John Morgan, Counter-Currents, 2 March 2018
On Wednesday, February 21, I was fortunate enough to be able to see the landmark German band, Kraftwerk, in concert in Budapest, nearly twenty years after I first saw them perform in Detroit in June 1998, and thirteen years after I saw them for a second time, also in Detroit, in 2005.
It was a great experience, of course, although also a reminder of the fact that Kraftwerk has become more of a piece of music history than a living, evolving group of artists, given that they have released next to no new music in over thirty years. Indeed, their reputation rests entirely on six albums and one single that were released over a twelve-year period between 1974 and 1986.
Kraftwerk appealed to me on many levels. First of all, as I was already a Germanophile, Kraftwerk’s sound and aesthetic are extremely German (and, to a lesser extent, European) – everything from the lyrics to the style to their album covers screams extreme Germanness. There was also the fact that Kraftwerk have always been experts at treading the line between deadly seriousness and satire to the point where you’re not sure which is which – something which Laibach was to emulate, and take to much further extremes, in later years.
It was as well the sheer power and polished nature of their music – although apparently simple on the surface, it in fact consists of many layers of sound working seamlessly together, and each song, upon repeated hearings,…