Kraftwerk ‘Kometenmelodie 2’ 1981 UK 7″ (Vertigo, VER3, 1981)

1981 and Kraftwerk’s world tour and new ‘Computer World’ album was easily the band’s highest profile moves in several years and so it also acted as an impetus for the band’s previous record label to cash in with a new compilation album (‘Elektro Kinetik’) and accompanying single, ‘Kometenmelodie 2’. This would be the last hurrah for Vertigo Records in the UK with regards to Kraftwerk releases, as after 1981 the band acquired the rights to their earliest work and there would be no further re-issues of the Philips/Vertigo era material at all.

Kraftwerk 'Kometenmelodie 2' 1981 UK 7" front cover
^ Kraftwerk ‘Kometenmelodie 2’ 1981 UK 7″ front cover

The version of ‘Kometenmelodie 2’ featured on this 7″ is pretty much the same as had been issued on 7″ back in 1975 in the UK as the follow-up single to the very successful ‘Autobahn’ 7″ (and also included on the compilation/bes of album ‘Exceller 8’. That is is to say, it is a different mix to what was released on the parent album ‘Autobahn’. You can tell right from the start as there is a far more succinct intro, where the spectacular opening glissando cross-fades with the fade-in bass synth build – the album version keeps them quite a bit more separate – while the editing scissors get fully to work and trim the overall piece down to a modest duration of approx. 2’49” compared to the more expansive album mix, which clocks in at 5’48”.

Kraftwerk 'Kometenmelodie 2' 1981 UK 7" rear cover
^ Kraftwerk ‘Kometenmelodie 2’ 1981 UK 7″ rear cover

Meanwhile on the B side, an edit of ‘Vom Himmel Hoch’ from Kraftwerk’s debut album is included. This edits down what in its full 10 minute form is a rather noisy, beat heavy workout down to a much more abstract beat-free 4 minute piece,  completely excising the middle portion of the song with the relentless drumming to leave only the electronic elements from the first portion of the track and the last 30/40 seconds or so. (NB: The label states the duration as 2’51” – that is incorrect, it’s 3’59”). This edit also first appeared on the ‘Exceller 8’ compilation.

Kraftwerk 'Kometenmelodie 2' 1981 UK 7" label side A
^ Kraftwerk ‘Kometenmelodie 2’ 1981 UK 7″ label side A – note, although it states ‘Taken from the album ‘Elektro Kinetik’’, that album actually includes the full album version of the song, not this shorter edit (which was however included on the ‘Exceller 8’ album.

As you can see from the rear cover design, this was very much aimed at promoting the back catalogue to new fans, who may have had their curiosity piqued with the new album and live dates. Although the band only released three albums – ‘Kraftwerk’ (which combined both original West German ‘Kraftwerk’ and ‘Kraftwerk 2’ albums into one double album in a radically different sleeve design), ‘Ralf and Florian’ and ‘Autobahn’ – during their time on Vertigo Records in the UK, the sleeve lists five albums in total – the additional two are compilations derived from those three original albums, these being 1975’s punningly titled ‘Exceller 8’ and 1981’s last hurrah, ‘Elektro Kinetik’.

After these 1981 releases, that was it for those early pre-‘Autobahn’ releases. They have never been re-issued since Kraftwerk themselves acquired the rights and one had to wonder if there ever will be any official re-issues again, with bootleg copies all that are to be found.

Kraftwerk 'Kometenmelodie 2' 1981 UK 7" label side B
^ Kraftwerk ‘Kometenmelodie 2’ 1981 UK 7″ label side B

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