German electronic music pioneers Kraftwerk have played Tate Modern’s Turbine Hall. Their work is performed with machine like precision, although it’s never made clear what the four middle age men are doing behind their podiums.
KRAFTWERK – THE CATALOGUE 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
It’s unarguable that Kraftwerk have been one of the most important bands to release music in the last half century, even if they never really set dancefloors alight. The director of Tate Modern, Chris Dercon said: “As a former power station, Tate Modern’s Turbine Hall is an ideal venue for Kraftwerk’s explorations of technology, energy and rhythm. Bringing together music, video and performance, these events will be true gesamtkunstwerk – a total work of art.” And well, the internet has made it up to all those who couldn’t get a ticket, which in a way might be the best place to watch from.
A chronological exploration of the group’s sonic and visual experiments and presents eight classic master works from across their celebrated repertoire with spectacular 3D visualisations and effects the show Combines sound and images. The performances showcase nearly 40 years of musical and technical innovation, including new improvisations, 3D projections and animation.
Kraftwerk sit at the centre of a movement which has developed to the point where most artists that have been influenced by them are probably unaware of it. Ralf Hütter and Florian Schneider began the Kraftwerk project in 1970 at their electronic Kling Klang Studio in Düsseldorf, Germany. Within a few years they had achieved international recognition for their revolutionary electro “sound paintings” and musical experimentation with tapes and synthesizers. With their visions of the future they created the soundtrack for the digital age. Their compositions, using innovative looping techniques and computerised rhythms, have had a major international influence across a range of music genres. Their use of robotics and other technical innovations in live performance illustrates Kraftwerk’s belief in the respective contributions of both man and machine in creating art. Kraftwerk set the blueprint for synth-pop, even if it did take synth-pop a fair few years to get with the programme.
Man and Machine Creating Art
Commencing with Autobahn, each night covers one of Kraftwerk’s groundbreaking studio albums in full and appear in order of their release — Autobahn (1974), Radio-Activity (1975), Trans Europe Express (1977), The Man-Machine (1978), Computer World (1981), Techno Pop (1986), The Mix (1991) and Tour de France (2003) — alongside additional compositions from their back-catalogue. The performances have been curated by Klaus Biesenbach, Chief Curator at Large, The Museum of Modern Art, Art, Marion Ackermann, Artistic Director, Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen and Catherine Wood, Curator (Contemporary Art & Performance), Tate Modern. Watch a series of Youtube clips from the shows so far below.
‘The Model’ 09/02/2013
Tour de France 09/06/2012
Wednesday 6 February 2013, 21:00
1 – Autobahn (1974)
Thursday 7 February 2013, 21:00
2 – Radio-Activity (1975)
Friday 8 February 2013, 22:30
3 – Trans Europe Express (1977)
Saturday 9 February 2013, 22:30
4 – The Man-Machine (1978)
Monday 11 February 2013, 21:00
5 – Computer World (1981)
Tuesday 12 February 2013, 21:00
6 – Techno Pop (1986)
Wednesday 13 February 2013, 21:00
7 – The Mix (1991)
Thursday 14 February 2013, 21:00
8 – Tour de France (2003)