Electric Café

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Electric Café
Studio album by
Released10 November 1986 (1986-11-10)
StudioKling Klang (Düsseldorf, West Germany)
LabelWarner Bros. (original US release), Kling Klang
Kraftwerk chronology
Computer World
Electric Café
The Mix
Singles from Electric Café
  1. "Musique Non-Stop"
    Released: October 1986
  2. "The Telephone Call"
    Released: February 1987

Electric Café is the ninth studio album by German electronic band Kraftwerk, released on 10 November 1986. The initial 1986 release came in versions sung in English and German, as well as a limited Edición Española release, featuring versions of "Techno Pop" and "Sex Object" with only Spanish lyrics. It was the first Kraftwerk LP to be created using predominantly digital musical instruments, although the finished product was still recorded onto analog master tapes.

On 2 October 2009, the album was remastered and re-released under its original working title, Techno Pop.

Background and development[edit]

The development of the album began in early 1982 (with the working titles of Technicolor and then Techno Pop), but the project was delayed because Ralf Hütter suffered a cycling accident in May or June 1982.[1]

EMI Records announced a release date for the Techno Pop album. Promotional advertisements were released and official catalog numbers were assigned to the project. "We were working on an album concept, Technopop, but the composition was developed and we just changed the titles", Hütter explained. "It became Electric Café. But somebody within the record company went out and did a pre-order, we were working on the sleeve and some marketing idiot did this".[2]

At various times, Hütter, Bartos, Flür and Schneider have each stated in interviews that there are no unreleased songs from this period, and that all of the original Technicolor and Techno Pop material was eventually reworked into what can be heard on the finished Electric Café album. Hütter commented "We don't spend our time on making 20 versions of a song only to leave 19 in the closet. We work target related. What we are starting we release. Our storage is empty."[3]


A tentative image from Rebecca Allen's site, which displays the original Techno Pop title

The first side of the album is divided into three tracks, which form a suite of three variations with recurring elements. (For instance, a few bars of melody from "Musique Non-Stop" can be heard as a few bars of bass melody in "Techno Pop"). It is primarily instrumental, utilizing the track titles and other phrases in a spoken manner, as opposed to sung, narrative lyrics. The songs "Techno Pop" and "Sex Object" feature partial Spanish-language lyrics. The second side also contains three songs, following a somewhat more conventional pop format.[4][5]

The song "The Telephone Call" (German version: "Der Telefon-Anruf") is notable for being the first and only Kraftwerk song to feature Karl Bartos on lead vocals. The album closes with the title track "Electric Café", which features French and partially Italian-language lyrics. The track gained some exposure in the United States when it was used slightly sped up as the theme song for "Sprockets", the German television spoof by Mike Myers on Saturday Night Live.[4][5]


Professional ratings
Review scores
Drowned in Sound6/10[9]
Smash Hits[10]

While recognising Kraftwerk's influence on groups such as Depeche Mode and the Human League, journalist Ian Cranna writing in Smash Hits described the album as "frankly rather dull" adding "one can only assume it's an exercise for their own amusement".[10] Drowned in Sound in his review of the 2009 remaster wrote that "Techno Pop can only be seen as a flop, despite the intermittent brilliance of its opening section."[9] Jason Ankeny of All Music in his retrospective review of the album commented that «the record's short running time (less than 36 minutes) seems to indicate a lack of ideas and new directions with the spartan opening tracks, "Technopop" and "Music Non-Stop."»[6]


A remastered edition of Electric Café was released by EMI Records, Mute Records and Astralwerks Records on CD, digital download and heavyweight vinyl in October–November 2009. The release was changed back to the original title of Techno Pop. Due to licensing restrictions imposed by Warner Music Group, this version has only been made available in the US and Canada as a part of The Catalogue box set.[11][12]

Track listing[edit]

Electric Café (1986)[edit]

Side one
1."Boing Boom Tschak"2:57
2."Techno Pop"
3."Musique Non-Stop"
  • Hütter
  • Schneider
  • Bartos
Side two
4."The Telephone Call" ("Der Telefon-Anruf")
  • Hütter
  • Schneider
  • Bartos
5."Sex Object" ("Sex Objekt")
  • Hütter
  • Schneider
  • Bartos
6."Electric Café"
  • Hütter
  • Schneider
  • Bartos
  • Maxime Schmitt


Note 1: In Spain the album was released in two versions. One was the regular English/International edition, and the other a local Edición Española version, appearing early in 1987, with Spanish-language lyrics for both "Techno Pop" and "Sex Object" (often mistakenly titled "Objeto Sexual" by discographers). The Spanish-only vinyl album was withdrawn soon afterward because of a manufacturing error—a several-second complete drop-out of sound during the final track—and has never been reissued on CD. Both versions were also available as a cassette.
Note 2: The song "Sex Object" is absent from the South Korean pressings of the album.

Techno Pop (2009)[edit]

1."Boing Boom Tschak"
  • Hütter
  • Schneider
  • Bartos
2."Techno Pop"
  • Hütter
  • Schneider
  • Bartos
  • Schult
3."Musique Non-Stop"
  • Hütter
  • Schneider
  • Bartos
4."The Telephone Call*" ("Der Telefon-Anruf")
  • Hütter
  • Schneider
  • Bartos
5."House Phone**"
  • Hütter
  • Schneider
  • Bartos
6."Sex Object" ("Sex Objekt")
  • Hütter
  • Schneider
  • Bartos
7."Electric Café"
  • Hütter
  • Schneider
  • Bartos
  • Schmitt


* Remix – previously released as a 7-inch single in 1987.
** Previously released as the B-Side of "The Telephone Call" (German: "Der Telefon-Anruf") 12-inch single in 1987.


