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  1. #1
    Rocket Surgeon Swish's Avatar
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    Week 3: 50 Records that Changed the Face of Music

    Ok, here is the third installment. I was going to wait until Tuesday, but tomorrow is going to be a busy day, so away we go. I really like this choice because it's not typical rock and roll and isn't usually regarded as one of the "top 100 of all time", at least I can't recall seeing it on any lists in the recent past. What is it? It's Kraftwerk's - Trans-Europe Express (1977).

    Released at the height of punk, this sleek, urbane, sythesized, intellectual work shared little ground with its contemporaries. Kraftwerk operated from within a bubble of equipment and ideas which owed more to science and philosophy than mere entertainment. Still, this paean to the beauty of mechanized movement and European civilization was a moving and exquisite album in itself. And through a sample of Afrika Bambaataa's seminal "Planet Rock", the German eggheads joined the dots with black American electro, giving rise to entire new genres. Without this there would be no techno, no house, no Pet Shop Boys. The list is endless.

    Your thoughts on the record's influence?

    Swish
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  2. #2
    Forum Regular nobody's Avatar
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    I'm in hearty agreement with this one. Something had to kick start electronic music and this album's gotta be it. Sure, others experimented with electronics before and at the same time, but Kraftwerk combined them with more accessible music and got the message to the masses. Timlessly listenable and shockingly original at the same time is no easy feat, and they accomplished it here. This one's influence is startlingly wide ranging, hitting practically every style of electronic music, hip hop, and more. Truly ahead of its time.

  3. #3
    Color me gone... Resident Loser's Avatar
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    Y'all gonna'...

    ...luck out now...all I can say is farfegnugen...

    My only exposure to Kraftwerk is Autobahn...In my limited experieince there was Mike Oldfield's Tubular Bells then Autobahn then a big leap in the time/space continuum to Ms Pop Muzik ending with Jan Hammer's 'Miami Vice" music...

    While I liked them all (to some degree), the genre sorta' strikes me as a bit of a precursor to the "new Age" stuff in the fact that I tend to ask the question "didn't I hear that somewhere before?"...

    I'll recuse myself from further debate...

    jimHJJ(...at least until someone takes me to task for something I didn't say...)
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    If you repeat a lie often enough, some will believe it to be the truth...

  4. #4
    Crackhead Extraordinaire Dusty Chalk's Avatar
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    Yup, Kraftwerk are the forefathers of techno, synthpop, and a bunch of other stuff I listen to. No argument here.
    Eschew fascism.
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  5. #5
    Suspended 3-LockBox's Avatar
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    A friend of mine from Brooklyn NY told me once that this was a landmark album for him and a lot of his DJ friends. This came up in a conversation about new wave acts. He said DEVO barrowed a lot from Kraftwerk he thought albums like Beastie Boyz' Paul's Boutique owed alot too Kraftwerk's Trans Europe Express. I agree.

    You can add Yello, Buggles, Yaz, Art Of Noise, Gary Numan, Human League, Caboret Voltaire and late '80s New Order to the list too.

    I think Kraftwerk might have been the inspiration for Jeff Lynne when he wrote the music for ELO's Time album.

    This is definately the album that brought 'electronica' into the realm of pop music. My first exposure to Kraftwerk was Computer World, which I could only take chunks. I think that by time the '80s had rolled around, these guys were repeating themselves to much. But they were definately influencial on most every techno release hence.

  6. #6
    Crackhead Extraordinaire Dusty Chalk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 3-LockBox
    You can add Yello, Buggles, Yaz, Art Of Noise, Gary Numan, Human League, Cabaret Voltaire and late '80s New Order to the list too.
    You know, I used to think of Kraftwerk as an 80's band...until I looked up the dates on their albums. (And I only say that because you listed a lot of 80's bands in there.) Autobahn was from 1974.
    Eschew fascism.
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    Quote Originally Posted by stevef22
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  7. #7
    Man of the People Forums Moderator bobsticks's Avatar
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    Finally, something that happened in my lifetime!

