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?

Kraftwerk on tour - without Florian.
White Cube.


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.


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.


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.


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.

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



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.

Stockhausen RIP
Bernd Becher RIP
Christa Fast RIP