Kraftwerk – The Beginnings of Electronic Music New Era

In 1970, Ralf Hutter and Florian Schneider, they both from Dusseldorf, Germany, created Kraftwerk. The music concept for Kraftwerk was mainly influenced by the electronic genre. Their sound was driven by repetitive rhythms, with short, but catchy melodies, and electronic instrumentation. Also, they integrated the use of vocoder or computer-speech software into the lyrics of the songs.

Kraftwerk released a total of 5 albums between 1974 to 1981: Autobahn (1974), Radio-Activity (1975), Trans-Europe (1977), The Man Machine (1978), and Computer World (1981). Out of these 5 albums, Autobahn, which was their first release and the opportunity of Kraftwerk to show their abilities and the influences of electronic music by creating music layering different sounds, noises, and rhythms.  Before this production, Hutter and Florian were part of an instrumental jazz band. Later, Kraftwerk, produced Trans Europe Express and Radio Activity, which had some similarities with Autobahn’s theme. Then, the Man Machine, which had a bit of success, but Computer World is known as Kraftwerk’s best album.  

Kraftwerk has a trademark in their music, and that’s the use of the vocoder. Many other musicians tried to use the vocoder in the early 30, but only Kraftwerk had it the ability to fully understand the capacities of this amazing tool and use it to its full capacity.

Also, Kraftwerk had another trademark in their music, and that’s their ability of creating a theme for their song. For example, Autobahn was referring to the Germany’s highways, or Trans Europe Express, which refer to Germany’s trains.

As a listener, I think that Kraftwerk won their place into music history by the creativity and originality, and they deserve all the credit for what we know as today’s electronic music. I think that today electronic music has a lack of originality by the excessive use of loops or sound libraries, when in the beginning electronic music was all about creating a sound.

Thanks for reading. 

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