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'Highly stimulating ... Kraftwerk is a pleasure to read' Jon Savage, New Statesman The story of the phenomenon that is Kraftwerk, and how they revolutionised our cultural landscape 'We are not artists nor musicians. We are workers.' Ignoring nearly all rock traditions, experimenting in near-total secrecy in their Düsseldorf studio, Kraftwerk fused sound and technology, graph 'Highly stimulating ... Kraftwerk is a pleasure to read' Jon Savage, New Statesman The story of the phenomenon that is Kraftwerk, and how they revolutionised our cultural landscape 'We are not artists nor musicians. We are workers.' Ignoring nearly all rock traditions, experimenting in near-total secrecy in their Düsseldorf studio, Kraftwerk fused sound and technology, graphic design and performance, modernist Bauhaus aesthetics and Rhineland industrialisation - even human and machine - to change the course of modern music. This is the story of Kraftwerk the cultural phenomenon, who turned electronic music into avant-garde concept art and created the soundtrack to our digital age.


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'Highly stimulating ... Kraftwerk is a pleasure to read' Jon Savage, New Statesman The story of the phenomenon that is Kraftwerk, and how they revolutionised our cultural landscape 'We are not artists nor musicians. We are workers.' Ignoring nearly all rock traditions, experimenting in near-total secrecy in their Düsseldorf studio, Kraftwerk fused sound and technology, graph 'Highly stimulating ... Kraftwerk is a pleasure to read' Jon Savage, New Statesman The story of the phenomenon that is Kraftwerk, and how they revolutionised our cultural landscape 'We are not artists nor musicians. We are workers.' Ignoring nearly all rock traditions, experimenting in near-total secrecy in their Düsseldorf studio, Kraftwerk fused sound and technology, graphic design and performance, modernist Bauhaus aesthetics and Rhineland industrialisation - even human and machine - to change the course of modern music. This is the story of Kraftwerk the cultural phenomenon, who turned electronic music into avant-garde concept art and created the soundtrack to our digital age.

30 review for Kraftwerk: Future Music from Germany

  1. 5 out of 5

    Stephen

    interesting book looking at the career of kraftwerk from their origins in dusseldorf to the modern day and looking at the cultural societial of the modern industrial music of the rhineland from experimental to the techno pop and the technological changes and the modern german sound of post second world war

  2. 5 out of 5

    Chris Jones

    Overall enjoyable, I never need to read the word “gesamtkunstwerk” ever again though

  3. 5 out of 5

    Michael Legge

    Shame he dies in the end.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Manuel Antão

    If you're into stuff like this, you can read the full review. Vor uns liegt ein weites Tal: "Kraftwerk - Future Music from Germany" by Uwe Schütte Listened to “Trans Europe Express” last night: “Rendezvous on Champs-Elysees Leave Paris in the morning with TEE In Vienna, we sit in a late-night cafe Straight connection, TEE" Just doesn't cut it like this: "Rendez-vous auf den Champs Elysees Verlass Paris am Morgen mit dem TEE In Wien sitzen wir I'm Nachtcafe Direkt Verbindung TEE” If you're into stuff like this, you can read the full review. Vor uns liegt ein weites Tal: "Kraftwerk - Future Music from Germany" by Uwe Schütte Listened to “Trans Europe Express” last night: “Rendezvous on Champs-Elysees Leave Paris in the morning with TEE In Vienna, we sit in a late-night cafe Straight connection, TEE" Just doesn't cut it like this: "Rendez-vous auf den Champs Elysees Verlass Paris am Morgen mit dem TEE In Wien sitzen wir I'm Nachtcafe Direkt Verbindung TEE”

  5. 5 out of 5

    João Diogo

    Great look into the inner-workings and history of one of the most influential and fascinating artistic ensembles of all-time. Although it shares plenty of behind-the-scenes stories it feels like it lacks something exclusive and works more as a compendium of the band's story. No complaints from me though: the more Kraftwerk I can have in my life, the better.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Russell Barton

    More of an academic study or these than a new reference work (which is perhaps unsurprising given the author’s background) this is nevertheless an interesting read. It does however suffer from jarring bursts of the author’s own opinions (for example, he insults Daft Punk on more than one occasion) which are presented as facts.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Steve

    Comprehensive hagiography of Kraftwerk from an entirely uncritical author. While interesting and readable, it lacks humour and lets Kraftwerk off the hook in a number of areas. For example, their constant re-working of Radio-Activity is generously interpreted as lending weight to the anti-nuclear cause, whereas it could equally be interpreted as a cynical move by a bunch of upper-middle class Dusseldorf lads to ride a bandwagon and maintain their popularity.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Petr Šrajer

    Sbírka (převážně akademických) textů o hudebních dělnících Kraftwerk vyčerpávajícím způsobem zpracovává jak diskografii skupiny (první oddíl), tak jednotlivé fenomény, které s ní souvisí (druhý oddíl). Českého čtenáře může potěšit překlad rozhovoru s Ralfem Hütterem pro Mladý svět a nebo Schütteho text o analogiích s Čapkovým R.U.R. Skvělý je ale také závěrečný příspěvek o "mýtu Kraftwerk", který předchozích 350 stran glorifikace účinně sráží na zem. Skvělé!

