Kraftwerk, Carling Academy, Glasgow

Static Germans still provide the model for modern music
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The Independent Culture

Retrospect gets you a lot of respect, it seems. Even though everyone, from the brightest talents of today right down the musical food chain to the New Romantic-copyists, will happily pretend they invented the Moog synthesizer, why is that four static German blokes still inspire a devotion that borders on the Biblical?

Retrospect gets you a lot of respect, it seems. Even though everyone, from the brightest talents of today right down the musical food chain to the New Romantic-copyists, will happily pretend they invented the Moog synthesizer, why is that four static German blokes still inspire a devotion that borders on the Biblical?

The fact that they all but invented music as we know it today may have something to do with it. The Beatles may have set the template for the guitar quartet, but it was Kraftwerk who travelled first and furthest the other way - exploring the possibility of music that was far removed from the explicit involvement of its creators' personalities.

Meeting as students of classical music at Dusseldorf Conservatory in 1970, Florian Schneider and Ralf Hütter teamed with Karl Bartos and Wolfgang Flür to create a band who dispensed with the traditional dynamic. With the use of drum machines and synthesizers, the need for drummers and bassists was dismissed; the roles of each member levelled in what appeared to be a Communist submission to the machinery of the music.

This ethic endures to this very gig. Only Schneider and Hütter remain from the original line up, joined now by two faceless employees of their own Kling Klang studios. Dressed in black suits, ties and fiery red shirts, they stand behind their synths like factory-produced version of the generic "entertainer". The impact of the music may be lessened by the fact that trance acts over the past decade have stolen it, but perhaps Kraftwerk's most important achievement is that their muse is timeless enough to still compete.

Although the young crowd - obviously inspired to visit by the band's reputation as the progenitors of techno - may have found the pace less accelerated than their usual poison, the familiarity of "Autobahn" and "The Model" still inspired a cheer. Elsewhere, "Radioactivity" added a little of the pace the crowd required and "Trans-Europe Express" bubbled along with sinister seductiveness.

Somewhere in the crowd, a whistle sounded incessantly. It was annoying, but it's only a minor blight on the face of the culture Kraftwerk have created.

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