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Kraftwerk: Man, Machine, Music

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Kraftwerk in concert (flickr/cristalenvivo)

As German synthpop pioneers Kraftwerk perform a series of eight career-spanning concerts at the Museum of Modern Art, we examine the history of this pivotal force in electronic minimalism. Joining us to discuss is German singer and major Kraftwerk fan, Theo Bleckmann. (And you never know - maybe a couple of robots will show up, too.)


Theo Bleckmann

Comments [13]

Darren Stuart from Brighton, UK

The podcast is very good. Intelligent questions; and good to hear peoples' opinions of one of the greatest bands ever to have recorded. Have been a fan since early 1982, as The Model hit number 1 over here. From then on, myself, my friend Steve, and his older DJ brother, seriously got into all of the albums, even going back to Ralf Und Florian. (Organiation, it has to be said, is a little 'tricky'). 'TEE' was constantly played, as was 'Numbers' from Computer World, and of course The Man-Machine. Personally, I prefer the songs when they are NOT sung in English. Now, 32 years later, my interest is even greater than back then. I am hoping that the new album will follow some time before the end of the year. It will be very interesting to hear music and songs that haven't been co-written by Florian Schneider. And with that in mind, will Florain ever release anything?

May. 02 2012 12:01 PM
jim from DETROIT

a friend of mine bought me kraftwerk's "computer world' for my birthday. it was my 17th. he said explicitly: "you have to like this," like it was a command. "i am a guitarist, and, at the time was not interested in any music with out guitar. at first i didn't like it. however, my thinking at the time, as crazy as it sounds, was to play the album til it wore out. right - stupid, but the more i listened to it, the more i liked it. soon it became one of my favorites. since then i have branched out to all genres of music. thank you, kraftwerk, for the music.

Apr. 11 2012 10:53 PM
jerry from Long Island

My brother bought me T.E.E. back around when it was released because I was such a Pink Floyd fan, I don't know if he even knew what it was. But I wasn't interested, I didn't even play side B til a year later. But when I did I was hooked on it for good. I played it over and over.

'Franz Shubert' is such a beautiful relaxing track, it should be used to treat PTSD.

Apr. 11 2012 03:24 PM
Sheldon from Brooklyn

Kraftwerk's imagery and the visual parts of their live shows are often under-appreciated. Some people, unfairly - have even call it fascist.

Apr. 11 2012 02:33 PM
Andrew Meissner from New York City

When I listen to Autobahn my chest tightens, sometimes I'm on the verge of tears and I fill with joy. From the tongue and cheek take on the Beach Boys "Fun, Fun, Fun" to their soaring moogs that truly emulate the rolling green fields and endless scapes of flowering barley and wildflowers, recreating the feeling of freedom one has driving through Germany and over that famous ribbon of asphalt.

Apr. 11 2012 02:33 PM
Chris from NYC

Much Love for Kraftwerk. Does this run at MOMA have something to do with with the show Bob Moog did there in 1969? That show is often mentioned as one of the first "Electronic Music" concerts. That can't be lost on Ralph.

Apr. 11 2012 02:33 PM
Cliff from Clinton NJ


Apr. 11 2012 02:23 PM
Skink from Manhattan

Why are you allowing this guy to describe krautrock as hippie acoustic music. Krautrock began as an aggressive political response by post war German youth.

Apr. 11 2012 02:18 PM
Simone from Peekskill

I bought the original album when it came out. Perhaps because I was taking German in college at the time. What is is worth now? Everyone thought I was crzzy at the time.

Apr. 11 2012 02:18 PM
Robots Need to Party from NYC

Enough cannot be said about this band. Their influence is profound and their sound is certainly not "unemotional". It must be in my programming or something because the instant I hear a Kraftwerk my body moves. It is uncontrollable.

The Kraftwerk show at Roseland in the late 90's was the "Best" concert I've ever been to. Soulful dance music that astounded the crowd. Their antics on stage or lack of was sublime. From the Robots performing "we are the robots" to the band playing what looked like calculators on "pocket calculator". I love this amazing innovative band.

May this Powerplant never run out of steam.

Apr. 11 2012 02:17 PM
Antonio from Mexico City

Kraftwerk is simply one of the most futuristic bands to have spawned ever. Once you go Man-Machine, there's simply no turning back.

Apr. 11 2012 02:16 PM
Sheldon from Brooklyn

For four men, from 70's West Germany of all places - to get soul and warmth out of cold electronic machines - the way they did, was as close to a musical paradox as one can ever get.

They changed everything, from Detroit Techno to New York Hip-Hop. The DNA of an entire genre of music - Latin free-style, was based on Trans Europe Express.

Apr. 11 2012 02:06 PM
Siouxie from Bronx

Always loved "Trans Europe Express" and have the EP on vinyl. Recently played it again - pure Teutonic genius. When this came out, I was totally digging the whole German sound of Bowie's Low and Heroes albums, so Kraftwerk was just a logical tangent of that.

Kraftwerk is truly timeless, and how great they're back among the living!

Apr. 11 2012 02:05 PM

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