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10/10 Nemanja Customer review, 23rd October 2013
Once they have taken a poetic view of inter city traffic as a light motif on ’Autobahn’ (1974), and ’Radio Aktivitat’ (1975) explored the topic of radio communications and nuclear contamination; “Die Mensch Machine’, their last important album, explored the relationship between man and technology. Defining themselves as ’robot pop’, Kraftwerk analyze the position of a modern man trapped by the technology that abolishes his vitality. Using exclusively keyboards, android vocals and drum machines they had constructed themselves, they remove the last organic matter from the music, sterilizing it to the point of pure math. Probably the only band that managed to absolutely desexualize music. Without passion and erotic nature of rhythm, Kraftwerk are apologists of asexual identity of androids who despise the hedonistic and reproductive function of sex (and when they sing about super models walking the catwalk, it sounds like it was written from the position of a robot arm that produces the small plastic Barbies on the assembly line).
Looking at the man through the eyes of industrial production, Kraftwerk are successors to the German tradition of the 20th century: relying on modernist poetic of Bauhaus school and Expressionism, their sound represents the Heideggerian thesis on the harmful effects of the technological revolution. In addition, they paid a tribute to German silent film ’Metropolis’ by Fritz Lang, which, much like the band, deals with the theme of mechanization of modern society.
Kraftwerk doesn’t talk about an optimistic future, it is a story of utopian future of modern man: in today’s society, is there really a difference between men and the machines? Modern life is robotized (’The Robots’), the most sentimental songs are about space laboratories (’Spacelab’), models are cynically compared to robots that unconvincingly mimic humans (’The Model’), an artificial light source is more romantic than the natural (’Neon Lights’), and man – machine, aware of the existential despair, is having the most pleasant feeling while listening sound in which the silicon information is brought to pure poetry.
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- The Man Machine by Kraftwerk
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