The Man Machine

Release Date: October 6, 2009
Produced by: Various
Format: CD



Matt Rowe


Kraftwerk, a German band of computerized music, surprised a world with their introduction of Autobahn way back in the early '70s. Having already released three previous albums, the success of Autobahn likely surprised the band as well.  The edited "Autobahn" single off that album was a melodic and throughly enjoyable blend of synthesized music and inventiveness.  In short, not only did they introduce something we haven't heard before, they also helped to jumpstart a Pop synth movement that proliferated in the '80s.  Similar bands like Gary Numan and others owe a heavy debt to Kraftwerk.

The band moved forward with their new popularity, always pushing the style to create more interesting compositions.  With the releases of Radio-Activity (an improved album that thematically tied together with sound-explorative songs like "Geiger Counter," "Radioland," and "Uranium"), Trans Europe Express (a further maturation of song-craft that began to incorporate dance elements beginning to emerge in music), and the excellent The Man Machine, which contained the wonderful "The Model" hit that was huge for the band, Kraftwerk rode their own Autobahn to prominence as a groundbreaking band using unconventional instrumentation.

Much later, the band issued a series of cycle-related songs assembled in a collection called Tour de France.  The songs on this album are experimental over a bed of familiar Kraftwerk sound.  They are, as such, musically different from the earlier titles but still an interesting leg of the pioneering German band.

For this reissue campaign, their catalogue has undergone a masterful and richly rewarding remastering process that brings a pleasing clarity to these unique, synthesized songs.  The moog is sharper, the percussion snappier.  I love how "The Model" is elevated, more punchier.  With that song's more matured lyrical approach, as well as the rest of The Man Machine, Kraftwerk reached a peak that is still perfect to this day.

Each CD title is cardboard slip-cased adorned with modernist artwork, with the US cover art on the front of the booklet slipped inside the jewel-cased album.  Overall, the reissued remasters of the Kraftwerk catalogue has revitalized a group of long forgotten albums that deserved their reemergence.

And the collector is richer for them.

Radio Activity
Trans Europe Express
Tour de France










Copyright 2002-2009 Matthew Rowe.
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212 Frech

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