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 KRAFTWERK (Electronica/Synthpop)

In jos 

Number of posts : 172
Registration date : 31/05/2008

MesajSubiect: KRAFTWERK (Electronica/Synthpop)   Sam Mai 31, 2008 3:25 pm

Origin: Düsseldorf, Germany
Genre(s): Avant-garde, Electronic, Synthpop, Krautrock
Years active: 1970–present


Kraftwerk (pronounced [ˈkʁaftvɛɐk], German for "power plant" or "power station") is an influential electronic music band from Düsseldorf, Germany.

The Kraftwerk sound combines driving, repetitive rhythms with catchy melodies; mainly following a Western classical style of harmony, in a minimalistic and strictly electronic arrangement. Their simplified lyrics are frequently sung through a vocoder or generated by computer-speech software. In the mid to late 1970s and the early 1980s, Kraftwerk's distinctive sound was revolutionary for its time, and it has had a lasting impact across nearly all genres of modern popular music

* Ralf Hütter – synthesizers, organ, lead vocals
* Florian Schneider – synthesizers, background vocals, computer-generated vocals
* Fritz Hilpert – sound engineering, electronic percussion
* Henning Schmitz – sound engineering, electronic percussion, live keyboards.
* Stefan Pfaffe – video technician (filled in for Florian Schneider on the 2008 US tour)

Former members:
* Karl Bartos – electronic percussion (1975–1991), live vibraphone (1975), keyboards on Computer World tour (1981)
* Wolfgang Flür – electronic percussion (1973–1987)
Bartos and Flür are the most widely recognized former members of Kraftwerk; they are featured on the group's most popular recordings. Other former members include:
* Fernando Abrantes – electronic percussion
* Klaus Röder – guitar, electro-violin
* Emil Schult – guitar, electro-violin (later employed as a painter/graphic designer and lyricist)
* Plato Kostic (a.k.a. Plato Riviera) – bass guitar.
* Peter Schmidt – drums
* Michael Rother – guitar
* Houschäng Néjadepour – guitar
* Klaus Dinger – drums
* Charly Weiss – drums
* Thomas Lohmann - drums
* Andreas Hohmann – drums
* Eberhard Kranemann – bass guitar
Hohmann, Dinger, and Röder were the only other former members to be featured on any official Kraftwerk recordings. Röder has been featured on several bootleg recordings and seen in several TV performances. An unreleased studio recording session produced by Konrad "Conny" Plank, featuring the trio of Schneider, Dinger, and Rother, is rumoured to have taken place. Apparently, these plans were scrapped when Ralf Hütter returned to the group in 1971, before starting the recording sessions for Kraftwerk 2.

Kraftwerk was founded in 1970 by Florian Schneider (flutes, synthesizers, electro-violin) and Ralf Hütter (electronic organ, synthesizers). The two had met as students at the Düsseldorf Conservatory in the late 1960s, participating in the German experimental music scene of the time, which the British music press dubbed "Krautrock".

The duo had originally performed together in a quintet known as Organisation. This ensemble released one album, titled Tone Float for RCA Records in the UK. The unit split shortly thereafter. The two began setting up their own private studio in a rented loft in Düsseldorf, which later became known as Kling Klang. Early Kraftwerk line-ups from 1970–1974 fluctuated, as Hütter and Schneider worked with around a half-dozen other musicians over the course of recording three albums and sporadic live appearances; most notably guitarist Michael Rother and drummer Klaus Dinger, who left to form Neu! The input, expertise, and influence of producer/engineer Konrad "Conny" Plank was significant as well. Plank worked with many other leading German acts, including members of Can, Neu!, Cluster and Harmonia. As a result of his work with Kraftwerk, Plank's studio near Köln became one of the most sought-after studios in the late 1970s. Plank produced the first four Kraftwerk albums, but ceased working with the band after the commercial success of "Autobahn", apparently over a dispute about contracts. Painter and graphic artist Emil Schult became a regular collaborator with the band starting in 1973, playing bass guitar and electro-violin. Schult then went on to design artwork in addition to writing lyrics and accompanying the group on tour.

