German trend-setters Kraftwerk have always put as much effort in their visual presentation as they have in their music, and New York’s fancy MoMA is heralding the electronic group’s innovations with a rare residency that will celebrate Kraftwerk’s 30+ year history.
The museum is promising an “exploration of the sonic and visual experiments” of the iconic group, as they perform their entire catalogue over eight nights in the Museum’s Marron Atrium. Each show will include a live performance and “3-D visualization” of one of Kraftwerk’s studio albums.
With their cerebral, hypnotic live show, which eschews most human movement in favor of synchronized lights, post-modern imagery and cold, metallic electronic instruments, is well-suited for a museum setting.
The Dusseldorf group have never been known for being road warriors, and last hit the U.S. in 2008, after founding member Florian Schneider exited the band. On a personal note, seeing them at Coachella in 2004 was a revelatory experience, whereas their subsequent ’08 performance at the same festival felt flat and uninspired (which may have been due to the Schneider factor, or the move from the more intimate dance tent to the massive main stage). The only original member at the NYC shows will be leader Ralf Hutter.
In typically chilly fashion, the series is called Kraftwerk Retrospective 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8.
“Kraftwerk is an influential force not only in music, but also in visual culture,” Klaus Biesenbach, MoMA’s chief curator at large, said in a release. “Through their experimentation with how images and sound are shaped by the latest recording and visualisation tools, they have anticipated the impact of technology on everyday life, and have captured the human condition in an era of rapidly changing mobility and telecommunication.”
They’ve certainly helped inspire everyone from Daft Punk to LCD Soundsystem, David Bowie to Big Black and Coldplay to Kanye, and Kraftwerk’s minimalist melodies continue to influence electronic musicians allover the Computer World.
Here are the MoMA dates:
Tuesday, April 10 – Autobahn (1974)
Wednesday, April 11 – Radio-Activity (1975)
Thursday, April 12 – Trans Europe Express (1977)
Friday, April 13 – The Man-Machine (1978)
Saturday April 14 – Computer World (1981)
Sunday, April 15 – Techno Pop (1986)
Monday, April 16 – The Mix (1991)
Tuesday, April 17 – Tour de France (2003)
Tickets – a steal at $25 – go on sale February 22. Kraftwerk will also play the Ultra Music Festival in Miami on March 23.