The Vocaloids of Kraftwerk


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Reviewing the latest series of 8 concerts of Kraftwerk at the MoMa New York I wondered: Why did Kraftwerk actually stop using their showroom dummies – and why did they return (as an admission of their defeat) to performing live themselves? After all this concept of leaving the stage and installing perfectly commodified electro-mechanical puppets did fit so perfectly to their concept of commodified, automatized music and their quest to dissolve humanoid culture gleefully in computer culture.

Alas, I suppose, after all they (e.g. Ralf Hütter, Florian Schneider and their strong & prolific marketing division) did fear to lose that central marketing and branding element of human beings and their potential to immediate identification and nobilitation. Otherwise, I am very sure, they finally would have chosen to represent their bodies with Vocaloids: Imagine, the performances of Kraftwerk being shown in selected venues all over the world, with fully digitized creatures performing fully digitized sounds.

But Kraftwerk chose the aura of being archived and musealized as Art with a big a. Cultural distinction conquered fantastical-technological inspiration. Their 6 classic pop-albums between 1974-1986 (plus the 2, beg me pardon, rather unnecessary The Mix & Tour de France) seemingly shall be musealized as cultural icons – somewhat overshadowing their inspiring beginnings in Ralf & Florian or Organisation and their first and only album Tone Float.