What is generally regarded as the classic Kraftwerk line-up was formed in 1975, for the Autobahn tour. During this time, the band was presented as a quartet, with Hütter and Schneider joined by Wolfgang Flür and Karl Bartos as electronic percussionists. This quartet would be the band's public persona for its renowned output of the latter 1970s and early 1980s. Flür had joined the band in 1973, in preparation for a television appearance to promote its third album. The group's striking custom-made electronic percussion pads, played by Flür, made their debut as well. Bartos also helped to write many of the band's most memorable songs.

The band is notoriously reclusive, as they reject to accept mail and allow no visitors at the Kling Klang Studio. Another notable example of this eccentric behaviour was reported to Johnny Marr of The Smiths by Karl Bartos, who explained that anyone trying to contact the band for collaboration would be told the studio telephone did not have a ringer, since during recording, the band did not like to hear any kind of noise pollution. Instead, callers were instructed to phone the studio precisely at a certain time, whereupon the phone would be answered by Ralf Hütter, despite never hearing the phone ring. Chris Martin, lead singer of UK group Coldplay, anecdotally recalled, in a late 2007 article in Q about Kraftwerk, the process of requesting permission to sample the melody from the track "Computer Love" in their 2005 release "Talk" from their record X&Y. He recalled writing them a letter and sending it through the lawyers of the respective parties and several weeks later receiving an envelope containing a handwritten reply, which simply said 'yes'.

In 1990, after years of withdrawal from live performance, Kraftwerk began to tour Europe again regularly. In 1998 the group made their first appearances in the United States and Japan since the completion of the Computer World tour in 1981. Hütter had wanted to play more shows over the years, but the cost and time involved in shipping all of the group's huge analog equipment hindered world tours and travel outside of Europe. The band also ran into problems with customs officials in the Eastern Bloc region, with some of them fearing that the group's older computers at the time would trigger nuclear devices by mistake. During this decade, the band often stated that it was working on new material—though speculation about release dates fell through several times. The growing time between recordings, the rarity of live performances, Hütter and Schneider's alleged obsession with cycling, and the increasingly perfectionist nature of the recording process were the major reasons behind the departure of Flür and soon after Bartos, whose improvisations and song-writing capabilities were an essential part of Kraftwerk's later recordings. Following the departure of Flür and Bartos, Kling Klang studio personnel Fritz Hilpert and Henning Schmitz have appeared in what some have called the second classic line-up of Kraftwerk, which has been active from late 1991 to the present.

In July 1999 the single "Tour de France" was reissued in Europe after it had been out of print for several years. It was released for the first time on CD in addition to a repressing of the 12-inch vinyl single. Both versions feature slightly altered artwork that removed the faces of Flür and Bartos from the four man cycling peloton as depicted on the original cover. Also at this time, the group signed a new contract with Sony-ATV Music Publishing. The single "Expo 2000", the group's first new song in 13 years, was released in December 1999 and subsequently remixed by contemporary techno musicians such as Underground Resistance and Orbital. This version was released as "Expo Remix" in November 2000. Before this time, the only artists allowed to remix the band's recordings were Franēois Kevorkian and William Orbit.

In 2000 ex-member Flür published his autobiography in Germany, Ich war ein Roboter. Later English-language editions of the book were titled Kraftwerk: I Was a Robot. The text revealed many previously unreported details about life in the band. This book met with hostility and litigation from Hütter and Schneider, who disputed several of its claims (e.g., that Flür had built the band's first electronic drum pads) and objected to the public discussion of personal information.

In August 2003 the band released Tour de France Soundtracks, its first album of new material since 1986's Electric Café. In 2004 a box set titled The Catalogue was planned for release. It was to feature remastered editions of the group's albums from 1974's Autobahn to 2003's Tour de France Soundtracks. The item was soon withdrawn from Kraftwerk and EMI's album release schedule. It was only released as a promotional item on CD, which has become a much-wanted item that has often appeared on internet auction sites such as eBay. In 2007, the group showed a renewed interest in releasing the collection, although an official street date was not given.

In June 2005 the band's first-ever official live album, Minimum-Maximum, which was compiled from the shows during the band's tour of spring 2004, received extremely positive reviews. Most of the tracks featured had been heavily reworked and remodeled from the existing studio versions. The album was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Electronic/Dance Album. In December, the Minimum-Maximum two-DVD set was released to accompany the album, featuring live footage of the band performing the Minimum-Maximum tracks in various venues all over the world.

