20081225

Clock DVA - losing it



I've been looking forward with anticipation towards the Clock DVA cd box, that will be, it has been said, released on Mute soonish. But now I don't know...

The below message is probably the most misdirected, misinformed and possibly paranoid MySpace-message i have ever received. It is also an even more obvious misinterpretation of the current global communication community, and the groups own status and possible benefits, than Kraftwerk's attempts to keep things "under control" in later years.

As if it would really matter or "mean something" to be somebodys friend on MySpace. Please...

IMPORTANT CLOCKDVA /TAGC INFORMATION.

We check all new friends requests before accepting to see if you have the FAKE- Fan profile (described below) or any of these EX-members profiles in your friends also…..

Shadowranglers/Shadowranger
Paul.A.Browse.
Nohno/ Kibuka (Dean Dennis)

If you have any of these above profiles we are sorry but we cannot accept/keep you as a friend, and if these profiles approach you after we have accepted you and you then accept them it is your choice but we will have to delete our official profiles if we find them within your friends, oil and water do not mix.

You may feel that this is a strong response but we ask you to trust and respect that our decision is based on past and present acts still being perpetrated against (DVA/TAGC) and so therefore any “friendships” with these individuals cannot co-exist on principle with a friendship with our Official profiles.

AVOID THE FALSE FAN DVA PROFILE.

We must inform you that the DVA fan? Profile that you have within your friends has NO honest connection to DVA, it is merely a deceptive, exploitative profile run by EX– members who have NO continuing connection with DVA or I since 1994.This fan profile! has been constructed only to draw in unsuspecting DVA fans so that these EX-members can promote and sell there own products /projects under the exploitation of my group name and fabricate their own input/histories within DVA - NOT to maintain the true artistic integrity and history of Clock DVA.

No attempt by these EX –members has ever been made over the years to contact or inform me the originator and director of DVA in the running of this profile even though these individuals have had a direct telephone number to my home but continued to promote the deception to friends/fans/any inquiries that they did not know my whereabouts.

I originally tried to contact each friend on this profile to direct them to the official profiles, finding this out these EX-members closed the fan profile to private to deliberately prevent me access to my own fan base!!, their actions again expose the underhand and exploitative nature of these individuals.

By having the fan profile as a top/friend you are unknowingly? aiding the exploitation and abuse of Clock DVA and we are reticent to accept/keep friends who after having been informed of this abuse still continue to have this fake fan profile as a friend.

We await your response, please with a message back on your decision.
Jane/ Adi Newton – Founder/Creative director ClockDVA/TAGC 1978-onwards.


And it was sent on christmas eve, even... Go ponder.

I'm sorry for the exuberant use of quotation marks in this text. I think it was necessary.

Related:
Clock DVA returns!

20081223

Kraftwerk - The Movie (?)



Wolfgang Müller, former Kraftwerk member and author of the autobiography "I Was a Robot", has motion picture plans. According to his website, www.yamomusic.de, Wolfgang will meet with producer Hannes Stöhr on new years eve, to discuss the possibilities of transferring the book onto the silver screen.

And though I acknowledge that it it rather unlikely that it will happen, I still want to grasp the opportunity to suggest some leading actors. I want Udo Kier to play Ralf Hütter (give him a wig). Furthermore, I want to see Claes Månsson as Florian Schneider (shave him) and Pee-wee Herman as Karl Bartos. I assume Wolfgang Flür will be playing himself.

20081218

Liedgut, mit Florian



In other Florian related news, Atom™, aka Uwe Schmidt, Lassigue Bendthaus, Señor Coconut, DOS Tracks and more, will release a new album on the Raster-Noton label on January 26th.

Besides from looking very good and getting me very exited in general (Atom™ being one of my all time favourites), Kraftwerk's Florian Schneider contributes a spoken epilogue to the album. Interesting news indeed.

More here and here.

This recent live show may or may not give an indication of what to expect from the Liedgut album (Some of the material is older though, for example the first song in the 3:rd video is taken from the iMix album):









Related:
Florian, again
Florian still missing
Sputnik Roadhouse
Kraftwerk on tour - without Florian

Florian, again



Are you saying that Florian was not involved in TDF Soundtracks

yes

Following up on Florian Schneider's abscence lately, an online discussion has amounted to the above revelation.

Is it true? Who knows. The source seems to be a reliable one.

Related:
Florian still missing
Sputnik Roadhouse
Kraftwerk on tour - without Florian

20081209

Karl Bartos autobiography in the making



As it appears from this recent news post at karlbartos.com, Karl Bartos has started preparations for writing his autobiography.

Two new photographs are posted with the article, showing Karl and Wolfgang Flür meeting up, and the news post also mentions Karl visiting Kraftwerk's former Kling Klang studio, to meet "some other guy". Could that "other guy" be Florian Schneider, letting Karl in while Ralf Hütter is out on tour?

