Thursday, December 15, 2011

Kraftwerk – Ralf & Florian - #56

Kraftwerk – Ralf & Florian

Pioneers of electronic music made in Germany, Kraftwerk, were quite a number to be reckoned with in the early 70’s. The fact, that  they sold out from (and including) “Autobahn” onwards is a completely different matter. But before that, their records were even played on the radio. These were the days, when radio wasn’t as streamlined as it is today, although there were no private stations (with the exception of a few faraway pirates on mediumwave), the range of music that was on offer  was quite incredible.

With their first three LPs (“Same”, “2” and “Ralf & Florian”) they set the controls for a myriad of plagiarists to follow in their electronic trail. But they took to easy pop music with the success of “Autobahn” and they followed that path ever since. The beginning was electronic avant-garde and the band was never more creative than at this stage. Ralf Schneider and Florian Hütter, the duo that is Kraftwerk, however, don’t acknowledge their early work. It seems to be embarrassing to them, to be connected to the first three albums and so far, they have steadfastly refused to give permission for a reissue on vinyl or a first on CD. All the CDs you can buy of these albums (or the vinyls that are flooding the market) are counterfeits. Not a single one has been manufactured legally, no matter what someone else claims.

That has led to original LPs being very much sought after on the collector’s market with “Same” and “2” going usually for a little less than 100 EUROs, while the “Ralf & Florian”  vinyl can climb to a healthy 300 EUROs on a good day. While the first two albums were in my collection since they were originally released, the third one has been missing and I really don’t know why I held back on buying this one decades ago. A measly CD counterfeit was all that found its way into my collection. That had to be rectified and I really had the intention to buy a copy the next time a decent piece of wax was in my field of vision. It did take some years for this to happen, but recently one of my favourite record dealers had just the very item I was looking for, for sale. It wasn’t cheap, I can tell you, but considering what some folks pay according to popsike, I think I made a good deal. Clean copy (m-/m-) and with the poster included.

And what’s best, I can now listen to a seminal album in true style. Not your counterfeit CD or MP3 file, but to enjoy it the way it was meant to be listened to way back when electronic music of that kind was still in its infancy. I still wish they’d one day release the ancient stuff on CD or a re-release on vinyl. Every now and then, there’s someone claiming that exactly such a project is in the pipeline. I don’t think it’ll ever come to that. In the meantime, “Ananas-Symphonie” anyone?



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