Happy 40th: Kraftwerk, TRANS-EUROPE EXPRESS
40 years ago today, Kraftwerk released their sixth album, an LP that found the German band shifting away from the realm of Krautrock in favor of a sound which is now generally identified as synthpop.
Recorded at Kling Klang Studio in Dusseldorf, Germany, where it was produced by Kraftwerk members Ralf Hutter and Florian Schneider, TRANS-EUROPE EXPRESS was originally going to be called EUROPE ENDLESS, but that changed when Paul Alessandrini suggested that they write a song about the Trans-Europ Express. Indeed, according to Pascal Bussy’s 2004 book Kraftwerk: Man, Machine and Music, Alessandrini told the band outright, “With the kind of music you do, which is kind of like an electronic blues, railway stations and trains are very important in your universe, you should do a song about the Trans Europe Express." Another of the band’s close encounters also influenced the album: Hutter and Schneider met up with David Bowie and Iggy Pop while Bowie and Pop were in Germany.
When TRANS-EUROPE EXPRESS was released, it was rapturously received, earning top marks from virtually every music publication of note. Those opinions have not changed over the years. In fact, if anything, the album has become even more appreciated and beloved, since it’s become increasingly evident just how far ahead of the curve Kraftwerk were.