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Kraftwerk-aktivitšt in the '90s


Articles reviewing new musical equipment by the German company Doepfer reveal that Kraftwerk have been involved with the equipment's development. Mark Stagg's Aktivität article 'Vorsprung durch Technik' reveals more...

May; Kraftwerk play three live concerts, in The Netherlands (Oosterpoort, Groningen, 25 May 93), Belgium (Vooruit, Gent, 26 May 93) and at the 'Klang Art' Festival, Osnabrück, Germany on 27 May 93. The concerts feature the same set-list as per the 1991 shows with the addition of one other track, an updated version of 'The Man Machine'. The bands only other live outing this year is in June when they appear at the 'Ars Electronica 93' event in Linz, Austria on 17 June 93. The band debut a new Mogli-MIDI glove, by the Doepfer company once again, at the Ars Electronica concert but otherwise the show is as per the earlier gigs.

Carrying on from the previous years anti-Sellafield show, the band make a short promo video in support of the 'REACT' campaign to halt the introduction of the Sellafield 2 reactor in England. In the video the bands robots can be seen while a vocoded voice intones relevant facts and figures about the proposed plant which also scrolls over the screen.

The band record the theme music for the MTV Europe programme 'Music Non Stop'. The music is very different from the more familiar mixes of the song from 'Electric Cafe' and 'The Mix'. Many find it difficult to believe that it was indeed Kraftwerk responsible for this music, but the closing credits of the show clearly state that the theme music was by Kraftwerk.

The only Kraftwerk releases of 1993 are re-releases and yet more compilations; the year starts off with a US-only CD single/EP called 'Showroom Dummies' from the US Cleopatra label. This CD features the original 7" single edit and LP mixes of 'The Robots', 'Spacelab', the LP mix of 'Showroom Dummies' and its French language version, 'Les Mannequins'. It is yet more repackaging of old material. The same label also re-issue three Kraftwerk CD's in new packaging; 'Radio-Activity', 'Trans-Europe Express' and 'The Man Machine'.

Meanwhile, by the end of the year a 'Best Of Kraftwerk' CD is released in Japan. Again, culled from the Capitol-era material the tracklisting is; 'Geiger Counter', 'Radio-Activity', 'Antenna', 'Europe Endless', 'Showroom Dummies', 'Trans-Europe Express', 'The Robots', 'The Model', 'The Man Machine'.

May saw the release of the first biography of Kraftwerk when Pascal Bussy's 'Man, Machine and Music' book is published by SAF Publishing in the UK, ISBN 0 9467 19 098, later in Japan, Germany and France too. While Kraftwerk themselves were interviewed for the book, they subsequently refused to acknowledge it. While Bussy's book contains a few inaccuracies and perhaps mistaken suppositions, considering the lack of close, official involvement, it is a well recommended read for anyone interested in the Kraftwerk story.

May also saw the release of the previously mentioned 'Stop Sellafield' video containing live footage of Kraftwerk performing 'The Robots' and 'Radioactivity' from 1992's 'Stop Sellafield' concert in Manchester.

A second unofficial fan convention is held in Blackpool in February, with an appearance by Elektro Kinetik, a band performing their own unique versions of Kraftwerk material on authentic analogue equipment, in homage to Kraftwerk.

With the continuing expansion of all things Internet, in January of 1993, an unofficial Kraftwerk mailing list is set-up for discussion on the band by fans with access to this electronic medium. In time this is followed by pages about the band on the World Wide Web, the most extensive initially being the Unofficial Kraftwerk Infobahr. A list of this and some of the other sites is also available.

Elektric Music's profile increases in February with the release of their 'TV' single in Germany (on CD, 12", picture-disc 12", MiniDisc formats commercially and ultra-rare promo 10" too). By May, Elektric Music have released 'Esperanto', their debut album, in Germany.

UK releases of this and the 'TV' single follow later in the year. The band round off the year with the release of a third title from their LP when 'Lifestyle' is radically remixed and released in Germany (CD and 12" formats). It is only ever issued in the UK as a 10" promo single.

The release of a tribute album to Kraftwerk by Slovenian bands including Laibach, to be called 'Kraftwerk In The Looking Glass' is announced and distributed for review, but its release is delayed for almost a year in late 1994, by which time it's title has changed to 'Trans-Slovenian Express'.

Wolfgang Flür returns to the limelight with a song called 'Little Child' by his new band Yamo, aimed at highlighting the plight of refugees in the former-Yugoslavia.

> 1994

  Updated: 16 : 5 : 2010