20081120

Kraftwerk in court

Moses

The Herald Tribune, and German media in general, reports today that Kraftwerk's copyright infringment case against equally German rapper and hiphop producer Moses Pelham has been overturned.

Quoting Deutsche Welle:

Sampling music does not violate copyright laws, as long as the new song is original and melodies are left alone, Germany's highest court has ruled. The decision was a harsh blow to the German electronic band Kraftwerk.

Electronic pioneers Kraftwerk had successfully sued German rap producer Moses Pelham for using a two-second sample from their 1977 track "Metal on Metal" in the rhythm sequence in the song "Nur Mir" by Sabrina Setlur that appeared in 1997.

The case was heard and upheld by a Hamburg state court which ruled in Kraftwerk's favor, saying Pelham was guilty as reusing even the shortest bit of a song infringed on copyright.

But on Thursday, Nov. 20, Germany's highest civil court in Karlsruhe overturned the Hamburg ruling in a case that could have far-reaching implications for the music industry.

The new court ruling, however, forbids sampling of a song melody and insists that the sample must be part of a completely new musical work bearing no resemblance to the original.


This is the song that caused the commotion:

20081117

Krautrock Kompendium - now online

Just a quick note to let you know that the excellent, UK based music magazine The Sound Projector recently published their entire "Krautrock Kompendium" online.

Krautrock Kompendium in Kolour (2007)

And, for your own sake, buy the spanking new issue of The Sound Projector. Issue 17, that is.

20081009

Hello Nasty

While taking a short break from our veritable amusement park of vintage electronics, we found this photograph of Adam Horovitz.



End.

20080926

Kraftwerk's first computer



There is an interesting segment about Kraftwerk getting their first ever PC in 1981, in this new interview with Ralf Hütter.

Then we composed the concept of [the album] Computer World coming out in 81 and we didn't even have computers at that time. So that was more like a visionary album. We only got that technology, a small PC, around the tour of that album and we used one on stage just writing letters. Just typing them in, not even in synch or anything. Just live, and a guy putting that on screen.

The above image is from a concert at Captain Vidéo in Paris, France, July 7th 1981. Could the text on those screens have been typed "live"?

20080915

Lena Philipsson's Kraftwerk socks



Last week, rather surprisingly, singer Lena Philipsson were handed a pair of hand made Kraftwerk socks on Swedish TV show "Videokväll med Luuk".

The show streams from here (first link under the "Play" logo on the right). Socks are exchanged 27 minutes in. Enjoy.

20080912

Wolfgang Flür + Dyko



It's a pleasure seeing Wolfgang Flür on the electronic drums, in the white gloves. He is seen here performing with Dyko, at the Roland Electro Pop Night in Offenbach March 13th this year.

But aside from the pleasure of seeing him play - there are definitely better versions of "Autobahn" out there.

Related:
Wolfgang Flür, Michel Geiss on Perry Rhodan
It's the Yamo "Time Pie" EPK!
From Südenfed to Mouse on Mars to Yamo and Flür

20080829

Robovox


"one of four MIDI Robovoxes in the world - previously owned by Kraftwerk. Designed by Florian Schneider, Gert Ott and Gert Jalass, this custom speech synthesizer was used by Kraftwerk live for songs such as "Radioactivity". It had limited controls, and was originally used in conjunction with custom software written for the Atari 1040ST."


To read, hear and see more, head on over to Matrixsynth (where I stole this).

Related:
Kraftwerk's future live setup
The Stylophone

20080822

Stop!

Some people should just have their synthesizers taken away from them.



And their wardrobes. And their sunglasses.

20080821

Rebecca Allen, the Kraftwerk animator



I stumbled upon the website of Rebecca Allen just now, for the first time in many years. Allen is the visual artist, computer graphics designer and animator responsible for Kraftwerk's Musique Non-Stop video, as well as the 3D rendition of the Kraftwerk members heads as visible on all records from the "Electric Café" era.


This was all done in 1985. The development of the graphics and animations, which demanded new software developed specifically for this purpose, was carried out in the computer graphics laboratories at New York Institute of Technology. The musique Non-Stop music video was the first music video ever to feature rendered 3D graphics.



Visit Rebecca Allen's site for a slide show of pictures, including the unused one in the middle of this article - a photo that clearly implies that "Electric Café" really was going to be named "Techno Pop".

20080819

Tenori-Boing!



It starts off a bit daft, but improves. And that thing still looks great.

Related:
Kraftwerk's future live setup

20080818

Reformat the Planet



If you got bitten by the 8-bit bug when the Kraftwerk 8-bit cover collection "8-bit Operators" was released last year (I wasn't, particularly), you might be interested in the "Reformat the Planet" documentary, currently streaming at Pitchfork.tv.

