Monday, September 14, 2009

Kraftwerk - Computer World (1981)

Back from tour my droogs! Lots of good shows, as music fans around the American East apparently love Weekend Nachos. Also, Brian has a fetish.

Anyway, I was listening to Kraftwerk in the van and Drew was like "Are you listening to the soundtrack for a children's learning video?" This was funny, but also Drew is a fool for not immediately recognizing Kraftwerk.

Kraftwerk is the perfect soundtrack for a detached, emotionless INTJ like myself, right? I live in a computer world, and it certainly is more fun to compute. Social interactions are a stream of data to me, and I read people like Excel tables. I am the next level in human evolution, as the emotions of the plebs were selected for by the statistical climate of the Pleistocene. This type of impulsive thinking is irrelevant and misleading in today's information-rich, black swan dominated megaculture. Good thing I am the operator with my pocket calculator.

There is a lot of space in these songs, which is wonderful for me, as an avowed fan of minimalism. Compositions are very melody-driven, albeit in a slightly quirky way. Each track has a clear theme, that, after being introduced, appears in a myriad of forms throughout. Variations on the melody as well as supplemental samples and counterpoints provide the impetus for forward motion, and the path is laid out by austere, reverb-laden percussion.

I'll use "Pocket Calculator" as my example, as the opening blips are some of the catchiest things ever laid to tape. Pay attention to the bass counterpoint to that melody, which keeps going through the verse after the melody cuts out and a vocal part fills the space. These tradeoffs continue until the string of variations at 2:38, which are eventually tied together by the reintroduction of the theme and the verse vocals. Relate these compositional styles to a Prince groove, or to a quickly morphing riff in a metal song.

Also notice how the opening segment of "Numbers" is just as bonkers as any of the techno, house, or hip-hop that would later rip Kraftwerk off. Swizz Beatz is a pussy, Ralf & Florian are hard.

*link removed*

Also: Once again, some of my writings on music have appeared in the newest issue of Jettison Quarterly (really cool web magazine). Enjoy the articles on Thax Douglas & city gardening in Chicago as well.


Patrick said...

This is my favorite Kraftwerk album. The "Computer World" motif phrase is the best.

I gave an impassioned rant in law school about how, you know what, fuck Coldplay. Biting "Computer Love" is a nutsack move. Coldplay are nutsacks.

wrong idea bria said...

you dont smoke, but you write like you do

Todd said...

Patrick - Your claim about Coldplay is pretty much indisputable. However, that new Coldplay song is highly good.

Bria - I'm high on music. Try it out sometime!

Andy said...

This might be my favorite post I've read from you thus far.

And now I HAVE to hear this Coldplay song that you actually like.

Todd said...

Right here:

Basically it could be a Dead Can Dance song.

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