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Kraftwerk - Tour De France Soundtracks

  by Jon Rogers

published: 3 / 9 / 2003

Kraftwerk - Tour De France Soundtracks
Label: Select Label
Format: CD


First album in 17 years from German electro-pioneers Kraftwerk finds them celebrating the world's toughest cycle race and remaining "a power house still to be reckoned with"

"We want to hymn the man at the wheel, who hurls the lance of his spirit across the Earth, along the circle of its orbit." Filippo Tommaso Marinetti 'Founding and Manifesto of Futurism' (1909) Like the Italian Futurists at the beginning of the last century the celebrated German electronic pioneers have celebrated the technological inventions of the day. 'Radio-Activity' (1976) glorified the nuclear age, 'Computer World' (1981) did the same for information technology while 'The Man Machine'(1978) glorified robots. Their classic albums 'Autobahn' (1974) and 'Trans-Europe Express' (1977) eulogised the car and the train respectively. The Futurists would see Kraftwerk as kindred spirits. And they also managed to revolutionise conceptual electronic music. It's easy to over-state a band's influence but in the case of Kraftwerk it is genuinely deserved. It's probably easier to list the areas of popular music that the band hasn't yet reached. It's been a 17-year wait for fans of the group to hear new material as 'Electric Café' was unleashed from the Kling Klang studios in 1986. Even then, cynics might point to the fact that 'Tour de France' was released as a single back in 1983. As the title and cover imply, celebrated now is the bicycle and in particular the annual Tour de France, the toughest event in the cycling calendar. As ever, the band's perfectionism is self-evident with the four radically re-worked versions of 'Tour de France' and tracks like 'Aéro Dynamik', 'Titanium' and 'Elektro Kardiogramm' perfectly creating the sounds of cycling along; complete with circling pedals and chains, pounding heart beats and the feel of the air rushing past with the sun beating down as the peloton moves from stage to stage. All are wonderful modern day techno pop symphonies. As with earlier songs like 'Pocket Calculator', 'Tour de France Soundtracks' displays their not just dry but arid sense of humour.Vocalist Ralf Hütter seems to have developed a peculiar French accent and seems to revel in the amateur dramatics of it all. 'Tour de France', though, isn't quite in the same league as 'Autobahn' or 'Trans-Europe Express'. While the Teutonic German four-piece might well be still wearing the maillot jaune where as before they were way out in front, now those in pursuit have significantly closed the gap. The awe and wonder that greeted the first time the needle was dropped on earlier albums has largely (but not totally) evaporated. Kraftwerk though remain a power house still to be reckoned with.

Track Listing:-
1 Prologue
2 Tour De France 03 Etape 1
3 Tour De France 03 Etape 2
4 Tour De France 03 Etape 3
5 Chron
6 Vitamoin
7 Aero Dynamik
8 Titanium
9 Elektro Kardiogramm]
10 Les Forme
11 Regeneration
12 Tour De France

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