Today the sad news has reached us that the pioneer of electronic music Florian Schneider has sadly passed away. The pioneering musician was 73 and no cause of death has yet been released.
Widely credited with being one of the forefathers of electronic dance music, with Kraftwerk Schneider created an entire discography that can always boast to being at the very cutting edge of musical and artistic creativity. The musician stayed with the band until 2006 with his final performance being in Zaragoza in Spain back in 2006. We’re taking a trip back to revisit Schneider’s final song with the band that shaped his life.
When Schneider met Ralf Hútter in 1968 the thoughts they shared about music were many and solidifying. They acted as the weight to their burgeoning friendship. Yet neither of them could have imagined that a few decades later the group they formed would still be lauded as pioneers of their genre. That’s exactly what happened with Kraftwerk.
Schneider’s original instrument was a flute which with the backing of his band he soon began engineering in the lab. First of all using tape echoes, ring modulations and a host of other electronic effects Schneider soon realised the capabilities a purely electronic act could possess. After the band’s 1974 album Autobahn his use of analogue instruments almost completely vanished.
Schneider revealed in a rare interview in 1991: “I had studied seriously up to a certain level, then I found it boring; I looked for other things, 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.”
Hütter once called the musician a “sound fetishist” in an interview in 2005 and lauded his approach to music-making. “He is a sound perfectionist, so, if the sound isn’t up to a certain standard, he doesn’t want to do it. With electronic music there’s no necessity ever to leave the studio. You could keep making records and sending them out.”
“Why put so much energy into travel, spending time in airports, in waiting halls, in backstage areas, being like an animal, just for two hours of a concert? But now, with the Kling Klang studio on tour with us, we work in the afternoon, we do soundchecks, we compose, we put down new ideas and computer graphics. There’s always so much to do, and we do make progress.”
Life in Kraftwerk had taken its toll on Schneider and by 2006 the musician was tired of performing and composing. Schneider wouldn’t officially leave the band until 2009 but his final performance would come in 2006 at the M2 Festival in Zaragoza, Spain.
The final song that night, as it was so many others, was the bands 1986 hit ‘Musique Non Stop’. It was one of the first songs they had charted in America and remains one of Schneider’s finest moments. Below watch the final moments Florian Schneider shared on stage with Kraftwerk back in 2006.