A highlight from The Culture Corner: The Matrix Of Kraftwerk's 'Computer World' 40 Years On
The culture corner john of to the cafe. How's it going rain. It's going great so the culture coroner. It's where you connect the dots for us across all different genres of music today. You're going to be telling us about the influence of craft work and their album computer world which turns forty this year. So i give us. The broad strokes who is craft work craftwork is really to mean one of those fundamental musical influences for a variety of of john. Ras and everything. They were founded in dorf germany in nine hundred sixty It's interesting because they kinda came out of The european of guard but then also a lot of german bands at the time were exploring experimental music and like this whole Post psychedelic rock sound yet bands like noise and can and tangerine dream and really. Just this really active. You know diverse musical scene and craftwork came out of that and and still you know they. They continue the surviving members. Continue to make music now and they're really if we were talking a bit You know before we went on air but to me really They're one of the most influential bands of the twentieth century into the twenty first century. And you hear the dna of craft work in all kinds of music. So where does computerworld fall in the craft. Work time line of their albums. Craftwork was founded in the late sixties. We didn't get computer world until one thousand nine hundred eighty one so at this point they had already done trans europe express autobahn all this music. That really helped shape. What would become dance. Music in the future what would become experimental electronic music. There's influences ambient music takes from craft. So computerworld was really significant because they were a huge huge ban at this point and computer world was kind of a combination of them and their influence reaching a broader stage. Okay well let's hear the title track from computer world right now view and stuff. That was a bit of craft works computer world. it's world cafe. I'm speaking with john morris in today's culture corner we're talking about kraft works forty year old album. Computer world turns forty this year. And if you look at the track listing on computer world Almost every single song. Somehow it has to do with computers. Yes you guessed it so maybe you can expand on this for us. What is the central theme of computerworld. Yeah computerworld It's you know even going by the title as you can sell. It's about technology and computers being everywhere in our society right Nineteen eighty-one one. When this record was released was when Also when ibm introduced like the personal computer you know there was a sense of concern with the fact that we were living in a society at the time that had become increasingly saturated with computer technology and those teams kinda play throughout craft works body of work and its its especially strong in this album. You know thinking about how. There's a feeling of utopianism through technology but also fear of technology. So it's it's an interesting dichotomy that they set up an explorer throughout the record. Like you get a sense that humanity can use modern technology to make our lives better but it's also like do we want to be so inundated with these technologies so craft work are sort of pioneering this new sort of computer music mix of man and machine. How did that filter out from them. What other genres. What other artists. Where did it go from craftwork and did it influence in my mind. Crafoord lives in all sorts of music particularly Black electronic music that emerged in the late. Seventies You know post disco era even a song like numbers which was like a smash hit in black communities and cities around the us. You know new york. La chicago detroit. Miami although those cities at the time were developing their own local genres in their own forms of electronic music electro early hip hop house techno and miami bass. All of that stuff took a lot of influence from craft work and particularly disarm numbers. Even here in philly philly deejays in the eighties were known to cut up numbers at block. Parties okay well. Let's hear a little bit of numbers right now. Craftwork numbers on world cafe so deejays. Were cutting up this. This music from craft working people might not expect to hear this like german computer band at a block party in the states. So how does that even happen. A lot of the credit has to go to new york deejays like africa ban badeah jazzy. Jay the zulu nation. They were always looking for different. Sounds from everywhere so even if you listen to early early hip hop mix tapes like The zulu nation death mix. You listen to a tape like that that will circulate in in new york back. In the day you know. They're playing yellow magic orchestra. You know next to funk and soul records and rock records that's that's really kind of like a foundational pillar of of hip hop dj -ing being attuned to different music and really they knew okay. I can find something usable as something cool from craft work record. I'm speaking with john morrison. It's the culture corner. World cafe of craft works album computer world forty years on from when it was released so john now four decades of computerworld. It's been out this long. Why does this album remain important today. Computerworld is important For a lot of reasons you know even if you look at The tour that they went on a ticket with spring summer of nineteen eighty-one the computer world tour was really one of the first big multimedia tours you know they would play all this music and You know they also would be accompanied by these like giants screens plan like these video installations on a loop and it was really the forefather to these like big multimedia tours that we see musicians and artists embark on now But then in a musical sense craftwork and computer world are really important because of One there there's a great record but then also because of how much music that they inspired detroit. Techno chicago house acid house hip hop all of this music that came up and and really blossomed in the eighties was directly inspired by craft work. But then you also on the other side you have you know. A lot of the experimental electronic music ambient music. It's really a rich and varied tree with all these different branches that Shaped the music that we enjoy and listen to and make today. It's kind of amazing to think that it was released like you said the year that the ibm pc came out and now artists make albums in their bedrooms on their laptops. And it you know. It doesn't seem weird at all. It's just like how people make music now at the time was so revolutionary the last time we're going to hear his hyme computer which translates to home computer. Why why did you wanna play this song to cap it off here. Is it's interesting And it's like you said you know. Everybody makes music on their laptops. I make music on my laptop of a million people. That'll hear this do it. But this this idea of you know the home computer and computer technology being so close to humanity it was really a novel thing and it was a thing To explore in seriously consider you know and craftwork did that. You know what i mean. They shaped their whole aesthetic round. This curious relationship between humanity and computers humanity and technology. And it's something that i think it's worth revisiting and also home computers a cool song like it. It sounds do so yeah. That's the reason why. I wanted to to close out with this one. This check it out with open.