Florian Schneider Of ‘Kraftwerk’ Has Passed Away But His EDM Legacy Will Live On Forever
You may not know Kraftwerk, but you have a lot to thank them for.
This German band from the 70s is largely considered the pioneers of electronic music and popularising the genre, and today we mourn the death of one of the founding two members, Florian Schneider.
Remembering the late Florian Schneider-Esleben today. Florian founded Kraftwerk alongside Ralf Hütter in 1970. A legend to other legends, the late David Bowie titled his "Heroes" instrumental track "V-2 Schneider" after Florian. Florian started off playing the flute initially. He also played violin, guitar, and made (obvious) use of the synthesizer. He met Ralf a few years before Kraftwerk’s formation in 1968, at the Academy of Arts in Remscheid. They would eventually make improvisational music together before forming Kraftwerk. Known as a sound perfectionist and dubbed a “sound fetishist” by Ralf Hütter, Florian found sound design extremely important. His use of the vocoder (i.e. Kraftwerk’s famous Robovox) was a key part of Kraftwerk’s sound, and in 1990, he even patented a “system for and method of synthesizing singing in real time”. Found an interview excerpt from 1988 via Electronic Sound and Electric Cafe. The interview was between Florian and Japanese magazine Silverstar Club, where he recorded his answers to cassette tape- the audio is available online if you do some searching. [Silverstar Club : We found a cybernetics concept in your album ‘The Man Machine’. How do you think about cybernetics? What kind of influence does music give to the human body? Florian: Any interaction between machines and human beings could be described as a cybernetic situation, since they influence each other mutually. For example driving a car or playing an instrument. Musical influence and the human body. Look what happens in discos, people shape their body to the rhythm of music. There is a lot of literature about it and the question as old as mankind. And there’s certainly still a lot of things to be researched. The human body and brain can be compared with computers, if you want. There’s also electricity within us. The process of thinking and central perception in the nerves as also electric nature. So, there’s certainly a very obvious connection between electric music and human beings, I think.] References: Music Tech, Wiki, Fact, Roy Carr, Electronic Sound, Electric Cafe.
After a short battle with cancer, Schneider passed away at the age of 73, but his music legacy will have his name remembered for much longer.
The duo, with Ralf Huetter, trailblazed the bending of psychedelic rock with heavy synthesisers we’ve now become familiar with in club genres such as house, techno, hip-hop and synth pop.
Bowie, in fact, referenced their influence numerous times but explicitly nodded to Schneider in the title of his track ‘V-2 Schneider.
Notable musicians have been taking to Twitter to share their condolences.
I am incredibly saddened by the passing of Florian Schneider. All of us in modern music, owe him so much. Rest in peace xx
— 🥾🌍 (@Truman_Black) May 6, 2020
— Discogs (@discogs) May 6, 2020
The landscape of modern music was forever changed by Florian and Kraftwerk. RIP Florian Schneider. https://t.co/YJTCsvMXPU
— Elijah Wood (@elijahwood) May 6, 2020
Very sad to hear of the death of Florian Schneider. Kraftwerk are heroes and a huge inspiration to us and to all kinds of other music we love.
— Hot Chip (@Hot_Chip) May 6, 2020
So sad to hear of the death aged 73 of Florian Schneider - founding member of Kraftwerk.
— Pink Floyd - Steve®™ 💎 (@steve_sps) May 6, 2020
— Foster The People (@fosterthepeople) May 6, 2020
It’s a sad day for the music industry, but also definitely one that calls for celebration.
With clubs currently closed, tonight we will pay tribute with a loungeroom quaran-rave to commemorate Florian Schneider’s gift to the music world.
Main Image Credit: Licensed by Getty.