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February 05, 2015

Kraftwerk and the 3D concert

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Kraftwerk Kraftwerk

Some years ago I started writing a screenplay that I never did finish. Perhaps I should. The story took place in the future where CDs, DVDs and records were all a things of the past. All of the so-called music was done through computers and other devises. No longer did anyone go to concerts, they just looked at holograms in the comfort of their own homes. Music was no longer taught in the schools. There was no need since the computers did everything. You didn’t have to sing on key or tune your instruments, the computers did it all for you.

The hero of the story was a teenage boy who one day while going through some old stuff in the attic of his home discovered some things that his mother had stored there some time ago when her father died. What he found were a bunch of old CDs and DVDs that his grandfather had when he was a teenager that had rock music on them. This music had died some time ago and the boy was totally unfamiliar with it. It was real rock music played with real instruments and the boy feel I love with it. I will leave it there and maybe I will go back and finish the story.

Years ago the synthesizer was invented and made a huge difference in the way music was recorded and presented. Some groups used it as a way of changing or enhancing the real instruments. Others, like the group called Kraftwerk (German word meaning power station), used it as their primary source. This German “band” had a huge hit in 1974 called “Autobahn” with this new and unique sound. This electric music incorporated all kinds of music, but it was the electronic sound that captured everyone’s attention.

While Kratwerk has been around experimenting with music since 1970, most music listeners have pretty much forgotten about them. I was among those, until I got an e-mail from my friend Martin Nan who lives in Amsterdam in the Netherlands. He went to see Kraftwerk at the famous Paradiso Theater and sent me the photos that have been incorporated in this article.

As part of the Krafwerk show, they used 3D. As you can see from the pictures that Martin sent, the audience wears the 3d glasses. Here’s what Martin had to say about the show.

Hope I can explain this in English. Kraftwerk uses animation/visuals – let’s face it: 4 guys behind their consoles is not particularly exciting – and with the 3D glasses everyone was wearing all the visuals got more depth, sometimes even so much depth that it seemed like a train, the “Trans-Europe Express”, a spaceship, etc. were riding, flying from the screen into the audience part of the venue. It seemed like these objects “crashed into me”. Or a computer or pocket calculator was “hanging” in the air. It really added something to the experience.

So perhaps the future is here.  While I can see some value in what Krafwerk is doing, it sounds like fun. I just hope it remains a novelty and never reaches the level of replacing real instruments like in my story.


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