It was late afternoon yesterday when two individuals but also very important figures of the German scene, Robert Görl of DAF and Mark Reeder, posted the news of Florian Schneider’s passing. In typical Kraftwerk fashion there was no official announcement in order to confirm the news. We had started speculating that maybe it’s all a bad joke – one of those typical Internet RIP pranks. But how come those two important people would joke or even post false news about it?
Sadly turned out it wasn’t false, or fake as we call them nowadays, news. A couple of hours later Billboard would confirm it and from then on it was all over mainstream media. It was true, one of the pioneers of electronic music had gone at the age of 73.
I read somewhere a little later that Schneider together with Ralf Hutter were the Lennon/McCartney of the electronic scene. I find that comparison pretty much spot on, as Hutter and Schneider would produce pieces of music that changed people’s minds and perceptions. If it wasn’t for them, we wouldn’t have electronic music, new wave, industrial, not even punk and alternative rock.
For many of us Kraftwerk were like The Beatles in terms of influence. Some might say that they are even more important that The Beatles, as they didn’t just use the standard musical contexts and formas to create pop tunes, they created new sounds and atmospheres.
They created new areas for experimentation and became the role models for artists such as Duran Duran, Ultravox, Human League, Joy Division, Depeche Mode and so, so many others… hell, they showed Bowie the way out of his own creative limitations in order to produce his infamous Berlin Trilogy, which includes the track V-2 Schneider.
I had the chance to see Schneider with Kraftwerk in 2005 and it was a really powerful experience. The next time they visited Athens a couple of years ago, Schneider wasn’t part of Kraftwerk anymore. He had left the project in 2008.
Now he left us for good, but he surely won’t be forgotten. Florian Schneider is one of the most important musicians of the popular music genre and a vital factor for a whole scene and numerous artists from the mid-70s up to today.
Rest In Peace.