The blurb:

Reformat the Planet: Chapter 01
It started with sequencing 8-bit chipsets on Nintendo Game Boys, but the Chiptune scene has now expanded well beyond game systems. Directed by Paul Owens, Reformat the Planet is the essential introduction to this awesome new genre, and proves it's more than just a blip. [Courtesy of 2 Player Productions]

It's there for one week only, apparently.

Oh, and in case you missed it - Beck did some kind of 8-bit tribute a while ago.

20080802

French Kraftwerk stamps - the real deal?

This is kind of weird.



According to this eBay item, there is a french postage stamp with a Kraftwerk motif. I noticed on the website of La Poste, the French postal service, that you can make your own personalised stamps. My guess is that this is the explanation.

Bad seller.

20080716

Unauthorized Kraftwerk DVD in September



This could be awful, but it could also be somewhat interesting - it's hard to tell. Anyway, it's going to be released in september and here is the sales pitch:

Kraftwerk and the Electronic Revolution

As innovative as they are influential, Kraftwerk‘s contribution to the development of electronic music since their formation in 1970 remains unsurpassed. Having inspired everyone from Bowie to Coldplay, Siouxsie to Radiohead, this bizarre collective has also proven partly responsible for entire genres to emerge – electronica, techno and synth-pop to name but three.

This DVD reviews the career and music of Kraftwerk, from their inception in the late 1960s (as pre-Kraftwerk ensemble Organisation), through their most celebrated period in the mid 1970s, and culminating with their resurgence during the 1980s with the popularity of synth-pop and techno. The film further explores how Kraftwerk both fitted into and pulled away from the electronic wing of what is often lazily referred to as ‘Krautrock’. Sparing time also for many of the groups’ contemporaries from the same field, and tracing the unfolding of electronics in German contemporary music generally, this programme presents a fascinating story previously untold on film.

Features Include

  • Rarely seen live and performance footage of Kraftwerk and of other
    Electronic and ‘Krautrock’ bands – much from private collections.

  • Exclusive and extensive Interviews with; ex - Kraftwerk members Karl Bartos and Klaus Röder; other German ambient and electronic musicians, Dieter Moebius [Kluster/Harmonia], Hans Joachim Rodelius [Kluster/Harmonia], Klaus Schulze [Tangerine Dream/ Ash Ra Tempel /Solo], Wolfgang Siedel [Eruption/Tangerine Dream/ Kluster], Conrad Schnitzler [Kluster/ Solo] and Klaus Löhmer [engineer, Kraftwerk album]

  • Contributions, review and enlightenment from German academics, writers and journalists, Professor Diedrich Diedrichsen [German Sounds], Ingeborg Schober [German Sounds] , Manfred Gillig-Degrave [Stereoplay, Audio, Musikwoche] – and from the UK, David Stubbs [Melody Maker, Wire], Mark Prendergrast [author The Ambient Century], Edwin Pouncey [Sounds], David Toop [ambient musician and writer], David Ball [Soft Cell/The Grid] , Rusty Egan [Visage/The Blitz Club]

  • Rare photographs of Kraftwerk and others

  • Live and studio recordings of many of Kraftwerk’s pivotal tracks, including; Ruckzuck, Kling Klang, Autobahn, Antenna, Radio-Activity, Trans Europe Express, Computer Love, The Robots, The Model, Metropolis, Pocket Calculator and many others.

  • Live and studio recordings of many other bands form the ‘Krautrock’ movement

Extras Include

Special Feature; The Dusseldorf Scene Vs. The Hamburg Scene - Extended
Interviews - Full Contributor Biographies

THIS FILM IS NOT AUTHORISED BY KRAFTWERK.

Preorder here or here (cheaper).

20080701

Clock DVA returns!

The Scryer


Good news - the first sign of life from Clock DVA since the "Collective" compilation was released in 1994. More on Adi Newton's MySpace.

20080612

Wolfgang Flür, Michel Geiss on Perry Rhodan



Perry Rhodan is probably the most well known German science fiction book series, first published in 1961. Last year, long time Jean-Michel Jarre collaborator Michel Geiss, released a new musical interpretation of the Perry Rodan universe, X-Plorer's "A Trip Through the Universe of Perry Rhodan".

Last week, ARTE sent a TV special on the project. The programme is now available for viewing through Vimeo (in German, sorry) And Elektrospock, aka Wolfgang Flür, is in it! Don't miss his short, but gloved, drumming sequence around 4:40 ...



More on the cd here.

20080601

Popol Vuh remixed

Editions Mego has released two remixed Popol Vuh tracks, well worth the effort of purchasing, on a gloriously transparent red vinyl 12”.

