Results for Kraftwerk

interviews

Philip Sherburne

EDM - or Electronic Dance Music - has exploded over the past decade in Europe and the United States. But if names like Skrillex, Tiesto, Deadmau5, and David Guetta mean nothing to you, never fear. Jim and Greg have brought in Spin's Philip Sherburne, author of the“Control Voltage”blog, to offer a primer for the un-initiated. They kick off the conversation with a discussion of the genre's recent evolution: from the short-lived nineties rave scene with its anonymous DJs spinning in dark rooms, to the audio/visual spectacles presided over by celebrity DJs that we see today. A new emphasis on showmanship, and the adoption of dub step's aggressive, bass-heavy beats have won superstar producers like Skrillex, Tiesto, and Rusko a huge, youthful following says Sherburne, effectively making EDM the new stadium rock. But he'd also suggest keeping your eye on the up-and-comers, artists like SBTRKT, Four Tet, and Caribou.

Wrapping things up, Jim and Greg put the new artists we've heard in historical context. After all, as Jim says, covering dance music can give you deja vu. Greg reminds us that todays EDM producers are following in the footsteps of disco artists like Giorgio Moroder, Chicago house and techno musicians, Kraftwerk, Aphex Twin, Fatboy Slim, and - dare we say it - Brian Eno.

Go to episode 341

Top Albums of 2005

The“Best Records”list: It's“a sacred thing”in pop music fandom, says Jim, requiring a discerning ear and laser-like focus. Thankfully, our hosts are here to help. After sifting through hundreds of records, and countless days spent listening (perhaps to the discontent of their wives), they‘ve managed to pick out their absolute favorites. Here’s what Jim and Greg say they'll still be listening to in 2006.

Go to episode 2
specials

Synth-Pop

Next Jim and Greg embark on one of their trademark genre explorations. They've mentioned the term "Synth-Pop" a lot in the past year. The electronic sound of the 1980's has been heavily influencing a slew of new bands including Passion Pit, MGMT and Phoenix. So where does that synth sound come from? Of course, Jim traces a line directly to Kraftwerk and Brian Eno, but notes that it wasn't until technology became cheap and portable that it really came into the mainstream. He and Greg cite Daniel Miller of The Normal as an example of an artist who really embraced synthesizers and didn't merely use them to replicate other instruments. And acts like the Human League developed the sound further to have more warmth and emotion.

Go to episode 225

School of Prog Rock

One of the terms that keeps coming up again and again on Sound Opinions is "Progressive Rock." The Decemberists channel it, Mastodon references it, and countless of fans are obsessed with it. So, this week Jim and Greg decide to dive right in to this larger-than-life, fantastical genre that, let's face it, sometimes makes us laugh. They talk to Charles Snider, author of The Strawberry Bricks Guide to Progressive Rock, about Prog's heydey in the 1970s. Charles, Jim and Greg define the genre as having the following traits: it is visionary and experimental, it has virtuosity in both execution and composition, it's romantic, and it has a sense of "Britishness."

So which bands do it best? Charles and our hosts recommend the following for great, Progressive headphone listening.

  • Emerson, Lake & Palmer
  • Genesis
  • Jethro Tull
  • Gentle Giant
  • The Pretty Things
  • Kraftwerk
  • Yes
  • King Crimson
Go to episode 207

The Moog

The Moog company of Asheville, North Carolina recently announced it would end production on its flagship synthesizer, the Minimoog Voyager. That got Jim and Greg to thinking about the incredible influence the Moog synthesizer has had on rock and pop music since it debuted in 1964. Robert Moog's invention has seen a renaissance in the past decade, as acts ranging from M83 to Future Islands to Taylor Swift have taken inspiration from the synthpop sound.

