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Kraftwerk - The Man-Machine Click here to see this CD at!

By Jerry McCulley

The album on which Kraftwerk got serious about their legacy of fusing human flesh and the technology it has inspired into an indistinguishable whole, Man-Machine also ironically embodies some of the band's most endearing contradictions. The case is stated up front with the techno classic "The Robots." The journey continues to worlds both utopian ("Spacelab") and dystopian ("Metropolis"). Then it segues into a bona fide, hook-laden dance track ("The Model," perhaps inspired by the club success that Kraftwerk's previous album, Trans-Europe Express, experienced at the hands of enterprising early mixmaster DJs). There's also a downright sentimental cityscape, "Neon Lights." But lest anyone think that Schneider, Hutter, and company are too human, they wrap up the proceedings with the robotic dance-groove of the title track, inspiring dizzy listeners to ponder: Kraftwerk--men or machines?

1. The Robots4. The Model
2. Spacelab5. Neon Lights
3. Metropolis6. The Man-Machine


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"My father bought this album when we were living in Montreal in 1979. I was four years old at the time. That and Steve Miller's Book of Dreams are solely responsible for a lifetime love of analog synthesizer music.

There are German/European and North American mix varieties of this album, and they are both worth a listen and only subtly different.

There is what sounds like a switch being softly flipped on/off in the beginning of Spacelab that decays in vast, infinite reverb and under headphones with the lights off it feels as if you've been dropped into oblivion (really!). There are droning climactic chord progressions in Metropolis that make one's spine tingle and a bell-like cascading melody in Neon Lights that is at once calming and hypnotizing. If youre a "lights-off" listener, this is the ultimate album for you. At only 6 tracks and just over 30 minutes long, the only problem with this LP is that there is not nearly enough of it; one is almost incredulous when Man Machine fades and one hears the CD player stop itself!"


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Artist: Kraftwerk

Released: January 19, 1978

Availability: CD, Vinyl


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