Rarely seen live and performance footage of Kraftwerk and of other Electronic and ‘Krautrock’ bands – much from private collections.
- Special Feature; The Dusseldorf Scene Vs. The Hamburg Scene
- Extended Interviews - Karl Bartos: I Was A Robot
- Full Contributor Biographies
Exclusive and extensive Interviews with; ex-Kraftwerk members Karl Bartos and Klaus Röder; other German ambient and electronic musicians, Dieter Moebius (Kluster/Harmonia), Hans Joachim Rodelius (Kluster/Harmonia), Klaus Schulze (Tangerine Dreams/ Ash Ra Tempel /Solo), Wolfgang Siedel (Eruption/Tangerine Dream/ Kluster), Conrad Snitzler (Kluster/ Solo) and Klaus Löhmer [engineer, Kraftwerk album]
Contributions, review and enlightenment from German academics, writers and journalists, Professor Diedrich Diedrichsen (German Sounds), Ingeborg Schober (German Sounds), Manfred Gillig-Degrave (Stereoplay, Audio, Musicwoche) – and from the UK, David Stubbs (Melody Maker, Wire), Mark Prendergrast (author The Ambient Century), Edwin Pouncey (Sounds) David Toop (ambient musician and writer), David Ball (Soft Cell/The Grid) , Rusty Egan (Visage/The Blitz Club)
Rare photographs of Kraftwerk and others
Live and studio recordings of many of Kraftwerk’s pivotal tracks, including; Ruckzuck, Kling Klang, Autobahn, Antenna, Radio-Activity, Trans Europe Express, Computer Love, The Robots, The Model, Metropolis, Pocket Calculator and many others.
Live and studio recordings of many other bands form the ‘Krautrock’ movement.
Special Feature; The Dusseldorf Scene Vs. The Hamburg Scene
Extended Interviews - Karl Bartos: I Was A Robot
Full Contributor Biographies
Live and studio recordings of Ruckzuck, Kling Klang, Autobahn, Antenna, Radio-Activity, Trans Europe Express, Computer Love, The Robots, The Model, Metropolis, Pocket Calculator and many others.
- 180 mins
- All regions
- Screen Format: 4:3
- Stereo Sound Mix
This film is not authorized by Kraftwerk
As innovative as they are influential, Kraftwerk's contribution to the development of electronic music since their formation in 1970 remains unsurpassed. Having inspired everyone from Bowie to Coldplay, Siouxsie to Radiohead, this bizarre collective have also proven partly responsible for entire genres to develop; electronica, techno and synth pop to name but three.
This DVD reviews the career and music of Kraftwerk, from their inception in the late 1960s (as pre-Kraftwerk ensemble Organisation), through their most celebrated period in the mid 1970s, and culminating with their resurgence during the 1980s with the popularity of synth-pop and techno. The film further explores how Kraftwerk both fitted in and pulled away from the electronic wing of what is often lazily referred to as ‘Krautrock’. Sparing time also for many of the groups’ contemporaries from the same field, and tracing the unfolding of electronics in German contemporary music generally, this programme presents a fascinating story previously untold on film.
The DVD case states very clearly that Kraftwerk and the Electronic Revolution is "not authorized by Kraftwerk," but the scope and depth of the three-hour documentary suffers very little for not having the direct participation of Ralf and Florian.
Offering an excellent overview of the experimental and electronic music that came to prominence in Germany during the 1970s, the film is also a chronological examination of the unique musical and social context that eventually converged in the international success of Kraftwerk, an act whose influence can be felt in nearly all of the pop-electronic styles that followed. A host of erudite commentators including contemporary artists and writers are able to provide insight into both the narrow and broad aspects, woven together by the film makers into a very scholarly-feeling chronological narrative. The length and objective tone of the film will strike some viewers as being a rather dry viewing experience, but in terms of information there are probably few, if any, documentaries of comparable worth on this subject.
It is important to not be overly misled by the inclusion of "Kraftwerk" in the title. Although the story naturally gravitates towards this act, whose influence and viability outreach and outlast most of their contemporaries, much of the film is devoted to "Krautrock" and German experimental or electronic music in general. Karl Bartos, an important collaborator and member of Kraftwerk during their most successful period, rightfully holds a prominent role in the interviews, but it is equally delightful to see lesser-known figures such as Dieter Moebius or Klaus Schulze offer their own take. Discussion successfully includes antecedents like Pierre Schaeffer and Karlheinz Stockhausen as well as important German acts like Kluster and Tangerine Dream, but attempts to cover the subsequent international influence and impact of the German scene fall a little short, tending to have a UK bias and underselling the existence of more recent styles. The UK bias is understandable given that the film seems to be a UK production, and too in-depth of a discussion of modern dance or hip-hop would perhaps be outside the scope of the film's time period, but compared to the slow-pacing and depth applied to other aspects of the narrative, the question of influence feels as though it were answered in too narrow a fashion.
Still, what flaws one finds with the film are rather nit picky when contrasted against what it offers: interviews, information, and film and audio clips regarding a group of artists that are not ordinarily given so much coverage in U.S. media. Inevitably, as with any documentary or book, one laments that more time were not spent on this or that topic, but even those familiar with the subject are likely to discover an angle or insight that hadn't occurred to them before. If nothing else, considering that we are so used to hearing about these artists in historical terms, it is extremely enlightening to listen to those who can speak less from a place of youthful awe and from the more matter-of-fact stance of having lived through it.
2008. Justin Deremo