The minimalist electronics of Kraftwerk in the night of Rock en Seine

From time to time, the programmers of the Rock en Seine festival put on their poster, rather conceived as a balance between big international stars of the moment – who bring in the public -, groups gaining in importance and young shoots, figures known as “historical”. The older ones in attendance reunite with their heroes; as for the youngest – students, thirty-somethings – who “have heard of it”, they come for a walk out of curiosity.

We thus remember the transgenerational successes on the festival site of the Domaine national de Saint-Cloud (Hauts-de-Seine) in 2010 of Roxy Music, formed in 1971, at the height of British pop elegance, or, in 2014 of Blondie, appeared in 1974, which shook the New York punk scene with its pop contributions. Or even Iggy Pop, in 2016, long sacred as a punk godfather. For the 2022 vintage of Rock en Seine, this Friday August 26, the historics are the Germans of Kraftwerk.

Read the story (as of August 2018): Article reserved for our subscribers With Kraftwerk, electro takes first class

Founded in 1970 in Düsseldorf by Ralf Hütter and Florian Schneider (died April 21, 2020), Kraftwerk rose to fame with its fourth album, Autobahn, published in 1974. The main lines of his electronic music are established there; rather minimalist, disembodied, punctuated by repetitive rhythmic motifs, melodies like refrains, the voice more spoken than sung (according to various albums, it will also be distorted), the use of sounds related to cars (evocations of car horns , vibration of overtaking, etc.). For electronic music anxious to find references, Kraftwerk has a precursor status.

Themes that respond to each other

It is 9:15 p.m. when the greeting is heard Meine Damen und Herrenthen the count of digits that are the subject of Numbers. They are four on the Cascade stage, almost motionless. Each is in front of a rectangular console placed on a foot, which contains pre-recorded sounds and a musical software control system allowing to distribute the interventions, rhythmic parts for one, bass for the other, melodic lines… On a large screen are projected images to discover by wearing (or not) 3D glasses distributed before the concert, offering some relief effects. The “Kraftwerk 3D” concert has existed since the beginning of the 2010s.

The German group Kraftwerk at the Rock en Seine festival, in Saint-Cloud (Hauts-de-Seine), August 26, 2022.

Here are lines of twisting green numbers, an antique computer advancing toward the audience (computer world), a view of the Earth from space and the arrival of a flying saucer with an advanced 3D effect that triggers “ohs” and “ahs”, for the title spacelab.

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