Kraftwerk, "Minimum-Maximum"

Minimum-Maximum is a fine overview of Kraftwerk’s career. When I first heard the CD version I was glad to hear again what I had experienced live but only with this DVD do I feel that the Kraftwerk live experience has been reproduced in the quality that it is worthy of.

The DVD contains a complete set from the 2004 tour (identical to the CD release). Unfortunately it doesn’t mention anywhere on the disc or in the sleeve where the footage was shot or if indeed it’s all from one show. In addition to the concert there is also an extra version of “Aero Dynamik” at the end of the disc. This extra version is from one of MTV’s award ceremonies. It looks much prettier than Kraftwerk’s own production, full of swooping camera shots and extra visuals surrounding the stage make it more exciting for those of the short attention span. That being said, the concert footage itself is a worthy document of the tour. It reproduces the live experience far better than I was expecting and I was already expecting a lot.

The audio only release was good but it was lacking in something. The DVD release makes up for the shortcomings of the CDs. Maybe it’s just me but the stereo mix on the DVDs is more rounded than on the CDs (tested through the same stereo). I’ve only given the DVD one spin on a proper 5.1 surround sound system and it really came alive. The bass element is too weak on the stereo mix after experiencing the full sub woofer experience. Live it is the bass that really got me dancing and only with the DVD has my booty begun shaking properly again.

Minimum-Maximum looks great, most of the shots are from far back to get all the video displays in shot. There’s some nice close ups of some stoic looking Germans and plenty of fetishistic footage of their workstations to prove that yes indeed they are playing something some of the time and not just lining up some sound files on their audio player of choice. The one thing I didn’t like about the visuals was the superimposing of the background videos on the concert footage. It is especially annoying during “Tour de France 03” when the graphics equaliser just sits in the front of the screen. Then again with four men standing occasionally nodding their heads I’m not missing much. The visuals for “Home Computer” work better, the footage is pixellated and jerky like a vintage PC game.

“Autobahn” and “Radioactivity” are the standout tracks. My main beef with “Autobahn,” however, is that they should have kept the original length and cut down on the selections from Tour de France which drags down the first half of the show. “Elektro Kardiogramm” may not be the best thing that Kraftwerk has produced but I’ll be damned if I’m not at least wriggling to the beat in my seat when I hear it. Plus being able to see the glow in the dark aerodynamic suits adds to the experience.

Minimum-Maximum was begging for this DVD release and it is essential for any self-respecting Kraftwerk fan. I’m sorry if this sounds like a sales pitch but it is really that good.