Je suis l’opérateur du mini-calculateur
For most Kraftwerk will need no introduction.Their use of electronics in the late 70’s caught the attention of just about everybody, and the rest is history. To this day Kraftwerk remains among the most sampled bands of all time. They are also responsible for some of the more recognizable beats in pop music. Computer World is the eighth studio album created by Kraftwerk and released in 1981. It was released in German as Computerwelt. In keeping with the album’s concept, Kraftwerk showcased their music on an ambitious world tour and issued several versions of the single, Pocket Calculator. The song is also sung in German as “Taschenrechner” and french as Mini Calculateur, and Japanese as Dentaku.
Whilst “Trans Europe Express” and “Die Mensch Maschine” are arguably Kraftwerk’s finest works, “Computer World” is contentiously perhaps their most influential, at least to the modern electronic generation. Detroit Techno was already in an embryonic state of genesis when the LP was released, but even after a period of 3 years of silence, Hutter & Schneider redefined the dancefloors yet again. Often referred to as the “godfathers of electronic music”, many major developments in the last twenty or thirty years can be traced directly back to these guys. Not to say they invented electronic music, plenty of other bands (mostly German) were experimenting with electronic noise around then, but Kraftwerk were among the first to bring the melody to the forefront and make it danceable. Pocket Calculator is pretty self-conscious and dorky, and combined with the irresistible melody becomes one of their most endearing tracks. Redone here in french as Mini-calculateur, it is more outrageously fun, thanks to the technical observation that “by pressing down a special key it plays a little melody.” After 3o years from this release they still demonstrated how they stayed not merely relevant, but prescient, when nearly all their contemporaries had long since burned out. Avant-garde and essential.
Kraftwerk : Mini-calculateur [1981 : Computer world – Kling klang / Warner]