Category Archives: Kraftwerk

Kraftwerk listening party – The big easy

Featuring : Kraftwerk

Important things happen between Kraftwerk 2 and the next album.

  • Florian got a haircut, and started wearing nice suits
  • Ralf and Florian got neon signs
  • Ralf bought a mini-moog

 

kraftwerk00

The kraftwerk traffic cone is still in use – as with the previous albums this is men at work, under construction. Kraftwerk are perhaps still a work in progress.

1973’s Ralf und Florian remains distinctively experimental, lacks the previous albums’ dissonance; the music is sweeter, more colorful with the arrival of the synthesizer. Where there would have been music concrete there is now ambience; melodies become integral, pastoral, sometimes classical in theme. As Kraftwerk are left with only Ralf and Florian on the album, Ralf’s melodic style can breathe more and Florian refrains from putting his flute through 7 shades of effects.

They are having fun together and indulging in the art of composition and songwriting.

Tanzmusik, with it’s strange ghostly Victorian sounds is more hauntingly music box than it’s title, translated as dance music, would suggest. It marks a milestone in the duos music growth and again one of xxjfg’s favorite tracks of all time, but basically anything we could choose to post from Ralf und Florain is classic, such as Kristallo.

Kraftwerk – Kristallo

The album closes with Ananas Symphonie (Pineapple Symphony), a confection of mouth-watering phase and Vocoder sounds washing onto a sleepy Hawaiian beach- you can almost taste the pineapple.

ummm pineapple.

Like John said : “If you go home with somebody, and they don’t own Ralf und Florain, don’t fuck ‘em!”

 

xxjfg will continue their Kraftwerk listening party after soon.

Kraftwerk listening party – Processing to an end…

Featuring : Kraftwerk

kwerk2

1972’s Kraftwerk 2 album begins with the track King Klang. Industrial sounds echo into Kling-Klang with an approach taken to processing the organic instruments, production is key to sound.

Gone are the live drummers, replaced by mechanical rhythm machines, and a minimal more ordered approach bring the volume lower. It’s definitely Kraftwerk, in the beautiful tones and melodies arising through the repetition.

Tape is speeded up and slowed down, there is lightness to the sound – gone are the Hammond organ/distorted violin freak-outs left over from the hippie roots.

This moment could conceivably be the start of dance music as we know it.

Atem (meaning Breath) processing human breathing almost begs the invention of the Vocoder, as used on later albums. Ralf and Florian continue their scientific themed titles, Wavelength and electricity in Strom (Stream or Current). Kling Klang was becoming a laboratory for the science of sound.

Kraftwerk – Strom

This album would be the short lived Kraftwerk’s last, and brought them to a suitable end.

Kraftwerk brought the Tate’s website and phone lines to an end on Wednesday 12th of December 2012.

20jfg hope to continue their own Kraftwerk listening party soon.

Kraftwerk listening party – What’s in a name?

Featuring : Kraftwerk

From the unorganized power of Organisation emerged the organised Kraftwerk – literally translated meaning Power Station (no relation to the Robert Palmer / Duran Duran supergroup).

Ruckzuck opens the first Kraftwerk album as a statement of intent. Unrelenting rhythms drive the song forward but this time the freak-out is more machine-like. Stuttering patterns echo the machinery around them, as man recreates the sound of the machines. We make no secret here at xxjfg that Ruckzuck is one of our favorite pieces of music of all time.

Stratovarious (a pun on the Stratocaster guitars) with Neu!’s Andreas Hohmann on drums provides a moment at around 6 minutes that gives us the first taste of the legendary motorik rhythm normally associated with Klaus Dinger, the drummer on side 2’s Vom Himmel Hoch.

Kraftwerk – Vom himmel hoch

Vom himmel hoch shows more of Kraftwerks exploration of rhythm with ‘the sound of german funk’ which they would later lend back to Afrika Bambaataa. With the involvement of Dinger, Andreas Homann and Conny Planck as producer, Kraftwerk is a pivotal point in the history of ‘Krautrock’ (a highly derogatory phrase, kraut meaning cabbage).

