[[quoteright:330:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/Kraftwerk.jpg]]
[[caption-width-right:330: The classic lineup, from left to right: Wolfgang Flür, Karl Bartos, Will Forte... er, sorry, Florian Schneider, Ralf Hütter]]

Kraftwerk is a German electronic group based in Düsseldorf, Germany, noted for such songs as "Autobahn", "The Robots", and "Trans-Europe Express". Originating in the [[{{Krautrock}} highly experimental rock scene]] of 1970s WestGermany, they're practically the [[TropeMakers Trope Maker]] of ElectronicMusic in general, being among the very first groups to begin experimenting making music electronically, starting in the early 1970's. They are directly responsible for the existence of Dance music, from Techno, {{Industrial}} and EBM to SynthPop and even early Hip-Hop.

Their songs mainly have to do with technology ("Kraftwerk" is German for "Power Plant"). Their [[KayfabeMusic gimmick]] was that they were robots; Kraftwerk will often put on concerts and give interviews through robotic replicas of themselves. The robots became less and less human-like over the years.

'''Discography :'''

* ''Tone Float'' (1969 - as Organisation)[[note]]The common CD edition of this album, released without the band's consent (as they've disowned their first four LP's) amends the credit to 'Kraftwerk/Organisation'.[[/note]]
* ''Kraftwerk'' (1970)
* ''Kraftwerk 2'' (1972)
* ''Ralf und Florian'' (1973)
* ''Autobahn'' (1974)
* ''Radioactivity'' (1975)
* ''Trans-Europe-Express'' (1977)
* ''Die Mensch-Maschine'' (1978)[[note]]An English version was released titled "The Man Machine".[[/note]]
* ''Computerworld'' (1981)
* ''Electric Café'' (1986)[[note]]It was originally named ''Techno Pop'', and was rereleased in 2009 with that title.[[/note]]
* ''The Mix'' (1991)
* ''Tour de France'' (2003)
* ''Minimum-Maximum'' (2005) (Live album)

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!! Tropes exemplified by Kraftwerk and their songs:

