By Liz Tracy
By David Rolland
By Alex Rendon
By Terrence McCoy
By Natalya Jones
By County Grind
By Liz Tracy
By Chris Joseph
"The electro culture is everywhere here," Hütter marvels about Rio. "This tour has given me many different scenes to work with. We started in Scandinavia in the winter and ran into some strange cultural situations in Moscow, in the snow. So I'm thinking about climactic changes, weather-related sounds."
"Aero Dynamik," one of the new songs from Soundtracks, is pretty typical Kraftwerk fare and a sturdy bridge from the past to the present. The song has a restrained, syncopated keyboard melody and a drum machine click track; it sounds brilliantly spare but also like something the Mathletes from the film Mean Girls could have come up with during detention. Kraftwerk's music sounds just slightly academic precisely because it is wholly original and without musical references.
Hütter is sanguine about Kraftwerk's buttoned-down image and possible legacy.
"Music is in no way coming close to what electronics can express. The interaction of man and machine is only now being realized," Hütter says. "But I don't want to tell people what to think about Kraftwerk, not even specific songs. Our music is like a guide, not a script, for your thoughts and imagination. Listen, and make up your own history."
The current Kraftwerk tour, while not stalled at a 28K baud rate, is light on new material, drawing heavily from the band's discography, which is nonetheless impressive.