Hey kids! You like the bloops and bleeps?! How ’bout that electronic dance? Maybe yer into that newfangled hip hop sound? Well, whether you’re into more ambient electronica, indie dance music like LCD Soundsystem, the experimental spaced-out German kosmiche Musik scene, rap and hip hop, or even the synthed out redundant 80s revivalist bullshit that’s plaguing everything these days, they all owe some level of debt to Düsseldorf‘s musical innovators Kraftwerk.
Officially formed in 1970 by Ralf Hütter and Florian Schneider, the project was spawned out of the duo’s previous project, The Organisation, which incorporated more organic, percussive, expansive and loose, free jam components and sensibilities. They only released one album, 1969‘s less than commercially successful Tone Float, but even then there were signs of what would come, like with the song “Noitasinagro,” which sounds as if it could have easily appeared on a Matmos release or The Books’ 2010 album, The Way Out, 41 years later. With Kraftwerk‘s 1970 self-titled debut, Florian‘s flute still remained very much present, as they slipped into more proggy territories, at moments, while exploring eerie minimalist soundscapes throughout others. Admirers of the work of electronic pioneer Karlheinz Stockhausen, their affinity for mixing elements of Musique concrète with electronics were beginning to surface, as well; at moments there are even really abrasive industrial sounds pounding at the listener, before regressing into beautiful glacial textures, or even full on drone. Major contributors in the development and production of Germany‘s “krautrock” movement early on, they steadily progressed into a more streamlined act with a futuristic cybernetic aesthetic and feel, much different than some of the more animalistic, raw freak-out work of fellow seminal acts like Amon Düül II and CAN, or even the other more electronic focused acts like Cluster. But while Kraftwerk adopted an increasingly “synthetic” sonic palette, it didn’t overly sterilize their creations; more than transforming humanoids into robots, the sound that they were presenting was one of providing a new life-force to electronics.
The massive global and cultural impact that Kraftwerk has achieved cannot be overstated. When hip hop legend Afrika Bambaataa released the groundbreaking “Planet Rock” in 1982, it not only became one of the most influential hip hop tracks of all time it also earned him credit for helping to develop the genre of electro music. The melody for “Planet Rock” was swiped directly from the title track of Kraftwerk‘s 1977 album Trans Europe Express (1977), while the 808 beat was derived from their song “Numbers” off of Computer World (1981). “Get Innocuous,” the opener from LCD Soundsystem‘s 2007 hit album, Sound Of Silver, which you crazy kids all seem to like so much, is just strung together on backbone of the rhythm to “The Robots” from Kraftwerk‘s The Man-Machine. And speaking of their 1978 effort, the red and black album cover of the fictional “techno-pop” group that Maude show’s the Dude in The Big Lebowski, is just a parody of The Man-Machine cover art. The band’s name? Autobahn–the title of a 1974 Kraftwerk release. And these are just a couple of the more random examples apart from the massive impact that they’ve had on all forms of electronic music and its production across the board. Kraftwerk created its own genre and paved the way for endless others to come into form. They wrote music for the future and we still haven’t quite caught up to it.
I’ve been waiting a really fucking long time for the opportunity to catch these guys live and wasn’t convinced that it was ever going to happen; at least not as far as them coming out to the Seattle area. On July 1st those of us who have been crossing our fingers will finally be rewarded, and with some sort of 3-dimensional live performance no less. It’s being described as follows:
“The Kraftwerk live experience is a perfectly synchronised audio-visual spectacle complete with pristine digital sound and 3-D projections. It is a pure electronic art-rave.”
It sounds good to me, and apparently, plenty of others, because a second show has recently been added that night to accommodate the overwhelming response. The even better news is that, thanks to our friends at STG Presents, we have a pair of tickets for that additional late night performance to give away to one of you folks for free.
[CLICK HERE to buy tickets]
THE CONTEST / GIVEAWAY:
*1 Winner will receive a pair of tickets to the following performance :
KRAFTWERK 3-D Concert
The Paramount Theatre – Seattle, Wa
Tuesday, July 1st, 2014 @ 10:30pm
HOW TO ENTER:
This giveaway will center around the song “The Robots.”
The lyrics to the classic lead-off cut from the 1978 album The Man-Machine are delivered from the perspective of subservient androids, with such lines as:
We’re functioning automatic
and we are dancing mechanic
We are programmed just to do
anything you want us to
Your job as the entrant is to imagine that you have your own troop of cybernetic humanoid organisms at your disposal, and to let us know what you would do with them? How do you utilize their services and abilities? Be as simple or detailed as you like. It’s up to you.
Post your answer in the comment section below.
There is no part 3. That’s all there is to the contest. It’s pretty easy… but you should probably read the fine print.
The Fine Print:
All entries must be received by Saturday, June 7th, 2014 at 11:59pm to be eligible.
You can enter as many times as you want, but use a valid email so that we can contact you.
If you sign in with Facebook, make sure that your account can accept a message from us.
Winner will be chosen arbitrarily, based on our personal “favorite.”
If you are not sure that you will be able to attend the show, do not enter! You’d be surprised how often that shit happens and we don’t want these going to waste.
If we are unable to contact the winner in a reasonable amount of time, a new winner will be chosen. Good luck!