KRAFTWERK - The Origin of "The Man-Machine"

15. May 2018


KRAFTWERK - Die Entstehung von „Die Mensch-Maschine“

From Golem to Frankenstein - the machine man is a vision that has moved people for centuries. The German formation Kraftwerk made the dream of the man-machine come true. Forty years ago, her groundbreaking work appeared under this name, whose influence not only radiated to musicians, but also immediately infiltrated the DNA of burgeoning musical styles in order to pass on his own heritage.

Musically there was a lot going on in Germany in 1977. The Munich producer Giorgio Moroder had made his synth and vocoder sounds the worldwide trademark for Munich Disco, with "From Here To Eternity" or the Donna Summer cooperation "I Feel Love" he celebrated world hits. And then there was the other thing from England. "The punk movement of the seventies certainly had an important ear cleaner function for the music business in England. It was high time to mix up the established structures of the record companies and try something new, musically and also with other business models. This energy had also arrived in Düsseldorf." Who writes this in his autobiography "The sound of the machine" is none other than Karl Bartos, in those days drummer and programmer of the band Kraftwerk. Now by no means were Kraftwerk a band that would have followed the paths of punk. But the message, which was not overheard by the four Düsseldorf machine musicians either, was: There are no more limits.

With their Kling Klang studio, Kraftwerk had built a highly unconventional studio for the time, in which the separation of recording and control room was abolished. Despite the acoustic challenges associated with this, Bartos said the band achieved a feeling during the recordings that largely corresponded to a live atmosphere. Another important prerequisite for the upcoming album "Die Mensch-Maschine" was a new keyboard by Ralf Hütter, the Polymoog, a kind of hybrid of organ and synthesizer. Bartos: "During our first session on May 5, 1977, with the synthetic violin sound preset, he grabbed some chords on the keyboard and improvised melodies on the Minimoog. The Polymoog sound reminded me of a conventional string ensemble, but the sound seemed to float in space and turn easily. I had the association of an infinitely wide landscape spreading out in front of me."

Kraftwerk - Die Roboter (Official Music Video)

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