  9. 5 out of 5

    Jim Mcmanus

    Nothing particularly new in this book. A couple of daft assertions here and there.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Melting Uncle

    Kraftwerk is a band I've always admired more than loved, especially compared to other German bands from the 70's like Can, Faust, Neu!, Amon Düül II, Ash Ra Tempel, etc. However, they're unquestionably the most popular of the "krautrock" bands and are one of the few bands from the subgenre still operating. This summer, a 50th anniversary tour was scheduled to take place but was canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic. I hadn't planned to go to the concert in my city even though I've listened to Kraftwerk is a band I've always admired more than loved, especially compared to other German bands from the 70's like Can, Faust, Neu!, Amon Düül II, Ash Ra Tempel, etc. However, they're unquestionably the most popular of the "krautrock" bands and are one of the few bands from the subgenre still operating. This summer, a 50th anniversary tour was scheduled to take place but was canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic. I hadn't planned to go to the concert in my city even though I've listened to and enjoyed most of their albums. After having listened to this audiobook, I pray that the tour is rescheduled so that I can buy tickets immediately. The main aspect of the band that I had taken for granted, and the one that this book elucidates, is the conceptual unity guiding every facet of everything the band does. The music on Kraftwerk's albums is just one strand in a giant, decades long multimedia art project, a gesamtkunstwerk that incorporates music, video, graphic design, and live performance. Their pioneering use of computers and electronics is widespread in almost all genres of popular music today to such an extent that it's not unreasonable to compare their influence with that of The Beatles. The main difference, I think, is that the music of the Beatles is easily enjoyed by most people with no explanation or context needed. By comparison, Kraftwerk's music can feel be puzzling, ironic, and inaccessible. I think this is because they're actually a very weird avant-garde band, influenced by the Bauhaus movement, Joseph Beuys, Andy Warhol, and others, masquerading as a "normal" pop band. Their influence on not just electronic music but hip-hop and mainstream pop music (now made on computers) is incalculable. Kraftwerk subverted the cliches of rock and embraced technology to engage in radical anti-normal worldbuilding. They loved their machines and knew that they were imbued with souls, like plants in a garden that need to be watered. Every detail of their album art, lyrics, and concert videos is carefully considered and adds up to a whole greater than the sum of its parts. None of this would matter, though, if their music wasn't extremely good. Uwe Schütte dissects each album in illuminating detail with track-by-track analysis. I have a new appreciation for Radioactivity as a concept album. The crushing funky beat of "Numbers" from Computer World cannot be denied. But my favorite song of Kraftwerk that I had never even considered before this book is "Metal on Meta" from Trans-Europe Express. Part of a tripartite suit, it merits attentive listening with headphones. Apparently, to imitate the sound of a track going over metal tracks on a bridge, Kraftwerk tried constructing a beat by with the sounds of different metal objects being struck. They finally achieved the perfect sound that you hear on the recording by using a hammer to strike a wheelbarrow and a cabinet made of zinc. Hell yeah. I can now say I'm a fan of Kraftwerk. This style of book, a brief introduction to the work of a band, could be very helpful in appreciating many musical artists, and I encourage the music writers of the world to wholeheartedly embrace it. Five stars.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Shane

    I had been planning to dive deeper into Kraftwerk music for a while. Therefore, it was marvellous that by accident, I saw this book on some records collector's instagram account the other day. It has caught my interest because of the publishing (I mean, how could Penguin make something that is not at least worth checking out?), because of the fact it is about the band I'm interested in and also because of the cover artwork that made it stuck in my head. When I realize it is available in my local I had been planning to dive deeper into Kraftwerk music for a while. Therefore, it was marvellous that by accident, I saw this book on some records collector's instagram account the other day. It has caught my interest because of the publishing (I mean, how could Penguin make something that is not at least worth checking out?), because of the fact it is about the band I'm interested in and also because of the cover artwork that made it stuck in my head. When I realize it is available in my local bookshop online, I immediately bought it. It was the great choice. I got excited reading the foreword where Uwe Schütte highlights that there are no gossips and revelations about band member's private life, only an analysis and a story of workers, scientist, robots. During my read, I was listening to Kraftwerk's discography but also in other moments of the day. It has helped me understand (I suppose) the phenomenon of the band and I have also gotten into it. I cannot stop thinking how interesting, different, inspiring their approach on music (or rather on art because Kraftwerk members claim that music was never a reason why they have started doing it in the first place). As a performer trying to find my own style of expression meandering between (in)complete devotion towards music and spiritual passion towards performance as a concept, art, visual, allegory, I got struck by inspiration. I think, I will continue discovering Kraftwerk now. I recommend this book to everybody who is interested in music theory, not only in the band. It might be correct that for die hard Kraftwerk fans, it is nothing groundbreaking in this book because they have already read about it in dozens of other publications but for me, rather new in all that jazz, it was a fascinating journey. Despite having loads of connotations to art history, cultural figures and having mentioned many artists that are not very well known for people who have never lived in Düsseldorf, the text here is really comprehensible and I have floated through it. Once it gets translated, I will definitely recommend it to non-English speaking fans of Kraftwerk. I hope this book will get many language versions and also wider recognition as I really cannot recall a better biography or anthology on music figures and I have read quite a few.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Tim

