Lee Speaks About Music… #196

1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. (Blu Ray/DVD Edition) – Kraftwerk

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Introduction…

This is quite an old release I purchased earlier this year having watched another one of Mike’s reviews of it on his Youtube channel Life In Surround. I do like Kraftwerk and have all their studio albums and do remember them releasing The Catalogue Box Set some years ago, though has with many box sets the price does not suit my pocket and I believe it was priced over £100 but these days you can get it for around that princely sum or maybe even a pound less.

As with most releases that catch my eye such as The Catalogue I do check them out and had that particular box set contained 5.1 mixes of their actual studio albums I would have saved up my pennies to buy it. But as with much of the recent releases of this band there is some jiggery-pokery that goes into them.

1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. Could be seen as the abbreviated version or best of the box set which gives you the chance to see and hear for yourself what they have done with some of the tracks from the box set at a much lower price and one that would be suited to most peoples pockets. What you get here are supposedly live recordings from various concerts the band supposedly played live at and you also get them in SUPERB! surround sound and even 3-D visuals and sound. It all sounds rather exciting but before I go any further with my review and all its jiggery-pokery let’s take a look at the packaging and artwork.

Packaging & Artwork…

Both discs come in a 4-panel cardboard BD keep case sized Digipack with transparent trays to hold the discs. It’s also housed in a cardboard slipcase and does not come with a booklet. It does not come with any informative information and the linear production and credits are printed on the back of the slipcase.

Overall it’s a neat enough package and I much prefer it to the standard plastic blue blu ray cases. However, I do feel you are paying for both discs regarding the expensive price point. I actually purchased the German version from Amazon UK for £21.55 to which I do think is pricey and in general, a package like this should retail somewhere between £14.99 – £18.99.

Artwork.

The cover design and artwork were done by the German photographer and graphic artist Johann Zambryski who has been designing sound carrier packaging and posters for various artists since 1983. The photography side of things was done by Peter Boettcher and overall it’s perhaps plain, simple and presentable rather than anything that is really eyecatching and special.

Other Release Editions.

As far as I am aware of the only Digital Download that was made available came with the 8 Vinyl box set of The Catalogue in which came with an 18-file MP3 320kbps Download Card. The cheapest way to obtain Kraftwerk’s 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. Compilation was with the single CD release.

From what I can make out the CD comes in a plastic jewel case stored inside a cardboard slipcase. It also comes with a 6-page booklet and retails at around the £13 mark on outlets such as Amazon UK.

It was also released on Vinyl and this edition comes with 2 LP’s stored in a Gatefold sleeve and is the most expensive way to get your hands on the compilation and can be obtained for around £34 on Amazon UK.

1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. In Review…

Kraftwerk’s compilation BluRay/DVD 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. was released on the 26th of May 2017. Both discs contain the same content and have 8 tracks spread over an overall playing time of 77 minutes, 39 seconds. The compilation was nominated for Best Surround Sound Album and won Best Dance/Electronic Album at the 60th Annual Grammy Awards, marking the band’s first Grammy win. What you get in this compilation are so-called live performances taken from the bands 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 tour at various museums and concert halls around the world.

The performances that are contained in the Catalogue Box Set were taken from various venues they played around the world and were recorded between April 2012 and October 2016. Effectively even though the box set is a compilation of live recordings very much like how the Minimum-Maximum live concert was put together which they released in 2005. Even the way the four members of the band were setup on stage (As seen in the picture above) is the same as what they did back then too.

If like myself you have the Minimum-Maximum DVD it’s plain to see with this newer release the band are more or less giving you a carbon copy of that early release. Though thankfully there are some differences and they are mainly to do with the visual aspects you get with 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. more so than the audio side of things. OK! this newer release boasts that it has 3-D sound and also comes with a Dolby Atmos mix. But personally, I would not say those are the major differences between both DVD’s. You do however get a Blu Ray with this package so let’s now take a look at both discs.

The Blu Ray.

The Blu Ray’s main menu is nicely animated, looks pristine and sharp and is pretty fast to navigate your way along and comes with 3 simple options to choose from. “Start” will simply play the video content from the start although you might want to make your prefered listening choice first in the audio options. “Titel” allows you to choose any of the 8 tracks and “Technik” is where you will find the audio options.

The “Titel” or “Track Selection” menu is also nicely animated and you simply click on the numbered track you want to play and it displays the title of the track as you can see in the picture above. Once the title is displayed, you simply click on that to play it.

As with the other menus the “Technik” or “Audio Options” is also nicely animated and here you are presented with 3 choices of audio to choose from. The first option is the Dolby Atmos 5.1 surround mix which is my prefered choice even though I do not have Atmos. But not to worry because for those who don’t have it, it will give you a True Dolby 7.1 mix instead which I personally think is much better and this comes with a sample rate of 24/48.

