Kraftwerk’s Tour de France Soundtracks has been rotating in the chill-out playlist of my iPod for almost a year, and now seems like the perfect time to bring it up. There’s something strangely compelling about an album thematically conceived around one of the most athletic, strenuous, soul-searching events in sports, especially when it’s been crafted by a group that began in the 70’s and are widely considered pioneers in electronic music. This is techno-pop at its most refined; a whirring, deliberate collection of tracks meant to evoke various aspects of the French bicycle race, and it’s almost classical in its approach. Yet it’s not the heroic, symphonic music of champions but rather a quiet music created as if by robots — that brings to its sound a cold, sometimes off-putting sterility. Only after quite a few listens does its metallic soul begin to emerge. It’s certainly not for everyone, though it may sneak up on you.
And the Tour de France Blog is something to check out if you haven’t already.