    Quote Originally Posted by 3-LockBox
    A friend of mine from Brooklyn NY told me once that this was a landmark album for him and a lot of his DJ friends. This came up in a conversation about new wave acts. He said DEVO barrowed a lot from Kraftwerk he thought albums like Beastie Boyz' Paul's Boutique owed alot too Kraftwerk's Trans Europe Express. I agree.
    You can add Yello, Buggles, Yaz, Art Of Noise, Gary Numan, Human League, Caboret Voltaire and late '80s New Order to the list too.
    .
    All of this is true and more. The aformentioned bands that comprised the first round of popular New Wave were but one facet of the Kraftwerk influence. Kraftwerk toured with, and indeed popularized Front 242. They, in turn, influenced Nitzer Ebb, the Laibach artist collective, and a host of others. Thus was born industrial and later trance.
    Techno, I feel, was an outgrowth of industrial that was based solely on what was going on in the clubs. Much of the first industrial material was sparse and not particularly heavy-handed in the bass department. Listen to the album version of Nitzer Ebb's Join in the Chant. Pure industrial and caustic. The subsequent Gold Remix of said song was specifically geared for dance clubs--bass lines doubled and high in the mix, increased tempos, synth hi-hats brought forward--a more listener friendly recording in the context. And, one that coincindently held within all the sonic ingredients for techno.Die Warzau and Die Krupps made entire careers out of remixes(Check out Fatherlandor Machineries of Joy).
    At the same time,tired of waiting for three and four years between their leaders' album releases, the Goth kids were crawling ever so slightly out of their aural swampland. Frontline Assembly's Digital Tension Dementia brought the morose sensiblitiies of Goth in line with dancable beats (Maybe not dancable, more of a rythymic flailing).
    It's important to note that when I say clubs, I'm not talking about Studio 54 or its ilk. I'm talkin' about the places that the punks and the geeks and the surfers and all the non-Armani, non-Chiarivari kids went. They wouldn't even stand in line at Studio 54. But amidst this juxtaposition of souls came a less "scene-oriented" happening. I think there was a greater concentration on the music. It wasn't anything to hear a set that included Bizarre Love Triangle(New Order), Crucify Me(Moev), Headhunter(Front 242), and then move directly into a mosh set with Metallica's Last Caress/Green Hell or The Damned or some Corrosion of Conformity. And, in Detroit, DJ Blake Baxter was already mixing bass-heavy bombasts as a precursor to th oncoming British House invasion.Body rock, indeed.
    As with previous threads, one can argue the merits of the successive material especially as Nu-Metal probably owes it's existence in some part to various limbs on the Kraftwerk family tree.It is, however, pretty hard to ignore the very compacted timeline of the scene's beginnings.
    When you listen to White Zombie or Rammstein know that you are listening to early Ministry, KMFDM, and My Life With The Thrill Kill Cult. As an aside, everyone's heard KMFDM whether they know it or not. Remember "Club Hell" in the movie Bad Boys?
    That's KMFDM's tune "Juke Joint Jezebel".
    Depeche Mode?Yup.And I think they sold a few albums too.
    This is a destinctly British inclusion and a keenly perceptive one, I feel. Probably, more meaningful to those who don't read Rolling Stone or NME...

    Cheers
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  8. #8
    Forum Regular nobody's Avatar
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    Nice accounting of the Industrial stuff.

    Spent some time around and in Chicago in the late 80s and that industrial sound was huge there with all the Wax Trax stuff. By the time Ministry started putting metallic guitars into the mix up front, the thing was taking on a whole nother, metal influenced direction that pretty much represents what most people today seem to think of when they think of Industrial. But, the earlier stuff was all beat heavy electronic stuff. Fun chaotic scene too.

    I've still got a few 12"s from back then, including that Nitzer Ebb: Join in the Chant and Revolting Cocks: Attack Ships...On Fire among a few others.

    Thrill Kill Kult and Revolting Cocks were my favorites.

    Itís actually kinda funny to me that I know a few people who were really into the Industrial thing back then, but who despise techno now. I guess the devil's in the details.

  9. #9
    Close 'n Playģ user Troy's Avatar
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    I submit Tangerine Dream as being an even earlier synth-based space-rock band that started the whole techno/synth genre. Arguments could be made for some of Eno's mid-70s music too. The first DEVO album was 1975, wasn't it?

    Arguably, this was all much bigger and more influential in Europe than the US.

    Stuff like "Yello, Buggles, Yaz, Art Of Noise, Gary Numan, Human League, Caberet Voltaire and late '80s New Order" etc. all came years later and were based more on straight up rock and new wave. The main thing they have in common with TD, Kraftwerk is that they were all synth based, but the music itself was quite different.

  10. #10
    Suspended 3-LockBox's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Troy
    I submit Tangerine Dream as being an even earlier synth-based space-rock band that started the whole techno/synth genre
    To me, Tangerine Dream was more a continuation of Pink Floyd's Meddle/DSOTM period. Actually, I was going to give TD credit for influencing New Age jazz.

