#719: ‘The Robots’ – Kraftwerk

Back in the late ’60s, electronic music was basically non existent. Sure, you could generate sounds using electronic instruments, but the idea of ‘electronic music’ was so far removed from the realm of popular music that it was basically an avant-garde concept that seemed laughable.

However, two German musicians by the name of Ralf Hütter and Florian Schneider decided that experimental music was indeed their thing, and they quickly found themselves using any instrument they could to be make technological tunes that would shape the course of popular music forever. Almost every genre has been affected by the music made by Kraftwerk whether it’s obvious or not.

Leaders of the burgeoning ‘Krautrock’ scene in the early ’70s, Kraftwerk released a number of rather minimalist records before their seventh album, The Man Machine (aka Die Mensch-Maschine), in 1977. Often considered a landmark album of the genre, the record’s success was helped along by the success of lead single ‘Die Roboter‘.

The technologically-advanced nature of the track, mixed with the band’s minimal, futuristic performance style made for an astonishing work of music far beyond its time.

‘Die Roboter’, and it’s subsequent remix version, ‘The Robots’, shows a band on the cusp of taking over the world of electronic music, completely unaware of the influence they would have over the next 40 years. It’s hard to say whether or not this will still be as influential in another 40 years, but there’s a strong chance that electronic musicians will still consider this tune a classic of the genre that made their dreams more possible than they would ever realise.

Note: The version included here today is not the original 1977 album version, rather, it is a re-recorded and remixed version from the band’s 1991 album The Mix. I’ve chosen this version for the fact that, in my opinion, it’s a slightly better version than the original.

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