The influental German electronic group Kraftwerk plans to perform eight of its albums at Walt Disney Concert Hall in spring 2014. The concerts, which will take place over four days, March 18-21, will feature full showcases of the group's classic Teutonic pop albums, including “The Man-Machine,” “Trans-Europe Express,” “Computer World” and “Autobahn.”
The quartet, founded in Düsseldorf, West Germany, in 1970 by Florian Schneider and Ralf Hütter, harnessed the programmable hums of early computer devices to craft rigidly funky songs that helped set a course for hip-hop, new wave, techno and house music.
Their early jam, “Trans-Europe Express,” for example, was harnessed by New York rapper, DJ and producer Afrika Bambaataa for his “Planet Rock,” and has since been sampled by Dr. Dre, Lil Wayne, Will Smith, Raekwon and others. The group has been accurately called the Beatles of electronic pop music: It’s hard to chart a path to the sound of modern-day pop that doesn’t include an Autobahn-sized lane devoted to Kraftwerk.
There’s a small, but important, caveat, though. Only one member of the original Kraftwerk, Hütter, remains in the performing ensemble (Schneider departed the group in 2008). That said, for much of its life the, group has performed as emotionless robots who seldom interact with either the music or the audience. It’s hard to mourn Schneider’s departure in the live setting when he deliberately dehumanized himself while he was in the group.
Over the last few years, Kraftwerk has done a similar series of performances, including at the Museum of Contemporary Art in New York. The Disney dates, however, will place them in a context. The program will launch the L.A. Philharmonic’s Minimalist Jukebox, a month-long citywide festival that, as described in the Phil's literature, “celebrates America’s greatest contribution to classical music and the single most influential musical movement of the 20th century and beyond."
Also featured during the month-long Jukebox will be programs devoted to the classic Steve Reich work “Different Trains”; the premiere of Terry Riley’s “At the Royal Majestic,” which was inspired by the composer’s truly memorable evening spent improvising on Disney Hall’s grand “Hurricane Mama” pipe organ; and sibling pianists Katia & Marielle Labèque tracing minimalism through works by Riley, La Monte Young, Philip Glass, Aphex Twin, Brian Eno and Sonic Youth.
Details on programs and ticketing are below:
Kraftwerk performance dates at Walt Disney Concert Hall:
"Autobahn" (1974), 7:30 p.m. March 18
"Radio-Activity" (1975), 10:30 p.m. March 18
"Trans-Europe Express" (1977), 7:30 p.m. March 19
"The Man-Machine" (1978), 10:30 p.m. March 19
"Computer World" (1981), 7:30 p.m. March 20
"Techno Pop" (1986), 10:30 p.m. March 20
"The Mix" (1991), 7:30 p.m. March 21
"Tour de France" (2003), 10:30 p.m. March 21
Registration will be at kraftwerk.laphil.com and will begin at 10 a.m. Pacific time Dec. 3 and close at 11:59 p.m. Pacific time Dec. 6. Selected registrants will receive an email invitation with a link and a unique code to purchase tickets beginning at 10 a.m. Pacific time Dec. 11. During registration, registrants will have the option to prioritize their top four concert choices. The code allows each registrant to purchase up to four total tickets across the eight concerts. More details on the festival are available at the Minimalist Jukebox site.