Volume 6 in Swedish label Plonk’s We Are Machine Pop series is dedicated to the memory of Kraftwerk co-founder of Florian Schneider who sadly passed away at the age of 73 in May this year. Despite leaving the band in 2008 Schneider and Kraftwerk’s influence on electronic music ranging from hip-hop to techno is unparalleled in history.
Unsurprisingly the contributions sound just as you would expect and are heavily influenced, both musically and visually, by the band’s Man Machine period so expect plenty of mechanical sounds, robotic beats and vocoder laden vocals. This is best encapsulated by French artist Marboss fitting tribute Modelelectro.
To be honest I thought I would get bored listening to this album thinking it would be “samey” but that couldn’t be further away from the truth. There are plenty of ideas and creativity stemming from Kraftwerk’s influence running all the way through these tracks to prevent that. Alongside the very good music, there are also exciting discoveries to be made.
My highlights are Swedish bands Datapop and Kosmonaute, whose track Electromagnetic Fields has encouraged me to delve into their back catalogue starting with the new album which takes it’s name from the aforementioned track. I am not sure what is with Sweden and Kraftwerk inspired music but Swedish artist Niels Gordon renders those influences beautifully on Frühlingszeit.
The highlight for me is from Hungarian act Technikai Átállás and their track Titan which I guess is about one of Saturn’s Moons if the clues given by the computerised female voice are to believed. Lost in space? You bet!
A lovely and, at times, poignant tribute. We Are Machine Pop 6 is available digitally from Plonk.