The Catalogue (German language edition: Der Katalog) is a boxed set comprising eight albums by Kraftwerk that were released from 1974 to 2003. All albums are digitally remastered, with most of the cover art redesigned.
The byproduct of a much anticipated, long-delayed, and ultimately scrapped album to have been called Technopop (and to have contained Kraftwerk's great dance single "Tour de France"), 1986's Electric Cafe suffers only slightly from lacking the thematic focus of previous Kraftwerk albums. Ironically, the '80s techno-pop wave had passed by band founders Florian Schneider and Ralf Hutter at this point, but their sly wit ("Boing Boom Tschak," "Telephone," "Sex Object") and melodic inventiveness still stand the test of time. Its segues virtually seamless, Electric Cafe plays like one mega-dance-mix, but with the tasteful restraint that has long been a Kraftwerk hallmark. This is club music for thinking men and women.
After finally releasing a new track, commissioned by Expo 2000 in Hanover, Germany, Kraftwerk proceeded to open it up to a whole new set of remixers. Featuring four remixes by Detroit's influential Underground Resistance, one from British electronic musicians Orbital, one from seminal DJ/producer François Kevorkian, and several from Kraftwerk themselves, this ten-track CD shows what Kraftwerk can sound like in the modern world. Considering that Kraftwerk is often quoted as a major influence on Detroit techno, its unsurprising that the remixes by the Underground Resistance far surpass either of the other two mixes. Revamping the songs in a "Kraftwerk living in Detroit" sort of way, UR pay homage to one of the forefathers of their art. Fortunately, none of the mixes mimics another, a relatively difficult feat when working with material as sparse as a Kraftwerk song. All of the remixes are worthwhile additions to the vast canon of Kraftwerk material.
Japanese release featuring modern eclectic Japanese acts covering the finest that German electronic Pioneers Kraftwerk ever created. Includes Buffalo Daughter doing the legendary 'Autobahn', plus interpretations of 'It's More FunTo Compute' and 'Showroom Dummies'.
Minimum-Maximum is the first official live album release by Kraftwerk, released in June 2005, almost 35 years after the group gave their first live performance. It features two CDs and tracks recorded on their world tour during 2004, including concerts in Warsaw, Moscow, Berlin, London, Budapest, Tallinn, Riga, Tokyo and San Francisco. Minimum-Maximum was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Electronic/Dance Album in 2006.
What might have been simply seen as an agreeable enough debut album has since become something of a notorious legend because Kraftwerk, or more accurately the core Hütter/Schneider duo at the heart of the band, simply refuses to acknowledge its existence any more. What's clearly missing from Kraftwerk is the predominance of clipped keyboard melodies that later versions of the band would make their own. Instead, Kraftwerk is an exploratory art rock album with psych roots first and foremost, with Conny Plank's brilliant co-production and engineering skills as important as the band performances. Still, Hütter and Schneider play organ and "electric percussion" – Hütter's work on the former can especially be appreciated with the extended opening drone moan of the all-over-the-place "Stratovarius" combined with Schneider's eerie violin work. But it's a different kind of combination and exploration, with the key pop sugar (and vocal work) of later years absent in favor of sudden jump cuts of musique concrète noise and circular jamming as prone to sprawl as it is to tight focus.
The line-up on this newly released bootleg is said to consist of Florian Schneider, Michael Rother and Klaus Dinger, which tells us that this was probably recorded in that short period of time in 1971, estimated to 6 months, when Ralf Hütter had left the band. Supposedly, the recording was made at the Gondel Kino in Bremen, Germany on June 25, 1971. And it's an interesting recording.
Continuing to work with Conny Plank, who once again provides a compelling job as producer and engineer, Kraftwerk went right ahead and named their new album after their two remaining members – an understandable enough move. Like the first two albums, Ralf and Florian still has not seen official re-release, for all that one can practically taste Kraftwerk's leap into the beyond on it. Given that this was the last album before the most famous lineup was formed and Autobahn was released, it's appropriate to listen to Ralf and Florian as a harbinger for the future, though perhaps all too easy. Take it on its own terms – a further investigation of electronic possibilities in a more open-ended, less constantly structured fashion than would be the case later – and Ralf and Florian becomes most enjoyable.