Ben’s 10 Volume XXXVI: The Technological Visions of Kraftwerk

Back in the late 1970s and early ‘80s, influential German electronic musicians Kraftwerk shared their visions of the future. Ralf Hutter and Florian Schneider started the band as a progressive rock group, but quickly became interested in evolving musical technology.  Their songs consisted of lyrical content spoken through a vocoder or computer speech software accompanied by minimalistic electronic percussion and synthesized soundscapes. The band’s predictions were of a wildly more technologically advanced society.

The Robots (1978)
In 1978 Kraftwerk thought there might actually be a time when robots became a reality. What an absurd concept.

Spacelab (1978)
Just imagine a day when there are not only satellites, but space stations and labs orbiting the earth enabling scientists to conduct research.

Pocket Calculator (1981)
Like a calculator could ever be small enough to fit inside your pocket.

Trans-Europe Express (1977)
Hutter and Schneider envisioned a future where cars traveled fast over long distances, much like today’s freeways.

The Man Machine (1978)
Someday in the not-so-distant future, cyborgs will rise up and conquer mankind. Only then will we realize the visionary imagination of Kraftwerk.

Computer World (1981)
In 1981 computer technology was relatively primitive in comparison with today’s machines. Calling an album “Computer World” at the time was a prediction that is quickly becoming a reality.

Autobahn (1974)
Apparently our German friends had a preoccupation with driving fast on motorways.

Techno Pop (1986)
It makes perfect sense that Kraftwerk would call a record “Techno Pop.” Seeing as they had practically invented the genre years earlier, the concept behind the record was quite literal.

Home Computer (1981)
Computers small and affordable enough for our homes? That is just ludicrous!

Airwaves (1975)
A highly evolved theory, “Airwaves” states that music and other forms of communication can be transmitted wirelessly through the air.

About Ben Allen

Our music editor Ben Allen was born one stormy evening in a quaint Northern California coastal village. Upon birth he was immediately exposed to the soothing analog sounds of artists such as Fleetwood Mac, The Beatles, Paul Simon, Captain Beefheart and Santana. As the lad grew, so did his appreciation for an assortment of abrasive hard rock. A pubescent flirtation with butt metal was shattered in the early 1990’s by exposure to Nirvana and other so-called “Alternative” bands. While in college, our protagonist became a DJ on a local station, and began work as a freelance music journalist. During this period he became entranced with artists such as Tortoise, Slint, Modest Mouse, Guided By Voices and Pavement. Currently Allen resides in Arcata, CA where he continues to obsess and salivate over new recordings by his favorite artists. He works with music industry people to ensure that Savage Henry’s contributors receive music and other promotional materials. He also writes a silly monthly list titled “Ben’s 10.”

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