With his post-Kraftwerk output, electronic percussionist Wolfgang Flür embraced the music of his former crew with Yamo, a sound-alike project that released the Mouse on Mars-assisted album Time Pie in 1997. Since then, Flür's work has been under his own name, including the memoir I Was a Robot, which was published in 2000 and then immediately pulled as Kraftwerk and Flür went to court over some disputed stories within the book. Then there was the "I Was a Robot" single in 2004, which double-dipped into the Kraftwerk mythos, being a song both about the group and one that sounded like them, and here, on this collection of unreleased solo material dating from 2002-2015, it falls next to "Cover Girl," Flür's solo sequel to Kraftwerk's single "The Model." In other words, this narrow collection of unreleased demos and obscure singles is so based in the work of the mothership that it is primarily made for fan club members and will hold little appeal for anyone else. Even then, fans must pine for a cuter and quirkier brand of Kraftwerk (Telex?) as the wacky "Best Friend's Birthday" is "freaking out" over a cake burned in the oven plus other First World robot problems. "Moda Makina" reimagines the Computer World album as a Holger Czukay-styled jaunt into ethno-muso jazz, while "On the Beam" replaces Kraftwerk's Tour de France obsession with a love of gymnastics, plus with the bonus remixes, the listener can ask for that message in either Japanese or German, à la "Pocket Calculator." The few times Flür wanders away from the Man-Machine influence he ventures into the world of pallid pop, which, when combined with the idea that the robots back home must find his work irksome, means he's best when aping his old band (or for the sake of argument, reclaiming his sound). Eloquence is a strange title for an album so goofy and quaint, but the appeal of Flür being Kraftwerk's breakaway Dennis the Menace is all over the set, so forgive any shortcomings and embrace the lost work of this cheerful, WALL·E-like character.
Eloquence: Complete Works
(CD - Cherry Red / SFE #SFE 046)
Review by David Jeffries