The Kraftwerk FAQ »

Recordings

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When will Kraftwerk release new material?

You could get more information at the Parlophone Records site (maybe...). For the latest information (and rumours) please visit any sites mentioned at the links page and / or join a mailing list / forum.

Please note that this FAQ is not updated every day and not intended to be a news site.

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What are the recent Kraftwerk releases?

See also the question What is 'The Catalogue / Der Katalog'
and 'What is the Kling Klang Machine No1'?

The 2-track remix single 'Aerodynamik + La Forme' was released on 17th September 2007 in CD and 12" vinyl format mixed by Hot Chip. (There is no new material.)

cover of the remix single Aerodynamik + La Forme

Minimum Maximum - the band's first live album - was released on 17th April 2006 in hybrid 5.1 SACD/CD.

Minimum Maximum double DVD - the band's first live video recording - was released on 5th December 2005. It contains a full-length concert set from the tour 2004 and a short video (Aero Dynamik) from the MTV Music Awards in Edinburgh, 2003.

cover of the live album Minimum Maximum DVD

Minimum Maximum - the band's first live album - was released on 6th June 2005 in (double) CD and vinyl ('4 LP in a box') format.

cover of the live album Minimum Maximum CD

See also the question 'What is the so-called 'Notebook'?'

12 years after their remix album, The Mix and 17 years after their last album of new songs, Electric Café, Kraftwerk's new album, Tour de France Soundtracks, was released on 4th August 2003 (Tour de France 2003, a single containing edited versions of album tracks, was released on 7th July, Aerodynamik single was also released on 15th March 2004).

cover of the album Tour de France Soundtracks

See more and you can get a taste of the releases at the
Parlophone site,
Astralwerks site and at the
official Kraftwerk site.

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What recordings have Kraftwerk made?

The following albums were made and released by Kraftwerk:

- Kraftwerk, 1970
- Kraftwerk 2, 1971
- Ralf & Florian, 1973
- Autobahn, 1974 (digitally remastered in 2009)
- Radioactivity / Radioaktivität, 1975 (digitally remastered in 2009)
- Trans Europe Express / Trans Europa Express, 1977 (digitally remastered in 2009)
- The Man Machine / Die Mensch Maschine, 1978 (digitally remastered in 2009)
- Computer World / Computerwelt, 1981 (digitally remastered in 2009)
- Electric Cafe, 1986 (digitally remastered in 2009, under the name Techno Pop)
- The Mix, 1991 (digitally remastered in 2009)
- Tour de France Soundtracks, 2003 (digitally remastered in 2009, under the name Tour de France)

Live recordings:
- Minimum Maxmimum, 2005 (CD and LP)
- Minimum Maxmimum, 2005 (DVD)
- Minimum Maxmimum, 2006 (SACD)

For different kinds of releases and singles see one of the online Kraftwerk discographies available on the World-Wide Web, such as
http://www.discogs.com/artist/4654-Kraftwerk,
or the archives of the Kraftwerk International Discography at
http://twingokraftwerk.com/discographymirror.

See also the question about 'The Catalogue / Der Katalog'.

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What is the 'The Catalogue / Der Katalog'?

Digitally remastered versions of
- Autobahn,
- Radioactivity / Radioaktivität,
- Trans Europe Express / Trans Europa Express,
- The Man Machine / Die Mensch Maschine,
- Computer World / Computerwelt,
- Techno Pop (originally Electric Cafe),
- The Mix,
- Tour de France (originally Tour de France Soundtracks) albums which were released in 2009 in CD box set. It contains eight compact disks in 'mini-vinyl' card wallet packaging with individual large format booklets.

 The Catalogue 2009   Der Katalog 2009

( The Catalogue KLANGBOX 002 / 5 0999 9 67506 2 9
Der Katalog KLANGBOX 002DE / 5 0999 3 07852 2 9 )

The remastered albums were also released as
- individual CDs presented in special slipcases featuring newly expanded artwork
- individual heavyweight vinyl LPs with large format booklets.
- digital downloads.

 Remasters 2009

The Catalogue Retrospective 12345678 Special Edition

In 2012, to celebrate the event 'Retrospective 12345678', a new limited black edition of 'The Catalogue' was released in 2000 copies. It also contains eight CDs in 'mini-vinyl' card wallet packaging with individual booklets, only the colour of the box was changed from white.

