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Kraftwerk - Minimum-Maximum Review
by Brad Podray

At first, you feel like what you're listening to is outdated. At first, the synth sounds you consider cheesy rub you almost the wrong way. At first, the computerized vocals seem hackneyed…and then it hits you. You realize you're listening to Kraftwerk. You realize there's something different about this bleepy music that suddenly makes you feel the groove as if it was lying latent within you and bursting out, inspired by innovation long forgotten in techno music. With pop-techno blaring on television ads and infiltrating parts of my daily life, it's easy to forget Kraftwerk, a crucial part of electronic music's evolution. Minimum-Maximum is a live compilation of this classic group's masterpieces, and boy does it deliver. Why would a CD of one of the oldest techno bands not be outdated today? Because their creativity did not depend on the technology of the time- rather, the technology of the time depended on the inventiveness of Kraftwerk to realize its potential. The compilation is a 2-disc set of beat-y, synthetic awesomeness. The delayed leads and computerized lyrics of "The Man-Machine" serve as an overview of the rest of the album. Even if you don't know Kraftwerk, I guarantee you know the track entitled Trance Europe Express. This song's string arrangement has seeped into so many advertisements, movies, and radio spots that you should really get out more if you haven't heard at least some version of it. A worthwhile note about the album is that the mix doesn't let you forget that these songs are being performed live. The cheers of the crowd and the general mood of the mix add an energy that is missing in the more sterile studio environment. There's an untainted nature to Kraftwerk's sound, as they shamelessly made music to sound like it was made by technology as opposed to making attempts at emulation of more acoustic styles of music. Their lyrics broadcast their love of their style, well reflected in Pocket Calculator, where the words proudly describe the music made by the operator's pocket calculator. At it's best, Kraftwerk is an intensely original group whose catalog of electronic music cannot be disrespected. At its best, Kraftwerk is a humorous cheesy piece of nostalgia. Minimum-Maximum is an excellent sampling of all that Kraftwerk does, and proof that they can do it live.

Sure to please: Anyone who wishes they could make music with electronic gadgets.

Sure to disappoint: Hippies…all of the hippies.

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