To get some perspective on the Moog's history and legacy, Jim and Greg turn to Brian Kehew, the former official historian for the Bob Moog Foundation. Kehew also co-founded an all-analog band called Moog Cookbook in the '90s and has worked in the studio with Fiona Apple, Aimee Mann and Moog superstars Emerson, Lake & Palmer. In addition to ELP, Kehew points to the following as great synthesizer musicians:

Go to episode 522
genre dissections

Krautrock

Jim and Greg devote this episode to dissecting the '70s German art-rock movement known as Krautrock. The Krautrock bands themselves, however, preferred the term "kosmische Musik" (cosmic music) to describe their spacey, pulsating freak-outs that combined psychedelia with the electronic innovation of classical composers like Karlheinz Stockhausen. Kraftwerk pioneered the use of electronic instruments to achieve an industrial sound. Neu!, initially an offshoot of Kraftwerk, introduced a hypnotic drumbeat called "motorik" that has been copied by bands for decades. (Check out our 2010 interview with Neu! founder Michael Rother). Jim particularly highlights the inimitable metronomic drumming of Can's Jaki Liebezeit, who died on January 22 at age 78. For Greg, the band Faust was the prime example of the movement's willingness to experiment.

Jim and Greg also trace the incredible influence of Krautrock on music that followed. In the rock world, the German bands have been a touchstone for indie rockers like Stereolab, shoegazers like My Bloody Valentine, post-rock bands like Tortoise, and much more. But the influence is perhaps most pronounced in electronic dance music. It's hard to imagine Detroit techno, Eurodisco, or ambient techno existing without these cosmic forerunners.

Go to episode 583
reviews
St. ElsewhereSt. Elsewhere available on iTunes

Gnarls Barkley St. Elsewhere

St. Elsewhere is the debut album from Gnarls Barkley, the imaginary front-person for a project helmed by vocalist and rapper Cee-Lo Green and producer Danger Mouse. Gnarls describes himself as the pen pal of long-deceased rock critic Lester Bangs, soul singer Isaac Hayes, and Violent Femmes singer Gordon Gano. He also claims to be the lover of both Janet Jackson and Mariah Carey and the man who taught Kraftwerk English. Most importantly, though, he has become a British phenomenon. The first single, "Crazy," went to number one on the UK singles chart after simply being released as a download, and Jim and Greg hope that the hype can be sustained stateside. Both critics love the combination of Cee-Lo's half-preacher, half-freak vocal style and DJ Danger Mouse's eclectic production choices. St. Elsewhere gets a double Buy It rating.

JimGreg
Go to episode 23
dijs

Jim

“The Model”Kraftwerk

Like many Americans, Jim and his wife Carmél watched the first presidential debate this week. Regardless of politics, Jim was greatly offended by candidate Donald Trump's hateful remarks about overweight people. Both of them felt that he was particularly cruel to former Miss Universe Alicia Machado, whom he publicly fat shamed in 1997 for gaining weight after winning her title. Jim wanted to counteract the negativity and insensitivity by bringing one of his favorite tracks ever, "The Model" by Kraftwerk, to the desert island. He wanted to play this song for Machado because she was and is a beautiful woman and she should may no mind to Trump's ignorant attitude.

Go to episode 566
lists

Best Driving Songs

For many of us summer equals a road trip. And a road trip equals great Driving Music. During this episode Jim and Greg play their favorite driving songs.

Go to episode 188
features

Sample Platter: Kraftwerk

Often overlooked is Krautrock's influence on hip-hop. So and Jim and Greg present another installment of Sample Platter, where Jim and Greg take a look at chart toppers that prominently feature a unique sample. This week, they analyze how Krautrock has influenced hip-hop artists for decades. Jim and Greg discuss how artists from Afrika Bambaataa and Soulsonic Force to Kanye West have sampled Kraftwerk and Can to create new pieces of music that still evoke the industrial rhythm of the streets.

Go to episode 583
news

Music News

Jim and Greg have done many news stories about changing modes of distribution, production and sales in the music industry. But Jill Sobule recently presented a unique idea that caught their eye. They talk to the "I Kissed a Girl" singer about why she decided to ask fans to finance her new record. Depending at what level a fan gives they're entitled to gifts ranging from a free digital download of the album ($10) to a Sobule-recorded instrumental theme song ($500). So far Sobule has raised over $80K. Now listeners just have to wait and hear the result. And, Sobule says she's open to album title names.