 The Catalogue Retrospective 12345678 Special Edition, 2012

( April 2012. / KLANGBOX 003 / 50999 6 44970 2 0 )

Der Katalog Retrospektive 12345678 Spezial Edition

In January of 2013, to celebrate the event 'Retrospektive 12345678' in Düsseldorf, a new limited black edition of 'Der Katalog' was released in 3340 copies with the same contents as the white-boxes have...

Der Katalog Retrospektive 12345678 Spezial Edition

( January 2013. / KLANGBOX 004DE / 50999 9 79411 2 5 )

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What are the differences between the original and the digitally remastered (2009) albums?

See also the question about 'The Catalogue / Der Katalog'.

Apart from some new artworks, the main differences are:
- the album Trans Europe Express also has the track Abzug as the German version does, it is just a title, a part of the track Metal on Metal,
- the album Electric Cafe (1986) was renamed, the new name is Techno Pop (this new title is reverted to the original title of Techno Pop unreleased album from 1983),
- the song Telephone Call (Der Telefon Anruf in German) was replaced by the shorter 7" single version from 1987 and one more, also a single version of House Phone mix was inserted,
- the album Tour de France Soundtracks (2003) was also renamed, the new name is Tour de France.

In point of sound quality, whether the old albums or the digitally remastered versions are better is a matter of individual taste.

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What is the so-called 'Notebook'?

The 'Notebook' is a special Kraftwerk release from 2005. It contains the Minimum Maximum double CD, the Minimum Maximum double DVD, accompanied by an 88-page hard cover book with concert and artwork pictures, technical data of the tour 2002 - 2005, packaged in a laptop-style box with an inner lenticular image.

Inner cover sheet of the Minimum Maximum Notebook

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Is the album Tone Float made by Kraftwerk?

Not exactly. Before Kraftwerk, Ralf Hütter and Florian Schneider were part of the group Organisation. Their first and last record under this band name is called Tone Float, released in 1970.

picture of Organisation - Tone Float album cover, front picture of Organisation - Tone Float album cover, back

Organisation is often called by fans as 'Pre-Kraftwerk'.

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What are the best Kraftwerk albums?

As you might expect, opinions as to what constitutes Kraftwerk's best work differ widely. A poll conducted by Jose Corchado in October 1998 via email indicated that the favourite album among Kraftwerk fans was Computer World, followed by Trans-Europe Express and The Man-Machine. The favourite album had remained unchanged since a poll by Lars Nellemann in 1996, in which the The Man Machine was in second place. It seems that the The Man Machine had declined a little in popularity: it came first in an earlier poll in 1993, with Computer World in second place.

Note also that the sound quality of Kraftwerk releases are of variable quality across the record companies on which they have appeared.

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How can I get copies of Kraftwerk's early albums?

The first three albums by Kraftwerk, Kraftwerk 1, Kraftwerk 2 and Ralf & Florian are out of print, as is Tone Float, the album which Hütter and Schneider recorded as part of the group Organisation.

Hütter and Schneider have allegedly talked about seeing these albums released, but have certainly not rushed to do so. Possibly this is because the image and sound of these albums is very different from the Kraftwerk material which followed. You may be lucky enough to find copies from usual second-hand sources, such as second-hand record shops, record fairs and record collecting magazines.

Bootleg CDs of Kraftwerk 1, Kraftwerk 2, Ralf & Florian and Tone Float have appeared from several sources since 1994. The audio quality is variable, depending upon the source recording used (the bootlegs are mastered from copies of the original, vinyl records, so record surface noise will often be audible) and of course the quality of the mastering itself.These pressings are of course illegal, but copies have been known to make their way to even major record shops.

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Are the François Kervorkian and William Orbit remixes of Radioactivity available on CD?

Kervorkian and Orbit remixes were issued on CD single releases in the UK and Germany, but there was no CD single release for the USA. Furthermore, some William Orbit mixes are available only on vinyl. Radioactivity is available in the USA as a 12" single; this release contains the William Orbit Hardcore Remix which is unavailable elsewhere. Another unique mix is the William Orbit 7" Remix, which is available only on the German 7" release.

