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Kraftwerk

During the mid-'70s, Germany's Kraftwerk established the sonic blueprint followed by an extraordinary number of artists in the decades to come. From the British new romantic movement to hip-hop to techno, the group's self-described "robot pop" -- hypnotically minimal, obliquely rhythmic music performed solely via electronic means -- resonates in virtually every new development to impact the contemporary pop scene of the late- 20th century, and as pioneers of the electronic music form, their enduring influence cannot be overstated. Kraftwerk emerged from the same German experimental music community of the late '60s which also spawned Can and Tangerine Dream; primary members Florian Schneider and Ralf Hütter first met as classical music students at the Dusseldorf Conservatory, originally teaming in the group Organisation and issuing a 1970 album, Tone Float, in the U.K. Schneider and Hütter soon disbanded Organisation, re-christening themselves Kraftwerk (German for "power station"), beginning work on their own studio (later dubbed Kling Klang), and immersing their music in the fledgling world of minimalist electronics; their 1971 debut, titled simply Kraftwerk 1, offered a hint of their unique aesthetic in its earliest form, already implementing innovations including Schneider's attempts at designing homemade rhythm machines.

A series of lineup shifts followed, and at one point Hütter even left the group; however, by the release of 1972's Kraftwerk 2, he and Schneider were again working in tandem. Recorded without a live drummer, the album's rhythms relied solely on a drum machine, creating a distinctly robotic feel without precedent -- the concept of purely technological music was, at the time, utterly alien to most musicians, as well as listeners. A series of well-received live performances followed before Kraftwerk began work on their breakthrough third LP, 1973's Ralf and Florian; honing their many ambitions down to a few simple yet extraordinarily innovative concepts, their music began growing more and more revelatory -- even their clean-cut, scientific image was in direct opposition to the dominant pop fashions of the time. Kraftwerk's first album to be issued in the U.S., 1974's Autobahn was an international smash; an edited single version of the epic title track was a major hit at home and abroad, and in America the previously unknown group reached the upper rungs of the pop albums chart. Performed in large part on a Moog synthesizer, Autobahn crystallized the distinctive Kraftwerk sound while making the group's first clear overtures towards conventional pop structure and melody, establishing a permanent foothold for electronic music within the mainstream.

Kraftwerk resurfaced in 1975 with Radio-Activity, a concept album exploring the theme of radio communication; indicative of the group's new global popularity, it was released in both German and English-language editions, the latter appearing early the following year. Train travel emerged as the subject of 1977's Trans-Europe Express, which marked an increased movement towards seeming musical mechanization; the line became even further blurred with the follow-up, 1978's aptly titled The Man Machine, a work almost completely bereft of human touches. By this time, the members of Kraftwerk even publicly portrayed themselves as automatons, an image solidified by tracks like "We Are the Robots." Having reached the peak of their influence, however, the group disappeared from view, the first of many extended absences to follow; they did not return to action prior to 1981's Computer World, a meditation on the new global dominance of technology -- a society their music long ago predicted and pre-dated. After topping the British charts with the single "Computer Love," Kraftwerk again vanished, enjoying a five-year layoff culminating in the release of 1986's Electric Cafe. By now, however, pop music was dominated by synthesizers and drum machines, and the group's stature flagged; but for a 1991 best-of collection titled The Mix, they remained silent during most of the decade. They finally released a new single, "Expo 2000," in late 1999, and surprised fans by announcing tour dates. On the recording front, Kraftwerk celebrated the centennial anniversary of the Tour de France with a new version of their 1983 single "Tour de France," and followed with a full album (Tour de France Soundtracks) in August 2003. The live record Minimum-Maximum followed in 2005. ~ Jason Ankeny
full bio