Starting things off, Pan Sonic’s Mika Vainio has re-interpreted "Nacht: Schnee", a song from the soundtrack Popol Vuh recorded to the Werner Herzog film "Cobra Verde". It’s an ambient composition with just a few stabbing stereo effects to keep you from drifting away. Almost like a time-stretched dubstep backing track, but not quite.

On the flip side we find Haswell & Hecker’s version of "Aguirre 1", also a soundtrack piece lifted from a Herzog movie – "Aguirre, the Wrath of God" (Aguirre, der Zorn Gottes) from 1972. Haswell & Hecker can be quite harsh, but this is more dark than aggressive, and it has some amazing electronic effect work on top. It's choral music in the most disturbing sense of the word. Top notch!

Give it a try via Boomkat.

Beggar Bot plays The Robots (sort of)



Alexander Gurko's Bettelbot (Beggar Bot) plays music using nothing but obsolete hard drives and floppy drives, and then begs for change. More here.

20080521

Kraftwerk - more Coachella 2008 videos

I know, there has been nothing but videos posted here recently. I'll do better soon. But right now, no.

Kraftwerk (or someone) has posted two videos from their recent Coachella performance , apparently filmed by people in the audience, at their MySpace page. Here they are:



20080506

Sputnik Roadhouse

While we are waiting for Florian Schneider to reappear in Kraftwerk, this is what we should be looking at.



It's a clip from the movie Klassentreffen - Mordfall unter Freunden from 2001. The band appearing on stage is Sputnik Roadhouse, in this movie referred to as The Wondering Stars.

You can see "Fredi Schnitzel", also known as Florian Schneider, on the left. He's wearing a wig, playing the double bass (i guess). On stage with him are Marian Gold (vocals), Klaus Schulze, Toni Nissl and F.J. Krüger, who passed away last year.

There used to be a Sputnik Roadhouse website, but nowadays it just redirects you to the official Alphaville site.

Related:
Florian "Don" Schneider

20080502

Soundcheck, hippie

A section of Kraftwerk's soundcheck at Coachella a few days ago, and a jumping hippie:





Notice: Stefan is not there.

20080430

Karl



I was just tipped off about these photographs of ex-Kraftwerk member Karl Bartos' show in Budapest yesterday.

Notice the crowded mess of computers, cables and general "stuff" on that table, and compare that to the complete strictness of the current Kraftwerk setup.

Karl needs some help.

This is Mathias Black, by the way.



No... wait. Isn't that LG Petrov (front, left), in his confirmation outfit?

Related:
Kraftwerk on tour - without Florian.
White Cube.

20080420

Kraftwerk on tour - without Florian




Kraftwerk are currently (barely) touring the US, and apparently Florian Schneider is not participating in the concerts. This is rather amazing news, and probably the first time ever, since the formation of Organisation in 1967, that the band plays without him. Ralf Hütter was out of Kraftwerk for a brief moment in the early seventies, and as far as I know, that is the only time the band has performed without it's two founders on separate sides of the stage.

As you can see from the picture above (borrowed from here), Ralf still occupies his traditional spot on the left, but Florian's far right location seems to be taken by a man in his late twenties/early thirties, by the name of Stefan Pfaffe. This man was listed as "Kling Klang Crew" on the Minimum-Maximum DVD release, so apparently he's not entirely new to the game.

Pfaffe has even got his own robot, for the performance of "The Robots"! Weird times indeed...

Apart from that, visitors to the new tour report that no new songs are played, but that there are some satisfying reworkings of older material to look forward to.

20080416

Kling Klang battle, update



A short follow-up to this previous post:

One can sense a little bit of friction between the band Kling Klang and their management. Again according to Drowned In Sound, the band has issued another statement, in which they begin to conclude that "some members from their management failed completely to represent correctly their ideas about the entire matter. And blaming them for a misrepresentation that sprung from an ill informed employee is not right."

More quotes from the same article:

“In Cologne on Sunday 6th April the UK band Kling Klang were issued with a document by representatives of Messrs. Ralf Hutter & Florian Schneider of the German band Kraftwerk. The document is an order to cease and desist using the name "Kling Klang" as the name of the group. Since Messrs. Hutter & Schneider own the single-word trademark "Klingklang" (the name of Kraftwerk's studio, and publishing/merchandising companies), they feel that use of the two-word term "Kling Klang" as a band name is an infringement of their trademark rights.

“The UK band Kling Klang arrived at the name by way of an onomatopoeic reference to a guitar improvisation of binary structure, and were under the impression that "klang" is a German word for sound, with "kling klang" meaning "bell-sound" (similar to "ding dong" in English). The term appears to be in popular usage in more than one language, including Swedish, and the band in no way thought they would be infringing upon the trademark rights of Messrs. Hutter and Schneider in utilizing this term as a name for the group.

