“Radio-Aktivität” by Kraftwerk - album review

features in: Album Chart of 1975Album Chart of the Decade: 1970s

TJR says

Arriving in October ’75 was the next instalment from the fascinating and mysterious electronic group from Düsseldorf. They now clearly identified as a quartet, with Karl Bartos having been beamed up into the mothership. In live performance, in promotional videos and, most importantly, in the studio for this new long player, they were: Ralf Hütter (29, voice, synthesizer, drum machine, electronics); Florian Schneider (28, voice, vocoder, synthesizer, electronics); Wolfgang Flür (28, electronic percussion) and Karl Bartos (23, electronic percussion). Changes which proved to be crucial to the ongoing development were also going on behind the scenes. The contract with Philips had come to an end, as had their music publishing agreement. Starting from scratch, Ralf and Florian were able to put their own deals in place, and now had complete control over their own destiny, fully free to create. Although they were now signed to EMI, they had their own imprint – Kling Klang – which was named after their own specially-built studio which was becoming ever-more complex by the month, funded by the great success of “Autobahn”, last years’ worldwide breakthrough LP.

As with its predecessor, this set was themed; this time around radio broadcast, despite the in-joke titles playing around with double entendres. Radio activity? Oh, those whacksters! Sensing an appetite for the more structured and melodious aspect of their often experimental and challenging productions, “Radioaktivität”, “Radioland” and “Ohm Sweet Ohm” are positively glorious examples of this new accessible approach. The album’s only downfall is the tendency to include nothing snips like “Geigerzähler” and “Sendepause” as full tracks, and to “play with their new toys” on vocoder waste-of-time inserts such as “Die Stimme Der Energie”. It’s your own album rating your ruining Kraftwerk, I’m not bothered. In all seriousness, for those who were paying close attention, this group were bubbling with inventiveness, and momentum was building by the year. The new set-up laid the groundwork for the glory period which would soon follow.

The Jukebox Rebel

A1 [01:05] 3.5.png Kraftwerk - Geigerzähler (Ralf Hütter, Florian Schneider-Esleben) Avant-Garde
A2 [06:44] 9.4.png Kraftwerk - Radioaktivität (Ralf Hütter, Florian Schneider-Esleben, Emil Schult) Electronica
A3 [05:50] 8.5.png Kraftwerk - Radioland (Ralf Hütter, Florian Schneider-Esleben, Emil Schult) Electronica
A4 [04:53] 7.4.png Kraftwerk - Ätherwellen (Ralf Hütter, Florian Schneider-Esleben, Emil Schult) Electronica
A5 [00:37] 3.5.png Kraftwerk - Sendepause (Ralf Hütter, Florian Schneider-Esleben) Electronica
A6 [01:31] 6.1.png Kraftwerk - Nachrichten (Ralf Hütter, Florian Schneider-Esleben) Avant-Garde
B1 [00:55] 4.6.png Kraftwerk - Die Stimme Der Energie (Ralf Hütter, Florian Schneider-Esleben, Emil Schult) Electronica
B2 [03:47] 7.2.png Kraftwerk - Antenne (Ralf Hütter, Florian Schneider-Esleben, Emil Schult) Electronica
B3 [03:35] 5.5.png Kraftwerk - Radio Sterne (Ralf Hütter, Florian Schneider-Esleben, Emil Schult) Electronica
B4 [01:24] 4.7.png Kraftwerk - Uran (Ralf Hütter, Florian Schneider-Esleben, Emil Schult) Electronica
B5 [02:15] 5.6.png Kraftwerk - Transistor (Ralf Hütter, Florian Schneider-Esleben) Electronica
B6 [05:39] 8.3.png Kraftwerk - Ohm Sweet Ohm (Ralf Hütter, Florian Schneider-Esleben) Electronica

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