10/04/2012 > 17/04/2012: KRAFTWERK RESTROSPECTIVE 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 MoMA - The Museum of Modern Art, 11 West 53 Street - New York

RESTROSPECTIVE 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
MoMA - The Museum of Modern Art
11 West 53 Street - New York
10/4/2012 - 17/4/2012 

Entire Repertoire of Eight Conceptual Albums Performed Live Over Eight Consecutive Evenings from April 10 to 17 (Please note: 
All performances are SOLD OUT) 

The Museum of Modern Art presents its first time-based artist retrospective with Kraftwerk–Retrospective 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8, performed live on eight consecutive evenings from April 10 through 17, by Kraftwerk, the avant-garde electronic music pioneers. Each evening will consist of a live performance, in the Museum’s Donald B. and Catherine C. Marron Atrium, of works from one of the group’s eight albums, created over four decades, followed by a selection of original compositions from their catalogue adapted specifically for this exhibition’s format, to showcase both Kraftwerk’s historical contributions and contemporary influences on sound and image culture. Kraftwerk–Retrospective 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 is organized by Klaus Biesenbach, Chief Curator at Large at MoMA and Director of MoMA PS1, with the assistance of Eliza Ryan, Curatorial Assistant, MoMA PS1. 
The elaborate staging of the performances will combine sound and 3D images to present more than 40 years of musical and technological innovation, with new improvisations and 3D projections. The albums will be performed in chronological order: Autobahn (1974), Radio- Activity (1975), Trans Europe Express (1977), The Man-Machine (1978), Computer World (1981), Techno Pop (1986), The Mix (1991), and Tour de France (2003). 
“Kraftwerk is an influential force not only in music, but also in visual culture,” says Mr. Biesenbach. “Through their experimentation with how images and sound are shaped by the latest recording and visualization tools, they have continuously anticipated the impact of technology on everyday life, and have captured the human condition in an era of rapidly changing mobility and telecommunication. Today, they remain vital to contemporary practice through their intersection of popular culture, mass media, and artistic production. In Kraftwerk’s practice, all of the components—melodic music and ambient sound, elaborate stage sets, live performance and performance by robots, their trademark videos and logo-like still imagery, all conceived and realized by the artists themselves—coalesce as one work of art.” 
Ralf Hütter and Florian Schneider began the Kraftwerk project in Düsseldorf, Germany, in 1970, setting up the pioneering Kling Klang studio, where all of Kraftwerk's albums were conceived and composed. By the mid-1970’s they achieved international recognition for their revolutionary “electro sound paintings” and their musical experimentation with tapes and synthesizers. The compositions also featured beautiful distant melodies, multi-lingual vocals, robotic rhythms, custom-made sequencers and vocoders, and computer-speech technology. Their use of robots, among other innovations in live performance, illustrates Kraftwerk’s belief in the respective contributions of people and machines in making music. The artists’ physical surroundings—both natural and man-made—have heavily influenced both the sonic direction and graphic identity of their eight concept albums, which draw on elements such as the noises of transit or industry to create their repetitive mechanical melodies. 

In recent years, starting with their performance at the Venice Biennale in 2005, Kraftwerk has been invited into the visual arts context, festivals, and museums, most recently performing at the museum Lenbachhaus Kunstbau in Munich. In contrast to all former presentations, where Kraftwerk videos, visuals, or the “robots” were presented in a museum context but performances were staged as concerts, MoMA is realizing a groundbreaking new display: the first synthetic retrospective to present simultaneously and in one location the complex layers of music, sound, videos, sets, and performance as a total work of art in MoMA’s main atrium. 

