From The Crate: Kraftwerk – Computer Love

From The Crate: Kraftwerk – Computer Love

Kraftwerk cofounder Florian Schneider has died aged 73.Schneider founded the influential and iconic group with Ralf Hütter in 1970. Schneider quit Kraftwerk in 2009, while Hütter continued to tour with Henning Schmitz, Fritz Hilpert and Falk Grieffenhagen. Today to mark his passing we repost Luke Langlands piece on Kraftwerk’s Computer Love full tribute to follow.

Kraftwerk were as important to music as The Beatles. If ever there was a word that made electronica fans’ legs tremble and quickly take in breath, it is Kraftwerk. The grandfathers of synthesizers and keyboard music, the 80s synth wave of Visage, Yazoo, Gary Numan, Human League, New Order and OMD amongst others through to The Prodigy and Klaxons can trace roots back to the German quartet who were decades ahead of their time.

Foreseeing a society that was becoming more and more dependent on computers and machines, Computer World is the peak of Kraftwerk’s work along with The Man-Machine. Despite sounding almost like something that could be found on a Sinclair Spectrum soundtrack today when compared to modern-day equipment, the tracks are delightfully deep and expansive, despite the basic tools they wielded.

First single ‘Computer Love’ (which Coldplay has a lot to be thankful for!) is perhaps even more poignant than when it was first released. The track reflects on the idea of being reliant on machines and a feeling of hopelessness because of it – how many millions of people, in 2020, have the needy and unnecessary longing to cling onto the Internet, and find refuge in Facebook, Twitter et al? Remember, this is a song that was written thirty odd years ago when the idea of true home computing was still in its infancy.

The b-side to Computer Love, ‘The Model,’ is the most commercially accessible piece Kraftwerk wrote and (in my opinion) the exact moment the music world saw proof that electronic music could be mass-market.

Kraftwerk were the Nostradamus of electronic music and the computerised world. Without them, the definitive sound of the 80’s would have, arguably, never came into fruition.

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