It has become a cliché to compare Kraftwerk to the Beatles — but if anything, the group’s impact has been wider and more enduring. During its two decades of prime creativity, Kraftwerk intersected with and influenced a staggering array of genres and phases: progressive rock, glam, krautrock, disco, post-punk, synthpop, industrial, hip-hop, techno, trance. Artists in their debt are likewise bizarrely diverse, ranging from Human League to Spacemen 3, New Order to Stereolab, Prince to Daft Punk, Afrika Bambaataa to Big Black.
Florian Schneider, who died in 2020 at the age of 73, was a co-founder of Kraftwerk. For over 30 years he produced the group’s albums with fellow founder Ralf Hütter, contributed to the writing of songs and lyrics, played a number of instruments, conceived concepts and devised techniques. But in a funny way, one of Schneider’s most significant contributions was his person. Schneider’s aquiline features and smart attire manifested Kraftwerk’s utter Europeanness. His aura of formality was the seed out of which grew the group’s collective image of uniformity and discipline. Establishing distance between themselves and America, Kraftwerk opened up a future for pop that left rock and roll far behind… read more >