The band he co-founded were one of the most influential of the twentieth century.
Florian Schneider, keyboardist and co-founder of the influential electronic music group Kraftwerk has died. He was 73. A statement from the group read: “Florian Schneider has passed away from a short cancer disease just a few days after his 73rd birthday”.
Schneider and Ralf Hütter met at Düsseldorf Conservatory in the late 60s and launched Kraftwerk in 1970. The group pioneered the use of electronic musical instruments, often making their own drum machines and studio devices. It’s hard to overstate their influence on popular music. Their recordings drove the development of hip hop, electro and techno, as well as re-shaping the pop world too. A generation of pop musicians like Gary Numan, Depeche Mode and Heaven 17 were all heavily influenced by Kraftwerk, as were the creators of techno Derrick May, Juan Atkins and Kevin Saunderson.
Kraftwerk redefined how music could be made, created a new musical vocabulary and broadened the very idea of what music could be. Their first hit in 1974 was ‘Autobahn’, with their ‘Trans Europe Express’ from 1977 becoming a foundational track of hip hop. 1978’s ‘The Man-Machine’ and 1981’s ‘Computer World’ albums further developed their clinical, looping, synthetic sound.
As the news broke tributes from all parts of the music community and electronic and dance music immediately began to appear on social media.
No Kraftwork No Techno
— Terry Farley (@terrystuckshop) May 6, 2020
Remember blasting electro out in the early 80’s, taunting the old man about not knowing anything and him calmly playing me all the Kraftwerk originals my ‘future shit’ leaned so heavily on
— Chris Duckenfield (@Chrisduck) May 6, 2020
The Future, The Human League, B.E.F. and Heaven 17 would never have existed without Florian Schneider and Kraftwerk
— martyn ware (@martynware) May 6, 2020
what would electronic music be without Kraftwerk? R.I.P Florian Schneider-Esleben
— nina kraviz (@NinaKraviz) May 6, 2020