It also comes with a 24/48 LPCM Stereo soundtrack and what they are calling a 3-D Headphone surround and this is merely a Dolby Digital 2.0 (stereo) soundtrack that comes with a sample rate of 16/48 and is only running at 320kbps which is basically MP3 quality. It’s certainly nothing to write home about and personally, I would not bother with it.

It’s also worth noting that whoever did the blu ray authoring forgot to activate the “Stop” button and he must have intended it to be literally Muzik Non-Stop 😊😊😊. The only way to stop the video from playing is to press the “Eject” button.

DVD.

The DVD comes with the same interface and menu system however in comparison to the blu ray’s fast navigation it’s very sluggish and much slower to react. The only thing it does have over the blu ray is that at least it was authored properly and the “Stop” button works. As always the audio quality on a DVD is not up to that of the Blu Ray. For example, the LPCM Stereo soundtrack is only 16/48 and the 3-D Headphone surround only runs at 192kbps instead of 320lbps.

It does however come with a Dolby Digital EX surround mix and this is basically a 5.1 mix that throws in a simulated 6th channel by giving you a centre rear channel providing your AV Reciever has an EX Decoder. If not it will simply give you a Dolby Digital 24/48 5.1 mix and all the extra EX information is sorted and distributed (or mixed) within a 5.1 channel sound field. So you are not really missing out on a lot (or even anything) if you do not have an EX Decoder.

It’s also worth noting that the DVD comes with a slightly less running time of 76 minutes, 12 seconds in relation to the Blu Ray’s 77 minutes, 39 seconds. The 1 minute, 12 seconds that is missing is down to them removing the end credits from the DVD and is nothing major.

The Picture & Audio Quality.

The Blu Ray is the best for both the picture and sound quality although regarding the picture there are certain bits of footage that they used from old video such as the head in the “Techno Pop” video that has not been captured in HD. But the biggest majority of the footage is quite pristine. Regarding the audio and the surround mix. Personally, I would have liked to have seen a DTS soundtrack included though no doubt both the Atmos and 7.1 True Dolby 7.1 mix are pretty impressive and exciting enough to merit a score of 10 out of 10.

Musicians & Credits…

A Klingklang Musikfilm by Ralf Hütter. All Compositions Written by Ralf Hütter, Florian Schneider, Emil Schult, Karl Bartos and Fritz Hilpert. Recorded between April 2012 – October 2016 at the following venues Museum Of Modern Art New York / Kunstsammlung Düsseldorf / Tate Modern London / Akasaka Blitz Tokio / Opera House Sydney / Walt Disney Concert Hall Los Angeles / Burgtheater Wien / Fondation Louis Vuitton Paris / Neue Nationalgalerie Berlin / Paradiso Amsterdam / Konzerthaus Kopenhagen / Norske Opera Oslo / Museo Guggenheim Bilbao. Cover Design by Johann Zambryski. Photography by Peter Boettcher. Published by Kling Klang Musik, Sony / ATV Music and Warner/Chappell Music.

The Compilation Tracks Briefly In Review…

As you can see I am treating this compiled video as a studio album rather than my usual way of doing a review for a live concert. A lot of that is really down to the jiggery-pokery that goes into these recordings that I mentioned earlier in the introduction. You may have also noticed that I also called them “so-called live recordings” and I do have my reason for this and that really boils down to what a lot of electronic artists do at their so-called live shows. In the case of Kraftwerk in reality they have simply brought their Kling-Klang Studio on the stage and most of the music you are hearing is programmed rather than actually played live.

The performances were created using 10 Sony VAIO laptops, 6 were used for the video system and the other 4 were running Steinberg Cubase SX for the audio. Any live band will go out their way to play their songs differently from the studio recordings and that is because if they played their songs the same as the record all the time they soon get tired of playing them. There are some slight changes they have applied to some of their tracks but they are not really any different to the way they were played on the Minimum-Maximum live DVD.

All these changes are easily done in the studio beforehand and this is something Jean-Michel Jarre will often do at many of his live concerts and it’s very rare he actually plays live at all. When I went to see him on Sunday the 9th of October at London’s Docklands back in 1988. The only person who actually played live was Hank Marvin. Mind you it was lashing it down with rain that night however it’s not uncommon for such jiggery-pokery to go on with most electronic music.

Regarding the set-list, you do get most of their hits and popular tracks as expected with a compilation like this. However, once again with the Minimum-Maximum concert, you do get a lot more and it is a lot longer and has a total playing time of 126 minutes spread over the two DVD’s.

Surprisingly none of the newer tracks they wrote for that tour such as “Vitamin“. “Aéro Dynamik” and “Elektro Kardiogramm” are not included. But more so with this set-list, I miss songs like “Pocket Calculator” and “The Model” although the biggest majority of their classics are here including a fourteen and half minute version of “Autobahn” which is used to kick off this compilation of live tracks.

Like I mentioned it is the visual aspects that are the major difference with this newer release and as you can see by the screenshot I took from the opening track the music presents you with animated footage to accompany it more so than showing you any pictures of the band standing on stage with laptops and a keyboard looking like dummies. If you have a 3-D Blu Ray player and TV you will even be able to watch it in 3-D. I should imagine that the 3-D picture is more impressive than the so-called 3-D Headphone Audio too.