Performance Schedule
Tuesday, April 10, 8:30 p.m. Autobahn (1974)
Wednesday, April 11, 8:30 p.m. Radio-Activity (1975)
Thursday, April 12, 8:30 p.m. Trans Europe Express (1977)
Friday, April 13, 10:00 p.m. The Man-Machine (1978)
Saturday April 14, 8:30 p.m. Computer World (1981)
Sunday, April 15, 8:30 p.m. Techno Pop (1986)
Monday, April 16, 8:30 p.m. The Mix (1991)
Tuesday, April 17, 10:00 p.m. Tour de France (2003) 

Kraftwerk at MoMA PS1
As part of Kraftwerk–Retrospective 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8, a presentation of Kraftwerk’s historical audio and visual material will be on view in the new MoMA PS1 Performance Dome at MoMA PS1, from April 10-May 14, 2012.


Kraftwerk gig in NY: Report from Wired Magazine

NEW YORK — Hip-hop legend Afrika Bambaataa, Japanese pop icon Ryuichi Sakamoto and former REM singer Michael Stipe were among the stars spotted in the audience at Thursday’s Kraftwerk concert at the Museum of Modern Art. They came to see the band perform Trans-Europe Express, the 1977 release that is, in many ways, the most legendary of all the Kraftwerk records.
The album’s DNA is hard-coded into the history of hip-hop and electro. The groundbreaking 1982 track “Planet Rock” by Afrika Bambaataa & the Soulsonic Force, a Rosetta Stone for early hip-hop, incorporates elements of Trans-Europe Express‘ title theme. (It also folds in elements of “Numbers,” a 1981 Kraftwerk song from Computer World.) So it was special to see Bambaataa in the MoMA audience Thursday, bobbing his head to Kraftwerk’s beats.
Bambaataa stood at the back of the crowd with a smile on his face. He whipped out his cellphone to snap a photo of the band during “Numbers,” just like all the fans standing next to him. During the opening strains of “The Man-Machine,” he began air-keyboarding along with the melody line and mouthing the lyrics (“Machine machine machine machine machine machine! Maaa-chine!”) and grinned ear to ear when the group kicked into “Computer World.” In a brief chat with Wired after the show, Bambaataa talked about his longtime fascination with Kraftwerk, a love for the band stretching back over three decades — Bambaataa first saw Kraftwerk play in New York in 1981.
Perhaps cognizant of all the hip-hop and techno fans in attendance, Kraftwerk brought harder beats into the equation for Thursday’s performance, the third installment of the eight-day series Kraftwerk — Retrospective 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8, in which the band plays entire albums (along with back-catalog tracks.) The song “Europe Endless,” for instance, a song that Kraftwerk rarely plays live, was modernized into a sleek techno anthem. Though it was difficult to see what the individual band members were doing — they were positioned at glowing podiums that obscured their laptops and other gear — you could clearly see Ralf Hütter playing keyboard lines and singing, and his bandmates triggering various live effects at various points.
Sakamoto stood in the front row for most of the concert, bobbing his head along with the music. Sakamoto was a key force in Yellow Magic Orchestra, probably the most legendary pop band to ever come out of Japan. Like Kraftwerk, YMO helped lay the groundwork for electro and synthpop in the late 1970s and early ’80s. During “Europe Endless,” Sakamoto sang along silently with the lyrics, standing by the corner of the stage under the glow of Hütter.
The incredible sound that Kraftwerk mandated for the MoMA atrium, with its crisp highs and well-defined bass, made everything sound like a million dollars. Even when the songs sounded almost exactly like the album — several tunes sounded like the versions included on The Mix, a 1991 Kraftwerk remix compilation — it was a thrill to hear Kraftwerk’s classics played loud and clear on a giant, audiophile-quality sound system.
Hütter, Kraftwerk’s only remaining original member, seemed to loosen up during Thursday’s performance, even cracking a smile at one point. He was clearly enjoying the adoration of the high-profile crowd, and seemed to put more verve into his vocal delivery than during Wednesday’s Radio-Activity show.
The concert ended triumphantly with “Musique Non Stop”; as the song came to a close, each band member slowly left the stage, until only Hütter was left. “See you tomorrow!” Hütter said brightly, as the audience burst into raucous applause. On Friday, Kraftwerk returns with The Man-Machine.