Is the future already here?

Alexander Betancourt on 2020-01-24

An album review on Kraftwerk’s seventh record: The Man Machine

Photo by: Günter Fröhling | Image from The Man Machine photoshoot

Whatever the specific context is when someone discover Kraftwerk (or just their music), will always result in strangeness. If your case is the opposite, then I’m happy that this text is traveling trough galaxies.

This strangeness it’s positive as negative in the extent you want, I’m afraid that I can not assure you if this characteristic will be your entrance key to this fantastic music group created in the 70’s, but, what I can assure is that the singularity its not the best that the band has to offer.

Luckily, for me and you, I have the good news that I’m not here for talking about Kraftwerk, instead of that, I’ll talk about their The Man Machine, a literal translation from German and the title with which it was marketed in most places in the world the Die Mensch-Maschine (1978), let’s not take this translation lightly because is more than accurate.

Four artificial appearance men posing, all them dressed with the same outfit that in combination with the paleness in their faces, demonstrates the concept in this record. Is the characteristic tricolor that predominates in the album, the cover an its paradigm, a powerful red-black-white in reference to the soviet propaganda as El Lissitzky’s work (influence also seen in other bands like Franz Ferdinand).

They proposed the existence of the man-machine as a critic to the totalitarian regimes and how they snatch individual identity in the members of a society, as well as a perspective of our close relation with the robotic and the mechanic. It’s easy to infer that Kraftwerk suffered (and suffers) a fascination about the robots, technology and the cybernetics, and needed (and needs) to put it on the table to discuss it.

Kraftwerk it is not the future. We can’t look to a 1978 record and expecting predictions and the resolutions about what’s coming, The Man Machine is the manifesto on how were its present and how saw its future that today is; it’s a 40 years old manifesto that tales the perspective of four humans, germans, born in the postwar period, directly involved in a country divided by the cold war, aware that their nation and their generation needed a transformation; they turned back to look better forward.