“Kling Klang holds Kraftwerk in the highest esteem as musicians and hope to resolve this matter quickly and amicably.”


Kraftwerk are known for having made similar threats before, sometimes valid but sometimes not at all, for ending auctions of bootlegs, promos and similar collectors items from eBay, and for having sent rather unpleasant threats of legal action to force a fan to delete a site with an address that contained the word Kraftwerk. It will be interesting to see where this ends.

20080415

You are the camera, we are FOTOSTAT



When Kraftwerk's "The Model" was released again, three years after it's initial release, on the b side of the UK single "Computer World" in 1981, it became a surprise hit and made it to the top of the singles chart. Being a hit someone thought it had to be featured on Top Of The Pops, and so it was. But it appears Kraftwerk weren't that interested in promoting their old song. Instead, robot-oriented dance duo Fotostat was called in to perform a little dance while "The Model" was playing.

Fotostat were not only dancers, they were also twins. Glenn and Mark Robertson were born in 1960, in Colcherster, Essex, UK. Together, they moved to London and, did some shows, appeared in a Pete Townsend video, and released a little bit of music in the early 80's. The robotic twin duo gained some attention with their songs throughout the UK, which spawned a few more tv performances.

This was shot in 1982:



And this is a performance from Glasgow in 1983, again filmed by the BBC.



Nowadays, the twins seems to have left the UK for New Jersey and New York respectively. Rock n' roll seems to be their thing nowadays. They each have a MySpace page (Mark, Glenn), but it's hard to say exactly what they are up to, due to some kind of general refusal of formatting/punctuation.

20080414

Kling Klang battle



Liverpool based rock band Kling Klang, currently on tour supporting Portishead, has been legally threatened by Kraftwerk for using the name Kling Klang. The band has, obviously, borrowed the name from Kraftwerk's studio in Düsseldorf. According to this Drowned in Sound article, Kling Klang (the band) are not that keen on the idea of coming up with a new name. Quoted from the article:

The band seem to be defiant though – management asserting that: “even though it is fairly true that Kling Klang drew the inspiration for their name from the admiration for Kraftwerk’s immense contribution to modern music, it is also true that the expression ‘kling klang’ is not Kraftwerk’s creation.

“In fact they have registered as a trademark the word ‘klingklang’, without hyphens or separation spaces and that is for certain their ‘invention’.”

"We do understand where Kraftwerk's request originates from," the statement continued; "and that we will do our best to find a way to make every party happy and to solve the thing peacefully because we do admire Kraftwerk very much. But still, Kling Klang as a name has an affective meaning for all the band."

The band intend to consult a legal advisor, saying that they are “not too prone to accept Kraftwerk’s request”. They go on to state that the multimillionaire kraut-rock legends should be "paternally gratified" that a band have chosen to find inspiration in the work they’ve produced.

“It is not like ‘Kling Klang’ is a brand name, like ‘Xerox’,” the band's management continue. “It is an idiomatic German phrase, so we really don’t see the substance of their claim. We were aware of Kraftwerk’s notorious bent in sueing people and we were expecting the notice from one moment to another since we first stepped on German soil.

“And they way they have notified the claim was even funny… We received the letter in the form of a fax from some random promoter and the notice had all our addresses on it, kinda ‘we know where you live’ style.”

Note: The Drowned In Sound article has just been changed and shortened. It now reflects the "views of the management" only, and most of the above text has been deleted.

Bonus: Pictured above, front/left, are Kraftwerk's Synthanorma Modell 316, made by Fa. Matten + Wiechers in Bonn in 1976. This picture is from the Computer World era.

Related:
Other things named Kling Klang.
The songs that Kraftwerk stopped.

Legs





20080402

Klaus Dinger RIP



Klaus Dinger (second from the left), drummer for Kraftwerk in the early days, inventor of the Motorik beat, and co-founder of Neu! and La Düsseldorf!, passed away March 21:st, just days before his 62:nd birthday.

This fantastic postcard was sent by Ralf Hütter and Florian Schneider to Klaus Dinger in 1973. I assume Dinger is on the drums.



Related:
Stockhausen RIP
Bernd Becher RIP
Christa Fast RIP

20080318

DAF on C81, the first NME tape



I'm sure many of you are familiar with the notion of C86, a cassette tape that was released by and published with British music magazine NME (New Musical Express) in 1986. C86 gave name to a genre within independent music, also called (or at least related to) twee.

A bit lesser known is the first tape ever to be published with NME, the similarly named C81. Not surprisingly, this tape was released in 1981, in January, in collaboration with the Rough Trade record label off-shoot Rough Tapes.

