“Autobahn” was released to an unsuspecting public in November 1974, it is day zero of electro, minimalist, ambient and synth-pop, the very moment which inspired the synthesizer-experimentations of the late-1970s and the new-wave sound which dominated the 1980s.
Not the first ambient-electronic style release, not even by Kraftwerk but it was the first successful one. The album even contained a surprise hit, an edited down version of the title track broke the top-twenty in the U.S and U.K in May 1975, this release marked the arrival of the most influential musical-force since The Beatles.
An album based on the concrete infrastructure of Germany, the Autobahn, Kraftwerk take us on a journey, from entering the automobile to speeding through the landscape to tuning the radio and all the time the monotonous electronic-beats mirror the repetition of the journey.
With treatments of vocoder-sounds and organic voices the only natural comparison to vocals appears here as the remainder of tracks are entirely instrumental, however, do not be mistaken for thinking this is a completely electronic affair as instruments such as flutes, violins and guitar appear throughout mainly contributed by Klaus Röder, where as Ralf Hütter and Florian Schneider structured the electronic development of the album.
This album is anything but aged, there is no deterioration in quality or style unlike some of the bands which gained inspiration from “Autobahn” and Kraftwerk as a unit.
From Bowie to Blondie, through to New Order and Siouxsie And The Banshees they all took direction from this point and into the future released by Kraftwerk.
Kraftwerk line-up (1974)
Ralf Hütter – vocals, electronics
Florian Schneider – vocals, electronics
Klaus Röder – violin, guitar
Wolfgang Flür – percussion
Autobahn - (Original 1974 Track Listing)
A2.Kometenmelodie 1 ('Comet Melody 1')
A3.Kometenmelodie 2('Comet Melody 2') 4.Mitternacht ('Midnight')
B1.Morgenspaziergang ('Morning Walk')