Electronic Music

Kraftwerk is without a doubt one of the most influential groups in the history of electronic music. Their innovation is unparalleled and if they didn’t pave the road for electronic music it could still be a seldom traveled dirt path. Formed by Ralf Hutter and Florian Schneider in 1970, Kraftwerk hails from Dusseldorf, Germany and still has a sound unlike any other group. They pull from a Western Classical style of harmony, while using strictly electronic instrumentation. Kraftwerk’s vocals are also easily discernible; they use incredibly simplified lyrics which are sometimes processed using a vocoder. Kraftwerk actually had a custom vocoder designed and built for them back in the early 1970’s for the album “Ralf und Florian”. From 1974 through 1981 Kraftwerk released the most influential electronic music albums of all time. From “Autobahn” which is about traveling on the open road (specifically the Autobahn as they come from Germany) all the way to “Computer World” which is about the themes and rise of computers within society. The way a concept is chosen for each album was game changing on Kraftwerk’s part. Concept albums have been made before, but the themes that Ralf and Florian chose are directly related to electronic music and helped to build a culture from the ground up. Another reason that Kraftwerk deserves the title of most influential electronic group of all time is their production process. Ralf and Florian were some of the first to use a vocoder during the production process. As I stated before they actually had one built for a specific album in the early 70’s. When I listen to Kraftwerk I hear where most of these modern electronic guys are pulling their core ideas from. It is really cool to listen for elements of Kraftwerk’s innovation in other artists’ music. 

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