Selected Discography

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Track List: Kraftwerk 1

Comments

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Had an underground station in Chicago, TRIAD, (early FM !) played Ruckzuck couple of times a week, the show was limited to 4 hrs. weekdays starting at 9 pm.listened religiously. hunted down that first traffic coned cover with the gatefold photo of starkly ominous machinery. Played for people with love or hateresponse s , the hate side were still physically moving to the rythmic drone of it! One of those cautyah!! kinda moments. When Autobahn was out for a while, it pretty much went mainst
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darryl.chan
There's SO many remixes and variations of the original song.
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Whats great is it still sounds fresh as all hell. I heard Autobahn when I was a little kid and it was like a whole universe opened up. A transcendent catalog of work.
We are the robots.
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christopherm a r d i s
I was hooked by Kraftwerk when the single of Autobahn actually got US airplay in 1975, and thought Man-Machine was just unreal... you only have to listen to any number of groups from the 80s and today that can trace elements of their sound back to these visionaries.
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Liked kraftwerk when first heard it 80s baby!!!!
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I love this song
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������������
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wllugo.wl
All ways liked kraftwerk but when they came out with mega hit trans Europe express that was it hooked!! W.lugo♐
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Awesome! Between Kraftwork, Bruce Haack and Tangerine Dream electronic music will last forever!
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Bring back popping n locking
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I love this song
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The digital revolution continues!!! ! !
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rdawson36
I love these guys
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Pure genius
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Robots are people too!
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Vote for Kraftwerk to enter the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame 2015!
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bshickman631 2
Riding this into work now!
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go krack head!
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i fokken love these guys! emereffer! Go Fokken Kowboys!¡!
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spensoid
Can I thumbs up TEE twice!?
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I saw them live at the Cosmopolitan in Las Vegas this summer. Brilliant!! I first discovered Kraftwerk in 1979 when they would get radio play on a local radio station that play New Wave at the time.
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hanswdrews
Man Machine is one of my top tem albums of all time.
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man I grow up listening to them. Even tho they came out way before I was born I still listen to them. They are great and remind me of Art of Noise group
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josh957
I saw them at the Harpa in Reykjavik in a 3d show and WOW. Then saw them later in NYC and the show had such less impact due to the venue. Make sure you see them where the visuals give great impact you will get so much out of the show.
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When I was a kid, my KISS-loving friend and I would play his parents' copy of Autobahn on the record player, and laugh and laugh.
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the 3d show at the Disney concert hall was amazing. Trippy as hell!
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Saw them at the 9:30 Club this weekend. Great show. Oooooo in 3-D.
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They were at the Walt disney concert hall last month they did 8 shows in 4 days I worked 3 out of the 4 days and it was the first time I heard them live and their music and it was awesome
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Love these guys! Saw them at The Ritz in NYC in August of 1981. Love the whole Computer World album, and love Autobahn. Another favorite song is The Model, both English an German versions
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Found these guys out through Throbbing Gristle. I've got to say, these guys are great. After listening to this, I'm fine with robots taking over the world.
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Daft Punk were influenced by Kraftwerk.
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Many many many bands were influenced by kraftwerk, such as Orchestral manoeuvres in the dark. Joy division, Depeche mode, and the Human league. Paul mccarthy and Andy of omd were influenced by kraftwerk and started music with electronics synthesizers because of kraftwerk. So thank the robots!
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THE! FATHER'S OF ALL! TECHNO!!!
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Is Tony Bongiovi there uncle to?
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Kraftwerk is the original pioneers of mixiing beats
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jeffreymqs64 1
People interested in making a few extra bucks per day you can check out BLUDOS.COM This site makes me around 70 usd per day. It's free to sign up.
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claricentp91 7
This is how you can make $50 - $100 per day by answering surveys. 1st. Go to BLUDOS.COM 2nd. Click on Start Today 3rd. Create Account (It's free) 4th. Thank me = >
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shawnnavuz71 1
This is how you can make $50 - $100 per day by answering surveys. 1st. Go to BLUDOS.COM 2nd. Click on Start Today 3rd. Create Account (It's free) 4th. Thank me = >
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ДаЗдравсгвуе т КРАФТВЕРК :) :)
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My favorite is autobahn
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hanswdrews
Man Machine - one of my all-time favorite albums!
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Sprockets
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Camp mendocino when I was seven this one of the counslers did a air rock show to we are the robots in a outdoor amputheater it blew me away I ve been more mosically apt and open to music every since they are sampled more then most know
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Their music sounds like modern industrial design... I think of machines and technology with their sound... They were way ahead of their times...
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In 1970 or 71 Kraftwerk had a very cool song called Ruckzuck. Florian shows off his fute on this song. It is on youtube on their album with the striped road cone. It is worth a listen... These guys set the trends in music for generations later. Trans Europe Express is the best song about a train ever written... Kraftwerk in German means Power station pretty fitting...
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disturbed041 2
WOW!!!!! (MEMORIES) I USED 2 BREAKDANCE DANCE 2 THIS.... BOGGIE DOWN BRONX!! 80's
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"Music Non Stop" Pop pop, ....pop pop pop!! Awesome track!!!
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Jams in the park in HARLEM, 201 and all the community centers true old school break beats. Miss the 80's
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I remember brake dances and pop locking to this in high school back in the 80s
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I really like it , it has my ear drums going in a BOOM BOOM BEAT
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