A Guide to 12345678

Cover Artwork

Cover Artwork

Düsseldorf’s electronic music pioneers Kraftwerk released their eight albums from 1974’s Autobahn to 2003’s Tour de France in a box-set. While some fans will be sad that early albums Kraftwerk, Kraftwerk 2 and Ralf & Florian are not included in the selection, the ones included were remastered for the first time by today’s standards. If you’re not sure what this means or what you can expect, I recommend having a read on 5 against 4 for an in-depth comparison.

Another question for die-hard fans is the language of this 8-CD box set. Kraftwerk originally recorded albums with both German titles and lyrics. For the English speaking part of the world, however, the quartet chose to re-record the albums. Many got to learn Kraftwerk from these “translations” and may want to stick to that. On the other hand it’s not only the orthodox fans that want to get their hand on the “original” versions, but it’s also a chance to discover something slightly different.

So, here’s an overview on the different options available to you. In Germany, Kraftwerk’s own Kling Klang imprint releases both versions of 1234568, otherwise identifiable by the cover saying “Der Katalog” or “The Catalogue”. In the UK it’s Mute putting out the English box set, in the States it’s Astralwerks.

Der Katalog / The Catalogue
Autobahn
Radioaktivität / Radio-Activity
Trans Europa Express / Trans Europe Express
Die Mensch-Maschine / The Man-Machine
Computerwelt / Computer World
Techno Pop
The Mix
Tour De France

Apart from the CD-only box set, all of the included albums are available seperately on remastered LPs. To spot the right version for you, it is recommend to take a closer look. Amazon sells the vinyl versions in  Germany, United Kingdom and the United States. The former is the only one with both versions available. However, if you spot a version at your favourite record-dealer, you better ask staff or listen to the record before buying.

It also seems that U.S. buyers still have to wait for the box to be released.