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Music / Autobahn

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"Wir fahr'n fahr'n fahr'n auf der Autobahn/Vor uns liegt ein weites Tal/Die Sonne scheint mit Glitzerstrahl..." Translation 

Autobahn was the fourth album by Kraftwerk, released in 1974 through Philips Records in Germany and Vertigo Records in the US and UK. It's the first album in their typical and very influential style. It was their last album to be recorded with producer Conny Plank. The album and single were a huge hit and established Germany in the rest of the world as the epicenter of high-tech, experimental music.


Side One

  1. "Autobahn" (22:43)

Side Two

  1. "Kometenmelodie 1" (6:26)
  2. "Kometenmelodie 2" (5:48)
  3. "Mitternacht" (3:43)
  4. "Morgenspaziergang" (4:04)


  • Ralf Hütter and Florian Schneider: vocals, electronics
  • Klaus Röder: violin, guitar
  • Wolfgang Flür: percussion

Wir trope trope trope auf der autobahn:

  • Album Title Drop: The first word sang on the album:
    AU...TO...BAHN! AU...TO...BAHN!
  • Bowdlerize: Ralph Hütter was so embarrassed by the band's "hippie" appearance on the cover that the "rearview mirror" was airbrushed out of reissues of the album, and the band image on the back replaced by a later band photo (from the band's "robotic" phase; incidentally, a different lineup of the band that is featured on said album!). It seems he's no longer embarrassed by the image anymore as the 2009 remastering of Autobahn restores the original picture.
  • Car Song: All the songs are about driving on the freeway.
  • Concept Album: The album follows a driver making a long ride with his car over the highway by day, as well by night.
  • Creator Cameo: The band members are seen in the rear view mirror on the album cover.
  • Distinct Double Album: A single-disc variant. The first side is devoted to the title track, while the second is a series of instrumental pieces depicting night sounds through to dawn on the following day.
  • Early-Installment Weirdness: The album still had some non-electronic instruments, like flute and guitar.
  • Electronic Music: One of the pioneering albums, though not every instrument is electronic. Some tracks still make use of violin, flute, piano and guitar.
  • Epic Rocking: The 22:43 long "Autobahn" (which takes up the entire first side of the record) and the 6:26 "Kometenmelodie 1", which combined with "Kometenmelodie 2" totals over 12 minutes.
  • Germanic Efficiency: "Autobahn" sounds just as efficient as the German highway system in reality is.
  • Gratuitous Panning: In the title track, the synthesized cars move from left to right to simulate passing the listener on the autobahn.
  • In the Style of: Several electronic sounds during "Autobahn" mimick cars zooming by. The sound of crickets is mimicked during "Mitternacht", and birds and a river during "Morgenspaziergang".
  • Longest Song Goes First: The album kicks off with the nearly 23-minute Title Track, which takes up all of the first side.
  • Minimalistic Cover Art: The English release of the album (along with all later pressings) features just the iconic Autobahn motorway symbol.
  • Mondegreen: Even the band has acknowledged that "Wir fahr'n, fahr'n, fahr'n auf die Autobahn" sounds more to English ears like "Fun, fun, fun, on the Autobahn."
  • Morning Routine: "Morgenspaziergang" is literally about a morning routine.
  • Mundane Made Awesome: "Autobahn", a nearly 23 minutes long track about driving over the highway!
  • New Sound Album: Though still very much a krautrock album, it codified the increasingly synth-heavy (and eventually all-synth) sound that the band would become famous for.
  • One-Word Title: Every track on, though over half are compound words that you could only get away with in German.
  • Record Producer: Conny Plank.
  • Speedy Techno Remake: Their remake of Autobahn on their album of self-made remakes, The Mix. It is speedy only in comparison though, given that they've taken the original version which was over twenty minutes long and condensed it to only over nine minutes long, by making it a little faster.
  • Standard Snippet: Any TV item about postwar Germany (unless soundtracked with schlager music) is pretty much guaranteed to make heavy use of "Autobahn".
  • Stock Sound Effects: The sound of a car starting up and driving away is heard at start of "Autobahn". Halfway through the songs radio sounds are mixed in.