This is a Kraftwerk fan page. Kraftwerk are a German musical group that were influential in the evolution of modern electronic music.
This fan page tries to be a bit different from most other Kraftwerk fan pages. Instead of talking about what Kraftwerk do, I talk about what they have motivated others to do. Hence the title of this page.
My contention is that Kraftwerk's early work is a major part of the foundation of modern electronic music including (at a minimum) the techno, trance and ambient generes. Of course that's a subjective statement and there is no way I can conclusively prove it. So instead of a proof I offer as much supporting evidence as I can find.
Kraftwerk is without a doubt my favorite musical group. This German group started laying the foundations way back in the 1970s of what we now know as techno, trance, dance, hardcore and ambient music. Their influence has also spilled over into many other musical generes.
In my youth, I had never been particuarly fond of music. I liked percussion and was showing a preference for electronic and organ music when I first discovered Kraftwerk. When I was somewhere between 8 and 10 years of age, I went into the Radio Shack outlet in Chinook Mall in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. They were playing The Man Machine on one of their floor model stereos, and I was instantly hooked. I pestered my mother to buy the record for me, and the rest is history.
Kraftwerk opened wide a wonderous world of musical pleasure for me. Unfortunately they don't release new material often enough to satisfy my cravings, and so I must take refuge in locating other music that is similar. Hence this page. Kraftwerk is one of the most-sampled groups, and I make a point of noting songs that directly use Kraftwerk samples. I thought I'd make the information available here for other Kraftwerk fans. Unfortunately I haven't been able to attach names to a lot of what I've heard, so what appears here is only the stuff I know the source of.
See my Kraftwerk Collection for a list of all the Kraftwerk albums and related material I have.
I have been hunting Kraftwerk-influenced music ever since I first noticed that people were sampling them. I happen to think that sampling technology is the greatest thing to happen to the world of music since electronic synthesizers, which are themselves the greatest thing since music was invented. I consider every use of a Kraftwerk sample or melody a tribute to Kraftwerk, whether it's stated as such or not, and I often enjoy such music almost as much as I enjoy Kraftwerk.
You could say this is a bit of a wild goose chase; a desperate attempt to grab more of a scarce resource (the Kraftwerk Sound). There is some truth to that, but it is also true that even if Kraftwerk were regularly producing new material, I would also listen to and enjoy derivative works.
Here I present a list of all such derived or influences works I have encountered. This list will probably never be complete as I am building it in my spare time and it is impossible for one person to hear all the new music being produced anyway. What I have listed here is probably less than 5% of what is really out there.
I can't take credit for all the research reflected here. Lots of people have contributed information to this project, either directly or by mentioning related things in online conversations. I thank all of them for their contributions, witting or not. I'll credit people who tell me of material I haven't encountered, and I will try to verify the information myself (to add to my collection). If you contribute but don't want your name to appear on this page, let me know.
To help organize the data, I've split this document into subsections, listed below. Where an item belongs more than one section, I've tried to place it in the most relevant one.
Covers and Remixes. A "cover" is loosly defined as a song performed by a group that didn't write it. A cover of a Kraftwerk song is a Kraftwerk song performed by some other group, using that group's preferred instruments. Covers are usually done as a tip-of-the-hat or to excite the audience at a live show.
A remix is similar to a cover, but is done with the intent of revitalizing an old tune with a new sound. Remixes usually rearrange or change the instrument sounds using sampling technology rather than just different normal instruments. Remixes sometimes also permute the main melody or the rhythm, or blend together elements of multiple songs. Remixes are most common in the club scene are are most often done by DJs. These days many fans also distribute their own home-made remixes via the Internet.
I used to list covers and remixes separately, but I eventually realized that it's really hard to find a clear dividing line. Remixes are now listed with covers because of that.
Tributes. A tribute is a song or album created in honor of a group. It need not be a cover or a remix, and it need not even sound like the group being paid tribute. Tributes are made to acknowledge a group's greatness.
Samples. The last and biggest category is a list of sampled Kraftwerk sounds I have found. There are two main kinds of samples: melody and instrument.
A melody sample is a copy of a song's main theme. Melody samples are rare. Generally the theme is played as a quick riff within a different song, as a sort of tip-of-the-hat.
Instrument samples are the most common kind. They duplicate the distinctive raw sound of a group's instruments, or even whole sections of the group's songs. Instrument samples can also be taken from other sources like nature or movies. Here I'm looking specifically at samples of Kraftwerk sounds, whether recorded or simulated. Sometimes it can be hard to say for sure that an instrument was sampled from a specific group, so some of the information in this section is best taken with a salt lick.
Cultural References. This includes mentions of Kraftwerk by other groups and in other entertainment media. Links to other Kraftwerk sites are also in this section. This is a catch-all section for things that don't fit elsewhere.
Note that I don't cover actual Kraftwerk productions or performances, nor most bootleg material. There is plenty of information on such things out there already, on other Kraftwerk fan sites. See the Cultural References section for some links.
Generally speaking, Kraftwerk-derived music is made by people who could be described as fans of Kraftwerk. That includes a lot of people who aren't professional, published or publically performing musicians but like to tinker and mix at home. There are TONS of such works around. Just do a keyword search for Kraftwerk at MP3.com or look for fan sites with music for downloading.
I don't know where to draw the dividing line. I don't want to expand the scope of my project to include home-made, MP3-only songs because there are just so many of them and they tend to be ephemeral - only available for a short time. Yet at the same time they DO fit all the definitions of things I want to catalogue here at my Kraftwerk site.
I've decided that in order for something to be listed here, it must be publically available on physical media. That is, it must be sold on CD, tape, videocassette, record or some other such item, which can then later be resold or traded. That eliminates most of the problem items - things that exist only as MP3s and have no permanent "home". The only remaining grey area is build-your-own-record services such as offered by MP3.com, and I don't think I'll count those either because they're unique, custom-made items.
The reason for these limiting conditions is that I want people to have some hope of finding the stuff I mention here. Works that are only available on the Internet always go away sooner or later (usually sooner), and then you're left with the impossible task of finding someone who happened to download the file you're looking for and can dredge it up for you, assuming you even knew the file existed to begin with. In this way the Internet is somewhat flawed as a distribution medium.
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Last updated October 14, 2002.