Saturday, April 08, 2006

Numbers/Computer World 2 (1981) – Kraftwerk

The electro-funk movement found its progenitor in Afrika Bambaataa & The Soul Sonic Forces’ “Planet Rock,” which in turn owed its foreboding space-synth hook to Kraftwerk’s “Trans Europe Express,” and its ubiquitous beat to Kraftwerk’s “Numbers.”

In the vacuum of a space station interrogation chamber, the listener is numerically debriefed in German by cyborgs before being jettisoned into an asteroid field of erratic tone modulations: satellites orbiting an austere synthetic beat that would find immortality as the foundation for “Planet Rock.” Soon, pulses of energy oscillate in belts of pattering palpitations across the sonic spectrum. An androidial master of ceremonies sputters granular German gurgles in a counting symposium of international robotics, inviting exchanges in Speak & Spell™ English, French, and Spanish. Periodically, a decomposing Cylon interjects in obfuscated Italian drawls. A Japanese duo of geisha automatons chime in, while a Russian numericist finally realizes that it takes simultaneous formant and carrier signals to activate a vocoder. The colloquium seamlessly transitions into “Computer World 2,” in which synthesizer découpage sparingly laminates “Numbers” before the dialogue disintegrates into garbled chatter.

  • Listen to "Numbers" and purchase from iTunes Music Store.
  • Listen to "Computer World 2" and purchase from iTunes Music Store.
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