Kraftwerk – ‘Computer World’ (Pathe-Marconi EMI, 2C 070 64370, 1981)

The French edition of Kraftwerk’s wonderful ‘Computer World’ album of 1981 is unique for its inclusion of ‘Mini Calculateur’, the en française rendition of ‘Pocket Calculator’. This is one of the four language variants of the song officially released on vinyl, the others being German, English and Japanese. The band also recorded an Italian language version (‘Mini Calcolatore’) and performed it in 1981 on the RAI television show Discoring, but this language mix was not released on record. A pity, as it sounds great. (There have been additional live performance variations too, but these were the recorded ones.)

Kraftwerk - 'Computer World' Pathe-Marconi EMI French vinyl LP, 1981 - front sleeve design.

^ Kraftwerk – ‘Computer World’ Pathe-Marconi EMI French vinyl LP, 1981 – front sleeve design.

While the French edition of the album is unique for its inclusion of ‘Mini Calculateur’, the song was also released as a single in France – on edited 7” (4’35”) and full length 12” editions (as per the LP version). The other fairly obvious territory that saw a release was Canada, issued on 7” single. More unusually, there were also 7” and 12” editions just like the French one, but pressed in Holland.

Kraftwerk - 'Computer World' Pathe-Marconi EMI French vinyl LP, 1981 - rear sleeve design.

^ Kraftwerk – ‘Computer World’ Pathe-Marconi EMI French vinyl LP, 1981 – rear sleeve design.

Kraftwerk - 'Computer World' Pathe-Marconi EMI French vinyl LP, 1981 - rear sleeve design titles detail including 'Mini Calculateur'.

^ Kraftwerk – ‘Computer World’ Pathe-Marconi EMI French vinyl LP, 1981 – rear sleeve design titles detail including ‘Mini Calculateur’.

Other than the inclusion of ‘Mini Calculateur’ instead of ‘Pocket Calculator’, the album’s mixes followed the English language edition. I mention this as there are subtle differences between that and the original German language mixes issued on ‘Computerwelt’. Other than the language variations between them, there are subtle mix/instrumental changes too in some cases.

The most obvious ones to my ears come at the end of ‘Taschenrechner’, the latter stages of which have an additional pocket melody line playing and the track overall lasts for a few seconds longer. It comes to a halt as each instrument stops instead of just a repeat to fade-out compared to the English language version and the French language take found here.

‘Computerwelt 2’ is the other obvious one. There is a whole different balance to the mix volumes from approximately the 2 minute 7 seconds mark until the end – on the German mix the keyboard volumes remain louder overall but end earlier while there is also a repeat of the ‘eins, zwei, drie, vier…’ count from the start of ‘Nummern’ that sneaks in for a reappearance too.

Kraftwerk - 'Computer World' Pathe-Marconi EMI French vinyl LP, 1981 - inner sleeve design 1.

^ Kraftwerk – ‘Computer World’ Pathe-Marconi EMI French vinyl LP, 1981 – inner sleeve design 1.

Kraftwerk - 'Computer World' Pathe-Marconi EMI French vinyl LP, 1981 - inner sleeve design 2.

^ Kraftwerk – ‘Computer World’ Pathe-Marconi EMI French vinyl LP, 1981 – inner sleeve design 2.

The other Kraftwerk album that notably includes a French language variation for one of its tracks is ’Trans-Europe Express’, which features ‘Les Mannequins’ instead of ‘Showroom Dummies’.

1988 saw the ‘Computer World’ album’s re-release in France on the budget price ‘Fame’ label, on vinyl LP and cassette formats – no CD edition though. To date, it appears that ‘Mini Calculateur’ has never been issued officially on CD, unlike ‘Les Mannequins’, which has been issued a few times in the US in its full-length album mix on two CD EPs and ‘The Model – Retrospective 1975-1978’ compilation.

Kraftwerk - 'Computer World' Pathe-Marconi EMI French vinyl LP, 1981 - label side 1.

^ Kraftwerk – ‘Computer World’ Pathe-Marconi EMI French vinyl LP, 1981 – label side 1.

Kraftwerk - 'Computer World' Pathe-Marconi EMI French vinyl LP, 1981 - label side 2.

^ Kraftwerk – ‘Computer World’ Pathe-Marconi EMI French vinyl LP, 1981 – label side 2.

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