Radio-Activity

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For other uses of "Radio activity" and "radioactivity", see Radioactivity (disambiguation).
Radio-Activity
Studio album by Kraftwerk
Released October 1975
Recorded Kling Klang Studio - Düsseldorf, Germany
Genre Electronic, experimental
Length 37:38
Label Kling Klang
EMI
Capitol
Producer Ralf Hütter
Florian Schneider
Kraftwerk chronology
Autobahn
(1974)
Radio-Activity
(1975)
Trans-Europe Express
(1977)
Singles from Radio-Activity
  1. "Radioactivity" b/w "Antenna"
    Released: 1976, Capitol CL15853, UK
  2. "Radioaktivität" b/w "Antenne"
    Released: 1976, Kling Klang 1C00682119, Germany
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 4/5 stars[1]
Q 4/5 stars[2]
Mojo 4/5 stars[3]
Uncut 4/5 stars[4]
Rolling Stone not rated[5]
Drowned in Sound (8/10)[6]

Radio-Activity (German title: Radio-Aktivität) is the fifth studio album by German electronic band Kraftwerk, released in October 1975. Unlike Kraftwerk's later albums, which featured language-specific lyrics, only the titles differ between the English and German editions. A concept album, Radio-Activity is bilingual, featuring lyrics in both languages.

Background[edit]

The hyphenated album title displays Kraftwerk's typical deadpan humour, being a pun on the twin themes of the songs, half being about radioactivity and the other half about activity on the radio. More word plays are evident in the track listing: "Radio Stars", which as a title could refer to pop stars, but upon listening is revealed to be about quasars and pulsars.

This was the first Kraftwerk album to be entirely self-produced by Hütter and Schneider in their Kling Klang studio, and the first one to be performed by the "classic" Hütter/Schneider/Bartos/Flür line-up. All the music was written by Hütter/Schneider, with Emil Schult collaborating on lyrics. Schult also designed the artwork – a modified illustration of a late-1930s 'Deutscher Kleinempfänger' radio.

It was the first Kraftwerk album to feature use of the distinctive Vako Orchestron keyboard (choir, string and organ sounds), which the group had purchased on their recent US Autobahn tour and the Moog Micromoog which was used extensively on this album. Notably, it provided the harsh sounds on the track, "Antenna". The band's custom-built electronic percussion also featured heavily in the sound, and extensive use was made of the vocoder. The usual synthesizers were present (including Minimoog and ARP Odyssey), and Hütter's Farfisa electronic piano made a return on "Transistor". For the first time the group did not use flute, violin or guitars.

By 1975, Hütter and Schneider's previous publishing deals with Capriccio Music and Star Musik Studio of Hamburg had expired. The compositions on Radio-Activity were published by their own newly set up Kling Klang Verlag music publishing company, giving them greater financial control over the use of songwriting output. Also, the album was the first to bear the fruit of Kling Klang as an established vanity label under the group's new licensing deal with EMI. The album reached #59 in Canada, in February 1976.

The title track "Radioactivity" was released as a single, and became a hit in France after it was used as the theme to a popular music show. The song was later re-recorded by Kraftwerk for their 1991 album The Mix. It was further remixed, for subsequent single release, by William Orbit and François Kevorkian.

Samples[edit]

"Blue Monday" by New Order samples the choral keyboard pad from "Uranium".[7]

"Leave Home" by The Chemical Brothers samples the intro in "Ohm Sweet Ohm".

Track listing[edit]

Listings are for the original UK and German LPs.[8][9]

Side one

  1. "Geiger Counter" ("Geigerzähler") – 1:07
  2. "Radioactivity" ("Radioaktivität") – 6:42
  3. "Radioland" – 5:50
  4. "Airwaves" ("Ätherwellen") – 4:40
  5. "Intermission" ("Sendepause") – 0:39
  6. "News" ("Nachrichten") – 1:17

2 - 4 written by Hütter/Schneider/Schult
1, 5 & 6 written by Hütter/Schneider

Side two

  1. "The Voice of Energy" ("Die Stimme der Energie") – 0:55
  2. "Antenna" ("Antenne") – 3:43
  3. "Radio Stars" ("Radio Sterne") – 3:35
  4. "Uranium" ("Uran") – 1:26
  5. "Transistor" – 2:15
  6. "Ohm Sweet Ohm" – 5:39

1 - 4 written by Hütter/Schneider/Schult
5 & 6 written by Hütter/Schneider

Personnel[edit]

[10]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Ankeny, Jason (2011). "Radio-Activity - Kraftwerk | AllMusic". allmusic.com. Retrieved 9 July 2011. 
  2. ^ Q (Magazine) (p.116) - 4 stars out of 5 -- "[A] conceptual piece that diverted Kraftwerk's music into monochrome retro-futurism..."
  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. ^ Ward, Ed (2011). "Kraftwerk: Radio-Activity : Music Reviews : Rolling Stone". web.archive.org. Retrieved 9 July 2011. 
  6. ^ Power, Chris (2011). "Kraftwerk - Radio-Activity: Remastered / Releases / Releases // Drowned In Sound". drownedinsound.com. Retrieved 9 July 2011. 
  7. ^ "New Order:Singles:Blue Monday". Niagara.edu. Retrieved 19 January 2011. 
  8. ^ http://www.discogs.com/Kraftwerk-Radio-Activity/release/57522
  9. ^ http://www.discogs.com/Kraftwerk-Radio-Aktivit%C3%A4t/release/494494
  10. ^ Radio-Activity (Digital Remaster) (CD). Kraftwerk. Great Britain: Mute Records. 2009. CDSTUMM304.