Kraftwerk: Man, Machine and Music (Anglais) Broché – 3 novembre 2001
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In August 2003, this status-quo changed momentarily, when Kraftwerk released an all-new LP entitled Tour de France Soundtracks, though anyone remotely familiar with their releases would have found that this LP basically echoed what they had released back in 1983 as a single, of the same title and cover artwork! Indeed, the song "Tour de France," tucked into the back of the LP, was a re-recording and remixing of the same "Tour de France" song released in 1983. They toured; one begs to ask the question of whether or not there will be more from Kraftwerk after this or not; their last LP before this came out in 1991, with no light shed on what went on for twelve long years.
Bussy's biography of the band was first published in 1993; it was subsequently revised in 2001, and another 2004 edition is in the offing. It is a revealing and fascinating portrait of what Bussy terms "one of the most fascinatingly beguiling and influential music groups of all time" (p. 12). It traces the origins of Kraftwerk, not only with its founding members, but also in the musical scene of Germany in the late 1960s and early `70s; hence, it is also an interesting piece of cultural history. The history of Kraftwerk itself is also traced, mostly in the context of their LP releases (of which there are eleven, not including singles). Bussy has succeeded in essentially restoring (or disclosing, depending on your viewpoint) the humanity behind the "Man Machines" or "Robots" from Düsseldorf.
His biography, understandably, remains limited by Kraftwerk's own self-secrecy, so the reader seeking to find juicy details of their working methods in the Kling Klang studio, or what really happened to the planned 1983 Technopop LP and its relationship to the 1986 Electric Café LP, for example, will not glean much because Huetter and Schneider have not exactly been forthright about such things. Details about their personalities had to be pieced together through second-hand testimony, which is always a little shaky for accuracy. It was up to Bussy to investigate such things on his own; indeed, in the Preface to the 2001 edition, he compared his efforts to a police investigation, where one clue would somehow turn up more clues to piece the Kraftwerk enigma together. It appears that the most social and open band member was Karl Bartos, who left in 1990, give or take, frustrated by the slow pace of music-making stemming from his day job. An aside: one should check out Bartos' solo work under his band name Electric Music, and also his self-named 2003 solo release.
Bussy, despite these shortcomings, has succeeded in spotlighting Kraftwerk. His writing is also excellent, so there is no fear of reading a dry, turgid account. Like Kraftwerk's music, Bussy's biography shall definitely shine on. Every fan should take the time to read this book.