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April 23, 2012 3:27 PM   Subscribe

The New Yorker: How did Kraftwerk end up at MOMA?

Previous discussion on the blue regarding the mad scramble for tickets.
posted by porn in the woods (24 comments total) 11 users marked this as a favorite

 
Interesting article but did it answer the question?
posted by sammyo at 3:30 PM on April 23, 2012


Because they are awesome?
posted by GavinR at 3:31 PM on April 23, 2012 [7 favorites]


Practice, man, practice.
posted by Joey Michaels at 3:40 PM on April 23, 2012 [12 favorites]


Oh, SF/J: an approach that he calls Sprechgesang, or “spoken singing”

He probably calls it that because that's what it's called.
posted by kenko at 3:41 PM on April 23, 2012 [7 favorites]


Because they are awesome?
posted by GavinR


True. But especially because that observation becomes truer in retrospect. We've seen the Bloomberg review of the first iPhone, and how laughably they failed to anticipate what it would become.

Kraftwerk is awesome in retrospect. They were right, the people who didn't get it were wrong. They won. Nice legacy, guys, you deserve to have it be so secure. Bravo!
posted by StickyCarpet at 3:49 PM on April 23, 2012 [2 favorites]


Jesus fuck, isn't Sasha Frere-Jones's Google working?
posted by Sidhedevil at 4:05 PM on April 23, 2012 [2 favorites]


Legacy secured. Now let's see some new material!
posted by smcdow at 4:18 PM on April 23, 2012


"Florian Schneider, a founding member, played the calculator, (...) His partner, Ralf Hütter, who is the only remaining original member of Kraftwerk, sang the lyrics (...)". Wait, what? That means less than the title of this piece does. Where was the editor?
"Hütter says that the band is working on a new album, though that seems entirely unnecessary at this point. Their old is still our new." ...yes, if you haven't heard anything that they've done, then this might make sense, but... couldn't they have found someone who was a little bit better to do this writeup? I like the little insights, but on the whole.. no.
posted by Zack_Replica at 4:18 PM on April 23, 2012


Also, what Sidhedevil said.
posted by Zack_Replica at 4:19 PM on April 23, 2012 [1 favorite]


Didn't the most recent "Jackass" movie screen at the MoMA?
posted by hermitosis at 4:31 PM on April 23, 2012


All I know is that my aunt in Germany sent me the AUTOBAHN album for my birthday in 1975 when I was 14 and it completely blew all our minds... we had never heard anything like it. TRANS-EUROPE EXPRESS was even better. They both sound new today. Prima!
posted by Ron Thanagar at 5:08 PM on April 23, 2012 [1 favorite]


Interesting article but did it answer the question?

"the band’s exploration of the relation between man and machine underlies much of what you hear on the radio today."
posted by vidur at 5:12 PM on April 23, 2012


Yeah, but vidur, one might fairly wonder what the start of the art of pop radio has to do with having a retrospective at MoMA.

(I think that it makes a lot of sense that they'd be there, but not because of their influence so much as their whole man-machine aesthetic.)
posted by kenko at 5:45 PM on April 23, 2012


Rejected Title: How Did I Get So Old?
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 5:53 PM on April 23, 2012 [1 favorite]


(Because of the difficulty of re-creating their recordings with such complicated equipment, the band has visited the U.S. only seven times in its forty-two-year history. Now they use laptops.)

anecdote: Kraftwerk Live 2004; behind the soundboard: floppy disks...
posted by ovvl at 5:55 PM on April 23, 2012


Because they are awesome?

It's funny because it's true.

(Seriously, I read the question and my first thought was "Because they're awesome?")

For kicks, you could draw a direct line from The Large Glass to Kraftwerk, I'm sure. And I'm betting that if you looked, you could also trace a direct or indirect Kraftwerk influence on, say, Jean-Michel Basquiat. Hence, a line from Duchamp to Basquiat with Kraftwerk in the middle.
posted by octobersurprise at 6:12 PM on April 23, 2012 [1 favorite]


How much of Kraftwerk's sucess do they owe to Afrika Bambata? There is a whole generation of people that got into Kraftwerk through Planet Rock, and even through some other hip hop songs like the Fearless Four's Rockin it, or Mc Lyte's Tcha cha cha. I was a hip hop dj in the 90's and 00's and I knew Kraftwerk for Trans-europe express and Man Machine only from those songs. But honestly I'm not really into them, it's like nerd rock to me. Don't get me wrong, all those records are clever and inspiring, but it's like people are revising what those songs actually are.
posted by LouieLoco at 7:07 PM on April 23, 2012


What really gets me about Kraftwerk is how *pretty* their music is. A number of other artists did mechanical-sounding music about a mechanical world, and much of it was great (God I love early Cabaret Voltaire!). But it always assumed that mechanization was something crushing and awful, and made music that used electronic sounds to evoke alienation and inhumanity. Kraftwerk were the first---and still one of the few---to use electronic sounds to evoke beauty, fun, and awe. Like all truly major innovators, they had a unique idea, and that drove their sound.
posted by ThatFuzzyBastard at 8:02 PM on April 23, 2012 [3 favorites]


Because they made modern art, and it's a modern art museum?
posted by spitefulcrow at 8:06 PM on April 23, 2012 [2 favorites]


> How much of Kraftwerk's sucess do they owe to Afrika Bambata?

Considering that most people have only ever heard Afrika Bambaataa's Planet Rock and nothing else, and considering that that song is blatantly lifted from Kraftwerk, I'd say it's quite the other way around.
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 8:34 PM on April 23, 2012 [1 favorite]


Practice, man, practice.
posted by Joey Michaels at 3:40 PM on 4/23
[8 favorites +] [!]


Indeed. I remember growing up, I had a real shot at a musical career. But as I got older, I just couldn't push myself to do my calculator scales for five hours a day.

Cos, tan, sin. Cos, tan, sin. Plus, minus, plus, minus.

I guess I just couldn't hack it like them. It takes so much work to build up the dexterity to play a little melody.
posted by graphnerd at 8:39 PM on April 23, 2012 [1 favorite]


spitefulcrow: "Because they made modern art, and it's a modern art museum?"

It's easier to take the E or M train to 53rd and Fifth.
posted by Pinback at 12:30 AM on April 24, 2012


How much of Kraftwerk's sucess do they owe to Afrika Bambata? There is a whole generation of people that got into Kraftwerk through Planet Rock, and even through some other hip hop songs like the Fearless Four's Rockin it, or Mc Lyte's Tcha cha cha. I was a hip hop dj in the 90's and 00's and I knew Kraftwerk for Trans-europe express and Man Machine only from those songs. But honestly I'm not really into them, it's like nerd rock to me. Don't get me wrong, all those records are clever and inspiring, but it's like people are revising what those songs actually are.

This is one of the clearest examples of getting the electro-cart before the robo-horse I have ever seen.
posted by FatherDagon at 1:02 PM on April 24, 2012 [2 favorites]


When I was young, I bent my mind around the enduring question of why we find Kraftwerk's music compelling, in spite of the the cold sterile rigid beats, and I have finally conceded that they succeed because they actually have a really good grasp of melody.

(also, while their vocals are most often deadpan, there are moments of emotional vocal urgency towards the end of 'Showroom Dummies').
posted by ovvl at 6:05 PM on April 25, 2012


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