Composer, flautist, innovator, producer and faux cyborg Florian Schneider has passed away aged 73 according to a representative of Kraftwerk.
While some musicians get hailed as genre-defining, influential or as geniuses, Schneider is one of the few humans to have walked this Earth that deserves these platitudes. The Dusseldorf four piece changed music in the public consciousness forever and Schneider, in particular, was the inspiration for Bowie’s Berlin period with Bowie even naming a track on Heroes after him.
Schneider’s obsession with the evolving technologies of the early seventies, meant that he and Ralf Hütter filed patents for the Robovox (their distinctive vocoder), and an electronic drum kit.
Kraftwerk released their debut album in 1971 before releasing albums like Autobahn (1974), Trans-Europe Express (1977), and The Man-Machine (1978); although they were still releasing essential long players like Tour de France into the 21st century.
There’s no point in this writer trying to be dispassionate or academic about Schneider’s passing. Virtually none of the music that exists today would exist in its current format without Kraftwerk. Their output from the seventies still sounds like it was dialled in from an unrealised future and the creative world has just lost its premier ‘sound fetishist’.