Wolfgang Flur
Kraftwerk - I Was a Robot

By Low Life

Electronic music owes an incomprehensible debt of gratitude to Kraftwerk. Four electrotechpopmeisters from the Rhineland took their vision of music and robotic theatre to the world, laying foundations and creating a catalyst for all that was to follow.

This is Flur's autobiographical account of life to date, through his many years as Kraftwerk percussionist to present day project Yamo. Kraftwerk provides the vehicle for the literal journey, but this is really a book about Flur, and his honesty is at times almost embarrassing for the reader.

It is soon apparent that Kraftwerk were, in reality, two bands in one. Hans and Florian, founder members, liked the high life and flaunted their money, while Wolfgang and Karl were treated as little more than session musicians; often broke, their creative input was publicly concealed, and in later years, blatantly denied. This two-tier structure of the band created obvious difficulties, and it is these difficulties that Flur deals with, exorcising the ghost of Kraftwerk and allowing his life to move forward.

Along the way we are presented with many delightful anecdotes. Tales of life and touring abound, presented in full cerebral Technicolor with a frankness that is extremely rare, and all the more remarkable for it. Part II deals specifically with the Kraftwerk situation as it stands, and here a not unexpected bitterness appears, primarily on the part of Ralf and Florian, seemingly unable to accept that there is life beyond their precious machine. Though out of place with the bulk of the book, I can understand why its inclusion was essential for Flur's own personal development.

The faultless translation should be commended, retaining a subtle and charming style that rolls along effortlessly and fluently. There is an honest beauty that sparkles within the pages of this book, and my only real complaint is that it was all over far too soon.
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