Daily Archives: 24/03/2013

Kraftwerk

Kraftwerk

The Primary members of Kraftwerk, Florian Schneider and Ralf Hütter met as classical music students at the Dusseldorf Conservatory. Later naming themselves Krafwerk (German for “Power Station”), came to the music scene in the 1970s as a full force experimental electronic group. With their own studio dubbed Kling Klang Schneider started designing homemade rhythm machines to be used for their music production. Using drum machines (when they weren’t any available at the time) and synthesizers they soon crafted the robot pop sound of Kraftwerk. Their whole image of Kraftwerk was made up of clean-cut hair and the scientific look of a dress shirt and tie while they performed.

From 1974-1981 Kraftwerk has created five pioneering albums. In 1974 Autobahn is an album about the German superhighway of road traveling. This was the first album to be released in the U.S. making Kraftwerk an international smash hitting the Top. 5. After the album Autobahn this was also producer Cony Plank last time working with Kraftwerk.

In the following year with a concept of radio communication this became Kraftwerkk next project called Radio Activity. Because of their global popularity with Autobahn this was released in both German and English language versions.  Radio Activity was Kraftwerk first album being self produced by Hütter and Schneider at their Kling-Klang Studio. With the use of the Moog Micromoog and the Vako Orchestra pushing their electro-static awareness this mad the album sound mechanical.

Released in May of 1977 Trans-Europe Express was inspired by train travel of the railroads.

Now having two analogue sequencers Kraftwerk brought a different approach of letting the machines jam between themselves. This became the album of The Man Machine released in 1978. This album brought more complex and danceable rhythms to the scene of new wave electro-pop. The Man Machine had robo-pop classics such as “The Robots,” “Neon Light,” “Metropolis,” and their UK hit single “The Model.”

After a three-year hiatus, Kraftwerk came back with Computer World in 1981. This album is about the rise of computers in society. The sound is glistening and even more mechanical, but it had some funk on the “Numbers” track. Afrika Bambaataa’s “Planet Rock,” used the song “Numbers” as a sample, therefore by doing so it had  inspired the hip-hop movement. This became Kraftwerk first UK Number One in February 1982.

Kraftwerk had a subject matter and a theme to every album they have made. The have influenced dance music from the late `70s drum patterns, but more so rock music of the mid `70s ranging from Bowie, Iggy, U2, and Coldplay. Igniting the electro and hip-hop movement after Afrika Bambaataa’s fused the melody from “Trans-Europe Express” and sampling the beat of “Numbers” are one of kraftwerk pioneering statements. By kraftwerk sticking with their scientific robotic look and musical moves Kraftwerk are the primary reason why they are the fathers of electronica.

I wish I could say that this is my first time listening to Kraftwerk, but it’s not due to “Planet Rock” and many other avenues that kraftwerk has made for artist and music. As you may know of Karftwerk being ahead of their time made a difference and I believe improve the electronic scene. Just by me listing to Kraftwerk, their music would take me to another place thinking about the German life of electronic music. As an industry professional Kraftwerk has enlighten me to have a subject matter for anything I do in music. Kraftwerk have helped me to find new ways of creating and delivering music to my audience, which might start a new movement someday.

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Roland TR-808

Roland TR-808

Introduced in 1980 the Roland TR-808 Rhythm Composer became apart of electric, pop, and hip-hop music, which also was mostly well known in the burgeoning dance music underground. A programmable drum machine with featured accents, individual volume controls and the  “Snappy” control for the snare drum the TR-808 became the world’s first drum machine with its nonvolatile memory. Originally indented to help studio musicians’ record demos; but because of the Roland TR-808 synthetic sound quality it became the turning point in pop music in the early 80s.

A Japanese electronic music band called Yellow Magic Orchestra (YMO) is the first to use the Roland TR-808 Rhythm Composer as soon as it was released in 1980. Utilizing the TR-808 deep bass kick drum, the thin handclaps sound, the opened and closed hi-hats, and the spacy cowbell was established within their music in 1980. Even soul-icon Marvin Gaye used the TR-808 in his song “Sexual Healing.” In 1982 during the hip-hop movement Afrika Bambaataa and the Soulsonic Force released their Kraftwerk-sampling “Planet Rock,” which utilized the TR-808 Rhythm Composer. Shortly after the release of the TR-808 the LM-1 Linn Drum came on the market as the superior product but because of the TR-808 favorability it left room for the young producers to explore the greatness of its unique sounds and easy programming. By the mid-1980s the TR-808 price dropped so low that it would be found at the nearest thrift shops for 100 dollars while its original market price was placed at 1000 dollars.

While in rap music it was all about the beat, therefore DJ/Producer/Emcee D-Nice states that,

“It was all about the drums and the TR-808 drum machine had the best drum sound.”

With that said, in the making of pop, hip-hop and techno music the TR-808 bass drum sound became legendary of all time.

Wile explaining where Egyptian boogie started from Arthur Baker producer of Afrika Bambaataa and the Soulsonic Force’s: “Planet Rock” states that,

“It was taking the beats of funk and playing them with electronic instruments being Roland TR-808.”

The dance music genres such as House, Techno, and Electro would not have exits if it weren’t for the innovated Roland TR-808 sound.

Juan Atkins originator of Detroit Techno and as some say the godfather of techno signified that his whole career was built on the TR-808.

Artist and artists that have used the innovative TR-808, as been Yellow Magic Orchestra, 808 State, Afrika Bambaataa and the Soulsonic Force, Outkast, Marvin Gaye, Dr. Dre, Kanye West, Janet Jackson, RUN DMC, Phil Collins, Daft Punk and the list goes on and on, but one thing is for sure that the Roland TR-808 Rhythm Composer is a household name that every industry profession as of then and forever will knows of.

While growing up listening to funk, pop, soul, and hip-hop the Roland TR-808 Rhythm Composer left a big imprint in my life as a young boy. I always liked the spaced cowbell and the deep bass of the kick drum sound, which at that time I thought that every song on an album needed that TR-808 bass drum sound to make a complete song a hit. Hearing the three girl group assemble Blaque and other artists sing about the TR-808 drum sound made me realized that this is more than just a beat but as the centermost point of pop and hip-hop music of the mid ’80s and early ’90s. In the late ’90s into the new millennium I soon learn that there were other drum sounds out there other than the TR-808 kick drum sound.

As for me as an industry professional I will always keep the Roland TR-808 drum sound as a reference to help me give a good mix that has the same awesomeness of a bass drum sound (if it is necessary) like the Roland TR-808 Rhythm Composer has given us in all genres of music.