Kraftwerk 發電廠樂團》 (或稱電力站樂團)

Music and technology have been walking alongside since Thomas Edison invented the phonograph in 1877. Of course, at the beginning technology had not much to do with the music itself, but more with its recording. First there was the phonograph and the gramophone, then came the vinyl, the tape, the compact disc and eventuality the MP3 we all know today. When it comes to the music itself, apart from some experimental compositions, which did not have much impact (yet…) on the mainstream music, we can say that things did not move much until after the Second World War. In the 50s, artists from all around the world started to use electronic devices to compose and play music. Among these pioneers, Pierre Henry in France or Herbert Eimert in Germany are among the most famous ones. We could name many more, but the idea is clearly not to make a history of electronic music. So let’s jump directly to the early 70’s and in the West Germany. At that time, two young students Florian Schneider-Esleben and Ralf Hütter founded the band that made electronic music finally meet its public and become what it is today. Of course the band name had to have a link with industry in some way, Kraftwerk indeed means gas factory in German. If you don’t know the band itself, I am pretty sure you know a song which sampled one of their tunes or which was directly influenced by their music. On top of being the first popular electronic band, Kraftwerk also wrote a lot of songs about machines, technology and its interactions with human beings. For all these reasons, a Revver issue without Kraftwerk mentioned somewhere would have felt like Paris sans la Seine, Bonnie without Clyde, or to put it in a more technological way a smart phone without a Wifi connection…

自從Thomas Edison湯馬斯·愛迪生於1877年發明留聲機以來,音樂和科技開始並駕齊驅。想當然爾,在一開始的時候 科技與音樂本身是沒有什麼相關聯性的,我們之前所知道的多半是拿來錄音作為用途。首先,留聲機的出現後我們有了電唱機,然後是黑膠唱片(乙烯基)、卡(磁)帶、唱片光碟以及到今天大家都知道的MP3電腦數位化格式。談到音樂本身,除了一些尚未對主流音樂文化還沒有(not yet…)產生太大的實驗作品外,我們可以說自從第二次世界大戰後,音樂與科技的結合帶來了非常大的變化。在50年代,來自世界各地的藝術家,他們開始使用電子設備來創作並演奏音樂。在這些先鋒者之中,來在法國的Pierre Henry皮埃爾·亨利或德國的Herbert Eimert赫伯持·艾默特他們是最著名的代表人物之一。我還可以提供更多位先驅者的名字,但這個顯然不是今天我要討論關於電子音樂創造的歷史。所以讓我們直接跳到70年代初的西德吧!在那個時候,由兩位學生創始並成立的樂團,團員為Florian Schneider弗洛里安·施奈德與Ralf Hütter,他們使得電子音樂終於與公眾正式面對面並且成為現在的樣子。當然,樂團本身的名字必須與某種方式且與這個行業有所關連,《Kraftwerk(發電廠樂團)》Kraftwerk它的意思是德國的天然氣工廠(發電廠)。如果你不了解樂團本身,但是我可以確定你一定知道(至少聽過)他們有一首歌非常非常受歡迎的歌曲被重新製作及採樣多次,並且也因為他們做的音樂在業界引起了連鎖反應。除了作為第一個廣受歡迎的電子樂團之外,《Kraftwerk(發電廠樂團)》還寫了很多有關於機械、科技以及他們加入與人類(聲)互動之間的作品。出於以上所有原因,這期的Revver如果沒搬出《Kraftwerk(發電廠樂團)》那感覺像是巴黎沒有Seine塞納河、像是美國史上有名的鴛鴦大盜中少了邦妮Bonnie 的克萊德Clyde,又或者它更像是現代科技中無法連接上Wifi的智慧型手機…

Kraftwerk first met commercial success with the 1974 album “Autobahn” (highway in German). But the earliest album really directly linked with a form of technology is the next one issued in 1975. It is simply called “Radioactivity”, as well as its main single, and as you can expect it is not exactly a cry for more nuclear power plants. “Radioactivity” starts with a track called “Geiger Counter”, in which one can hear the distinctive beats of the device growing faster and faster. With almost no transition, the “Radioactivity” song begins with the cold and futuristic synthesizer tune that make this song so unforgettable and scary… Few seconds after, you are warned by a prophetic voice about what is coming. “Radioactivity… it’s in the air for you and me…”. In this album, Kraftwerk is tells us about the danger of nuclear power and, even if it is not explicitly stated, it is more or less clear they are not talking only about the military usage of this technology. The power plants are also part of the danger. Here Kraftwerk probably highlights that one should always consider both positive and negatives sides of a technology. They are the two sides of the same coin and you cannot get the benefits without bearing the costs at some point. Even after almost fifty years, both the song and the message feel very relevant.

