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Kraftwerk Founding Member Florian Schneider Dies Aged 73

Kraftwerk Founding Member Florian Schneider Dies Aged 73

Florian Schneider, one of the founding members of seminal electronic music band Kraftwerk, has died at the age of 73.

Schneider, alongside his bandmate and long-time collaborator Ralf Hutter, formed Kraftwerk in 1970 after the pair met at the Academy of Arts in Remscheid, Germany.

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The group has been influential across several genres, with David Bowie citing their work as a huge influence on his own work.

The news was first broken by music producer Robert Groel, who wrote on Facebook: "Oh no, Florian Schneider, have a good trip."

The news was confirmed later by Sony Berlin.

Kraftwerk performing in 2005. Credit: PA
Kraftwerk performing in 2005. Credit: PA

After playing a role in the burgeoning 'krautrock' scene of the 1960s - although that term has often been used in a derogatory fashion - Schneider met Hutter and formed Kraftwerk at the beginning of the 1970s.

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Initially, Schneider played his main instrument - the flute - as well as the guitar and keyboard, he quickly became fascinated by the emergence of electronic music, and began playing the synthesizer.

He said: "I found that the flute was too limiting,

"Soon I bought a microphone, then loudspeakers, then an echo, then a synthesizer. Much later I threw the flute away; it was a sort of process."

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Kraftwerk released a string of popular albums that included 'Autobahn', 'Trans-Europe Express', 'The Man Machine', and 'Computer World', and also accidentally played a part in the early steps of Hip Hop when Afrika Bambaataa and the Soul Sonic Force sampled 'Trans-Europe Express' for their hit 'Planet Rock'.

David Bowie was obviously listening to their work, and it clearly influenced large parts of his 'Berlin' trilogy.

Kraftwerk. Credit: PA
Kraftwerk. Credit: PA

In fact, the song 'V-2 Schneider' from Bowie's 1977 hit album 'Heroes' was named after him.

Schneider left the group in 2008 for undisclosed reasons, and maintained his privacy in his retirement.

Then, in 2015, he released a piece of music inspired by conservation entitled 'Stop Plastic Pollution' alongside producer Dan Lacksman.

Schneider is reported to have died a week ago, and has since had a private burial.

Since the news broke, tributes have been pouring in. Synth band Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark wrote: "We are absolutely devastated to learn that one of our heroes Florian Schneider has passed away."

Ultravox frontman Midge Ure said: "Way ahead of his time"

Spandau Ballet member Gary Kemp added: "Such an important influence upon so much of the music we know, from Bowie, to electronica, much of the 80s and beyond into modern techno and rap, Florian Schneider was forging a new Metropolis of music for us all to live in. RIP"

The cause of his death is thought to be cancer.

Featured Image Credit: Capitol Records

Topics: Music

Tom Wood

Tom Wood is a LADbible journalist and Twin Peaks enthusiast. Despite having a career in football cut short by a chronic lack of talent, he managed to obtain degrees from both the University of London and Salford. According to his French teacher, at the weekends he mostly likes to play football and go to the park with his brother. Contact Tom on [email protected]