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.