Kraftwerk’s trademark sound, which still feels unequivocally fresh today, pioneered a new take on alternative music when they burst onto the scene in 1970.
Upon their inception, Kraftwerk was truly considered an otherworldly experience for fans who were wowed by their relentlessly innovative approach and, following the success of their Autobahn LP, the group had become an unstoppable force of nature—as this live audio footage from a Canadian concert in 1975 is proof of.
Despite the band releasing their fifth album in as many years come 1975, this year would mark the first time that Kraftwerk set sail on a full international tour. Their futuristic sound was banded in with the prog-rock scene but there was something that Kraftwerk had which put them in a different postcode to their contemporaries.
The German group’s first three records failed to chart outside of their home nation but a significant change arrived following the global success of their groundbreaking 1974 record, an effort which charted inside the top five in Canada, the UK and the United States, and gave the band the belief to hit the road worldwide.
Remarkably, even after they had wild success with their last album, their label Vertigo didn’t push the group to capitalise on this new international fanbase they had acquired. In fact, it was quite the opposite. Kraftwerk made the bold decision to self-finance the tour because of a dispute with their label at the time, a conflict which centred around royalties rights on their next deal. Pushing their own success, Kraftwerk were keen to avoid a repeat of their European deal which saw them receive just $2000 for their first album.
“The autobahn is a perfect vehicle for our music,” Hütter said to Rolling Stone in 1975 during the same tour as the audio footage is taken from. “We did not look for it. It just happens that we play synthesizers and we suddenly saw this word ‘autobahn,’ and we found out that while we were on it we were moving and changing, like in a movie.
“You cannot deny technology,” Hütter maintained. “There was a tendency in the late Sixties to do so, to go back to the country, which is understandable. But technology is still there and you have to face it and live with it. And we make it a part of our music. The more you can handle it, the more you can develop yourself.”
The audio below sees the seminal group tear through a set that opens with ‘Kling Klang’ before meandering into ‘Komentenmelodie 1’ and closing on a triumphant 25-minute version of ‘Autobahn‘. The set immediately transports you to another dimension and acts as the perfect form of escapism that we all need in our life right now. Plug your headphones in whilst letting Kraftwerk take you on one of their unique journeys on their very own autobahn.