Kraftwerk’s ‘Trans Europe Express’ started the musical revolution
Critic’s Notebook: Those relentless thumps in electronic dance music and works by Jay Z, Timbaland and even Katy Perry trace to ‘Tran Europe Express’ by Kraftwerk.
By Randall Roberts, Los Angeles Times Pop Music Critic
Ralf Hütter, left, Henning Schmitz, Fritz Hilpert and Stefan Pfaffe of Kraftwerk at the Museum of Modern Art on April 10, 2012, in New York City. (Mike Coppola / Getty Images)
Kraftwerk’s “Trans Europe Express” is the most important pop album of the last 40 years, though it may not be obvious
The first high-art electronic pop record, “Trans Europe Express” set the tone for the coming revolution, became one of the central texts of hip-hop, pop and electronic dance music. Recorded in the same few months of mid-1976 when Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak incorporated Apple Computers in Cupertino, “Trans Europe Express” and its predecessors, “Radio-Activity” and “Autobahn,” sparked a similarly massive upheaval with sound.
That it was built by a couple of Germans searching for new ideas in a postwar land longing for a modern reboot makes it even more astonishing and its span of influence more notable.