See the archive of International Kraftwerk discography for more information on releases of this song.

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How good are Kraftwerk bootlegs?

Many, many Kraftwerk bootlegs have been made over the years, and a discussion of their relative merits is beyond the scope of this FAQ. However, track listings and cover art of just some of them can be seen at
http://www.twingokraftwerk.com/bootlegs/.

See also the item in this FAQ about bootleg reissues of the early Kraftwerk albums.

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Where can I get Kraftwerk bootlegs?

This FAQ is not intended to give tips how to get bootlegs, illegally published materials.

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What is the Maximum Kraftwerk CD?

It is a biography, a 'spoken word product', there is no original music of Kraftwerk and it is not authorised by Kraftwerk, not official. It contains the full story of the band with interviews, released in 2004 by Chrome Dreams.

cover of the Maximum Kraftwerk CD

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Is the 'Kraftwerk and the electronic revolution' DVD an official product?

No. It is unauthorised DVD of Kraftwerk history from the begining, through their most important and influential period until nowadays. It includes rarely seen live and performance footage of Kraftwerk and some other contemporary bands, studio recordings of many of Kraftwerk tracks, interviews of former members and contributors (especially Karl Bartos and Klaus Röder) and many photographs.
Released in 2008 by Chrome Dreams (main feature: 180 minutes, all regions, sreen format 4:3, stereo sound mix)

cover of the Kraftwerk and the electronic revolution DVD

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Where can I get Kraftwerk live recordings?

Minimum Maximum CD, LP and DVD (the band's first live releases) were released in 2005. They contain a full-length concert set from the tour 2004 and a short video (Aero Dynamik) from the MTV Music Awards in Edinburgh, 2003.
These items can be bought in larger record shops.
The Minimum Maximum Notebook can be ordered from the Klingklang Konsum Product online shop at http://www.klingklang.com.

There are some live videos in flash format at the official Kraftwerk site, here is the direct link:
http://kraftwerk.com/flash/load_com_variabelnUebergabe.htm

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What Kraftwerk videos have been made available to buy?

Minimum Maximum double DVD - the band's first live video recording - was released on 5th December 2005. It contains a full-length concert set from the tour 2004 and a short video (Aero Dynamik) from the MTV Music Awards in Edinburgh, 2003.

There are only few official promotion videos ever released on the market by Kraftwerk. For examples:

- On the 1999 CD release of Tour de France which includes the 1983 promotional video of the track.
- The another is on the single Expo 2000 from 1999 which includes the video of Expo2000 Radio Mix.
- A high quality version of the Tour de France 2003 video is available as a multimedia track on the Japanese CD edition of Tour de France Soundtracks. (EMI TOCP-66224)

If you know more, please, email me.

Despite strong interest from fans, a compilation of Kraftwerk's promotional videos has never been officially released. However, there are some video appearances by Kraftwerk on the following releases:

- The Japanese video cassette (NTSC format) compilation Spirits of Germany includes Kraftwerk's Trans Europa Express and Die Roboter. The release is distributed by TOEI Video; the catalogue number is TE-M 388.
- The Japanese video disk (NTSC format) release Frontiers of Progressive Rock 7 (catalogue number SM 048-3227) includes Rückstoss Gondoliere (aka Truckstop Gondelero, aka Vor dem blauen Bock), performed live on the Beat Club TV program in June 1971, when the line-up of Kraftwerk was Florian Schneider, Michael Rother and Klaus Dinger (Ralf Hütter was not member of the band in that time!). In early 2000, Rückstoss Gondoliere was also released in Germany, on the VHS videocassette Beat Club - The Best of '71 (Studio Hamburg, catalogue number 4 03178 920043). In 2001, this was also issued on DVD (Studio Hamburg, catalogue number 4 031778 020088, regional code: 2; sound options: Dolby Digital 5.1 (remastered) or Mono Dolby Digital 2.0 (original sound)).
- The BBC television documentary Dancing in the Street was released on three video cassettes, three programmes per video. The third video includes brief footage of Kraftwerk performing Autobahn (this footage was previously shown in the BBC science programme Tomorrow's World). The catalogue number of this video is BBCV 6526. A box set with all three videotapes is also available, catalogue number BBCV 6527. The documentary was broadcast in North America under the title Rock & Roll, and NTSC videos of this were released for that market.
- The Greenpeace video cassette (VHS, PAL format) Stop Sellafield - The Concert includes footage of Kraftwerk performing Radioactivity and The Robots live, but both extracts are incomplete and interrupted by propaganda. This video was released in the UK in 1992. The catalogue number is 74321 13714-3.

cover of Stop Sellafield - The Concert

A number of bootleg concert videos are in existence, and concert extracts have been shown on German television.