  11. #11
    Crackhead Extraordinaire Dusty Chalk's Avatar
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    The first DEVO album was 1975, wasn't it?
    1978. Their first single was 1976, but that was Mongoloid, which isn't terribly synth-heavy, so doesn't count.
    Quote Originally Posted by Troy
    I submit Tangerine Dream as being an even earlier synth-based space-rock band that started the whole techno/synth genre.
    Well, they certainly didn't help, but theirs was a more gradual evolution, from the early space-rock of Zeit and Atem, to the early proto-techno of Rubycon and Phaedra (1974/1975). I don't think anyone can listen to Zeit or Atem and say that it influenced techno. Rubycon and Phaedra, maybe. So yeah, they share the seat, but "Autobahn" (the song, not the album) was such a striking diversion into sequence-laden synth-based pop, that I really think it can be counted as one of the single most influential songs on the whole genre (of techno).
    Eschew fascism.
    Truth Will Out.
    Quote Originally Posted by stevef22
    you guys are crackheads.
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    Peter aka Dusty Chalk

  12. #12
    very clever with maracas Davey's Avatar
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    Just had a few words I wanted to add, but then you already know the story about the boy and the picture and the thousand words (or was that the arab strap?), so on second thought (and with apologies in advance if you happen to bebandwidth challenged)....



  13. #13
    Suspended 3-LockBox's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Davey
    Just had a few words I wanted to add, but then you already know the story about the boy and the picture and the thousand words (or was that the arab strap?), so on second thought (and with apologies in advance if you happen to bebandwidth challenged)....
    That should clear things up a bit.

    I can't believe you got your arms free long enough to draw this out but,


    Thanks!


  14. #14
    Crackhead Extraordinaire Dusty Chalk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 3-LockBox
    I can't believe you got your arms free long enough ...
    Eschew fascism.
    Truth Will Out.
    Quote Originally Posted by stevef22
    you guys are crackheads.
    I remain,
    Peter aka Dusty Chalk

  15. #15
    Suspended 3-LockBox's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dusty Chalk
    1978. Their first single was 1976, but that was Mongoloid, which isn't terribly synth-heavy, so doesn't count.Well, they certainly didn't help, but theirs was a more gradual evolution, from the early space-rock of Zeit and Atem, to the early proto-techno of Rubycon and Phaedra (1974/1975). I don't think anyone can listen to Zeit or Atem and say that it influenced techno. Rubycon and Phaedra, maybe. So yeah, they share the seat, but "Autobahn" (the song, not the album) was such a striking diversion into sequence-laden synth-based pop, that I really think it can be counted as one of the single most influential songs on the whole genre (of techno).

    I own Phaedra and Stratosphere and I'd put these guys firmly on the list of influences for new age jazz. Hell, they may have invented it. TD is more like prog gone electronica.

    That being said, I find both TD and Kraftwerk's albums are repetative and tedious as hell.
    Last edited by 3-LockBox; 08-01-2006 at 01:27 PM.

  16. #16
    very clever with maracas Davey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 3-LockBox
    I can't believe you got your arms free long enough to draw this out
    Hey, there's worse places to be than tied up with Geri Halliwell. In fact, pretty much anyplace. Oh wait, what's this thread about again?

    She's posing for consumer products now and then
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    Now she's a big success, I want to meet her again

  17. #17
    Man of the People Forums Moderator bobsticks's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nobody
    Spent some time around and in Chicago in the late 80s and that industrial sound was huge there with all the Wax Trax stuff. By the time Ministry started putting metallic guitars into the mix up front, the thing was taking on a whole nother, metal influenced direction that pretty much represents what most people today seem to think of when they think of Industrial. But, the earlier stuff was all beat heavy electronic stuff. Fun chaotic scene too.
    To nobody in particular,
    It sounds like you and I have walked some of the same streets in some of the same times. That was back when Medusa's was actually fun with the sailors and the punks. Quite a diverse crowd. And yeah, the devils in the details...but Jesus built my hotrod.

    Cheers
    So, I broke into the palace
    With a sponge and a rusty spanner
    She said : "Eh, I know you, and you cannot sing"
    I said : "That's nothing - you should hear me play piano"

  18. #18
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    Good one

    Not really thought about it before, I mean yes Kraftwerk were important but not that particular album but I suppose mid late 70's flying in the face of punk it stands out.

    Computer World a bit later was a particular favourite of mine at the time, and still is. By that time they had refined their 3 minute masterpieces and it set the tone for so many beep beep electronica albums that followed. Had it playing only the other day and it still sounds fresh.

    Cheers
    Mike

  19. #19
    Forum Regular BradH's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mike
    ...I mean yes Kraftwerk were important but not that particular album but I suppose mid late 70's flying in the face of punk it stands out.
    Trans-Europe Express had a major impact on the early hip-hop community according to those who were there (New York) at the time.

  20. #20
    Suspended 3-LockBox's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BradH
    Trans-Europe Express had a major impact on the early hip-hop community according to those who were there (New York) at the time.
    According to a DJ friend of mine who grew up in Brooklyn, this is true.

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