Computers, MIDI controllers, tablets … a YouTube video revealed the live setup of all four Kraftwerk Live Band members.
Many media and music deal with the death of Florian Schneider and the music of Kraftwerk this week. If you want to experience Kraftwerk live, you cannot avoid the 3D concert series, which has been touring cities for a long time. However, the band only consists of one original member, the last living founder Ralf Hütter. Otherwise, there are Fritz Hilpert, Henning Schmitz, and Falk Grieffenhagen.
A video from 2015 shows an interesting insight into the Kraftwerk live setup. Anyone who thinks the legendary Kraftwerk formation still uses many unusual instruments live is wrong. A lot of the experimental flair of the past is gone, unfortunately. Rather the mainstream and rather modern technologies have moved into their live setup.
“We Are The MIDI Controllers”
Ralf Hütter (picture above left) uses a mysterious keyboard, which I am not familiar with. It looks like a custom made. Above that is the Creamware Minimax, the first-ever Minimoog emulation (thanks Dirk Matten) You can also see two screens, which might indicate a type of workstation.
Fritz Hilpert (pic above right) certainly uses a Native Instruments Maschine Mk1 to trigger patterns or samples. Interestingly, he also uses an iPad with the Lemur app where he built a fully customizable controller interface. He also has a large screen on the desk but also a classic keyboard with a trackball mouse that points to a running DAW on a computer. Also, it has a Doepfer ribbon controller that is used in Autobahn per example.
Falk Grieffenhagen‘s setup (pic button left) looks a bit less exciting: a Keith McMillen QuNeo MIDI controller, a bigger and smaller touch-screen, two mini screens with the visuals of the show and a computer keyboard.
Henning Schmitz (picture bottom right) has integrated a Novation Zero SL MK1, Numark Orbit Wireless 16 Pad DJ, and 25-key MIDI controllers inside the setup. You can also see a large screen. I can imagine that an entire computer system with a running DAW is built into the desk. Guess that’s for the backing tracks of the Kraftwerk show. You can watch the entire video here
It should also be mentioned that Kraftwerk uses the Virsyn Matrix plugin as a live vocoder in the live setup. In summary, one can say that the live setup is relatively basic. All of this looks more normal and less Kraftwerk ” innovative”. To me, it looks like they have put together a live setup that allows them to easily perform tracks without taking any major risks.
According to the motto: the show must go on. A bit of a shame because fans of Kraftwerk expected more interesting ideas than classic midi controllers on stage. One thing is sure: this setup is super simplified and would be great in a “we are the robot” only show in which only robots make the music and no humans. Exactly what Kraftwerk always wanted.
More information here: Kraftwerk