German band Kraftwerk are pioneers of electronic music. Their beats and approach to composition transformed the music industry forever after. Plus, they had great style!
In the 1970s American rock n’ roll was universal.; the look and the sound were everywhere, and while there were a few highly talented originators, there were endless middle-of-the-road imitators. The members of Kraftwerk, on the other hand, were determined to be unique.
So, instead of working with standard strings and percussion, core Kraftwerkers Florian Schneider and Ralf Hütter discovered their voice in synthesizers, while Wolfgang Flür and Karl Bartos worked on electronic drums. They crafted each song in their homemade Kling Klang studio, complete with homemade instruments, and the result was a sort of synth-pop that was 100% revolutionary. And while the rest of hip musicians rocked long hair and strove to present the image of casual cool, the members of the Kraftwerk donned close-cropped hair and uniforms. They were the first electronic sonic scientists, and the whole thing just worked.
The band worked to perfect their image and their sound, and by 1981 they had developed the perfect gestalt. With the release of Computer World, Kraftwerk took its entire Kling Klang studio onstage, framed itself with screens that projected synchronized slides and films, and for “The Robots,” actually replaced itself with automatons designed to resemble a different musician. They have been music gods every since …
Kraftwerk’s music and style is at the core of hip hop, electronica, pop, rock, and dance. They are musical icons in the truest sense of the word. The video below is pretty rad. It features live performances by the band throughout their transformation, from the 70s to the present. Amazing.