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Kraftwerk|3-D The Catalogue

3-D The Catalogue

Kraftwerk

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After remastering all of their full-lengths from Autobahn onward for the long-in-production 2009 box set The Catalogue, pioneering electronic group Kraftwerk began performing the albums in full during series of retrospective concerts, beginning at the Museum of Modern Art in New York in 2012. As with their concerts since 2009, the group designed special three-dimensional visuals for the performances, and equipped the audience members with 3-D glasses straight out of a 1950s movie theater. Box set 3-D The Catalogue is an audio document of the arrangements devised for these concerts. No crowd noise is audible, but there is somewhat of a rough quality to the vocals, so they sound like live takes rather than polished studio perfection. By no means are these arrangements carbon copies of the album versions -- they're arranged to flow as performances rather than home-listening experiences, which means that track orders are sometimes shifted, and several songs are shortened, sometimes drastically so. (The entire Trans-Europe Express album is perversely cut down to 24 minutes!) Additionally, as with all of Kraftwerk's performances since the '90s, the songs are often performed in the updated versions created for 1991's The Mix rather than the originals, making "The Robots" and "Computer Love" (among others) sound stuck in the early '90s when the originals sound timeless. The fact that Kraftwerk count The Mix as a proper album and include it as the seventh disc in this set just makes it overly redundant. However, they do include "Planet of Visions" (a rework of the 1999 "Expo 2000" single incorporating elements of Underground Resistance's remix of the track) at the end of the disc, as it had become a staple of their live shows. In terms of sound quality, all of it sounds fantastic; the recordings are awash with details and production effects that simply would not have been possible when most of the pieces were originally composed. There are technological drawbacks to the set, however. The Mix is credited as being a Surround Sound 3-D mix...but specially mixed for standard headphones only, making it hard to tell the significance of the special mix. Plus, there's the whole aspect of these arrangements being designed to accompany 3-D visuals. Obviously, the ideal way to experience this set (other than attending the actual concerts) is the Blu-ray edition; without the visuals, the music itself is certainly excellent, but doesn't exactly replace the original albums.

© Paul Simpson /TiVo

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3-D The Catalogue

Kraftwerk

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1
Autobahn
00:14:26

Kraftwerk, MainArtist - Florian Schneider, Writer - Ralf Hutter, Vocals, Writer, Synthesizer - Fritz Hilpert, Programmer, Synthesizer, MixingEngineer - Henning Schmitz, Synthesizer, MasteringEngineer - Falk Grieffenhagen, Synthesizer - Serge Gräfe, Live Recording Engineer

© 2017 Ralf Hütter and Kraftwerk under exclusive license to Parlophone Records Limited, a Warner Music Group company ℗ 2017 Ralf Hütter and Kraftwerk under exclusive license to Parlophone Records Limited, a Warner Music Group company

2
Geiger Counter / Radioactivity
00:06:45

Emil Schult, Writer - Kraftwerk, MainArtist - Florian Schneider, Writer - Ralf Hutter, Vocals, Writer, Synthesizer - Fritz Hilpert, Programmer, Synthesizer, MixingEngineer - Henning Schmitz, Synthesizer, MasteringEngineer - Falk Grieffenhagen, Synthesizer - Serge Gräfe, Live Recording Engineer

© 2017 Ralf Hütter and Kraftwerk under exclusive license to Parlophone Records Limited, a Warner Music Group company ℗ 2017 Ralf Hütter and Kraftwerk under exclusive license to Parlophone Records Limited, a Warner Music Group company

3
Trans-Europe Express / Metal on Metal / Abzug
00:07:55

Emil Schult, Writer - Kraftwerk, MainArtist - Ralf Hutter, Vocals, Writer, Synthesizer - Fritz Hilpert, Programmer, Synthesizer, MixingEngineer - Henning Schmitz, Synthesizer, MasteringEngineer - Falk Grieffenhagen, Synthesizer - Serge Gräfe, Live Recording Engineer

© 2017 Ralf Hütter and Kraftwerk under exclusive license to Parlophone Records Limited, a Warner Music Group company ℗ 2017 Ralf Hütter and Kraftwerk under exclusive license to Parlophone Records Limited, a Warner Music Group company

4
The Man Machine
00:05:08

Karl Bartos, Composer - Kraftwerk, MainArtist - Ralf Hutter, Composer, Vocals, Synthesizer - Fritz Hilpert, Programmer, Synthesizer, MixingEngineer - Henning Schmitz, Synthesizer, MasteringEngineer - Falk Grieffenhagen, Synthesizer - Serge Gräfe, Live Recording Engineer

© 2017 Ralf Hütter and Kraftwerk under exclusive license to Parlophone Records Limited, a Warner Music Group company ℗ 2017 Ralf Hütter and Kraftwerk under exclusive license to Parlophone Records Limited, a Warner Music Group company

5
Numbers / Computer World
00:06:20

Emil Schult, Writer - Karl Bartos, Writer - Kraftwerk, MainArtist - Florian Schneider, Writer - Ralf Hutter, Vocals, Writer, Synthesizer - Fritz Hilpert, Programmer, Synthesizer, MixingEngineer - Henning Schmitz, Synthesizer, MasteringEngineer - Falk Grieffenhagen, Synthesizer - Serge Gräfe, Live Recording Engineer - Karl Batos, Writer

© 2017 Ralf Hütter and Kraftwerk under exclusive license to Parlophone Records Limited, a Warner Music Group company ℗ 2017 Ralf Hütter and Kraftwerk under exclusive license to Parlophone Records Limited, a Warner Music Group company

