All-Time Albums: #48


KRAFTWERK Trans Europe Express

1 Europe Endless 9:35
The Hall Of Mirrors 7:50
Showroom Dummies 6:10 (UK single, re-released 1982, #25)
Trans-Europe Express 6:40
5 Metal On Metal 6:52
6 Franz Schubert 4:25
7 Endless Endless 0:45

Celebrating the wonder of cross-country rail travel in all its pre-War and post-War technological beauty, the follow-up to Autobahn further cemented their status as one of the most striking and influential pioneers of electronic music.

As with its predecessor, a whole side of the album was taken up by the title track; in this case, the second half’s Trans Europe Express Suite that brought the journey full circle with its brief repeat of the Europe Endless melodic motif.

While there wasn’t a hit single at the time of the album’s release, the continued popularity of the group in 1981 after The Model had (very) belatedly become a surprise UK chart-topper saw Showroom Dummies get a re-release and hit #25. Siouxsie & The Banshees would cover one of the other highlights, Hall Of Mirrors, in 1987 on their album Through The Looking Glass.

1978’s The Man Machine has The Model and Neon Lights, plus that iconic sleeve with its homage to Suprematism and other modernist 1920s Art, and is right up there as one of their finest works. TEE, by contrast, is a warmer record, with gentle, almost circular melodies and a cover photo with that distinctive unreal glow beloved of post-War promotional posters.

It took the inclusion of Trans Europe Express/Metal On Metal on 1991’s The Mix to really bring this album to my attention. Computer World and the aforementioned Man Machine are better known to the general public, but TEE just has this wonderful atmosphere that appeals to me even more than those other records.

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