalobos' track "Logom-IX" from the 2006 album Salvador uses prominently the riff from "Computer World".
"Home Computer" is used as background music in the Young Sheldon episode "A Computer, a Plastic Pony, and a Case of Beer".
LCD Soundsystem sampled "Home Computer" throughout the track, Disco Infiltrator.
DJ Hooligan sampled The Mix version of "Home Computer" for the Underground and Cursed remix of the song "Scatman's World" by Scatman John.