C81 is a diverse compilation of timeless classics, seldom heard quality music, and a few songs that just feel rather old at this point. It's playlist contains jazz, poetry, pop, punk and Robert Wyatt. Cabaret Voltaire are on it, the Buzzcocks are on it, and so are Pere Ubu, Scritti Politti, Subway Sect and Orange Juice.



But we'll focus on one specific track right now.



(Play it, or click the logo to go to the download page)

This is Deutsch-Amerikanische Freundschaft's 'Kebabträume', (or 'Kebab traume', 'Kebab-träume', elsewhere) and it is a brilliant version, with all the raw energy we associate with DAF before the 'pure electronic' era.

The song was recorded live in concert at the Electric Ballroom in London in February 1980. As this tape was released in January '81, it actually precedes the release of the first Kebabträume single with a month or two, and the 'Für Immer' album, that contains another version of the song, with more than two years.

A bit of fingerspitzgefühl there, it seems, on the part of NME and Rough Tapes.

20080315

DEVO, QEE-VO

I just realised that I haven't introduced you to Qee-vo yet. So, without further ado - here he is!

In Booji Boy mode:



In Mark Mothersbaugh mode:



Now, I'd like to see some Kraftwerk Qees. Preferrably a series of four, two of them with exchangeable heads - allowing you to switch from simulating the classic Kraftwerk line-up to the current one, by just replacing the factory mounted Karl Bartos and Wolfgang Flür heads with the heads of Fritz Hilpert and Henning Schmidt (sold separately).

More about the Qee-vo here.
More about Qees here.
More about DEVO here.
More about Booji Boy here and here.

20080312

The Stylophone



In 1981, Kraftwerk used the Stylophone to perform the track "Pocket Calculator". The Stylophone is a simple, battery operated instrument - you play it by touching it's metal keyboard with a stylus, thereby closing a circuit and generating sound. The device, marketed as a 'pocket electronic organ', was created already in 1967 by Dübrec, a british company. Dübrec closed down in the early eighties. By then, around 3 million Stylophones had been sold, mostly through toy stores.

The inventor of the Stylophone was Brian Jarvis, and his colleagues in Dübreq were Burt Coleman (managing director), and Ted Coleman (brother to Burt; artwork and finances). Dübreq got it's name from their original line of business, to dub and record movie sound tracks. I assume the umlauts and the "q" were added to create a certain "continental Europe" mystique.



The company employed australian musician/artist/comedian/childrens entertainer Rolf Harris (go here to see his Stylophone orchestra) to promote the invention. This rather funny quote from the now defunct "Stylophone Collectors Website" serves well the purpose of explaining his impact:
It almost seemed too good that such a person was around at the time the Stylophone was conceived, just imagine how it would have faired if Dübreq asked the Manic Street Preachers to promote the Stylophone, or maybe Nirvana, or even The Spice Girls. No one today has the sort of universal appeal that could sell millions of Stylophones to the kids of the world.
Since october 2007, the Stylophone is once again manufactured and available for purchase. The current product is a slightly updated version of the original, basic model. In addition to the On/Off, Vibrato and Pitch controls, the new version features three different sounds (instead of one), a volume control, and an mp3 input, that allows you the pleasure of playing along with your favorite songs.

I actually bought one last week for about £15, and it is quite enjoyable. Here it is! Look at it shine there, above my brothers rather murky carpeting.



While on the subject, you need to take a look at this video recording of Kraftwerk playing "Pocket Calculator" live in 1981. Check out the Stylophone action! Karl Bartos, the second person from the left, is handling it like there's no tomorrow. Also, don't miss Florian Schneider's vowel face action towards the end.



Related: Kraftwerks future live setup.

20080310

Fat Bankroll-boken

Sorry, this one has to be in Swedish only. But scroll down for some text in english and an exclusive mp3 mix.



Kollegorna på det gamla nätfanzinet Fat Bankroll, www.fatbankroll.nu, har till slut lyckats avsluta evighetsprojektet att samla ihop de bästa artiklarna i bokform. Det blev en 452 sidor tjock bok, "Fat Bankroll - Arkiv 2000-2005", som nu säljs via Vulkan.se. Läs mer och beställ här.

Den tjocka, fina, vita boken innehåller bland annat ett handritat flödesschema över Kraftwerks medlemmar genom åren, en intervju med den japanske Kraftwerk-covermakaren Houten 3, samt relaterade konsertrecensioner från Paris 2002 och Stockholm 2004. Dessutom intervjuer! Grill-recept! Richie Blackmore i Japan! Beastie Boys! Satanist-techno! Ståålfågel! MF Doom! En punk-karta! Atom Heart! Dr Pepper! Lego! Norbergfestival-yra! Fennesz! Soundclash-spelet! Träd, gräs och stenar! Nittiotals-wrestling! Danska snacks! Andreas Tilliander! Tiki-kultur!

