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She's a Model

By Kimberley Owen on Feb 9, 12 09:56 PM in Music


If you have been living under a musical rock lately you probably aren't aware that recently it was the 30th anniversary of Kraftwerk's 'The Model' reaching number 1 in the UK charts.

I'm aware that not everyone shows the same cultural appreciation of Kraftwerk as I do, but what better time to have an introduction to this unique and intense band as now? I love all bands electronic, but it was Kraftwerk that sparked my obsession. Their ability to sound like a strange computer game whilst looking quite robotic provoked my interest early on.

This band has not only changed my life but also music. The founding member of Kraftwerk, Ralph Hutter, displays as much of his identity through the band's music as humanly possibly - harsh, slightly cold, and severe but also memorising.

Starting off as 'Organisation' in the 60s, the band marked the beginning of a German electronic revolution. Neu, Can and Faust are other obvious reference points from the era - this is when the term 'Krautrock' was born.

When I hear the bleeps of 'Man Machine' it makes me tingle, the allure of this band is that they make music that sounds like its been made by industrial machines, not humans, perhaps something a little extra terrestrial.

If you need any further convincing of the greatness of this band, just look at who they've influenced. Kraftwerk have not only influenced bands like Depeche Mode, Erasure, Spandau Ballet, New Order and obviously Coldplay (check out 'Talk') but look at Brian Eno and of course, David Bowie. Surprisingly American DJ Afrika Bambaataa was even quoted on Radio 6's Kraftwerk documentary recently as being a huge fan!

Can you believe that it was the BBC's Tomorrow's World that showcased Kraftwerk's "Machine Music" on TV in 1975? The band's approach to music was insane, looking to technology like calculators, bicycles, train tracks and radio waves as their core influences and transforming them into musical masterpieces is nothing short of sublime.

Their melodies are solid, their hooks are pivotal, their music is pure genius.
It's rare that a band comes across and sounds nothing like any music you've heard before, and Kraftwerk were that band. Grab one of their tunes now and it still sounds like something beamed from eighty light years away.

Intellectually, Kraftwerk are definitely on another level, but if some of their music is a little farfetched for you, then crack on their most commercial hit 'The Model' and bust out your best robot dance and celebrate.

Myself, I'll be rotating Man Machine' and 'Computer World' and pretending I'm superhuman.

3 Comments

Moog said:

Kraftwerk influenced a really good electronic Birmingham scene a few years back.

Broadcast, Plone, L'Augmentation, Avrocar, Magnetophone ... as scenes go that was pretty cool.

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