The Kraftwerk FAQ »
Related bands and projects
- Who are 'Elektric Music'/'Electric Music'?
- Has Florian Schneider appeared on any records which aren't by Kraftwerk?
- Were Ralf and Florian behind the group 'Die Dominas'?
- I heard a version of a Kraftwerk song played on classical instruments; who was it by?
- What other cover versions of Kraftwerk songs are there?
- What is the project 'Zero Landmine'?
- Did Kraftwerk ever work with Stockhausen?
- What other groups are of interest to Kraftwerk fans, or have had links with Kraftwerk?
Who are 'Elektric Music'/'Electric Music'?
Elektric Music was formed by Karl Bartos (formerly of Kraftwerk) in conjunction with Lothar Manteuffel (formerly of Rheingold). The sound of the group was initially very much in the mould of Kraftwerk, but how well Elektric Music compares to Kraftwerk is a matter of personal opinion. Manteuffel subsequently left the group, leaving Bartos to work under the slightly modified name 'Electric Music'.
Has Florian Schneider appeared on any records which aren't by Kraftwerk?
Before forming Kraftwerk, Ralf Hütter and Florian Schneider were members of the group Organisation, which released one album, Tone Float.
The 1985 track Mr. Psychologist by Jacky Horn features a "Florian Schneider" on saxophone. Kraftwerk fan Klaus Zäpke spotted that the Tilch Encyclopaedia of Rock Musicians lists two people named Florian Schneider: the member of Kraftwerk and a saxophonist. It therefore seems that it is this second Florian who plays on Mr. Psychologist. The Tilch encyclopaedia also lists this Florian as playing on Tally-Ho by Les Immer Essen, and says that Kraftwerk's Florian plays violin on Mit Wolfgang und Mohammad by Ikarus. Klaus has expressed doubts as to the reliability of this information however.
In 1970 Florian featured as a session flautist on the easy-listening album Nero In South America (a.k.a. El Condor Pasa) by the Paul Nero Sounds. The track featuring Florian was Cuica. This piece also featured a second flautist, Amon Düül producer Olaf Kübler! "Paul Nero" was a pseudonym of the Düsseldorf jazz/rock saxophonist Klaus Doldinger, and the track Cuica was included on the 1973 Atlantic Records retrospective of Doldinger 's career, Doldinger Jubilee. As on the first Kraftwerk album, the full form of Schneider's surname is given on the listings for this track, viz. "Schneider-Esleben" (Florian is the son of famous German architect Paul Schneider-Esleben).
It is sometimes erroneously reported that Schneider appeared on the projects Alice in Wonderland and Solaria, but this was in fact Florian Snyder.
Were Ralf and Florian behind the group 'Die Dominas'?
No, but Ralf Hütter and Karl Bartos did inspire the 10" mini-LP Ich bin a Domina, for which they wrote two chords and designed the sleeve! Here's part of a magazine interview with Ash Ra Temple's Manuel Gottsching (taken from 'Dreams World', issue 11).
" 'Die Dominas' were two old friends of mine. They are my long time friend Rosi, who also performed on some Ash Ra Tempel records (...) and Claudia Skoda for whose fashion shows I have been composing and performing most of the music since 1976. They knew KW from Düsseldorf because they often went there together for fashion fairs. Ralf H. and Karl B. wrote down two special chords for them on a piece of paper: the 'sub Domina' and the 'Domina seven' (Domina = dominant) chords. Later in Berlin they were asking me to show them how these chords sounded. So, one evening when we were doing a nice long session together in my studio, I played them these chords. I explained a little about the instruments in the studio, and they started experimenting with them, without knowing that I was already recording the session! It was really a hilarious session, and the voices sounded like we were having a party. The next day, I started re-mixing the material, and finally got three titles out of it! Claudia and Rosi were so impressed with the result they played it to Ralf and Karl. They were so taken by the recording they offered to make the cover for the album. It turned out to be a very nice cover that looked like a silhouette in black and yellow. "
I heard a version of a Kraftwerk song played on classical instruments; who was it by?
The Balanescu Quartet recorded five Kraftwerk songs (The Robots, The Model, Autobahn, Computer Love and Pocket Calculator), arranged for string quartet, as part of their album Possessed, in 1992. The album is on the Mute label and can be obtained via any good record shop, in the UK and USA at least. The catalogue number of the CD is Mute 61421-2 for the US release and CD STUMM 111 for the UK release.
What other cover versions of Kraftwerk songs are there?
Besides the Balanescu Quartet, there have been many acts who have recorded cover versions of Kraftwerk songs (The Model has been a particularly popular song to cover). Here are just a few of the releases devoted to Kraftwerk songs (if you know of others, please do not email about them, since a complete list would be huge and well beyond the scope of this FAQ).
- Opinions as to the merit of the album Trans Slovenia Express, a collection of Kraftwerk cover versions by Slovenian bands, is sharply divided. This album, which was originally scheduled for release (with some different tracks) under the title Kraftwerk Through the Looking Glass, is available on the Mute label.
- In 1995, Cleopatra Records released Trancewerk Express Vol.I. - A Tribute to Kraftwerk, featuring ten groups covering Kraftwerk songs in a trance-techno vein. The overall opinion seems to be that it's quite good if you like that sort of thing...
- The 2000 release El Baile Aleman by Señor Coconut (a project by Uwe Schmidt) takes a Latin American approach to old favourites, and, whilst definitely being a "novelty" record, is popular with many of Kraftwerk's fans.
What is the project 'Zero Landmine'?
'Zero Landmine' is an EP recording created to promote awareness of the problem of landmines and to promote a ban on landmines.
Japanese artist Ryuichi Sakamoto led a collection of musicians to form a group called 'No More Landmines', and they released the record 'Zero Landmine' in 2001.
Kraftwerk composed the 'Zero Landmine' sound logo.
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Did Kraftwerk ever work with Stockhausen?
There seem to be several popular rumours about connections between famous electro-acoustic music composer Karlheinz Stockhausen and Kraftwerk, but these are without sensible foundation. Pascal Bussy's book Kraftwerk: Man, Machine and Music mentions that Ralf and Florian once attended a concert of the composer's music, and in interviews, Ralf Huetter of Kraftwerk has cited Stockhausen as an influence. However, whereas Holger Czukay and Irmin Schmidt of another famous "Krautrock" group, Can, did study under Stockhausen, no member of Kraftwerk is known to have done so.
Among the more far-fetched rumours is the claim that Stockhausen and Kraftwerk once performed each other's works live. Whilst it is barely conceivable that the composer and a very early Kraftwerk (before their pop days, given Stockhausen's hatred of the "martial" beat of much popular music!) might have appeared at the same festival, it is hard to imagine that someone who had been an established composer of live electronics in the 1960s would want to perform the work of an experimental rock duo in the early 1970s.
What other groups are of interest to Kraftwerk fans, or have had links with Kraftwerk?
See the section of the FAQ on why Flür and Bartos left Kraftwerk for more information on their respective current projects, and also the section on Elektric Music.
There is no one group which finds favour with all Kraftwerk fans (not even Elektric Music). The only thing that can be generally agreed upon is that Kraftwerk has been a massive influence upon contemporary popular music.