KRAFTWERK: Publikation

With its suitably restrained jacket design and a foreword from Karl Bartos, Kraftwerk: Publikation looks like it might just be a Kling Klang product. It isn’t, of course. The shutters remain firmly down at that particular location. And Florian Schneider’s staying schtum too. So Munich-based author David Buckley has teased out some more information from Kraftwerk’s garrulous Lothario, Wolfgang Flür, and has romanced the sober and sensible Karl Bartos (who has a solo album on the way) into talking about his experiences. He’s talked at length with several of the other musicians who passed through the ranks before Ralf and Florian finally settled on the version of Kraftwerk that started to come together with 1974’s breakthrough album Autobahn.

Flür is in mildly disapproving mode about Ralf’s continuing the Kraftwerk project long after what he considers to be its sell-by date and reveals that he was asked to rejoin the band by Hütter in 1997: “He tried to buy me back with a big pile of money”, he says. The meeting, typically Kraftwerkian in that it took place at a Düsseldorf café under a chestnut tree, the protagonists elegantly consuming coffee and plum tart, ended with Wolfgang unburdening himself of years of resentment: “You broke everything with your bicycle”, he recalls telling Ralf, “you couldn’t care less what happens to Karl and me”. This exchange is possibly the equivalent of David Bowie and Lou Reed’s famous fist-fight in 1979, physical blows sublimated into an emotionally suppressed chat over kaffeeundkuchen. There are plenty of other snippets to widen the eyes; Ralf offered Kraftwerk as support act to Depeche Mode, but Gahan et al refused, saying, “It’s not the real Kraftwerk”; the unedifying story of how Ralf and Florian excised Conny Plank from the Kraftwerk project after his considerable contribution to Autobahn; details about Florian Schneider’s wealthy upbringing and his unpleasant, famous architect father; Florian’s phone call to Pascal Bussy after his Kraftwerk biography Man, Machine and Music was published during which Florian said, in French (naturellement): “Your book is shit”, and the interviews with Michael Rother and other early collaborators are fascinating.

Like all books about Kraftwerk, this one circles around the band’s core, allowing tantalising glimpses of its inner workings, but fails to penetrate the inner sanctum. Ralf Hütter comes out of it as a man atrophying in the centre of a complex and mysterious machine he has built to ensure his immortality, whose vision of The Man Machine was less a cute and smart glimpse at the way technologically advanced societies were heading, but rather a more frightening and personal expression of his own human destiny.

It is almost certainly too late for any book to fully tell the Kraftwerk story, Ralf and Florian surely aren’t going to talk to anyone now, and even a Ralf Hütter or Florian Schneider autobiography (and it would be a foolish person indeed to bet the farm on either ever happening) would probably be an oblique exercise in revisionism. Having said that, Buckley’s Kraftwerk book is the best one yet, is clearly a labour of love, and has uncovered plenty for the Kraftwerk obsessive to get their teeth into.

Kraftwerk: Publikation by David Buckley is published by Omnibus Press and available from Amazon plus a variety of other retail outlets

Mark Roland is Deputy Editor of Electronic Magazine which is available at WH Smith and online at

This review was originally published at Electronic Magazine’s Facebook page and reproduced with the kind permission of the writer. The pilot issue of Electronic features an archive interview with Kraftwerk from 1977. A preview can be viewed at

DAYBEHAVIOR Follow That Car!

Come Into My World

DAYBEHAVIOR have a particular skill at crafting stylish slices of electropop, the 2003 song ‘The Sweetness of My Pain’ springs immediately to mind – an exquisite combination of melodic beauty and melancholic ode of despair.

A 3-piece outfit from Stockholm, Daybehaviour originally began life in 1993 as a partnership between musicians Tommy Arell and Carl Hammar before singer Paulinda Crescentini joined to give the outfit its unique vocal identity. Their first album Adored, released in 1996, received sterling reviews from the music press.

Follow That Car! marks Daybehaviour’s third album and continues their talent for classy, sophisticated dreampop. The subtle tunes are constructed with a mix of Jupiter 8, Korg Mono/Poly and Siel Opera along with a smattering of other instruments all complemented by the delicate vocals of Miss Crescentini.

