Kraftwerk – Autobahn

Kraftwerk

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  • Incredible sound throughout for this fun TAS-approved album with Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) sound from start to finish
  • Forget the dubby domestic pressings — they’re disappointing in the extreme
  • The RIGHT early import pressings have richness, transparency, space and presence not found anywhere else I tell you!
  • These Vertigo pressings are incredibly tough to find with the right sound and quiet surfaces – most copies we get in from England go straight into the trade-in pile
  • “Autobahn is where the group’s hypnotic electronic pulse genuinely came into its own… the roots of electro-funk, ambient, and synth pop are all evident — it’s a pioneering album…”

This vintage British Vertigo pressing has the kind of Tubey Magical Midrange that modern records can barely BEGIN to reproduce. Folks, that sound is gone and it sure isn’t showing signs of coming back. If you love hearing INTO a recording, actually being able to “see” the performers, and feeling as if you are sitting in the studio with the band, this is the record for you. It’s what vintage all analog recordings are known for — this sound.

If you exclusively play modern repressings of vintage recordings, I can say without fear of contradiction that you have never heard this kind of sound on vinyl. Old records have it — not often, and certainly not always — but maybe one out of a hundred new records do, and those are some pretty long odds.

What superb sides on Autobahn have to offer is not hard to hear:

  • The biggest, most immediate staging in the largest acoustic space
  • The most Tubey Magic, without which you have almost nothing. CDs give you clean and clear. Only the best vintage vinyl pressings offer the kind of Tubey Magic that was on the tapes in 1975
  • Tight, note-like, rich, full-bodied bass, with the correct amount of weight down low
  • Natural tonality in the midrange — with all the instruments having the correct timbre
  • Transparency and resolution, critical to hearing into the three-dimensional studio space

No doubt there’s more but we hope that should do for now. Playing the record is the only way to hear all of the qualities we discuss above, and playing the best pressings against a pile of other copies under rigorously controlled conditions is the only way to find a pressing that sounds as good as this one does.

What We Listen For on Kraftwerk’s Euro Synth Pop

  • Energy for starters. What could be more important than the life of the music?
  • Then: presence and immediacy. The vocals aren’t “back there” somewhere, lost in the mix. They’re front and center where any recording engineer worth his salt would put them.
  • The Big Sound comes next — wall to wall, lots of depth, huge space, three-dimensionality, all that sort of thing.
  • Then transient information — fast, clear, sharp attacks, not the smear and thickness so common to these LPs.
  • Tight punchy bass — which ties in with good transient information, also the issue of frequency extension further down.
  • Next: transparency — the quality that allows you to hear deep into the soundfield, showing you the space and air around all the instruments.
  • Extend the top and bottom and voila, you have The Real Thing — an honest to goodness Hot Stamper.

TRACK LISTING

Side One

Autobahn

Side Two

Kometenmelodie 1 
Kometenmelodie 2 
Mitternacht 
Morgenspaziergang

AMG  5 Star Review

Although Kraftwerk’s first three albums were groundbreaking in their own right, Autobahn is where the group’s hypnotic electronic pulse genuinely came into its own. The main difference between Autobahn and its predecessors is how it develops an insistent, propulsive pulse that makes the repeated rhythms and riffs of the shimmering electronic keyboards and trance-like guitars all the more hypnotizing.

The 22-minute title track, in a severely edited form, became an international hit single and remains the peak of the band’s achievements — it encapsulates the band and why they are important within one track — but the rest of the album provides soundscapes equally as intriguing. Within Autobahn, the roots of electro-funk, ambient, and synth pop are all evident — it’s a pioneering album, even if its electronic trances might not capture the attention of all listeners.