Kraftwerk live in Soest, Winter 1970. This concert from "Youth Carousel" is the earliest existing concert recording from the pioneering electronic group out of Düsseldorf. The group was founded that year and is seen here with their original lineup.
We've previously talked about the Langley School Music Project, Dondero High School's Pop Concerts, PS22's choir, and Chapel Hill's Chorus Project. Now we have first graders at the Grundschule Am Lemmchen in Mainz Mombach singing, playing, and acting out Kraftwerk's iconic single Roboter. [SLYT, if you ignore my links to previous school music groups.]
After the triumph of OK Computer, Radiohead fell into a creative tailspin -- and frontman Thom Yorke into a nervous breakdown. Exhausted from touring, hounded by press, and jaded by copycats, he escaped into the electronica scene pioneered by Kraftwerk and Warp Records -- fertile ground, the band discovered. Trading spacey rock for apocalyptic brooding, they teased their new sound not with singles or music videos but with innovative web streaming and cryptic, dreamlike "blips" -- winterlands, flocks of cubes, eyeballs, bears. After nearly breaking up over tracklist angst, they cut the kid in half. Thus fifteen years ago today, Kid A and (later) Amnesiac debuted, a confounding mix of electronic fugue, whalesong, pulsing IDM, drunken piano, and epic jazz funeral whose insights into anxiety, political dysfunction, and climate crisis would make it one of the most revered albums of the twenty-first century. See the documentary Reflections on Kid A for interviews and live cuts, or look inside for much more. [more inside]
The Vocoder, a short New Yorker video (11:30) about the military origins of the vocoder. The vocoder—the musical instrument that gave Kraftwerk its robotic sound—began as an early telecommunications device and a top-secret military encoding machine.
In These Hopeful Machines "James Gardner traces a personal path through the evolving world of electronic music – and meets some of the people who made it happen. In six content-rich episodes he looks at over 100 years of recording techniques, electronic instruments and gizmos, and their use in popular music, art music and their position in Western culture." [more inside]
Flickr user Harvezt brings you The Dark Side of the Covers, which recreates 33 rock album covers as seen from the OPPPOSITE direction. Some of the covers are iconic, others are obscure, some of the interpretations are simple and obvious, others are creative and... interesting. (And some are NSFW, but then, some of the original covers were NSFW).
You're bummed that you're one of many who couldn't get tickets to the eight concerts of eight full albums in eight days at the Museum of Modern Art. Let DJ Food console you with a month of posts dedicated to Kraftwerk, including old and rare pictures and graphics, and six hours of songs that cover, sample, or are inspired by Kraftwerk, and even how to play Kraftwerk songs on your Casio pocket calculator. If you just want to hear Kraftwerk do their thing, here are three (incl. tracklist) live sets (partial tracklist) from recent years (tracklist). [more inside]
Last week, Kraftwerk announced eight concerts of eight full albums in eight days at the Museum of Modern Art. Each individual would be allotted a maximum of two tickets for one night. On Wednesday, tickets went on Sale at noon and due to the incredible demand, things went downhill immediately. ShowClix, the ticket retailer attributed it to server stress and at 1:21 PM announced that all eight shows had sold out. Many unhappy customers vented on ShowClix Facebook page. Today, Showclix CEO Joshua Dziabiak issued an apology for the "hours [you spent] in front of your computer watching a spinning wheel." Meanwhile, scalpers are peddling tickets for up to over $42,000, although some less expensive tickets may be available.
Hearts raced briefly today as reports circulated of a Ralf+Florian sighting. Despite what was reported, it wasn't Ralf going into the (original) King Klang studio with Florian. It was Uwe Schmidt aka Señor Coconut. Should we be waiting for a Schneider/Schmidt record?
Hello, my name is FRIDA. I am a concept, developed as part of the Rosetta project, en EU-funded initiative to support the development of robots. Take a good look at me. I can be very romantic.
Kraftwerk, after being silent since 2003, finally has a new release of original material. It's not exactly what we were expecting.
In 1957, the year of the Treaty of Rome, founding the European Economic Community and setting the aim of an "ever closer union", the national railway companies of West Germany, France, Switzerland, Italy and Holland (later joined by Belgium and Spain) launched the Trans Europ Express, a joint network of first-class-only international trains for business travellers. [more inside]
A mixtape a week for a year... Detroit Techno, Giorgio Moroder, Quebecois Disco, Kraftwerk, Bobby Orlando, Synth Pop and loads more.
