Autobahn album cover



This is the single biggest turning point in German beat (bear with me, I’m trying different names). Ralf and Florian and the gang record what now forms the earliest point in their acknowledged catalog—everything before this disappeared from their live set in the 20th century. They become what they were, in a way that none of their contemporaries were: songwriters. Fussy, OCD, neat freak songwriters, but that’s what made them who they are. The focus on technology is not wrong, it’s just half the story. Even their instrumentals move with an economy, from point to point, idea to idea, melody to melody. Anything that doesn’t work gets tossed. Another way of looking at it? They rejected kosmische here, as they cared little for vibe. It was all about the concrete material. Side A is side A, still astonishing. Side B is wildly overlooked, a dark and simple stroll through doomy, soft territory later mined by The Haxan Cloak and Oneohtrix Point Never.

Sasha Frere-Jones

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