Also see the question 'Is the Kraftwerk and the electronic revolution DVD an official product?'.

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Did Karl Bartos sing on any Kraftwerk song?

Karl Bartos provided the vocals for The Telephone Call on the album Electric Cafe (and for Der Telefon Anruf, the equivalent track on the German language version of that album).

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Was Kraftwerk's song Autobahn influenced by The Beach Boys?

In various interviews during 1975 and 1976 Florian Schneider cited American band The Beach Boys as a conscious influence on Kraftwerk's music. However, he has also said that the similarity of the refrain "Fahr'n fahr'n fahr'n..." ("drive, drive, drive...") in Autobahn to the refrain in "Fun, Fun, Fun" by The Beach Boys is entirely coincidental.

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Do any copies of the album Techno Pop exist?

Speaking about the album Techno Pop which Kraftwerk started work on as the follow-up to the 1981 album Computer World, no, this album was never put together. However, work on this project was interrupted a number of times, not least by a cycling accident which befell Ralf Hütter. As a result of these interruptions, Techno Pop was aborted and the material reworked. Techno Pop's track listing was to have included 'Techno Pop', 'Sex Object', 'The Telephone Call' and 'Tour de France'.

A demo version of the song Techno Pop and a demo of Sex Object have appeared on several bootleg CDs, but no finished recordings of any Techno Pop album track was ever given by Kraftwerk to the record company, and none has ever been released, even as a bootleg (despite what some bootleggers may claim).

Some readers, reluctant to let go of their hope of one day finding a bootleg copy of Techno Pop, have drawn my attention to an interview in Sound On Sound magazine, in which former band member Karl Bartos appears, on first reading, to confirm the existence of the album. Here's what he said:

"First of all, after we did the worldwide tour in '81, Ralf had a bicycle accident, and he almost died. He fractured his skull and was away for nearly a year. [...] That was the time when we did 'Tour de France', which was supposed to be the first single of Techno Pop. The single came out, but then this accident happened and it took us a year to continue. Then we got a little bit lost in technology, to be honest. Suddenly, in the mid-'80s, all this digital equipment appeared, including sampling [...] So we had to step back and think it all over, incorporate MIDI and sampling, and a lot of other stuff.
When the Techno Pop record was eventually finished, Ralf flew to New York and mixed it at The Powerstation. The sleeve and everything was done, but Ralf felt insecure about it, and thought we should do the whole production again in New York and call it Electric Cafe, so we did. I think it was a mistake, but that's just my point of view. I mean, it's OK like it is now [...] but I think we should have released the Techno Pop version, because it's much better. Somehow, it's now available as a bootleg record..."

It seems on the latter point, Herr Bartos is almost certainly speaking from hearsay. Bands usually get to hear about bootlegs from their fans (certainly not from the bootleggers...), so when he says "somehow, it's now available as a bootleg" this is almost certainly just a repetition of a rumour which has become common enough to be taken as fact - even by one of the artists involved.

Nevertheless, in order for Bartos to accept even the possibility of there being a bootleg of Techno Pop, there would of course need to be a completed Techno Pop album in the first place. So, why did he talk of there being such an album? It can be seen from careful reading of the above quote that the time between Ralf Hütter's recuperation and his flight to the New York mixing studio was spent taking a new, digital approach to the material; there is no doubt that most, if not all, of this reworking took place at the group's studio in Düsseldorf. We read from the interview, "Ralf flew to New York and mixed it at The Powerstation. The sleeve and everything was done, but Ralf felt insecure about it, and thought we should do the whole production again in New York and call it Electric Café, so we did". So the hold-up this time was due not to a wish to completely rework the material, but just to redo the final production stage.

