Computer World

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Computer World
Studio album by Kraftwerk
Released 10 May 1981
Recorded 1979–1981 at Kling Klang Studio, Düsseldorf, Germany
Genre Electronic music, synthpop
Length 34:21
Label Kling Klang
EMI
Warner Bros.
Producer Ralf Hütter
Florian Schneider
Kraftwerk chronology
The Man-Machine
(1978)
Computer World
(1981)
Electric Café
(1986)
Singles from Computer World
  1. "Pocket Calculator"
    Released: May 1981
  2. "Computer Love"
    Released: July 1981 (UK)
  3. "Computerwelt"
    Released: 1981
  4. "Numbers"
    Released: 1981 (US)
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 4.5/5 stars[1]
Robert Christgau B[2]
Mojo 4/5 stars[3]
Uncut 5/5 stars[4]
Sputnikmusic 4.5/5 stars[5]
Q Magazine 5/5 stars[6]
Drowned in Sound (10/10)[7]

Computer World (original German title: Computerwelt) is the eighth studio album by the German electronic music band Kraftwerk, released on 10 May 1981.[8] It peaked at number 15 in the UK albums chart.[9]

The album deals with the themes of the rise of computers within society. Critics see this album as a peak in the career of Kraftwerk, along with The Man-Machine and Trans-Europe Express. The compositions are credited to Ralf Hütter, Florian Schneider, and Karl Bartos. In keeping with the album's concept, Kraftwerk showcased their music on an ambitious world tour and issued several different versions of the single "Pocket Calculator" in different languages: namely, German ("Taschenrechner"), French ("Mini Calculateur") and Japanese ("Dentaku," or 電卓). A fifth version, in Italian ("Mini Calcolatore"), was lip-synched to on Italian television in 1981.[10]

As was the case with the two previous albums, Computer World was released in both German and English language editions. The title of the final track is in English in all releases, as it is a pun based on the slogan "It's more fun to compete!" that could be seen on old pinball machines. There are also some minor differences in the album mixes used on the English- and German-language releases.

Excerpt from the "Computer World" title track.

Problems playing this file? See media help.

The track "Computer Love" was released as a 7-inch single in the UK, in July 1981, backed with "The Model", from the group's previous album The Man-Machine. The single reached number 36 in the charts. In December 1981 the two songs were reissued as a double A-side 12-inch single, and reached number one on the UK pop charts in February 1982, although "The Model" received the most airplay.

"Computerwelt" was remixed in 1982 as a dance version with additional bass and percussion sounds. It was released in January 1982 as a twelve-inch vinyl single only in Germany. The original track was nominated for a Grammy award in the category of Best Rock Instrumental Performance.[11] "Computer World" was also chosen by the BBC for use in the titles of their UK computer literacy project, The Computer Programme.

Pitchfork Media listed Computer World as 44th best album of the 1980s. Slant Magazine listed the album at #25 on its list of "Best Albums of the 1980s".[12] Rolling Stone would name it the 10th greatest EDM album of all-time in 2012.[13]

Track listing[edit]

All songs written by Karl Bartos, Ralf Hütter and Florian Schneider, except where noted.

Side one
  1. "Computer World" ("Computerwelt") (Karl Bartos, Ralf Hütter, Florian Schneider, Emil Schult) – 5:05
  2. "Pocket Calculator" ("Taschenrechner") (Bartos, Hütter, Schult) – 4:55
  3. "Numbers" ("Nummern") – 3:19
  4. "Computer World . . 2" ("Computerwelt 2") – 3:21
Side two
  1. "Computer Love" ("Computerliebe") (Bartos, Hütter, Schult) – 7:15
  2. "Home Computer" ("Heimcomputer") – 6:17
  3. "It's More Fun to Compute" – 4:13

Personnel[edit]

The original 1981 sleeve notes are relatively unspecific regarding roles, merely listing all the equipment suppliers and technicians under the heading Hardware and the various other people involved, such as photographers, as Software. By contrast, the 2009 remaster notes give the performer credits as the following:

  • Ralf Hütter — voice, vocoder, synthesizer, orchestron, synthanorma sequenzer, keyboards, electronics, producer
  • Florian Schneider — vocoder, speech synthesis, synthesizer, electronics, producer
  • Karl Bartos — electronic percussion
  • Guenter Spachtholz — engineer

Wolfgang Flür is included in the general list of contributors to the software but is not credited with a performing role.[14]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Raggett, Ned (2011). "Computer World - Kraftwerk | AllMusic". allmusic.com. Retrieved 9 July 2011. 
  2. ^ Christgau, Robert (2011). "Robert Christgau: CG: Kraftwerk". robertchristgau.com. Retrieved 9 July 2011. 
  3. ^ Snow, Mat (November 2009). "Gut Vibrations". Mojo (London: Bauer Media Group) (192): 110. ISSN 1351-0193. 
  4. ^ Cavanagh, David. "Uncut Reviews: Kraftwerk - Reissues". Uncut. Retrieved October 22, 2009. 
  5. ^ http://www.sputnikmusic.com/review/1842/Kraftwerk-Computer-World/
  6. ^ Q (5/95, p.123) - 5 Stars - Indispensable - "...their best LP to date. A celebration/valediction of information technology, it flickers with hooks..."
  7. ^ Power, Chris (2011). "Kraftwerk - Computer World: Remastered / Releases / Releases // Drowned In Sound". drownedinsound.com. Retrieved 9 July 2011. 
  8. ^ NME (London, England: IPC Media). 17 April 1982. p. 39. 
  9. ^ kraftwerk albums Official charts
  10. ^ "Mini Calcolatore" on "Discoring" on YouTube
  11. ^ Rubiner. Julia. "Contemporary Musicians: Profiles of the People in Music ". Gale, 1993.
  12. ^ http://www.slantmagazine.com/music/feature/best-albums-of-the-1980s/308/page_8
  13. ^ http://www.rollingstone.com/music/lists/the-30-greatest-edm-albums-of-all-time-20120802/10-kraftwerk-computer-world-warner-bros-1981-19691231
  14. ^ Computer World (Digital Remaster) (CD). Kraftwerk. Great Britain: Mute/EMI Records. 2009. CDSTUMM307.