Donald's Encyclopedia of Popular Music
European electric/techno/art rock group formed '70 in Dusseldorf by Ralf Hutter and Florian Schneider, vocals and electronics. They started a studio, made two LPs incl. Tone Float by a group called Organisation infl. by Pink Floyd and Tangerine Dream; left and chose German word for power plant for their own work, in turn soon infl. synthesizer pop bands. First LPs Kraftwerk 1 and Kraftwerk 2 on Philips; Kraftwerk and Ralf And Florian on Vertigo '71--3 (titles as imaginative as the repetitious minimalist sound); added Klaus Roeder on violin and guitar, Wolfgang Flur with more electronics for Autobahn '74, which was a no. 5 LP; side-long title track edited for no. 25 hit USA (11 UK). Exceller 8 was compilation ('Accelerate', pun on 'Autobahn') they appeared in the USA on Capitol for Radio-Activity '75 (with Karl Bartos replacing Roeder), Trans-Europe Express '77, The Man-Machine '78; Computer World '81 was on WB (incl. 'Computer Love'; single with 'The Model' on reverse was a UK no. 1). 'Tune' from Express was used by rap artist Afrika Bambaataa. Techno Pop '83 was on EMI UK. They toured USA late '70s with their machines, talked about a tour by electronic dummies while they stayed home; after Electric Cafe '86 the synthesizers spent their royalties on one-night stands with digital switchboards. Studio wizardry infl. New Order (see Joy Division), Human League, Ultravox etc. Further albums were The Mix '91 on Elektra, Showroom Dummies '92 plus reissues on Cleopatra.