(1:邦妮·派克(Bonnie Parker, 1910年10月1日-1934年5月23日)和克萊德·巴羅(Clyde Barrow, 1909年3月24日-1934年5月23日)是美國歷史上有名的鴛鴦大盜,1930年代在美國中部犯下多起搶案,克萊德至少殺害了九名警察。1934年5月23日,兩人被路易斯安那州警方設伏擊斃。),Kraftwerk(發電廠樂團)》首次在1974年成功地在商業上發表了他們的專輯”《Autobahn (2:德國高速公路)》”。但最早發行的那張專輯與他們使用的技術和1975年發布的下一張專輯在技術形式方面皆息息相關。這張專輯被稱為”《Radioactivity (放射能)》(German: “Radioaktivität”) “,它也是此張的主打單曲,正如同你能預想得到的,這並不是對於架設更多的核電廠所提出的吶喊。《Radioactivity (放射能)》這首單曲從製作上一開始就使用了“蓋革計數器(Geiger counter)” (3:又叫蓋革-米勒計數器(Geiger-Müller counter),是一種用於探測電離輻射的粒子探測器,通常用於探測α粒子和β粒子,也有些型號蓋革計數器可以探測γ射線及X射線。

在我們聆聽之下可以聽見設備的獨特節拍變得越來越快。它幾乎沒有過渡期,《Radioactivity (放射能)》這首歌從一開始的冷酷的調性和未來主義的使用合成器創造出了一種令人難以忘懷的恐懼氛圍…在過了幾秒鐘之後,你會在音樂中聽到一位先知的聲音告訴你即將要來臨的警告 說著:” Radioactivity (放射能) 它與你 與我 咱們三體是一起共存於我們所呼吸的空氣之中”。在這張專輯裡面,《Kraftwerk(發電廠樂團)》向我們所述說的是核電廠的危險性,即使它並沒有完全明白的闡述,但也或多或少地,能聽到他們不僅僅是談論這種技術在軍事方面的用途而已。發電廠本身也是人類周遭危險的一個區域。在這裡,《Kraftwerk(發電廠樂團)》他們可能想強調,當人們在做決定以及考慮時,應該由始自終都要周全地反思它所帶來的正負兩面。它是同一枚硬幣的不同面,如果無法承擔這些成本(後果),那當然(對任何人)皆不會帶來任何好處。即使在將近五十年之後,這首歌曲以及裡面的訊息還是讓人感覺與我們生長在的地球息息相關。

After the success of the 1977 “Trans-Europe Express”, Kraftwerk released in 1978 its most iconic album, the one that probably defines them best both musically and visually. “The Robots”, as the album and the main song are called, had a very big impact of the pop music of the 80’s and beyond. As for “Radioactivity”, the few synthesizer notes are at the centre of everything, they are the song’s backbone. Once heard, you can never forget their metallic sound. The main innovation compared with the previous albums is probably that Kraftwerk’s members decided to appear on the album’s cover and to shoot a video clip. In this short film, one can see the band, dressed in red shirts, black ties and grey trousers, playing synthesizer, walking along a wall or operating complex machines in a music studio. They are supposed to look like robots and sometimes they are even represented by plastic model vaguely looking like each member of the band. All of this is intersected by image of Russian constructivist art. I think what Kraftwerk is telling us in this song is most likely that too much technology may at some point threaten our own humanity. This is indeed the impression the clip gives: are they men or robots? The frontier between the two is not clear and maybe if you don’t pay enough attention we may end up like these machines, cold, inexpressive and standardized. Clearly this song shows once again how Kraftwerk’s reflection on machine and technology is still very modern in 2018.

在1977年的專輯《Trans-Europe Express環歐快車》取得成功後,(註4:《Trans-Europe Express環歐快車》是德國電子樂團發電站樂團的第六張錄音室專輯。1976年,樂團在德國杜塞道夫Kling Klang錄音室開始錄製該專輯,而後在1977年3月,以Kling Klang唱片公司的名義發布之。)

《Kraftwerk(發電廠樂團)》於1978年發行了張最具代表性的專輯,可能是它生產出的音樂和視覺效果方面使它得到了最佳專輯獎項。作為專輯以及主打歌的”《The Robots機器人》” (5:German Die Roboter) ,它對80年代以及之後的流行音樂產生了極大的影響。至於”《Radioactivity (放射能)》(German: “Radioaktivität”) “,其中含有少數合成器的音符,而它,是所有內容的中心點,這些音符是歌曲的主要枝幹。一旦聽見,人們永遠都不會忘記他們創造出金屬的聲音。與之前《Kraftwerk(發電廠樂團)》的專輯相比較來說,主要創新可能是《Kraftwerk(發電廠樂團)》的成員們決定現身在此專輯封面並拍攝音樂MV的片段。在這部短片中,人們可以看到樂團成員,每個人身穿同樣的紅色襯衫、黑色領帶、灰色長褲來演奏合成器,他們沿循著牆壁走著,或者在音樂工作室裡面操作某些複雜機器的畫面。這讓他們看起來每個都像機器人般,有些畫面他們甚至使用塑料模型讓每個面貌模糊地人影看起來既像每個團員所代表的機器人。所有的這一切都與俄羅斯的建構主義藝術形式的形象相交叉。我在想,《Kraftwerk(發電廠樂團)》想在這首歌中告訴我們的是:有太多的科技以及技術可能會在某個點上威脅到自我本身的人性。這個短片確實足夠帶給人深刻的印象,我們可能最終都會如同這些機械般一樣,變得冷酷無情、標準化、體制化。非常顯然地,《The Robots機器人》這首歌再次展現並且證明了《Kraftwerk(發電廠樂團)》他們在2018年對於機械與科技的發展、探討與反覆芻思的觀點上面仍然是非常與時俱進。

