Wolfgang Flür - Magazine 1 (Cherry Red)

Wolfgang Flür – Magazine 1 (Cherry Red)

We are in the presence of greatness here. One member of synth-pop quartet Kraftwerk, from which the likes of Autobahn, Trans-Europe Express, The Man Machine and Computer World were born. These were truly pioneers in their field, artists who inspired the likes of Depeche Mode among others. Essentially weaving themselves into the history of a whole genre and one that inspired much of the music we listen to today. Releasing this first solo work, since 2015s Eloquence, Wolfgang Flür sets about unleashing this 9 track beauty, an album which has been crafted alongside some of synth-pop’s luminaries in their own right.

Starting with the playback, as if off a printing press. “Extra, extra, read all about it, Magazine…”, come the opening lines, during a lead track that echoes the sounds of his former band. Their stripped down, almost cold delivery, possessed a 3D structure that even today looks toward a future age. Following with Dreams of the Future, or how the album lists it: ‘Zukunftsmusik’, this track features the mighty U96,a German musical project formed by DJ and producer Alex Christensen and it starts like a piledriver, creating the foundations of this number. Solid musical pylons, laid to a techno beat, that only break to allow the telling of the tale, “…dominance setting the tone, no one deciding alone…”. This continues in the German tongue, but my handling of the language isn’t good enough to keep up, so I resign myself to swimming in the music that is all enveloping. ‘Best Buy’ follows, a tune which illustrates 21st century consumerism, listing brands and firing off tag lines, many of which we know from our daily lives. Here I found echoes of Max Headroom, told in a European tone, the laughter which comes from the delivery, infectious, as are the beats on offer.

4th track on the album is ‘Das Beat’, a clever play on words, featuring Midge Ure on heavily disguised vocals “Berlin to London city, USA where the girls are pretty, beats in Moscow, beats in France, dancing is a given to the synthesiser rhythm…”, this time a tune whose presentation and rhythm is lighter and in keeping with an 80s Bontempi. Perhaps this might’ve been a little too easy, so the tune ‘Birmingham’ follows, which not only features fellow country(wo)man Claudia Brücken, but also the familiar bass runs of Peter Hook. “Composers and inventors, no place for pretenders…” sings Claudia “…meet me in the West Midlands…”. This tune is an immediate friend, artists who have been with me since my teenage years, Claudia’s vocal delivered like a knife through butter. ‘Night Drive’ takes a dive into house-music, its beats heavier and with vocals brought by Anushka, this one’s a keeper. The vocals ring out “I can’t remember when, we’re driving at 4am…”. I can almost feel the DJ booth standing godlike on high, repetitive beats and electronic squirts pulsing in the air. But this is an autobiographcal telling by Wolfgang, as his words break these beats. “We took a train to Paris, it was at 4am, my father didn’t understand, neither did my mum. The train was elegant and slick, 100 miles an hour…” and I have in my mind’s eye the cover of Trans-Europe Express.

Carl Cox & U96 are counting sheep on the track ‘Electric Sheep’, somewhat disappointing as from these contributors I was expecting something a little spicier, but I need not have worried, as ‘Billionaire (Symphony Of Might)’ follows, a number of fat beats and heavy synthesiser, in a tale which might leave a sour taste, until you realise this is told in the 3rd party. As the song proceeds, “…the World needs more wealth, not people… I anyway don’t believe in gravity, or ethics… My god, money is hot…”. To conclude the album is ‘Say No’, featuring MAPS completing this tale and brings us back to earth, told by Wolfgang, reminding us that there is a reason to ‘Say No’, presented to a gentler beat and wistful melody. A remarkable and truly beautiful album. I was right, I was in the presence of greatness.

Magazine 1 is out now on Cherry Red.

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God is in the TV is an online music and culture fanzine founded in Cardiff by the editor Bill Cummings in 2003. GIITTV Bill has developed the site with the aid of a team of sub-editors and writers from across Britain, covering a wide range of music from unsigned and independent artists to major releases.