    I picked this up on impulse just before closing time on a rare visit to a high-street bookshop. My Kraftwerk background before this book: fairly big fan, saw one of the 3D gigs in 2013, have quite a lot of their product and enjoy it, know the names and a bit of the story as well as the cliches about their influence on hip-hop and electronic music, their notion of making pop music that didn't draw primarily on US pop tropes, the cycling turn, etc. Their story, on this showing, is not rich in hith I picked this up on impulse just before closing time on a rare visit to a high-street bookshop. My Kraftwerk background before this book: fairly big fan, saw one of the 3D gigs in 2013, have quite a lot of their product and enjoy it, know the names and a bit of the story as well as the cliches about their influence on hip-hop and electronic music, their notion of making pop music that didn't draw primarily on US pop tropes, the cycling turn, etc. Their story, on this showing, is not rich in hitherto unfamiliar event or anecdote (they made a few records and then re-released them repeatedly in 'updated' tweaked formats, and started touring a lot when they stopped making new music). It is, on the other hand, positively overflowing with repeated use of the word 'Gesamtkunstwerk'. Schutte (apologies for the missing umlaut - limited keyboard skills) writes English that is careful, dry and often almost correct ("my biggest gratitude", to take the final example), but it certainly never sings and has all the rhythmic suppleness of a Schwarzbrot sandwich. In short, it's a plodder. Schutte has put in the work, but come up short in terms of worthwhile material. His editors were much too gentle with him. I note that he credits his wife Antje with copy-editing - surely not a good idea to have a spouse edit your book, even if she is a native speaker of English, which both her name and the resulting text suggest is not the case. His proofreader is called Andreas Hagstrom, again suggesting he may not be best qualified for that particular job. I'm doubtful that shortening the book by a third or so would have made it much better, but it would have been a start. In fairness, poor editing is at pandemic levels in the 21st-century publishing trade, but that's hardly an excuse. I'm sure Schutte worked hard on this, but really the best I can say about it is it encouraged me to enliven my reading sessions with a Kraftwerk soundtrack. However, for me the soundtrack was at least as good without the accompanying text. Not recommended.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Kay Smillie

    Very interesting look at Kraftwerk. Their history, undoubted influence, secrecy and not just about the music. Music is art and art is music. I stumbled upon them in the late 70s, when I was a teenage punk. They were never punk but I loved them. Still do. The secrecy of the main two, Hutter and Schneider, is part of the appeal. For them it was all about the music/art. Interested in the band? If so then this is a must read. Ray Smillie

  14. 5 out of 5

    Sach

    Highly recommended A perfect accompaniment to the body of work. Very erudite and thorough. Drills down through the myths and yet still is bounding with love and passion for Kraftwerk. Especially considering the lack of interviews from Hutter and Scheider. Definitely one of the best music bonus I've read.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Monica Hide

    Read for my dissertation. A really exciting and entertaining book on the Düsseldorf group, Kraftwerk. Schütte perfectly communicates the idea that Kraftwerk are more than pop band and in fact are a conceptual art form — a Gesamtkunstwerk.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Martin

    Not much new if you've read other books about the band but a great summary and overview including their latest phase.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Dozy Pilchard

    Quite low key but well researched.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Chris Meloche

    A quite well done overview of the career of Kraftwerk. A full review can be found on my blog at: http://www.chrismeloche.com/?p=576 A quite well done overview of the career of Kraftwerk. A full review can be found on my blog at: http://www.chrismeloche.com/?p=576

  19. 4 out of 5

    Michael

    Very little new here, but a solid history and analysis of Kraftwerk and their socio-historical roots.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Simon

  21. 5 out of 5

    Wilhelm Bohman

  22. 4 out of 5

    Chris

  23. 4 out of 5

    CallumJessamine

  24. 5 out of 5

    NiklasG

  25. 5 out of 5

    Leigh Wright

  26. 4 out of 5

    Bjorn

  27. 5 out of 5

    Diogo Diogo

  28. 5 out of 5

    Tero Parviainen

  29. 4 out of 5

    Yoshiko Teraoka

  30. 4 out of 5

    Veronica

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