The musical cyborg of electro-pop
Kraftwerk, a German electronic music band formed by Ralf Hütter and Florian Schneider in 1970 maximizes the technological mediums of the 70s to craft an interesting repetitive catchy electronic tunes that seem very robotic. In a way, they are even seen as pioneers of electro-pop music.
Kraftwerk’s uses music and lyrics to represent the post-war European urban life with our dependency on machines and technology to run our lives such as driving by car on Autobahn,train, using computers etc. It seems like a social commentary that machines are a part of us, like a biological extension to ease our everyday work. A celebration of modernity yet this subtle repercussions of this depency on machines to run our lives just like in Robocop
Ok kidding! I mean it won’t be so extreme to that extent but it’s kind of scary to think our world dominated by machines and we will be slacking our ass out at homes doing literally nothing! This comes to my point about the post-human condition where we get too comfortable with life. Will our existence be non-productive or valued? I mean it’s unfair to say non-productive because machines does help out ease our burden but will it be to the point machines are controlling our lives?
Watching Kraftwerk “I am Robot” and “The Man Machine” shows this inhuman character going about doing everyday mundane cyclic things. Its like we are slaved by our own creation. They even exemplify this alienation of technology through their live performances in which some they do not appear live but instead used life-size mannequins and robots to conduct official photo shoots.
But put aside those performances that reflect their “foreseen” society, i do enjoy the mash of instruments that are digitally altered to make it sound more electronic and did I mention they also made some custom self made instruments to push further the limits of music technology? especially the use of vocoder in their lyrics. for those unfamiliar how a vocoder sounds like, here’s a link: (the first part)
Altering natural sound and making it mechanical to produce a soundtrack-that’s the main style of Kraftwerk that I perceive them.