So it seems it can be seen that there was the original, analogue Techno Pop project (presumably very similar in style to the demos of the tracks 'Techno Pop' and 'Sex Object' which have appeared on several bootleg CDs), and then a completely reworked, digital version (which Kraftwerk initially still called Techno Pop) that required further remix/production work before Hütter was happy to release it - under the new title Electric Café.

If this interpretation is correct, there is little contradiction in what Bartos said in the interview, just ambiguity: when he talks of the album 'Techno Pop' he appears to be talking of the entire Techno Pop / Electric Café project up until the final remastering, not - as Kraftwerk fans usually mean - just the original album of analogue material.

In 2009, 23 years after the album Electric Cafe, Kraftwerk released it again under the name of Techno Pop. See the question 'What is the 'The Catalogue / Der Katalog'?'.

 cover sheet of Techno Pop 2009

This Techno Pop is a digitally remastered version of Electric Cafe, see the question 'What are the differences between the original and the digitally remastered (2009) albums?'.

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Does the German-language version of the album Trans Europe Express have an extra track?

The track list for German version of the album (1977), Trans Europa Express, includes a track, Abzug, which does not appear on the track list for Trans Europe Express. Nevertheless, Abzug is really just part of the title track, as is the similarly listed item Metal On Metal (the same track as Metall auf Metall on Trans Europa Express). It's just that, the title of this section is not printed on the English-languge version of the album.

The digitally remastered (2009) German and English version of these albums have the same track list, that is to say both versions have the track Abzug.

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What is the correct track listing for the album Concert Classics?

The track listing on the CD's box is incorrect. The true track listing is:

- Komentenmelodie (1 & 2)
- Autobahn
- Kling Klang
- Tanzmusik

The name of the third track is known from the announcement which can be heard on the recording. However, it sounds very different from the song of the same name on the album Kraftwerk 2.

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Is the CD A Short Introduction to Kraftwerk an official Kraftwerk release?

A booklet + CD package, A Short Introduction to Kraftwerk, was released by Sonic Books in May 2000. The UK distributors issued a press release stating that the songs on the CD were official remixes, rerecordings and demo versions. In fact, the material was clearly the work of amateur remixers, and the sound of vinyl noise could be heard in places on the CD, suggesting that the songs had been taken from a vinyl record release. The track listing is indentical to that on the bootleg LP Kraftwerk - Edition 3, although at the time of writing no-one has confirmed that this definitely is the same material.

There is no evidence of Kraftwerk's approval of the CD, let alone their involvement. The CD package itself does not claim their involvement.

cover of A Short Introduction to Kraftwerk

Tracklist:
1 It's More Fun To Compute 3:38
2 Kristallo 5:14
3 Autobahn 6:31
4 Hall Of Mirrors 2:36
5 Radioaktivitat 6:11
6 Uranium 7:09
7 Das Model 3:51

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Are the tracks on the album The Mix remixes?

No, they are new versions by Kraftwerk of songs they released on previous albums. Whether the old or new versions are best is a matter of individual taste.

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Is the track Zehn Kleine Negerlein on the bootleg CD Toccata Electronica really by Kraftwerk?

No. Although this bootleg CD credits this track to Kraftwerk, they had nothing whatsoever to do with it. The track contains a sample taken from the Kraftwerk song Home Computer but the song is actually by a techno group called "Time to Time".

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What is the music at the start of the bootleg CD Virtua Ex Machina?

It's not by Kraftwerk, but is in fact a synthesised version of Beethoven's 9th Symphony, from the soundtrack to A Clockwork Orange by W. Carlos (originally released under the name Walter Carlos, now available under the name Wendy Carlos).

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What is the album Outburn?

This appears in some online record price lists as a Japanese import. If you order a copy, you will end up with a copy of the album Autobahn! It seems that someone apparently misheard the correct title, and the error spread rapidly!

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Is the song Popcorn made by Kraftwerk?

No. (although some people like to say it is...) It is written and composed by Gershon Kingsley, the first release was in 1969, later recorded under the band name Hot Butter in 1972 by a group of musicians.

See more info at
http://www.gershonkingsley.com

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