Det är naturligtvis precis hur bra och precis hur mycket som helst. Köp!

--

And as a bonus, here's a mix ("Gubbsynt - återkomsten") that was done exclusively for Fat Bankroll back in 2004 - a feeble attempt to find some way to use all the techno versions and remixes that suddenly were released by all of the electronic has-beens.



Tracklist:

1. The Human League - Overkill Disaster Crash (V.1)
2. Laibach - Tanz Mit Laibach (Johannes Heil "Crucified" Remix)
3. Nitzer Ebb - Let Your Body Learn (Terence Fixmer Remix)
4. Throbbing Gristle - United (Two Lone Swordsmen remix - Vocal Version)
5. DAF - Der Sheriff
6. Kraftwerk - Aéro Dynamik (Alex Gopher/Etienne De Crecy Dynamik Mix)
7. Nitzer Ebb - Control I'm Here (The Hacker Remix)
8. Suicide - Death Machine
9. Suicide - Dachau, Disney, Disco

20080229

Die Hitlers



This is a picture of the band Die Hitlers (The Hitlers). It was taken in Düsseldorf, at the Ratinger Hof, in 1980. It appears that the members of Die Hitlers were Markus Oehlen (drums?, also from Deutschland Terzett, Flying Klassenfeind, Mittagspause), Thomas Schwebel (guitar? also in S.Y.P.H, Fehlfarben and Mittagspause), Franz Bielmeier (guitar?, Mittagspause), Peter Hein (Fehlfarben), Jürgen Engler (Male, Die Krupps) and Xao Seffcheque.

But that is about everything I have managed to figure out so far. Good name, though. And I like the Beagle Boy look.

20080227

On my wishlist: Guter Abzug



Released in 1982 by the No Time gallery, the Guter Abzug box documents the underground scene around the turn of the decade (70->80, that is). It's a good looking, yellow box containing one large poster, two postcards, one flexidisc recorded by Xao Seffcheque and Die Krupps front man Jürgen Engler, and, most interesting, 102 photographs, capturing the Ratinger Hof scene of the time; the people, the mood, and the artists.

These are just a few pictures from the box, that I have borrowed from Punk Sei Dank, here. Click for larger versions.

Xao Seffcheque:



Der Plan + Moritz Rrr, Robert Görl, Pyrolator, Boyd Rice:



Pyrolator:



Sprung aus den wolken:



DAF:



Holger Hiller:



Liaisons Dangereuses:



Die Krupps:

20080226

Business, Numbers, Money, People, and Elin Lanto

While most of this crap song is stolen from Madonna (the song, the video), there's at least one rather obvious Kraftwerk idea incorporated - a few of the Speak & Spell spoken words are exactly the same.

Elin Lanto - "Speak 'N Spell":



Kraftwerk - "Computer World":

20080225

Club Lido, Venice, October 1978

Take a look at this! This is Kraftwerk the way I always wanted them - not a single unnecessary body movement, playback all the way, and with the robots on first row.



If you read Wolfgang Flür´s "I Am a Robot", you might have noticed this Italian TV performance being mentioned as something a bit out of the ordinary, as it was broadcasted live over parts of eastern Europe. And that Julio Inglesias was upset because someone had accidentally given his dressing room to Kraftwerk.

20080222

The songs that Kraftwerk stopped



We have written abour Audio Objekt's swedish Kraftwerk covers before. See here, here, here, here and here (ok, no, only thrice). But now, maybe, the story is over. This email popped in just a few minutes ago:

Swedish synth duo Audio Objekt’s cover of Kraftwerk’s ”Computer World” has been
stopped by Kraftwerk’s publishing representative in Germany.

The Publisher, Sony ATV, gives no specific reason why they force Audio Objekt to
withdraw the CD single immidiately and for all future. Sony had studied Audio Objekt’s Swedish translation before announcing their decision.

Not only is the CD single stopped from all distribution, also the digital distributor had
to stop all sales of Audio Objekt. All audio files on www.audioobjekt.com, on Audio Objekt’s myspace, on Audio Objekt’s youtube-site, the facebook account, has ben taken out as the song is now forbidden. The CD single also included the song ”Modellen”, a Swedish translation of ”Das Model”.

Audio Objekt is very sad about Sony ATV’s decision, but they have removed all sound files as requested.

Over the last couple of weeks we have been asked if there is any way to get the songs in spite of the decision from Sony. The answer is that while Audio Objekt cannot provide them anylonger, anyone with moderate skills on using the internet’s search engines would probably easily trace Audio Objekt’s music.

