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BBC6 celebrates three decades of Kraftwerk

East Village Radio is none too happy about a cover story about New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft offered under the titled “Kraftwork.”

“A terribly annoying play on the name of German electro-gods, Kraftwerk,” the post notes. But as EVR also points outs, there’s happier news: a BBC6 celebration of the 30th anniversary of Kraftwerk’s hugely popular hit The Model. On Sunday, three BBC shows explored the Kraftwerk phenomenon.

First, BBC6’s Cerys was joined by Kraftwerk expert Chris Bohn, editor of Avant Garde Electronic Magazine Wire. Cerys played various German Krautrock tunes and “some gems from the likes of Can, Neu and Amon Düül II.” Meanwhile The Huey Show spoke to Afrika Bambaata on Kraftwerk’s influence on Hip Hop. “Bambaata’s Planet Rock was inspired by Kraftwerk and in turn helped pave the way for the electro and trance genres,” the show’s post observes.

And there’s also a retrospective with Wall of Sound guy Mark Jones recalling the German band’s influence on electronic music. “Mark talks in depth to Mute Records boss and Kraftwerk expert, Daniel Miller, about the band’s huge impact.”

Speaking personally, I always thought that The Model was a rather strange song with very simplistic lyrics, eg:

She’s a model and she’s looking good

I’d like to take her home that’s understood

She plays hard to get, she smiles from time to time

It only takes a camera to change her mind

She’s going out tonight, loves drinking just champagne

And she has been checking nearly all the men

She’s playing her game and you can hear them say

She is looking good, for beauty we will pay

But there was something about Kraftwerk’s the-future-is-here personae and the band’s intense electronica sound that made The Model a hit. I got a lot more out of the wonderful breathing sound rhythms in Tour de France; the tune also had appeal because the lyrics were in French.

Here’s an English translation:

The hell of north Paris-Roubaix,

The Cote d’Azur and Saint Tropez

The Alps and the Pyrennees

Last stage Champs-Elysees

Galibier and Tourmalet

Dancing to the top

Bicycling at high gear

Final sprint at the finish

Flat tire on the paving stones

The bike is repaired quickly

The peloton is regrouped

Comrades and friendship

Anyway, this BBC6 stuff is all limited time listen, so click the links and check out the shows sooner rather than later.

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