6
Boing Boom Tschak
00:02:35

Karl Bartos, Writer - Kraftwerk, MainArtist - Florian Schneider, Writer - Ralf Hutter, Vocals, Writer, Synthesizer - Fritz Hilpert, Programmer, Synthesizer, MixingEngineer - Henning Schmitz, Synthesizer, MasteringEngineer - Falk Grieffenhagen, Synthesizer - Serge Gräfe, Live Recording Engineer

© 2017 Ralf Hütter and Kraftwerk under exclusive license to Parlophone Records Limited, a Warner Music Group company ℗ 2017 Ralf Hütter and Kraftwerk under exclusive license to Parlophone Records Limited, a Warner Music Group company

7
Techno Pop
00:02:50

Emil Schult, Writer - Karl Bartos, Writer - Kraftwerk, MainArtist - Florian Schneider, Writer - Ralf Hutter, Vocals, Writer, Synthesizer - Fritz Hilpert, Programmer, Synthesizer, MixingEngineer - Henning Schmitz, Synthesizer, MasteringEngineer - Falk Grieffenhagen, Synthesizer - Serge Gräfe, Live Recording Engineer

© 2017 Ralf Hütter and Kraftwerk under exclusive license to Parlophone Records Limited, a Warner Music Group company ℗ 2017 Ralf Hütter and Kraftwerk under exclusive license to Parlophone Records Limited, a Warner Music Group company

8
Music Non Stop
00:07:45

Karl Bartos, Writer - Kraftwerk, MainArtist - Florian Schneider, Writer - Ralf Hutter, Vocals, Writer, Synthesizer - Fritz Hilpert, Programmer, Synthesizer, MixingEngineer - Henning Schmitz, Synthesizer, MasteringEngineer - Falk Grieffenhagen, Synthesizer - Serge Gräfe, Live Recording Engineer

© 2017 Ralf Hütter and Kraftwerk under exclusive license to Parlophone Records Limited, a Warner Music Group company ℗ 2017 Ralf Hütter and Kraftwerk under exclusive license to Parlophone Records Limited, a Warner Music Group company

9
The Robots
00:07:44

Karl Bartos, Writer - Kraftwerk, MainArtist - Florian Schneider, Writer - Ralf Hutter, Vocals, Writer, Synthesizer - Fritz Hilpert, Programmer, Synthesizer, MixingEngineer - Henning Schmitz, Synthesizer, MasteringEngineer - Falk Grieffenhagen, Synthesizer - Serge Gräfe, Live Recording Engineer

© 2017 Ralf Hütter and Kraftwerk under exclusive license to Parlophone Records Limited, a Warner Music Group company ℗ 2017 Ralf Hütter and Kraftwerk under exclusive license to Parlophone Records Limited, a Warner Music Group company

10
Tour de France / Prologue / Etape 1 / Chrono / Etape 2
00:14:42

Karl Bartos, Writer - Kraftwerk, MainArtist - Florian Schneider, Writer - Ralf Hutter, Vocals, Writer, Synthesizer - Fritz Hilpert, Programmer, Writer, Synthesizer, MixingEngineer - Henning Schmitz, Synthesizer, MasteringEngineer - Maxime Schmitt, Writer - Falk Grieffenhagen, Synthesizer - Serge Gräfe, Live Recording Engineer - Karl Batos, Writer

© 2017 Ralf Hütter and Kraftwerk under exclusive license to Parlophone Records Limited, a Warner Music Group company ℗ 2017 Ralf Hütter and Kraftwerk under exclusive license to Parlophone Records Limited, a Warner Music Group company

Album review

After remastering all of their full-lengths from Autobahn onward for the long-in-production 2009 box set The Catalogue, pioneering electronic group Kraftwerk began performing the albums in full during series of retrospective concerts, beginning at the Museum of Modern Art in New York in 2012. As with their concerts since 2009, the group designed special three-dimensional visuals for the performances, and equipped the audience members with 3-D glasses straight out of a 1950s movie theater. Box set 3-D The Catalogue is an audio document of the arrangements devised for these concerts. No crowd noise is audible, but there is somewhat of a rough quality to the vocals, so they sound like live takes rather than polished studio perfection. By no means are these arrangements carbon copies of the album versions -- they're arranged to flow as performances rather than home-listening experiences, which means that track orders are sometimes shifted, and several songs are shortened, sometimes drastically so. (The entire Trans-Europe Express album is perversely cut down to 24 minutes!) Additionally, as with all of Kraftwerk's performances since the '90s, the songs are often performed in the updated versions created for 1991's The Mix rather than the originals, making "The Robots" and "Computer Love" (among others) sound stuck in the early '90s when the originals sound timeless. The fact that Kraftwerk count The Mix as a proper album and include it as the seventh disc in this set just makes it overly redundant. However, they do include "Planet of Visions" (a rework of the 1999 "Expo 2000" single incorporating elements of Underground Resistance's remix of the track) at the end of the disc, as it had become a staple of their live shows. In terms of sound quality, all of it sounds fantastic; the recordings are awash with details and production effects that simply would not have been possible when most of the pieces were originally composed. There are technological drawbacks to the set, however. The Mix is credited as being a Surround Sound 3-D mix...but specially mixed for standard headphones only, making it hard to tell the significance of the special mix. Plus, there's the whole aspect of these arrangements being designed to accompany 3-D visuals. Obviously, the ideal way to experience this set (other than attending the actual concerts) is the Blu-ray edition; without the visuals, the music itself is certainly excellent, but doesn't exactly replace the original albums.

© Paul Simpson /TiVo

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