10:32 pm
Thu January 15, 2015

Kraftwerk Lands At Berlin's Neue Nationalgalerie

Berlin's Neue Nationalgalerie, designed by Mies van der Rohe, opened in 1968.  In the same year, Ralf Hütter and Florian Schneider, two young musicians in Düsseldorf, started to collaborate. In 1970  they went on to form Kraftwerk. 45 years later, Mies van der Rohe's iconic building becomes Kraftwerk's stage for eight consecutive concerts before it is closed down for extensive renovation.

Kraftwerk's minimal yet complex sound has influenced artists across musical styles and generations, including new wave, hip hop, techno, and house music.

Concert goer Mark Häuschgen is thrilled to see the electronic music pioneers at the Neue Nationalgalerie. He says Kraftwerk is unique, and considers them one of the most influential German musical exports. Häuschgen finds the venue incredible: its glass facade and the transparency of van der Rohe's building are fascinating.

Kraftwerk's retrospective concert series takes us on a trip back through the infancy of the computer age, fears of radioactivity, and our fascination with speed, progress and technology. Visualized in 3D, their imagery is a deadpan, romantic, low- fi look into the future.  A giant PC is projected out into the crowd, and classic German cars race down the Autobahn to Kraftwerk's somehow timeless sound.

Michael Labitzke from Dresden is a huge Kraftwerk fan, and has seen them numerous times. To him, Kraftwerk is actually a form of art. They not only make music, they also focus on aesthetics, which is why they perform in museums worldwide.

Florian Duijsens has always been aware of Kraftwerk's cult status, but the band still surprised him:

"I didn't realize that it was going to see one of the most influential bands that Germany ever produced, which made it a really culturally fascinating show, aside from being awesome. It was interesting to see the mass nostalgia for German cars and the Bundesrepublik. It was an interesting case of 'West-Stalgia.' "

One of the more entertaining images Kraftwerk projected during their performance: a UFO landing in front of the Neue Nationalgalerie, a nice memory of their temporary residency.