notmypresident: (Kraftwerk Autobahn)
My copy of the Blu-ray box set for Kraftwerk's "The Catalog 3-D" arrived from England on Tuesday. I've been watching it on and off ever since, but I must admit that it's all a bit underwhelming.

It's been 14 years since Kraftwerk released an album of new material, so the group has turned to mining its catalog with expensive box sets (appropriately dubbed "The Catalog"). The first trip to the well was a collection of all eight Kraftwerk studio albums, newly remastered. Now comes a second edition of "live" recordings of the same studio albums with the addition of 3-D films that the band has used for the past few years in concerts. I say "live" because this has to be one of the strangest live recordings ever released. There is no trace whatsoever of audience participation in the audio — no applause, no clapping, nothing. It's really as if the tracks here were crafted in the studio and occasional footage of the band onstage were cut into the video. That's not a huge problem for me, however. I actually prefer studio recordings to live performances, so this is really a win/win situation in my book.

The 3-D aspect if terrific, but there are again qualifiers. The videos that the band has created for the stage show are simple and not terribly artistic. There are even times when I doubt that the graphics were created in tandem with the music; the 3-D b&w computer cityscape for "Metropolis" has stunning depth, but it could play under just about any piece of music. And that's not even taking into account the repetitious nature of the films. "Autobahn" is a long piece, but that doesn't mean that the graphics couldn't have been more involved. I do think though that the 3-D is effective in most of the pieces, from the effervescent bubbles that bounce off the screen (literally) in "Vitamin" to the outstretched arms of the mechanized Kraftwerk members in "The Robots" that seem to reach right for you.

But even with all that complaining, the saving grace for me is the audio. In addition to the pristine studio-quality of the recordings, they've all been mixed in Dolby Atmos surround. It really is a stunning achievement, and it means that we now have all of Kraftwerk's music available in surround sound. That alone is worth the price of admission.

Now for Another Hot Guy.