Obituaries are sad to be sure, but as Jim explains, they are also an opportunity to honor important artists. Last week German art rock pioneer Klaus Dinger died at the age of 61. Dinger is one of Jim's heroes, so while he was crushed to hear the news of his death, he was also happy he could showcase the musician's work at the top of the show. Dinger was a member of both Kraftwerk and Neu!, two of the most influential Krautrock bands of all time. In fact, without both groups electronica as we know it wouldn‘t exist today. Check out Jim’s blog post about Dinger and listen to his classic Neu! track "Hallogallo."

Go to episode 124

Music News

Just when Taylor Swift is shaking off Spotify, her friend and singer-songwriter Ed Sheeran is embracing it. In 2014, Sheeran was the most streamed artist on Spotify with over 860 million listens. He also sold more than 1 million copies of his album X in the UK alone, proving it is possible for an artist to have albums available to stream, while still selling physical copies. Sheeran says Spotify helps him do what he does best, and he is embarking on a world tour starting out at Wembley Stadium in July.

Bill Withers, Lou Reed and Joan Jett are just a few of the musicians about to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2015. However one selection in particular has Jim and Greg scratching their heads: Green Day. The band becomes 1 of only 48 H.O.F. members who were admitted in their first year of eligibility. This feat is normally reserved for the Willie Mays-like musical figures, so this choice left our critics a little confused. Also, Greg and Jim note glaring omissions with the bands Chic, Kraftwerk and Nine Inch Nails.

Go to episode 473

Music News

Pioneering DJ and producer Frankie Knuckles passed away this week. Knuckles' musical legacy is arguably as important to dance music as Chuck Berry's is to rock or Kraftwerk's is to electronica. In the early 1980's, Knuckles helped cultivate House music's sound from the ashes of disco at a venue on Chicago's south side called The Warehouse. (Hence the name, House). The space was an oasis for misfits of all shapes, sizes, and colors to come together and celebrate being alive. As Knuckle's musical stature grew over the years performing at various clubs and remixing other artist's songs, he never lost his generous spirit. In a 2012 conversation with Jim and Greg at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago, Knuckles remarked that he‘d never regarded music as a competive sport.“Even though you have people on the dance floor, and people that come out and say this DJ is better than that one, I’ve never looked at it that way and I‘ve never let that influence me because I’m too busy having a good time and showing people a good time,”said Knuckles. He was 59 years old.

Go to episode 436

Music News

The Nielsen SoundScan numbers for 2006 are in this week, and some members of the music industry would have you believe the sky was falling. This is because total album sales in the U.S. fell 4.9% since last year. But, the fact that is getting buried is that overall music sales still rose to 1.19 billion units in the year. It's hard to think of that as any kind of slump. The reason music is thriving is actually digital music distribution. Digital music sales rose 65% to almost 582 units. Jim and Greg speak with an expert, Chris Muratore from Nielsen Music to make sense of all the numbers. He admits that despite what the record labels would have you believe, digital music could be the best thing that has happened to the music industry in years. Billboard senior analyst Geoff Mayfield echoes this sentiment, and explains that the industry is having to shift its business model. One thing we can all agree on though - music sales may be up, but the quality of the big sellers (High School Musical, Rascal Flatts, Daniel Powter) has plummeted way down.

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame also made news this week. This year's inductees include The Ronettes, Patti Smith, Van Halen, Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five, and R.E.M. (listen to Jim and Greg's discussion with the band's guitarist and co-founder Peter Buck in the next segment). While many of those musicians are deserving of honors, Jim and Greg are dubious of the ceremonies themselves. They're more about tuning in to see who will or will not attend and who will and will not reunite than they are about music's great history. Van Halen is not the most important rock act, but fans are anxious to see which front man will show up and play — David Lee Roth or Sammy Hagar (or Gary Cherone)? Our hosts wish that bands like Chic, whose music has provide the basis for tons of other songs like "Rapper's Delight," "Another One Bites the Dust" and "Last Night a DJ Saved My Life," had been inducted. Jim adds The Stooges and Kraftwerk also deserve a Hall of Fame nod.

Go to episode 59