April 2008 saw the band back on tour in the United States leading up to their previously announced show at the Coachella Festival. Florian Schneider did not participate in the lineup of the 2008 US tour. The lineup consisted of Ralf Hütter, Henning Schmitz, Fritz Hilpert, and Stefan Pfaffe. In September, the group will play three consecutive dates in Poland. It is not known whether Florian Schneider will be present at these concerts.

Most recently Kraftwerk was announced as a headlining act at the 2008 Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival. This was their second appearance at the festival since 2004. The group performed on the evening of April 26, 2008. At the end of the Song "Radioactivity", "Tschernobyl: April 26th 1986" was added to the Background video.

Prior to the performance at Coachella, Kraftwerk played three shows in US cities Minneapolis, Milwaukee, and Denver. The touring quartet consisted of Ralf Hutter, Henning Schmitz, Fritz Hilpert and video technician Stefan Pfaffe. Florian Schneider was curiously absent from the lineup. It is unknown what Schneider's status in the group is at this point in time.[
Three new live dates have been added in Kraków, Poland at the sixth Sacrum Profanum Festival. These shows will take place at the Old Lenin Factory from September 19-21, 2008 as revealed on the group's website and MySpace page.


* 1970: Tone Float (as Organisation)
* 1970: Kraftwerk
* 1972: Kraftwerk 2
* 1973: Ralf und Florian
* 1974: Autobahn
* 1975: Radio-Activity (German version: Radio-Aktivität)
* 1977: Trans-Europe Express (German version: Trans-Europa Express)
* 1978: The Man-Machine (German version: Die Mensch-Maschine)
* 1981: Computer World (German version: Computerwelt)
* 1986: Electric Café (German version: Electric Café [Deutsche Version])
* 1991: The Mix (album of re-recorded back-catalogue - German version: The Mix [Deutsche Version])
* 2003: Tour de France Soundtracks
* 2004: The Catalogue (German version: Der Katalog) PROMOTIONAL ONLY (remastered box set of albums from 1974 to 2003)
* 2005: Minimum-Maximum (live album – 2 CDs/4 LPs, 2 DVDs, also available as a special edition Notebook with an 88-page book)

- The only difference between the Radio-Activity and Radio-Aktivität albums is the packaging. The music on both albums is identical.
- Tour De France Soundtracks was only released in French.

* 1973: Kohoutek-Kometenmelodie
* 1974: Comet Melody 2 (German version: Kometenmelodie 2)
* 1975: Autobahn (UK #11 USA #25)
* 1976: Radio-Activity (German version: Radioaktivität)
* 1977: Trans-Europe Express (German version: Trans-Europa Express' - USA #67')
* 1977: Showroom Dummies (French version: Les Mannequins)
* 1978: The Robots (German version: Die Roboter)
* 1978: The Model (German version: Das Model)
* 1979: Neon Lights (UK #53)
* 1981: Pocket Calculator (German version: Taschenrechner - Japanese version: Dentaku - French version: Mini Calculateur - UK #39)
* 1981: Computer Love (UK #36)
* 1981: The Model (Reissue - UK #1)
* 1982: Computerwelt (Remix) [German only release]
* 1982: Showroom Dummies (Remix - UK #25)
* 1983: Tour de France (Released in German and French versions - UK #22)
* 1984: Tour de France (Remix - Released in German and French versions - UK #24)
* 1986: Musique Non-Stop (UK #82)
* 1987: The Telephone Call (German version: Der Telefon Anruf - UK #89)
* 1991: The Robots (Re-recorded version from "The Mix" - German version: Die Roboter - UK #20)
* 1991: Radioactivity (Re-recorded version from "The Mix" - German version: Radioaktivität - UK #43)
* 1999: Tour de France (Reissue - Released in French only - UK #61)
* 1999: Expo 2000 (UK #27)
* 2000: Expo Remix (various remixes)
* 2003: Tour de France 2003 (UK #20)
* 2003: Aerodynamik (UK #33)
* 2003: Elektro-Kardiogramm (Radio Mix - Promo Only)
* 2007: Aerodynamik/La Forme (Remixed by Hot Chip)

* 2001: Zero Landmine - EP - with Ryuichi Sakamoto and others

Kraftwerk has never authorized any best-of albums; however, the group's former record companies often put together compilations of old material to cash in on the band's growing popularity, particularly during the early 1980s.
A number of these releases can be found here , as they are too numerous to list here.
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