The video above that they put out for the promotion of The Catalogue gives you a bit of an idea of how the visual side of things works and you do get to see the band from time to time but mostly you see more of the onscreen projections that they had at the live shows. Obviously, with The Catalogue, you do get a lot more than we have on this compilation.

Although the tracklist of 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. only displays 8 tracks quite a few of them are combined with other songs and in total, you do get 17 tracks. Though most of these are only edited versions for example track 5 “Computer World” is mixed in with “Numbers” which you could say is the title of this compilation. “Geiger Counter” has also been combined with Track 2 “Radioactivity” and in general it is these shorter tracks that were on the original albums that have been done in this way.

Having got the German version my only real gripe with it is the way they say “We are the Roboter” on “Robots” instead of “We are the Robots” and it does not sound right at all. I only opted for the German version because most reviews recommended it over the English version but I can see myself ending up buying the English version at some point 😊😊😊.

I am pretty sure there are not any tracks on this compilation that is not included on the Minimum-Maximum Double Live DVD and if you want more you are either going to have to fork out for that or a lot more for The Catalogue Box Set. But what you get with that box set and the compilation we have here, is really aimed more at the visual aspect side of things and that is really the only thing these have over Minimum-Maximum.

Summary & Conclusion…

To sum up and conclude my short review of the Blu Ray/DVD Edition of Kraftwerk’s 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. I would say it is more or less like buying a carbon copy of Minimum-Maximum only here you have more to look at with the visual side of things. To be completely honest to look at the Minimum-Maximum Double Live DVD that Kraftwerk put out in 2005, it has to be one of the most boring concerts on this planet regarding the visual aspect side of things.

Though I will say it comes with exceptional sound quality and even though it only comes on DVD and does not have Lossless Blu Ray HD Audio, Atmos, 7.1 or even so-called 3-D Sound. I still personally think the DTS 5.1 mix on that 2005 DVD is a lot more exciting than this newer release even though both come with exceptional sound quality. In terms of a rating regarding the surround mix there is no doubt that 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. easily merits 10 out of 10. Whereas Minimum-Maximum would break the Audio-Omiter and easily score 12 out of 10.

I think the best way I could describe the difference between the two of them regarding the audio is that 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. feels like more of a studio recording, whereas Minimum-Maximum has the better atmosphere and has more of a live feel about it. Both are going to give you the ultimate surround experience and for surround FREAKS! such as myself these mixes will blow your socks off so to speak. I would also say that Minimum-Maximum has a lot more width and dispersion which is why it’s more of an exciting mix.

For me personally, I prefer Minimum-Maximum over this release and it can be picked up for less than this newer release. Though if like myself you are into Kraftwerk both are well worthy of getting and you can take something from them both even though the musical side of things is more or less the same so to speak.

Visually Appealing…

The Blu Ray/DVD Tracklisting is as follows:

01. Autobahn. 14:27.
02. Radioaktivität. 6:45.
03. Trans Europa Express. 7:53.
04. Die Mensch-Maschine. 5:08.
05. Computerwelt. 6:20.
06. Techno Pop. 13:03.
07. Die Roboter. 7:44.
08. Tour De France. 14:43.

The Packaging Rating Score. 10/10.
The Price Point Rating Score. 7/10.
The Atmos & 7.1 Mix Rating Score. 10/10.
The Stereo Mix Rating. 10/10.
The Overall Concert Rating. 7/10.

2 thoughts on “Lee Speaks About Music… #196

  1. I can not say, that I am a big fan of Kraftwerk, but I respect their work and I know, that they are very influential. I remember when I was at school, that Kraftwerk were a part of the so called “New German Wave” and hits like “Autobahn” and “Robotor” were played at parties. At those times I was already a die hard Rock-fan, who only accepted music with guitars, but much later I discovered electronic music as well, but I prefer newer styles like Techno and Drum’n Bass. Anyway Kraftwerk opened the way for all other electronic styles and deserve their place in music history.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I have to admit in relation to the electronic music that Tangerine Dream and Jean-Michel Jarre was doing I never thought the more modern pop approach that Kraftwerk had would appeal to my taste. Although in the beginning, they were not that much different to TD and JMJ with albums like Autobahn and Radioactivity. As they progressed they did get more into the Techno side of things which is not my cup of tea at all regarding electronic music though Kraftwerk had a better way of presenting it in my opinion.

      They made it more exciting and that is what appealed to me about them. My favourite album of theirs is Computer World and with many of their earlier tracks including Robots. I actually prefer the remixed version in relation to the version on the Man-Machine album. It’s very unusual for me to like remixes as a rule but they were done superbly and give their tracks a more vibrant life.

      The one thing I do find with a lot of electronic music is that it suits surround sound and for surround FREAKS! this stuff will blow their brains out 😊😊😊.

      Like

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