Trans Europe Express

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Trans Europe Express
Kraftwerk studio album


March 1977

Label (s) Kling Klang , EMI Records , Capitol Records

Genre (s)

Electro-Pop , Progressive Electronic

Title (number)


running time

42:45 min.



Florian Schneider , Ralf Hütter

Studio (s)

Radio activity
Trans Europe Express The man-machine

Trans Europa Express is the sixth studio album by the German electronic band Kraftwerk . It was published in 1977 in a German and an English version called Trans-Europe Express . The album is named after the Trans Europ Express .

Creation and publication

The album was the band's Kling Klang -Studio by Florian Schneider and Ralf Hütter produced . Sound engineers were Peter Bollig, Bill Haverson and Thomas Kuckuck. It appeared on the equally named after Kling Klang - label ; EMI and Capitol Records were responsible for sales . The design of the record cover was in the hands of Emil Schult ; Depending on the version, the front shows a black and white photo of the band members or a colored portrait of the group. The reverse illustrates some of the songs; The booklet shows a collage of the group sitting at a table under a tree.

Almost all of the compositions on this album were by Ralf Hütter. Only “Hall of Mirrors” and the 0:50 long “Endlos Endlos” were composed by Ralf Hütter and Florian Schneider. The texts wrote: “Europe Endless” (Hütter, Schneider); “Hall of Mirrors” (Hütter, Schneider, Schult); "Mannequins" (Hütter); "Trans Europe Express" (Hütter, Schult). Showroom Dummies , the English version of mannequins , was released as a single from the album ; the original B-side was its French-language version Les Mannequins . The single experienced various reissues with different B-sides in 1978, 1981 and 2007.

The album cover of the new edition published in 2009 under the name "Kling Klang Digital Master" shows a black and white stylized TEE train on the album cover.

In 1986 the album was released on CD for the first time. The reprint from 1994 contains a first and secret remaster, which, however, is nowhere noted. The sound is louder and slightly compressed and the slight left-leaning of the 1986 edition has also been corrected.

Musical background

Musically characteristic for the album and the further development of the band was the use of new sequencer type Synthanorma (see Related links) that the constant repetition predeterminable pattern ( Patterns ) was possible. The sequencers (model Synthanorma model 316, shown on the back of the album Computerwelt ) were custom-made for the band Kraftwerk. It was a 32-step / 16-channel analog sequencer from Matten & Wiechers; they were built in 1976 in an edition of two. In addition to the increased length of the songs, a continuous, tight and programmatic rhythm was also possible, which, however, also had a certain machine-like monotony. All in all, the music was much more catchy and less experimental and avant-garde than on the previous albums. Songs like mannequins or Europa Endlos were style-defining for later generations of electronic pop music ( techno , hip-hop , electro-pop, etc.).

Lyrically, the band was definitely influenced by the theme chosen for the title; so is Europe endless from a trip to Europe , on the "reality and postcard images" are compared. The Ambient -like Hall of Mirrors with its bizarre and sinister sound effects however, is about the perception of and reflection on the given in the mirror reflection of oneself. In an interview, Karl Bartos said how “mannequins” came about. Journalists in the 1970s wrote, “Look at these people on stage. They look like showroom dummies, like mannequins. So mannequins ”.

Trans Europa Express is again about the eponymous modern means of transport and the easy and comfortable access to various major European cities ( Paris , Vienna and Düsseldorf are mentioned in the text). For this purpose, historical recordings of the rail zeppelin constructed in 1929 and recordings of the Märklin model produced from 1975 onwards are used on the single and in a music video filmed to match the title . The song is, moreover, with the following titles metal on metal and trigger a three-piece suite ; Furthermore, in the basic, typical driving noises of a train moving at a constant speed, parallels to David Bowie's 1976 album Station to Station can be recognized (literally it says in the English version: "From Station to Station back to Dusseldorf City. Meet Iggy Pop and David Bowie. "). Franz Schubert , dedicated to the composer of the same name , is a quieter instrumental piece that merges seamlessly into Endlos Endlos .


source rating
Rolling Stone

More than 75,000 copies of the album were sold in France. A single version of the title song reached 9th place in the Italian charts of Musica e dischi in August 1977. In 1982 a single by Showroom Dummies was also released , which reached 25th place in the British charts.

The album later received negative criticism from the German magazine Der Spiegel , where the work was referred to as "Futurist Kitsch" on the occasion of the release of the album Computerwelt in 1981.

The work was later recognized in numerous compilations of the best or most important works in pop music history. The magazine Rolling Stone leads Trans Europe Express at number 256 of the 500 best albums of all time . It ranks 81 on the New Musical Express's list of the 500 best albums of all time . Mojo magazine chose it as 41 of the 100 best albums. Pitchfork Media leads Trans Europe Express in 6th place of the 100 best albums of the 1970s.

The music journalist Randall Roberts praised Trans Europa Express 2014 as the “most important pop album of the last 40 years”.

In 1982 Afrika Bambaataa covered the theme song in his song Planet Rock .

Track list

German version

  1. Europa Endlos - 9:41 (Music: Hütter, Text: Hütter, Schneider)
  2. Hall of Mirrors - 7:56 (Music: Hütter, Schneider Text: Hütter, Schneider, Schult)
  3. Mannequins - 6:17 am (music and text: Hütter)
  4. Trans Europa Express - 6:36 (Music: Hütter, Text Hütter, Schult)
  5. Metal on metal - 1:46 (music: Hütter)
  6. Trigger - 5:18 (Music: Hütter)
  7. Franz Schubert - 4:25 (Music: Hütter)
  8. Endless Endless - 0:45 (Music: Hütter, Schneider)

English version

  1. Europe Endless - 9:35
  2. The Hall of Mirrors - 7:50
  3. Showroom dummies - 6:10
  4. Trans-Europe Express - 6:40
  5. Metal on Metal - 6:52
  6. Franz Schubert - 4:25
  7. Endless Endless - 0:55

In addition, there was a French version, which essentially corresponded to the English version. However, mannequins or showroom dummies became a song sung in French called Les Mannequins . It should also be noted that in the English and French versions the pieces metal on metal and trigger have been combined to form Metal on Metal .

Individual evidence

  1. Music video Trans Europe Express on the YouTube portal , accessed on August 3, 2018
  2. Review by Steve Huey on (accessed March 5, 2018)
  3. Review by Pat Blashill on (accessed March 5, 2018)
  4. Review by David Cavanagh on (accessed March 5, 2018)
  6. M&D chart archive. Musica e dischi , accessed on August 19, 2015 (Italian, paid subscription access).
  7. Bubbling from the database . In: Der Spiegel . No. 24 , 1981 ( online ).
  8. 500 Greatest Albums of All Time on (accessed March 5, 2018)
  9. The 500 Greatest Albums Of All Time available on (accessed March 5, 2018)
  10. ^ Mojo. 100 Greatest Albums of All Time by Mojo (1995) on (accessed March 5, 2018)
  11. Top 100 Albums of the 1970s on (accessed March 5, 2018)
  12. Kraftwerk's 'Trans Europe Express' started the musical revolution on (accessed March 5, 2018)

Web links