Kraftwerk founding member Florian Schneider dies aged 73, Getintothis’ Peter Guy reflects on the krautrock legend.
Florian Schneider, founder of Kraftwerk has died aged 73 according to reports in Germany.
German musician Robert Goerl broke the news via his Facebook page with a variety of people following up the news on social media.
Billboard have confirmed the reports while the Guardian have said Schneider died a week ago and had a private burial. It was also confirmed via Sony Berlin.
Schneider along with his friend Ralf Hütter formed the seminal krautrock band Kraftwerk in 1970.
Widely considered as innovators and pioneers of electronic music, they were among the first successful acts to make the music crossover into pop consciousness.
The group began as part of West Germany’s experimental krautrock scene in the early 1970s before fully embracing electronic instrumentation, including synthesizers, drum machines, and vocoders.
The pair met in 1968 while studying at the Robert Schumann Hochschule in Düsseldorf.
Forming Organisation, an improvisational band, Schneider would largely play flute, with Ralf Hütter on Hammond organ.
Schneider became interested in synthesizers with early Kraftwerk line-ups from 1970 to 1974 fluctuating.
On commercially successful albums such as Autobahn (1974), Trans-Europe Express (1977), and The Man-Machine (1978), Kraftwerk developed a self-described “robot pop” style” that combined electronic music with pop melodies, sparse arrangements, and repetitive rhythms.
They also adopted their characteristic a stylised image including matching suits.
More touring followed and they gained David Bowie as a fan.
The track V-2 Schneider on Bowie‘s Heroes album was named in tribute to them.
Schneider‘s approach was concentrated on sound design with Hütter affectionately referring to him as a “sound fetishist“.
Schneider’s last performance with the band was November 2006 in Spain and he was subsequently replaced in the band by Stefan Pfaffe, an associate working for the band as a video technician.
In 2015, Schneider and Dan Lacksman released an electronic ode, Stop Plastic Pollution, for ocean environment conservation as part of a campaign Parley for the Oceans.
Though nominated for the Rock Hall of Fame six times, the electronic band has yet to be inducted.
Prior to his death, Kraftwerk had announced that the band would be embarking on a summer tour of North America to celebrate the group’s 50th anniversary.
The shows were set to feature the 3-D visuals the band is known for, melding music and robotics. The celebratory shows were canceled due to the global coronavirus pandemic.
- Photographs from Kraftwerk’s return to Liverpool at the Philharmonic Hall in June 2017