This nOde last updated August 15th, 2004 and is permanently morphing...
(9 Oc (Dog) / 13 Yaxk'in (New Sun) - 230/260 - 18.104.22.168.10)
Is in the air for you and me
Discovered by Madame Curie
Tune in to the melody
Is in the air for you and me
Radioactivity is in the air for you and me
Radioactivity discovered by madame curie
Radioactivity tune in to the ... Kraftwerk
Kraftwerk (German for "power plant") is a German avant-garde electro-pop group from Düsseldorf who were largely responsible for much of the subsequent uptake of, and interest in, electronic music. The techniques that they introduced and the equipment that they developed are now commonplace in modern music.
Originally called "Organisation", but later switching to "Kraftwerk", the principal members are Florian Schneider and Ralf Hütter. Wolfgang Flür and Karl Bartos have also collaborated in Kraftwerk, as have Emil Schult, and Kling Klang personnel such as Fritz Hilpert and Henning Schmitz.
Kraftwerk's lyrics often deal with technology—travelling by car on the Autobahn, travelling by train, using home computers and the like. The lyrics are usually very minimal, but reveal both an innocent celebration of, and a knowing caution about the modern world.
After several early experimental albums their breakthrough came in 1974 with the Autobahn album and the 22-minute title track, which was a worldwide hit and demonstrated their increasing reliance on synthesizers and electronics. Many of the voices in Kraftwerk songs are processed through a Vocoder.
Their music has been recorded by the classical ensemble the Balanescu Quartet. Five songs were arranged for strings for their album Possessed. Kraftwerk have also been extensively sampled by some influential musicians and bands including Afrika Bambaataa, Beck, The Orb, The Justified Ancients of Mu Mu/KLF, Madonna, Depeche Mode, De La Soul, R.E.M., Meat Beat Manifesto, Fatboy Slim, Chemical Brothers, the Bloodhound Gang and many more. In 2000, Senor Coconut released an album of Kraftwerk covers called El Baile Aleman. The tracks were cleverly reworked in a Latin American music style.
Kraftwerk have impinged on mainstream popular culture to the extent that they have been referenced in The Simpsons and Father Ted.
Kraftwerk also experimented with the use of computer graphics as a backdrop for their shows. Their stage act involves the members standing behind minimalistic desks, controlling the various sequencers that drive the show. At times, manniquens made to look like the band members replace or accompany the live musicians. They do however state that a reasonable fraction of the instrumentation is actually played live, and that they do improvise somewhat from show to show.
After years of nearly total obscurity, Kraftwerk began to tour again in the late 1990s, and stated that they were working on new material - though speculation about release dates fell through several times. An announcement by their record company of a July 22, 2003 release also fell through, with the perfectionists delaying again for several weeks. A single from the album, "Tour de France 2003" (a totally new track unrelated to their earlier single "Tour de France"), has received radio airplay.
* Tone Float 1970 (as Organisation)
* Kraftwerk 1971
* Kraftwerk 2 1972
* Ralf und Florian 1973
* Autobahn 1974
* Concert Classics (live; released late 1990s but recorded 1974 or 1975)
* Radioactivity 1975
* Trans-Europe Express 1977
* The Man Machine 1978
* Computer World 1981
* Electric Cafe 1986
* The Mix 1991 (a sort-of compilation reworking old songs)
* Tour de France Soundtracks 2003
first mention of Kraftwerk in Usenet:
From: pyuxjj!rlr (pyuxjj!rlr)
Date: 1982-04-08 20:33:03 PST
Many advocates of what was once progressive rock (especially the electronic end of this genre) have taken interest in the new "electronic"- oriented "new wave" (WHAT A REPULSIVE TERM!) music. Though some die-hard punks dislike (that's not the word) this music and feel it has co-opted the punk movement (if there ever was one), I find it interesting as 1) an alternative to guitar-hero-dominated, heavy-metal sexist-racist mainstream rock and/or "adult contemporary" MOR (middle-of-the-road, or preferably MORon oriented rock), 2) an extension of *real* progressive electronic music, 3) listenable, often danceable, pop (nothing to be ashamed of).
I think that (1) speaks for itself, especially if you've listened to the radio lately. A lot of people might disagree with (2), but on close listening, you have to admit there's a lot of the ELP sound, for instance, in those like Gary Numan. I know that neither of these two are candidates for the National Serious Music Committee award, but other modern musicmakers harken back to Kraftwerk, Tangerine Dream, and maybe more importantly, Phil Glass, Steve Reich, and Varese. As far as (3) goes, give a listen to "Tainted Love" by Soft Cell, "Don't You Want Me" by the Human League, "Lawnchairs" by Our Daughter's Wedding, "Electricity" by Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark (OMD), "New Life" by Depeche Mode, and see what I mean.
These songs may not be everybody's cup of tea, but for me they sure beat the latest Neil Diamond/Barbra Streisand/BG's pap and/or the latest Styx/Foreigner/Rush/REO clonetone music. Many of them show a good deal more originality, too. Although it could be argued that it all sounds the same (funny, that's what I was going to say about Styx and their ilk), the same thing was said in the early days of Chuck Berry, Bo Diddley, etc. Indeed, it may be/have been true, but in both cases the reasons behind the criticism were identical---Here is something new that threatens the status quo of the music industry. Industry-controlled plastic singers and big bands were about to be shaken up then, as rock-guitar bands feel they are about to be shaken up now. Every so often things need to be shaken up.
In my opinion, those who have worked with the synthesizer as the main instrument in their music have done so with a real DIY, buck-the-system fervor. The early singles by the Human League and OMD were (more or less) independently recorded in small studios/on home recording systems, while groups like Depeche Mode and Our Daughter's Wedding rehearsed and formulated their songs using their synthis plugged through their stereos. "Being Boiled" by the H.L. was recorded with a couple of simple synths on a SONY 2-track. In some ways it sounds it, but that's part of its charm.
Given time, I think we are seeing the seeds of a new musical form to supplant (not replace) rock as we know it. Of course, the intransigence of the modern music industry is well-known, and it will work hard to secure its foundations (and capital investment) in rock and its home for the aged, MOR. I just sort of threw all of this out at the net to see what would be thrown back at me, i.e., do "electropop" and other new forms of music have a market out there, or are the longhairs and middle-aged among us (the two groups now often intersect) afraid of/repulsed by all of this? Send responses/comments to me, unless you think they are of general interest to net users or if you find you can't get mail sent to me.