"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).

Kraftwerk's future live setup
The Stylophone



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

And their wardrobes. And their sunglasses.


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".


Ralf Hütter, 62.

Ralf Hütter, born August 20th 1946 in Krefeld, Germany.



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

Kraftwerk's future live setup


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.


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.