Saturday, 4 February 2006

Kraftwerk non stop

It's the eternal conundrum in the world of electronic music.

1) Kraftwerk is amazing.
2) Techno music is about 90% derivative of Kraftwerk.
3) Techno sucks.

So there I am in the airport, waiting for my family to come back from holiday with relatives. Music videos are on a TV set nearby. I hear a familiar tune, but with guitar instead of synthesiser. And I see that the new Coldplay song 'Talk' has slavishly lifted the melody from the very beautiful 'Computer Love' -- everything from verses to chorus.

Should I be annoyed? I was at first, but was soon assuaged. I realised that the Coldplay tune is really good. They did a good job on it. You could even say it's respectful of its source material. It's not a rip-off; it's a homage. Anyone who knows music would recognise that melody, and Coldplay used enough of it to let you know that they love it too.

It brought me back to one of the things I always loved about Kraftwerk: yes, they had effects before effects were cool, but they always had such a fine sense of melody. Which is why they are so great, and effect-driven techno isn't.

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