The title of the track Megaherz (translated as Mega-heart, a wordplay on Megahertz, the unit of frequency) brings in the theme Kraftwerk were to become known for – their obsession with science and specifically energy.

As a whole the album Kraftwerk flows through sonic experiments, as Kraftwerk try and escape the ‘sound’ of traditional instruments, and their salvation was just around the corner.

Kraftwerk play 8 nights at the Tate Modern in February.

20jfg will be hosting Kraftwerk uneasy-listening parties throughout December to celebrate.

Kraftwerk listening party – Tone Float

Featuring : Kraftwerk

“Dear Kraftwerk, I’m quite good with Vocoders & Electronics, like dressing up like a robot & know all of your songs by heart, just in case.”

Disastronaut – 8:11 PM Jan 7th 2009, from web

The message had come through. Florian Schneider, the co-founder of Kraftwerk had left the band.

Since the mid 1980s Kraftwerk had critically been called a self-remix project, with the ultimate remix their 2005 ‘live’ album Minimum Maximum. Recorded during the bands taking to the stage with laptops period and ironically one of the best live albums ever since it was recorded by, in the traditional sense, something that could not by further removed from a live band.

But lets go back to where it began…

BBC Television, Tomorrow’s world – 25th September 1975.

Four gentlemen dressed more for the office than the pop charts surrounded by neon lights, with knitting needles for drumsticks produce melodies by seeming to press buttons and turns dials. They smile unnervingly, obviously gaining a great sense of satisfaction from their interaction with the machines. The BBC voice announces :

“Kraftwerk have a name for this, it’s machine music. Sounds are created at their laboratory in Dusseldorf, programmed, then recreated on stage with a minimum of fuss. This is ‘Autobahn’ – based, say the group, on the rhythm of trucks, cars and passing bridges heard while driving through Germany…..next year Kraftwerk want to eliminate the keyboards altogether, and build jackets with electronic lapels which can be played by touch.”

Unless you were a religious follower of the German artrock movement, this would be your first exposure to the band, Kraftwerk in the UK. It would possibly also be the first time you had seen a synthesizer, or certainly a band whose only instruments numbered these strange new metal boxes with wooden panels and wires coming out the back, Moogs, home-made tinfoil drums and ARPs.

http://youtu.be/3s5pZCrOxeQ

But lets go back to where it really began…

The Beach Boys from Düsseldorf, Florian Schneider and Ralf Hütter met at the Düsseldorf Conservatory where their interest in improvised live music, fixation with Iannis Xenakis, John Cage and Pierre ‘all art of the past must be destroyed’ Boulez drew them together.

1969 – An Organisation

As Organisation Ralf and Florian perfomed as a quintet, joined at various times by Basil Hammoudi, Butch Hauf , Alfred “Fred” Mönicks, Charly Weiss, Peter Martini and Paul Lorenz, releasing the 1969 album Tone Float for RCA Records, produced by Konrad “Conny” Plank.

Tone Float’s 20 minute A-side of the same name is far from the sound of Kraftwerk most people would recognize, with live drums, bass, flute, organ and violin. The atmosphere has more in common with the freakout improvisations of Lightning Bolt or Oneida than any of the synth pop bands most listeners normally associate with Kraftwerk. There is not a synthesizer in site.

Organisation – Vor Dem Blauen Bock

Vor Dem Blauen Bock pre-emanates a sound later to be associated with Neu! (but more in that in another listening party). The album as a whole places Organisation firmly in the post-psychedelic experimental sound of their German contemporaries.

“The studio was in the middle of an oil refinery. When we came out of the door we could hear the sound of those big flames burning off the fumes – all kinds of industrial noises.” – Ralf Hütter

Ralf and Forians studio in Düsseldorf, which later became known as Kling Klang, had been established and in their live guise as Organisation they performed a groundbreaking piece of music Ruckzuck, later to appear on a 1970 self titled album by a band called Kraftwerk.

Kraftwerk play 8 nights at the Tate Modern in February.

20jfg will be hosting Kraftwerk uneasy-listening parties throughout December to celebrate.