Robots at Ushuaïa Ibiza

Bruno Galindo September 2019 MUSIC Read in PDF format N22/2019
Robots at Ushuaïa Ibiza Kraftwerk, the most important electronic group in history, is celebrating half a century of life at their 20th anniversary debut at Cocoon

Every move they´ve made in their career has been masterful: from their first record ¨Kraftwerk¨, which was released in 1970, to their latest show, Kraftwerk 3-D, which makes for the perfect excuse for this quartet´s first visit. The group is led by Ralf Hutter and has been cited as the most important crew of all time by Bowie, Afrika Bambaataa, Ryuichi Sakamoto and Daft Punk. We are talking Beatles-level in the electronic world.

With a half-century long legacy, this historic visit will be part of the 20th anniversary of Cocoon. The celebration´s emcee, Sven Vath, announced a few weeks ago a date with Underworld at Ushuäia Ibiza, and he will now be presenting this one – take note: September 13th - with the guys from Dusseldorf. ¨With so many memories and so much influence that they have had on my life,¨ Vath says, ¨it fills me with pride that they will be at the 20th anniversary of Cocoon. We have been the past and we are the future of this island´s music. Kraftwerk will never stop being the future.¨

Their story begins at the end of the 60s, in krautrock Germany. They formed part of this musical movement briefly (together with Can, Amon Düül, Faust) but drifted away quickly as they began to set themselves apart with their more industrial and, paradoxically, much more Germanic base than their counterparts had. Since then, they have rambled freely, ignoring everything avant-garde that they themselves didn´t create, fundamentally Ralf Hütter and Florian Schneider. These two have been friends since they met at an improv class in the summer of 1968 at Remscheid academy, close to their city. Back in those days, the pair focused on the art circuit, starring in musical performances with their group at that time, Organisation, at galleries and universities in the region.

In the following decade, Kraftwerk organized their activity from their general headquarters, their laboratory Kling Klang, located in the vicinity of Dusseldorf´s central station. From there, they went on to deliver surprising, perfect records to the world. These creations have always been rooted in the scientist or workman ethic and aesthetic, rather than in that of the musician or artist. They don´t seem to join the trends: they create them. Far from the punk anger that cropped up across the Western world when they were producing their first records, their music fascinated David Bowie, who later went on to suggest a collaboration. They ignored it. Years later, GranmasterFlash remixed their ¨Trans-Europe Express¨ in a hip-hop key and they didn´t even flinch. Missing from 1986 to 2003, they came back into the spotlight over the last decade, transforming themselves from a historic reference to a seriously current brand. And, as Sven Vath poignantly says, reminding us that they´re the future.

Get your 3D glasses ready: the current set up of Kraftwerk – which was presented over eight consecutive concerts, one for each one of their records, at the Guggenheim in Bilbao in September of 2016 – stands out with its amazing 3D graphic design, as the tour name warns. As far as the set, you can expect to hear a vintage yet modern sound, the ideal urban, (pre)technology European life soundtrack from the 20th century, full of train and car trips, computers, calculators and small appliances. You´ll surely hear hits from their repertoire like “Numbers”, “Computer world”, “It’s more fun to compute”, “Computer love”, “The man-machine”, “The model”, “Autobahn”, “Radioactivity”, “Tour de France” and “Pocket calculator”. Frigid, intelligent, brilliant. Kraftwerk always puts their heart into every one of their creations, while simultaneously hiding their emotions to the point that they delegate their last track of their concerts to four dolls with their faces (this last song is but of course ¨The Robots¨). Well-known for their hieractically revolutionary concept of live music and for a one-of-a-kind sound that nobody has been able to imitate, they are themselves a work of art. Being on the island and missing their show is something that you will regret for the rest of your life. Now you know: September 13th, exclusively at the anniversary of Cocoon.






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