Minimum-Maximum [DVD]

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Recorded live during Kraftwerk's record-breaking world tour of 2004, Minimum-Maximum is essentially the video companion to the live album of the same name, which means that it rises and falls on precisely the same strengths and weaknesses as the album. It is a cliché to say that Kraftwerk live are not one of rock's great visual extravaganzas. It's the screens and movies that flicker behind them that you take away in your memory, and Minimum-Maximum knows that. For much of the two discs, Kraftwerk themselves are not even visible; instead, the films take over, and though many of them simply recount the promo videos that were shot when the best of this collection was new ("The Model" and "Trans-Europe Express" will be especially familiar to the longtime viewer), it would be a strange curmudgeon indeed who demanded otherwise. Divorced from the live concert experience, Minimum-Maximum does grow a little wearing in places -- for all the technological brilliance of their '80s-and-beyond output, Kraftwerk have never recaptured the sheer atmosphere of their earlier works, and the highlights of the live show are, of course, the numbers we've known for so long now. Neither is the sense of techno-for-techno's sake that haunts the likes of "Planet of Visions" and "Vitamins," alleviated by the accompanying graphics -- Kraftwerk's most boring music is accompanied by their most boring films. But still, with the full 20-song, two-hour concert recaptured in excellent sound and vision, Minimum-Maximum is going to appeal to anyone with a fondness for any Kraftwerk album since Autobahn, and the only real complaint is the absence of any bonus material. You buy the concert film and that's all you get.

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