Toiling away in their custom-built Kling Klang studio in the city of Düsseldorf, German synth innovators Kraftwerk spent the 70s fashioning Moog soundscapes and getting to grips with electronic percussion pads to forge a wholly original sound. Pivotal in the development of new wave synth-pop, the breathtaking work of Ralf Hütter, Florian Schneider, Wolfgang Flür and Karl Bartos on classic albums such as 1974’s Autobahn and 1977’s Trans-Europe Express would go on to inspire David Bowie’s late-70s “Berlin Trilogy” and set the stage for the second British Invasion (particularly Duran Duran, Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark, Depeche Mode and The Human League). From artful concept gems to sprawling ambient instrumentals, the best Kraftwerk songs positively sparkle, proving why the group deserve to be acknowledged among the most influential musicians of all time.
Listen to the best of Kraftwerk here, and check out our best Kraftwerk songs, below.
20: La Forme (from ‘Tour De France Soundtracks’, 2003)
Upon being tempted to musically revisit the concept of the world’s most famous cycling tournament for its centennial anniversary, Kraftwerk released their eleventh album, Tour De France Soundtracks, in August 2003. A notable highlight was La Forme, on which Ralf Hütter chants a digitally distorted mantra expressing his fondness for cycling, physical fitness and the mechanics of the human body. “What makes Kraftwerk brilliant is the combination of fascinating textures and sounds, simplicity and efficiency in production, and a habit of writing beautiful melodies,” said Joe Goddard of indie synth-pop band Hot Chip, after he remixed La Forme in late 2007, helping to raise this lesser-known track’s profile among the best Kraftwerk songs.