The original 1986 sleeve notes are, like those in Computer World, unspecific regarding the specific roles of personnel. The 2009 remaster credits provide the following information:


Band member Wolfgang Flür is included in a subsequent general list of personnel, but is not credited with a musical or production role in these recordings.[14]

  • Henning Schmitz – engineer (Kling Klang Studio)
  • Joachim Dehmann – engineer (Kling Klang Studio)
  • Fred Maher – music data transfer (Axis Studio, NYC)
  • Bill Miranda – music data transfer
  • François Kevorkian – mixing (Right Track, NYC)
  • Ralf Hütter – mixing (Right Track, NYC), original artwork reconstruction, album concept, production
  • Ron St. Germain – mixing (Right Track, NYC)
  • Bob Ludwig – mastering
  • Rebecca Allen – computer graphics
  • Steve Di Paola – computer graphics
  • Robert McDermott – computer graphics
  • Amber Denker – computer graphics
  • Peter Oppenheimer – computer graphics
  • Hubert Kretzschmar – design
  • Johann Zambryski – original artwork reconstruction
  • Florian Schneider – album concept, production


1986 chart performance for Electric Café
Chart (1986) Peak
European Albums (Music & Media)[15] 33
Finnish Albums (Suomen virallinen lista)[16] 27
German Albums (Offizielle Top 100)[17] 23
Icelandic Albums (Tónlist)[18] 10
Swedish Albums (Sverigetopplistan)[19] 9
UK Albums (OCC)[20] 58
US Billboard 200[21] 156
2020 chart performance for Electric Café
Chart (2020) Peak
Hungarian Albums (MAHASZ)[22] 30


  1. ^ Karl Bartos 2017, Der Klang der Maschine, ch. 12
  2. ^ "The Scotsman Newspaper - Ralf Hütter - March 2004". Archived from the original on 3 February 2013. Retrieved 31 December 2012.
  3. ^ "Der Spiegel - Ralf Hütter - July 2003". Archived from the original on 3 February 2013. Retrieved 31 December 2012.
  4. ^ a b Gregor, Neil; Irvine, Thomas (2019). Dreams of Germany: Musical Imaginaries From the Concert Hall to the Dance Floor. Berghahn Books. p. 281. ISBN 9781789200331.
  5. ^ a b Weber, Stephanie (24 February 2011). "Riding the Trans-Europe Express". Museum of Modern Art. Retrieved 26 May 2022.
  6. ^ a b Ankeny, Jason (2011). "Electric Cafe – Kraftwerk". AllMusic.com. Retrieved 18 March 2019.
  7. ^ Snow, Mat (November 2009). "Gut Vibrations". Mojo. London: Bauer Media Group (192): 110. ISSN 1351-0193.
  8. ^ Cavanagh, David. "Uncut Reviews: Kraftwerk - Reissues". Uncut. Archived from the original on 1 January 2011. Retrieved 22 October 2009.
  9. ^ a b Power, Chris (2011). "Kraftwerk – Techno Pop: Remastered". Drowned in Sound. Archived from the original on 12 October 2018. Retrieved 18 March 2019.
  10. ^ a b Cranna, Ian (November 1986). "Review – Albums: Kraftwerk: Electric Cafe (EMI)". Smash Hits. London (207): 76.
  11. ^ Kraftwerk at Astralwerks.com
  12. ^ "The Catalogue – Klangbox 002". Discogs. Retrieved 18 March 2019.
  13. ^ Bussy, Pascal (2004). Kraftwerk: Man, Machine and Music. SAF Publishing Ltd. ISBN 0-946719-70-5.
  14. ^ Techno Pop (Digital Remaster) (CD). Kraftwerk. Great Britain: Mute Records. 2009. CDSTUMM308.{{cite AV media notes}}: CS1 maint: others in cite AV media (notes) (link)
  15. ^ "European Hot 100 Albums" (PDF). Music & Media. Vol. 3, no. 50. 20 December 1986. p. 27. OCLC 29800226 – via World Radio History.
  16. ^ Pennanen, Timo (2006). Sisältää hitin – levyt ja esittäjät Suomen musiikkilistoilla vuodesta 1972 (in Finnish) (1st ed.). Helsinki: Kustannusosakeyhtiö Otava. ISBN 978-951-1-21053-5.
  17. ^ "Offiziellecharts.de – Kraftwerk – Electric Cafe" (in German). GfK Entertainment Charts. Retrieved 19 December 2021.
  18. ^ "Ísland (LP-plötur)". DV (in Icelandic). 28 November 1986. p. 43. ISSN 1021-8254 – via Timarit.is.
  19. ^ "Swedishcharts.com – Kraftwerk – Electric Cafe". Hung Medien. Retrieved 28 February 2017.
  20. ^ "Official Albums Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 19 December 2021.
  21. ^ "Kraftwerk Chart History (Billboard 200)". Billboard. Retrieved 28 February 2017.
  22. ^ "Album Top 40 slágerlista – 2020. 42. hét" (in Hungarian). MAHASZ. Retrieved 22 October 2020.

External links[edit]