Finally Audio Objekt wishes to point out the fact that these songs was made with the deepest respect for Kraftwerk’s music and it was made by two of Kraftwerks most dedicated fans.


Objektivität Schallplatten, Lund-Stockholm, Sweden.

WEBSITE: http://www.audioobjekt.com/

20080120

White Cube



Karl Bartos, one of the four people still identified by most as "Kraftwerk" (even though he left the band 17 years ago) has opened the White Cube section of his web site to a project called Crosstalk, named after his first post-Kraftwerk release.

Crosstalk contains remixes, covers, mash-ups, video work and a pdf, created by artists from all over the world, all somehow related to Mr Bartos. It's not all good, but some of it might be.

20080113

Other things named Kling Klang

It is fairly obvious that Kraftwerk chose the name of their studio, Kling Klang, for it's onomatopoetic qualities. But there are other things named Kling Klang as well. Here are a few:

  1. Kling Klang- A poorly named but somewhat decent band from Liverpool. According to Wikipedia, they play krautrock. I'm not sure I agree.

  2. Kling & Klang - A pair of police officers appearing in Astrid Lindgren's Pippi Longstocking books.

  3. Kling Klang Klatch - A graphic novel, written by Ian McDonald and Davide Lyttleton. The story revolves around a murdered panda showgirl/teddybear, and it's investigation - handled by fellow teddy bear, but also detective, Marcus McBear. I haven't read it, but it seems to be rather similar to one of this year's most talked about swedish books, "Amberville" by Tim Davys.

  4. Kling Klang Krieger - The duo of Eberhard Streigl and Heiko Schleisser. Released only one 12" that I know of, "Tibetrausch", in 2003.

And then there are the songs, and the albums:

  1. Electronic dance act Tussle released the album "Kling Klang" in 2004, on the Troubleman Unlimited label.

  2. American industrial metal band Fektion Fekler released the album "Kling Klang Bedlam" in 1998, on Pendragon Records.
    Experimental musician and ex Psyclones member Brian Ladd released the one-sided 8" flexidisc "Kling Klang" in 1990, on the Ladd-Frith label.

  3. Swedish early industrial/experimental artist Jonas Broberg released the cassette "Kling Klang" on En halvkokt i folie's excellent Konduktör Records in 1985.

  4. German ndw artist Marcus included the track "Kling, Klang Schicksalsmelodie" on his 1982 single "Ich Will Spass".

  5. German tech house producer Todd Bodine's 12" release "Codebreaker" from 2006 contained the track "Kling Klang".

  6. Equally german synth-pop band Camouflage included a song named "Kling Klang" on their CDs/12" release "One Fine Day" in 1989, as an homage to Kraftwerk. Which brings us to this new release:

Camouflage - "Archive 01" (2007)

In december of 2007, Camouflage released "Archive 01", a double CD with rarities and a 24 page-book with photos. Although interesting already, the archive gets even more so by the inclusion of Camouflage's cover version of Kraftwerk's "Computer Liebe" (recorded live in 1989) and the abovemeitioned "Kling Klang". "Computer Liebe" was recorded at the Theaterfabrik in Munich in November 1989 and was first made available in 1991 on the 12" release "Handsome - The Remix".

20080105

2007 In Retrospect

If you run a blog, you are forced by international law to list stuff at the end of each year. My memory is bad, so it'll be short.

Best album discovered in 2007

The White Noise - "An Electric Storm" (1968)



I stumbled upon this while strolling around Helsinki one day. There was this small, leftfield record store placed under ground, in some railway/train station. I went in, and something amazing was playing. It was this one. I can't believe I've never heard it before. It has the power to remove the term "psychedelic" from all your other psychedelic records.

Best album cover

Pomassl - "Spare Parts" (Raster-Noton)



Best newcomer

I Am A Vowel - "Et Op La Bang" (Fang Bomb)



Sure, I'm a bit biased. But still. "Wibbling glitchy tap drip bad hallucinogenic woodlice-tronica", according to Norman Records in Leeds, UK.

Best live recording



It's a close call between Harmonia's "Live 1974" and the Kraftwerk bootleg "Live on Radio Bremen", recorded in 1971. They both win.

Best new Kraftwerk product

Kraftwerk - "Aerodynamik / La Forme - Hot Chip Remixes"



Mostly because I had to get it in here somehow.

[Edit]

I forgot one thing (and this is important):

Concert of the year

Haswell & Hecker / Pan Sonic at Conway Hall, London, October 11th.





Haswell & Hecker attacked all senses, with high end, high/low frequency, massive volume noise academia and the most intense and impressive green laser thing I've ever encountered. And Pan Sonic weren't bad either. We were outside of the ancient Conway Hall building when they started their set, and we could feel the entire structure vibrating.