Vermilion Sands

Autobahn Kraftwerk

released: 1974-11
on label: Philips
artist: Kraftwerk
with some: AmbientBerlin SchoolKrautrock
listen at: Apple Deezer Spotify YouTube Music

Although Kraftwerk’s first three albums were groundbreaking in their own right, Autobahn is where the group’s hypnotic electronic pulse genuinely came into its own. The main difference between Autobahn and its predecessors is how it develops an insistent, propulsive pulse that makes the repeated rhythms and riffs of the shimmering electronic keyboards and trance-like guitars all the more hypnotizing. The 22-minute title track, in a severely edited form, became an international hit single and remains the peak of the band’s achievements – it encapsulates the band and why they are important within one track – but the rest of the album provides soundscapes equally as intriguing. Within Autobahn, the roots of electro-funk, ambient, and synth pop are all evident – it’s a pioneering album, even if its electronic trances might not capture the attention of all listeners.