Florian Schneider, who as one of many founding members of German group Kraftwerk modified the sound of pop music perpetually, has died aged 73 of most cancers.
The information was confirmed to the Guardian by one in every of his musical collaborators, who mentioned Schneider had died per week in the past and had a non-public burial. It was additionally confirmed through Sony Berlin.
Born in 1947, Schneider was the son of Paul Schneider-Esbelen, a famous architect who designed Cologne’s airport. Schneider first performed music in numerous teams whereas learning in Düsseldorf, starting in a band referred to as Pissoff. Working within the experimental, open-minded rock scene dubbed “krautrock” within the British press, he shaped the group Organisation with Ralf Hutter, the pair later forming Kraftwerk in 1970.
Schneider performed the flute, violin and guitar, although usually filtered by digital processing. His curiosity in digital music grew. “I discovered that the flute was too limiting,” he later mentioned. “Quickly I purchased a microphone, then loudspeakers, then an echo, then a synthesiser. A lot later I threw the flute away; it was a form of course of.”
After three albums with Hütter within the mid-70s, Kraftwerk launched Autobahn and expanded to a quartet. The album was composed totally on synthesisers, and its extremely authentic sound and witty lyrics made it successful, reaching the Prime 5 within the UK and US.
Including ever-more subtle synthesisers and drum machines, and with Hütter’s distinctive vocals, the group went on to launch a collection of albums that grew to become vastly influential on pop music, significantly the four-album run of Radio-Exercise (1975), Trans-Europe Categorical (1977), The Man-Machine (1978) and Laptop World (1981). They described their music as industrielle volksmusik: “folks music of the factories”, as translated by David Bowie.
In addition to being forefathers of the synthpop that might dominate the 1980s and past, the title observe of Trans-Europe Categorical was sampled in 1982 by Afrika Bambaataa & the Soul Sonic Power for one of many earliest hip-hop hits, Planet Rock, whereas Laptop World was vastly influential on the home and techno music that emerged from Chicago and Detroit that decade.
Their work additionally introduced them into the orbit of the Berlin-dwelling Bowie and Iggy Pop – in a TV documentary, Pop recalled that he and Schneider as soon as went looking for asparagus collectively. Bowie’s observe V-2 Schneider is considered a tribute to him.
Recognized for his enigmatic, considerably faraway smile, Schneider labored on all the group’s studio albums, together with The Man-Machine, which yielded their largest hit: The Mannequin, a melancholy synthpop track which topped the UK charts in 1982.
Following their remaining studio album so far, Tour De France Soundtracks in 2003, and a return to touring, Schneider left the group in 2008.
No motive was given for his departure, and he has maintained a largely low profile since. Hütter instructed the Guardian in 2009 that Schneider “labored for a lot of, a few years on different tasks: speech synthesis, and issues like that. He was probably not concerned in Kraftwerk for a lot of, a few years,” and in 2017 mentioned that the pair had “probably not” spoken since Schneider left.
In 2015, Schneider launched a brand new piece of music, Cease Plastic Air pollution, in collaboration with producer Dan Lacksman. He mentioned the observe, launched to boost consciousness about air pollution, was impressed by “taking a swim within the ocean on the coasts of Ghana, watching fishermen catch nothing however plastic rubbish of their nets”.
These paying tribute to Schneider embrace Orchestral Manoeuvres within the Darkish, who mentioned they have been “completely devastated” and that he was one in every of their heroes. Ultravox’s Midge Ure mentioned he was “approach forward of his time”, whereas producer Thomas Dolby mentioned: “One other of my nice heroes gone.”
Techno star Nina Kraviz tweeted: “What would digital music be with out Kraftwerk? RIP,” and movie director Edgar Wright mentioned: “To say he was massively influential and adjusted the very sound of music, is one way or the other nonetheless a understatement.”