41

Kraftwerk

Tour De France

Aug 2003

Some of the deepest pulsing bass on record. Rattle your room. And maybe your skull.

Electro, Tech House, Minimalist

By turning a single into an album Kraftwerk produced their best sounding electronica release of a long and influential career.

Kraftwerk’s early music is so ludicrously influential that it’s easy to get carried away with the superlatives. And yet listening to the amazing production values on Tour De France Soundtracks – it’s easy to hear why this mysterious keyboard-ensemble engenders so much devotion.

Prologue is a mellow synth coda before getting down to the real trance of Parts 1, 2 and 3 of Tour De France Étape. A hooky synth riff accompanied by a distorted voice repeating the title while the cool overall theme starts to make its way into your skull. It’s still there in a different form by the time we about turn for Vitamin – a rhythm-fest that takes up a whole side on the double-album. But at least we’re given a list of vitamin supplements to help to make sense of the pictures in the booklet. This music evokes movement, gears turning, faces grimacing as they climb – a map of the endurance test that is the Tour De France.

Aéro Dynamik is the unnerving commercial side of Kraftwerk – a pin-sharp sound that almost sounds like a fun hit single. Heavy breathing opens Elektro Kardiogramm, which has some of the deepest pulsing bass on record – if your room doesn’t rattle, get bigger speakers. The spirit of those other influential Kraut rockers Neu! spreads over La Forme as the synth sounds pan across your speakers.