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Kraftwerk At MoMA

Posted on April 16, 2012

Stylized Leaders of the Computerized Electronic Revolution at MoMA

First as D.I.Y. experimenters and visionaries, then leaders in a nearly empty field, then as inspiring catalysts for man-machine marriage, Kraftwerk paved the way for millions of musicians, programmers, DJs, rappers, and fans to integrate a mechanized electronic precision into the modern musical oeuvre.  At a time when the youth movement was peacing out and getting high with arena rock and disco, Kraftwerk was turning itself into robots and its vinyl platters were getting play in New York house parties as an ideal futuristic soundtrack to integrate with lyrics, riffs and samples.  With New Wave, House, and Techno music all spawned with those same programmed beats, voices, and influences, now in the 2010s we acknowledge that a wide spectrum of musical categories, recordings, and performances contain a significant part of Kraftwerk’s digital DNA.

 

Kraftwerk. Museum of Modern Art, NYC. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

A teenager in the early 80s listening to Man Machine and Computer World would have thought that Kraftwerk were geekily impressing each other with their sweeping vision of a future daily existence where people and robots interact via  smart electronic devices and programs. Not only did each year afterward bring us many steps further into their outlandish computerized vision, it may be that they partially ushered it in with their undulating funky precision and robotic wit. And so it is in New York now that “Kraftwerk Week” is blowing away a roomful of people who are holding up their personal glowing rectangles toward the stage at the Museum of Modern Art. Over the course of 8 consecutive nights they appear as slightly human robots to perform one of their albums in it’s entirety, followed by a very satisfying collection of favorites.

The retrospective Kraftwerk 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 brings a vision of the current band members poised before their master controls while 3-D visuals crisply fly into your face with elements of aerospace, rail travel, and the pumping machinations of human propelled progress.  Swelling pulsating vistas are punctuated by text and funnily low-tech robotic movements – all infused with a sense of classical European styling. As pure and total fans we were extremely lucky to have attended one of the performances and we felt like witnesses to an historic event that testified to the influence of 4 decades of experimentation but also displayed a delightfully stellar quality of skill and performance.

Naturally, these photos were shot on our personal hand-held computers.

Kraftwerk. Museum of Modern Art, NYC. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Kraftwerk. Museum of Modern Art, NYC. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Kraftwerk. Museum of Modern Art, NYC. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Kraftwerk. Museum of Modern Art, NYC. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Kraftwerk. Museum of Modern Art, NYC. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Kraftwerk. Museum of Modern Art, NYC. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Kraftwerk. Museum of Modern Art, NYC. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Kraftwerk. Museum of Modern Art, NYC. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Kraftwerk. Museum of Modern Art, NYC. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Kraftwerk. Museum of Modern Art, NYC. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Kraftwerk. Museum of Modern Art, NYC. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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