4. KRAFTWERK – AUTOBAHN (1974)

Kraftwerk- Autobahn

kraftwerk

Bournemouth, July 1982. A church fete during a holiday. Amid the ketchup bottles and the jettisoned Hammond Innes paperbacks, this seemed to be the only record on sale. But it couldn’t be for sale- why was a Kraftwerk album being so blithely discarded not even six months after they’d been at number one? “Is it being sold?” I demanded incredulously with an edge of panic, clutching it covetously in its Highway Code-themed sleeve. “50p please” was the wonderful reply. Only much later did I figure out the likely chain of events – somebody had been seduced by The Model’s future-now charms and was eager to discover more but, confronted with a 22-and-a-half minute distillation of a gruelling drive which sounds like it’s being undertaken out of necessity, thought: naah. Whoever you were, es ist deine Sache and this is where I came in. To everyone else: never let yourself be fobbed off with the single version of the title track; it would be like passing off the Q volume of Encylopaedia Britannica as the whole thing. From the sun-dappled valley to the frustration of swelling traffic to the closing lullaby for the passengers asleep in the back  every one of its 1350 seconds is essential. And don’t overlook the supporting cast of jiving comets, babbling brooks and squelching but still sinister bats on the former side two. (PG)

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