Remembering when Kraftwerk released their own pocket calculator synthesizer
We’re dipping into the Far Out Magazine vault to share with you one of the most curious piece of band merchandise you’ll ever see. It puts Kraftwerk doing their best to share their electronic prowess with the world.
Promoting a new single can be hard work, a process which has led to some unique techniques over the years. It has led to some seriously questionable moments of musical merch.
Whether you’re Arcade Fire and selling fidget spinners, or if you’re as far-fetched as Dappy from N-Dubz leaking his own nudes to boost mid-week sales—a move which remarkably helped him seal a number one slot in the charts. Kraftwerk though, perhaps unsurprisingly, were one step ahead of the pack all the way back in 1981, and not just musically.
To promote their newest single, ‘Pocket Calculator’, which was taken from their eighth studio album Computer World, a genius idea from the electronic pioneers was forged. Fans of the band will argue that even the title of the record proves just how forward-thinking they were, especially during a period of time when computers were still an alien concept to most.
The German outfit made the bold step to worked alongside Casio to issue their own Kraftwerk version of the company’s VL-80 model, adapting the calculator in order to make it double up as musical synthesizer. Which you can watch and hear the basic, less impressive, non-Kraftwerk model demonstrated in the video below.
However; it was actually the Casio fx-501P programmable calculator which proved to be the item that appeared on the list of instruments used in the recording of the album, which you can check out photographs of the odd collaboration between Casio and Kraftwerk below for proof that this actually existed.
Further below, you can also take a listen to the song which birthed one of the strangest pieces of merchandise that has ever graced us.