Formed in 1970 by classical music students Florian Schneider and Ralph Hutter, German producers Kraftwerk embraced new musical technology such as Moog synthesizers, drum machines and vocoders to create a minimal robotic pop sound that would become hugely revolutionary. Eccentric and reclusive, even their record company didn't know how to contact them as they locked themselves away in the Kling Klang studio, rarely doing interviews and disconnecting the phone. Deconstructing pop into hypnotic, mechanical soundscapes, legendary albums Autobahn (1974), Trans-Europe Express (1977) and The Man Machine (1978) laid the template for electronic dance music, influenced bands such as Joy Division, Depeche Mode and Radiohead and were used as samples on pioneering hip-hop record, “Planet Rock” by Afrika Bambaataa. “The Model” gave them their only UK number one single in 1978 and, despite not featuring any of the original members, they continue to baffle, entrance and inspire: sending robots of themselves to public appearances; performing in front of a huge 3D video displays; and playing a gig at the Manchester Velodrome while the Great Britain team cycled around them. Hutter has since overseen the release of two compilation albums via Parlophone – 2017’s 3-D The Catalogue and 2020’s Remixes – while Schneider left the band in 2008 and later died of cancer on April 21st, 2020 at the age of 73.

Related Artists

Stations Featuring Kraftwerk

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