Wednesday, January 11, 2006

2005 Out Through the In Door : Maximum Maximum

Kraftwerk are synonymous innovators. Their minimalistic, precise electro music has been ticking since the early 70's, when they were just young students fascinated with computers and electric sounds as well as classical music structures. Among with other German bands of the time (such as Can and Cluster), they created what is now being referred to as "Kraut Rock", which was, actually, the German all-sterile answer to the pompous and bragging progressive rock of their fellow British enthusiastic. It wasn't much of ROCK either, but well programmed sounds and clean, synthesized melodies.

When you come to think of it, the Germans were quite ahead of their time in other fields as well - take Punk, for instance. Nina Hagan was an original punk craze and was running things German-style much prior to the creation of Sex Pistols or even the birth of the "punk" and "rock" music combination. The language barrier, however, took it's toll and made it much difficult to break out internationally. But the language is not a big problem for Kraftwerk, since they are dealing with a lot of international topics anyway, and even if we might not understand some of the things they are saying, we get the basic point. And it doesn't get more basic than this - as robotics and computers are Kraftwerk's main attractions, plus some more mellowed topics too (Trans Europe Express, for example, or the marvelous Tour de France soundtrack).

The doubled DVD for Minimum, Maximum contains 20 tracks filmed in various locations, during Kraftwerk's '04 world tour. With your music being very well-programmed and computer based, it might be a bit difficult to have a true attraction on your show, since no real LIVE music is being played, nor a band and instruments. However, Kraftwerk are using this poor starting-point to pull out a whole conceptual experience, and the outcome is a perfect, even perfectionist performance of symmetrical visions and sounds, wrapping the whole atmosphere with their electric ambiance. It seems that just like Kraftwerk had managed to find perfect formula of clean and attractive sound combination, they are using the exact same formula to expand their whole vision and starch it even further in order to create a stunning presentation.

Without a doubt, the main attraction here are the huge video screens being used regulary during the shows, and bringing to life all the favorite classics. Autobahn, the best electronic masterpiece ever created (in my point of view, that is, and aside from Popcorn - yes, I'm serious!) is getting a vehicle treatment, showing long roads, international highway signs and fast cars. The Man Machine is all about deep red squares and words exhibition, while Radio Activity sets the mood for a serious Atom explosion. The long and winding road of Kraftwerk continues with the train-themed Trans Europe Express, and the MTV Europe Awards performance of Aero-Dynamic is another outstanding and simply electrifying work. The catching, addictive We Are The Robots pays respect to, well, their only role models probably - ROBOTS, which are being brought into the stage instead of their fellow humans. That leads me to my real and only concern when it comes to Kraftwerk : are they actually real? Personally, I think the guys are all made of Plastic and probably have no insides, but I might be wrong.

Now, add to all of these video presentations the square, precise stage appearance of the Kraftwerk men as four well organized, non-moving domino pieces, and you'll get a very logical experience, which saves a lot of room for imagination as well. If you like geometry you'll probably have the blast of your life, but if you're into southern American literature you might just as well find a good kick with this DVD, trust me on that one.


Click here to watch Aero-Dynamic from MTV Europe Music Awards '03!


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