Opening track ‘Come to Bed with Me’ combines suggestive lyrics with rhythmic electronic moods. The opening bars are all classic synthpop and it sets things up very nicely for the songs ahead.

‘City Lights’, which originally emerged as a promo track back in 2010, is all percussive beats and vocal themes of wandering. It’s a lyrical element that’s present on a lot of the songs on the album, such as ‘Silent Dawn’ (released last year as a single) which echoes these ideas of travel and observation. It’s a picturesque tune built of brooding rhythms and suitable breathy vocals from Paulinda.

‘So Shut your Eyes’ emerges with an ominous choral intro and builds into an effective slice of Gothic pop. ‘The Blue Film’ is a slow vocally-driven number with a melody that sounds like a lost John Foxx song. This track segues into the brilliant ‘A Train to Moscow’ via dialogue samples from 1950 film thriller D.O.A. There’s clearly a love of film noir at work here on this insistent broody tune.

The album’s finest moment however comes with ‘It’s a Game’ with its clever lyrical twists and a tune that’s electropop perfection. It was the song of choice for Marsheaux for a remix the Greek duo did last year.

‘For a Thousand Years’ gives us a change in pace with an effective male/female duet and ‘No More Minutes’ is a classic composition of electro beats and buzzy rhythms.

If you like your electropop stylish then Follow That Car! is an album that deserves a spin.

Follow That Car! Is released 14th September on the Graplur label

Text by Paul Browne
13th September 2012

GRIMES Live in London

Venus In Fleurs

The steady upward path of GRIMES continues, paved by the recent success of the Visions album, which also marked the signing of the artist to the 4AD label.

Transcribing the dense, complex soundscapes that form the Grimes sound would have been more of a challenge in the hands of anyone other than musician/producer Claire Boucher. And there’s something about the live renditions of tracks such as ‘Be A Body’, ‘Nightmusic’ and ‘Oblivion’ that breath new life into the tunes. The songs become infectious bass heavy dance-pop numbers. This is electronic dance music done right.

The evening kicked off with support from fellow Canadian artist Majical Cloudz (who collaborated with Grimes for the track ‘Nightmusic’. The moody soundscapes of Majical Cloudz are certainly effective, but at times artist Devon Welsh just looks unsure what to do with himself on stage. Second support Becoming Real offers more up tempo fare with a seamless mix set of electronic dance.

The arrival of Grimes to the stage was overshadowed by unfortunate events. The theft of equipment in Manchester the previous week cast some doubts on the final tour dates. A swift replacement of new gear solved that particular issue, although a few minor technical issues cropped up during the performance as Claire struggled to acclimatise herself to the new equipment: “I can’t always remember where I’ve put my samples…”.

Early Grimes gigs saw Miss Boucher alone on stage, which most fans would probably have been happy with. But some thought has obviously gone into enhancing the visual aspect of the live Grimes experience, hence the projections of anime clips and abstract footage, the addition of Emily the pole dancer and Vin Diesel on light sabres! It gave the event a sense of theatre and helped to encourage a party atmosphere, which the enthusiastic crowd eagerly assisted with.

There’s loud cheers to greet songs such as ‘Vanessa’ and ‘Oblivion’, with the latter tune sounding a lot stronger live with its beefier bass rhythm and emphatic melody getting the crowd moving.

‘Genesis’, unsurprisingly, gets the biggest cheers of the evening and the entire venue is bopping along to the Kraftwerk-ian slice of dream pop that has been instrumental in establishing Grimes as a household name.

The encore features ‘Phone Sex’, the collaborative number between Grimes and Blood Diamonds. Despite technical problems cutting the song off, Miss Boucher battles on, fixes things up and then finishes the set off in style.

The next question is where GRIMES goes next. There’s talk of becoming a producer for other artists as a full time option, although the next GRIMES album is already under discussion and is described by Miss Boucher as her “anime-industrial album”.

Text and photos by Paul Browne
6th September 2012