German Rock & Pop Music

Artists of Rock & Pop Music
  • Can
  • Neu!
  • Kraftwerk
  • Modern Talking
  • Ute Lemper
  • Nina Hagen
  • Die Toten Hosen
  • Scorpions
  • Rammstein
  • Einstürzende Neubauten
  • Die Fantastischen Vier
  • 5 Sterne De Luxe
  • Mouse on Mars
  • Tarwater
  • To Rococo Rot

German Rock Music - Kraftwerk

It was in the mid 1970's that the Germans of Kraftwerk established the sound guidelines that would be followed by an extraordinary amount of artists all over the world in the following decades. From the New Romantic movement to hip hop and techno, Kraftwerk's robotic pop - minimalist, hypnotic, with electronic rhythms - can be heard in virtually in almost all the new styles that impacted the field of popular music in the last 25 years.

The band emerged from the same experimental scene in Germany in the late 1960's, which bred bands such as Can, Neu! and Tangerine Dream. Its founders Florian Schneider and Ralf Hütter met in the Düsseldorf Conservatory classrooms and formed a band called Organisation with which they edited an album in 1970, Tone Float. Soon after they broke up the band and renamed themselves Kraftwerk (German for "energy plant") and began working at their own studio, Kling Klang, creating music within the imprecise limits of the emerging electronic minimalism.

Their 1971 album debut, titled simply Kraftwerk 1, was already portraying hints of their unique aesthetic, with innovations such as Schneider's experiments to design homemade rhythm machines.

In 1972 they edit Kraftwerk 2, in which the base is electronic, with no drums, which gave their compositions a distinct robotic sense: the concept of purely technological music was totally strange, at the very least, to musicians and audiences at the time.

In 1973 their third record went on sale, and a year later Autobahn was edited, for the first time in the United States. This last album was an international hit; the single with an edited version of the track that provided the album's name, became the hit of the year both in Germany and the United States, making it to the top of the charts. Played mostly on a Moog synthesiser, the track "Autobahn" is where Kraftwerk's distinctive sound is crystallized with a certain opening-up towards the structure and melody of the conventional pop song, establishing a base for electronic music within the musical mainstream for the first time.

In 1975 Radio-Activity was edited, a conceptual album in which the theme of radio communication was explored; the main theme for their 1977 album Trans-Europe Express was train rides, which took them a little further with the mechanization of music. The Man Machine, in 1978, is nothing more than the logical result of these interests, a record in which human presence is almost nonexistent. At that stage, the members of the band portrayed themselves as robots, an image that grew to the beats of tracks such as "We are the Robots".

Since then, however, the group disappeared for a long time, until in 1981 they edit Computer World, a reflection on the power of technology on the world. After disappearing again, this time for 5 years, Electric Café went on sale in 1986. But in a musical scene that was at that stage dominated by synth pop and rhythm machines, their music was suddenly outdated.

In 1991 they edited a compilation called The Mix, and only by the end of 1999 they reappeared with a new single, Expo 2000, and a new record in 2003, Tour de France Soundtracks.