S11-56854 The Man Machine
Produced by Ralf Hutter & Florian Schneider
Released on May 1978
UK CHART POSITION #9 . . . US CHART POSITION #130
Find it at GEMM
S11-56854 cover
[high resolution photo]
 

M ankind called to the dance by the mesmerizing hum of Machines, a once-preposterous notion that was fast becoming our possible future. Kraftwerk were ahead of their time in creating such a musical cyborg, where spirit and circuitry twined indistinguishable from the other. Human beings were, in effect, puppets to be pulled by the directives of machines in the direction of the dance floor. The quartet had advocated the unholy alliance earlier on Radioactivity (the machines shall inherit the earth) and Trans-Europe Express (technology has turned man into automatons); here The Man Machine appropriates leisure as its pleasure. It remains one of their most accessible records, offering tantalizing beats and simple melodies in a siren’s song from our robotic overlords. And many listeners were sympathetic to the message, ranking The Man Machine as one of Kraftwerk’s most effective statements. It is a remarkable record, even as it seeks to simplify the discussion of earlier works. Blurring the distinction between electrical noise and electronic music on “The Robots” and “Spacelab” is fascinating at first, but by “Metropolis” the band seems bored with the experiment. Warmer sentiments arise on “The Model” and especially “Neon Lights,” two tracks that best balance the animechanical merger, but again the title track does little more than draw out a template for the dance mixes of the future. It’s not fair to blame the messenger, I know, but the message here is that people could be placated with blips and beats and a barely dressed melody. Kraftwerk showed restraint in the application of their new discovery, but the bands of tomorrow took less care, soon inundating the market with pointless remixes whose purpose was to facilitate a long, synchronized orgy of oxygen-deprived dancers. It’s difficult to separate the two today, much as the genius of Robert Oppenheimer remains tarnished, even if Kraftwerk’s original goal was revolution rather than repetition. The Man Machine remains an important chapter in the genesis of electronica; too bad it inspired an exodus of integrity that trampled the musical sensibilities of more than a few of us.

S11-56854 back cover
S11-56854 back cover

TRACK LISTING

  1. THE ROBOTS
  2. SPACELAB
  3. METROPOLIS
  4. THE MODEL
  5. NEON LIGHTS
  6. THE MAN MACHINE

CREDITS

KARL BARTOS -- electronic percussion
WOLFGANG FLUR -- electronic percussion
RALF HUTTER -- voice & electronics, album concept
FLORIAN SCHNEIDER -- voice & electronics, album concept
Joschko Rudas -- engineer, mixing
Leanard Jackson -- engineer, mixing
Karl Klefisch -- artwork (inspired by El Lissitzky)
Gunter Frohling -- photographs

return to KRAFTWERK discography

REGION RELEASE DATE LABEL MEDIA ID NUMBER FEATURES
GER/US/IND May 1978 Capitol LP/CS SW-11728 picture sleeve
UK/AUSL May 1978 Capitol LP/CS E-ST/TCST-11728 picture sleeve
BRA 1978 Capitol LP 1C 064 85444  
COL 1978 Capitol LP 11655  
FRA 1978 Capitol LP 2S 068 85444  
JPN 1978 Capitol LP ECS-81083 insert
FRA   Capitol LPRED SPC 85444 red vinyl, picture sleeve
JPN   Capitol LP ECS-63028 reissue w. insert
YUG   Jugoton LP LSCAP 73083  
US   Capitol LP SN-16302 reissue
US/CAN 1993 Capitol/CEMA Special Markets LP S11-56854  
  April 1994 Cleopatra CD 5877  
GER April 1995 EMI CD 746131  
UK 1995 Capitol CD CDP 7 46039  
US September 26, 1995 Capitol CD 46039  
EUR/AUS'L   EMI Int'l CD 581686  

 

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