Friday, 8 April 2016

Autobahn (Kraftwerk, 1974)

This long track of more than 22 minutes is no doubt one of the best achievements in Kraftwerk's career. The electronic rythms and many keyboard effects re-create the sounds of a car travelling along a motorway (that's the meaning of the German word "Autobahn") and the monotone vocals add a hypnotic touch to the song. But you can also come across acoustic instruments like flute and guitar, almost indistinct in that electronic hammering, and depicting the loser human side of high tech world.

There are several different cover arts for "Autobahn". I like this one.

This dark, overpowering side of the industrial civilisation is also evident in the compulsive lyrics Wir fahren fahren fahren auf der Autobahn ("We drive, drive, drive on the motorway"), something like a pointless, foolish worry we all share in modern life. In spite of this rather depressing side, Autobahn charms me each time I listen to it, and I think I'll go on travelling on that musical motorway of theirs the rest of my life.

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