The last song I would like to introduce was released on the 1981 “Computer World” album. I guess the title is explicit enough, you’ll have understood the record talks of computers and how they started to become part of every aspect of our lives. From a musical point of view, “Computer Love”, the album’s main single, is warmer and faster than Kraftwerk’s previous pieces of work mentioned in this article, with more space given to the percussion and less to the synthesizer. Actually it almost starts to sound like house music even though the beat is not as emphasized as in techno yet. It is something between pop and house music, a more than welcome evolution in Kraftwerk style. As far as the lyrics are concerned, they mention about a person, it can be a man or a woman, we don’t know, bored in front of the TV and looking for a rendez-vous. A rendez-vous with another person or with the computer? Kraftwerk maintains the ambiguity… Nevertheless no one can deny that a song about love through or with computer written in 1981 is another proof of Kraftwerk’s deep reflection on technology and how it impacts or will impact everyone’s daily life, even within what I would call the most genuinely human aspect of our behaviours.

最後一首我想介紹給你們的歌曲是在1981年發行的《Computer World》這張錄音室專輯。我想這張專輯的名稱已經表達的很明白,你要能去理解唱片與電腦之間的對談,以及它們是如何容易地加入並成為我們生活周遭的每一個部分。從音樂的角度來看,”Computer Love “─ 它是這張專輯的主打歌曲,它比《Kraftwerk(發電廠樂團)》先前在本文中提到的作品來的更溫暖,而且節奏上也來的更快,為打擊樂器提供更多空間,而合成器相對減少使用。實際上,它一開始音樂進入的時候幾乎聽起來像是浩司(House Music),即使是它的節拍並不像是鐵克諾(Techno)那樣強烈明顯。它介於一種流行音樂和浩司音樂之間的某種產物,它是《Kraftwerk(發電廠樂團)》中使人欣賞的風格大轉變。就這首歌的歌詞而言,他們提到了一個人,它/他/她/祂 有可能是男性或者女性又或者是…「?」,在這點上他們並沒有明確說明所以只能猜測,畫面中的這個影像,它正坐在電視機前面,看起來像是似乎在尋找著某個它/他/她/祂。像是一場與電視機裡的另外一個人來場巧遇?《Kraftwerk(發電廠樂團)》選擇對此MV表現出模棱兩可的模糊感…儘管如此,沒有人任何一個人能否認《Kraftwerk(發電廠樂團)》在1981年寫的這首 有關於透過或者直接與電腦計算機而發展成為戀愛心境的歌曲,它是《Kraftwerk(發電廠樂團)》對科技深刻的反應以及科技如何影響或者不久的將來影響我們人類生存的每一天,甚至,我稱之它為,最像我們人性真實面所表現出的行為模/方式。

Just before leaving Revver’s readers wonder about all this technology, I would like to finish with a band that I would surely put within my musical cabinet des curiosités.Their music is somehow a frenzied attempt to transform Kraftwerk’s music into a warm and inviting wave of Latin sounds. Indeed Señor Coconut y Su Conjunto, a.k.a. Uwe Schmidt, a German musician who lived in Chile, recorded a disc full of Latin covers of Kraftwerk. Obviously the prophetic sound of the original band will always be my first choice. But knowing that somewhere far and exotic, the German music of Kraftwerk is played on congas, guitars and trumpets tells me there is still hope that we won’t become robots so soon…

趁我為Revver畫下這篇文章的句點前,就從我那充滿好奇心的音樂盒裡面把接下來我要告訴你們的樂團端出來讓大家見識見識,並且我會為大家介紹一項功夫來填補一下我們Revver忠實讀者的好奇心!這個樂團,他們的音樂在某種程度上面發瘋似的去試圖改造《Kraftwerk(發電廠樂團)》的音樂,將其音樂轉變為溫暖且誘人、隨之擺動的拉丁舞風。Señor Coconut y Su Conjunto便是來自德國法蘭克福,本人現在住在智利的作曲家/音樂家Uwe Schmidt的化名,他錄製了一張充滿著拉丁味的Kraftwerk專輯封面。這裡我要強調我的第一順位還是那一首樂章背後躲著預言秘語的原創版本。但當我知道在遙遠他鄉處,有著這麼一個異國情調的地方,把來自德國Kraftwerk的音樂由康加鼓(congas)、康茄舞、吉他以及小號來合成演奏的,這些事情仍讓我抱持著希望,希望我們不會這麼快就成為《The Robots機器人》這首歌中裡頭所形容的機器人…


Sammy Blount

Translation by Coraline Chuang


作者:Sammy Blount 叁米.普穭特

譯者:Chuang Shih Ning 莊適寧