Showing Off is a series of videos, audio clips and articles in which noted music journalist and Frankie Goes to Hollywood mastermind Paul Morley explores various facets of music. Each month has a theme, [warning: most links have autoplaying video] Michael Jackson, Kraftwerk, classical music, disco, The Beatles, folk music, The X Factor, the Noughties, the next big thing, UK hip hop, jazz, and dance. Here is some of what's on offer: MeFi faves Dan Le Sac and Scroobius Pip on hip hop, These New Puritans' Jack Barnett, Johnny Marr on folk (parts 1, 2), but isn't all just interviews, there are also a lot of performances, e.g. Michael Nyman and David McAlmont, Badly Drawn Boy, Susanna Wallumrød covers Thin Lizzy's Jailbreak, and Cornershop cover Norwegian Wood.
Synth Britannia "Documentary following a generation of post-punk musicians who took the synthesiser from the experimental fringes to the centre of the pop stage. In the late 1970s, small pockets of electronic artists including the Human League, Daniel Miller and Cabaret Voltaire were inspired by Kraftwerk and JG Ballard and dreamt of the sound of the future against the backdrop of bleak, high-rise Britain."
Ralf Hütter of Kraftwerk gives a rare interview to the Guardian, who also have a rather nice interactive feature on the bands influence.
Kraftwerk and the Electronic Music Revolution. (amazon) A 3 hour long documentary detailing Kraftwerk's influences and career. [more inside]
Florian Schneider quits Kraftwerk. Posted here on 21 November but just making the news rounds now. Andy Gill remembers the Lennon and McCartney of Electropop. 39 years ago, it started like this.
WFMU-TV; That's Irritainment (Heino, Shatner): Baby Octopus: Love Onion: Hisao Shinagawa: Organisation- Ruckzuck (Kraftwerk): You Must Choose!: FAUST.
The Tone Generation is a radio series by Ian Helliwell 'looking at different themes or composers in the era of analogue tape and early synthesizer technology'. The original globe-trotting series: Great Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Holland, Scandinavia, Eastern Europe, USA, Canada, Rest of World. Bonus programmes: Expo 58, The RCA Synthesizer. All links are to MP3 files, except the first one. Alternatively, you can slurp down the lot in one go by subscribing to the podcast feed.
Kraftwerk have been around for nigh on forty years. They take a bit of getting used to if you are new to them, but the rewards are great. Even if you are a cynic. [more inside]
Klaus Dinger, drummer and co-founder of Krautrock titans Neu! (with Michael Rother) and drummer on the first Kraftwerk LP, has passed away at age 61. A sad day for motorik fans. Great post from February about the KraftNeu! collaboration.
Roger Mainwood's 1979 animated film of Kraftwerk's 'Autobahn', plus other assorted forward-thinking clips featuring the same music and/or theme
Autobahn, a 12 minute animated film by Roger Mainwood, was commissioned by Kraftwerk's record label in 1979 to be released on one of the first ever laser discs. [more inside]
Early Kraftwerk @ YouTube, from when they still had long hair—Ruckzuck live on WDR TV in 1970; Truckstop Gondolero (aka Rückstossgondoliere), a 1971 performance where the line-up is Florian with Klaus Dinger and Michael Rother, later of NEU!; Heavy Metal Kids (audio only), also from 1971; and a lovely version of Tanzmusik (1973). [more inside]
Faulkner or machine translation? Who wrote it? William Faulkner or some German-translating computer robot program? You decide!
Krautrock: From the hypnotic rhythms and melodies of Can, to the revolutionary electronics of Kraftwerk. Krautrock was a genre that spawned many genius acts. The communal bands like Amon Duul II and Siloah that were soon to be emulated by cult-like restaurant owners, Ya Ho Wha . There were the obscure acts like Zweistein whose sound evokes thoughts of current bands like Animal Collective and Wooden Wand. And there were albums the ground-breaking albums like Tangerine Dream's dark, ambient, Phaedra and the Manuel Gottsching record E2-E4 which is considered to be the first techno album ever produced. Needless to say, Krautrock's influence has been lasting and monumental.
The real Kraftwerk pocket calculator! With a sound sample of it playing 'Computerwelt'. I never knew this existed!
Music Non Stop Create your own version of the Kraftwerk classic. Or make those silly robots dance. Lots of cute little 80s retro flash stuff.