* AffectionateParody: A recurring comedy sketch on ''TheLateLateShowWithCraigFerguson'' called "Einen Moment Mit Kraftwerk" has Craig and another actor dress up as Ralf and Florian and engage in brief, very weird conversations.
** Music/{{Bill Bailey}}, a self-professed fan of Kraftwerk, has parodied the group on [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7nsDAdtfcIM several]] [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dwaxWoJPUC0 occasions]].
** ''Series/TimAndEricAwesomeShowGreatJob'' had "Mini-Van Highway," a Kraftwerk-esque ditty played by two middle-aged men on the finest DOS computers - eventually joined by a hilariously stoic fellow on synthesized vocals.
* AnimatedMusicVideo: Musique Non-Stop, one of the [[TropeMaker first]] computer animated videos.
* AuthorAppeal: Ralf Hütter loves cycling so much he and his band wrote a song about the biggest race in cycling completed with sampled voices and mechanical sounds associated with cycling. They even go further by writing an album about it.
** Hütter suffered a cycling accident that left him in a coma during the initial sessions for ''Techno Pop'' (the album that became ''Electric Café''), and Karl Bartos once mentioned that the first thing Hütter said after waking up was "Where's my bicycle?". Hütter denied Bartos' account, but did admit that it made for a good story.
* BeepingComputers: "Pocket Calculator."
--> "By pressing down a special key, it plays a little melody."
* BilingualBonus: While they translate many of their songs into foreign languages, particularly when performing for the host nation, some songs are done in two separate languages:
** "The Robots": ''"Я твой слуга, я твой работник."'' [[spoiler: "I'm your servant, I'm your worker."]]
** "Numbers" includes numbers spoken in several different languages. (German, French, English, Italian, Spanish, Japanese and Russian, among others.)
* BunnyEarsLawyer[=/=]ReclusiveArtist: They rarely give interviews. They usually use dummies or custom-made robots for promo photo shoots instead of themselves. All we know about their studio is its name. They are also extremely hard to contact. For example, their studio telephone didn't have a ringer because they considered it "noise pollution" during recording. If you really wanted to contact them they would instruct you to call precisely at a certain time, and Ralf Hütter would answer the call himself even though there was no phone ring.
** Allegedly, Chris Martin of Music/{{Coldplay}} contacted them (through their lawyers) to request permission to sample "Computer Love" and got just a piece of paper with "Yes" written on it.
* ConceptAlbum: All of their studio albums since 1975, to some degree. Though it's being done most consistently on ''Radio-Activity'', ''Computerworld'' and ''Tour de France Soundtracks''.
* EarlyInstallmentWeirdness: Basically everything before ''Autobahn'' is quite a bit different from their later work.
** [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lCg7hPeUdvE Compare this to anything after ''Autobahn''...]]
** Any suggestion that Florian Schneider played the flute is the product of a highly deranged imagination.
* EpicRocking: The 24 minute long "Autobahn".
** AdaptationDistillation: The version [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mZgULbLm5do played live]], post-''The Mix'', is compressed down to 9 minutes, but retains all the high points of the original. The same thing happened to the single version, which was slashed down to 3 minutes but still kept the best parts of the song.
* EveryEpisodeEnding: Ever since their 1990 tour, "Musique Non-Stop" has closed all regular Kraftwerk concerts. Part MeaningfulName, this also gives each band member a brief solo before he leaves the stage. With the current stage layout, it's also the only indication of ''what'' each of the band members actually do during a concert.
* GermanicEfficiency: If you've ever wondered what GermanicEfficiency ''sounds'' like, this is it.
** They wanted to make music that sounded like 70s Germany, in the same way that the music of TheBeachBoys sounded like early 60s California.
* HallOfMirrors: The title of one of their songs, which is of course [[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin about a hall of mirrors.]]
** Although it seems that Hütter has had a change of mind recently, with hints that they might be restored and made available sometime after they release another studio album.
* KrautRock: They were classified as this in their early years, back before they started using exclusively electronic instruments. In fact, the members of Music/{{Neu}} were members of Kraftwerk first, and played on the first SelfTitledAlbum.
* LoopedLyrics[=/=]TitleOnlyChorus: Several songs, almost the majority of them in fact.
* MachineMonotone: Emulated in the vocals of some of their songs, most prominently, "The Robots."
* MoodWhiplash: Occasionally they'd throw in a love song on their albums, such as "The Model", "Computer Love" and "Sex Object" (though that last one is more of an AntiLoveSong), quite a shift from singing about robots, pocket calculators and radioactivity.
* {{Mondegreen}}: One of the more famous ones is the "Wir fahr'n fahr'n fahr'n auf der Autobahn" chorus of "Autobahn", which was frequently misheard as "[[Music/TheBeachBoys Fun fun fun]] on the Autobahn". Hütter didn't mind the mishearing, as he has frequently cited Music/TheBeachBoys as one of his favourite bands.
* MundaneMadeAwesome: A common theme, although the best-known examples would be "Autobahn" and "Pocket Calculator".
** The counter-example would be "Trans-Europe Express", which makes traveling to hang out with Music/DavidBowie and [[Music/TheStooges Iggy Pop]] sound about as exciting as buying groceries.
** Florian went asparagus shopping with Iggy Pop, after they met, so points for realism, at least.
* OminousPipeOrgan: On ''The Mix'' version of ''Trans-Europe Express''. Orchestration in their music is very rare, but it was of course a synthesized organ.
* OurGraphicsWillSuckInTheFuture: A few of their album covers.
** Intentionally invoked in the remastered CD editions (which originated with the ''Catalogue'' box), as the cover artwork for each album is reduced to a single, incredibly simple, large icon.
** Both ''Kraftwerk'' and ''Kraftwerk 2'' depicted only a simple drawing of a road cone, which nonetheless became iconic. The same image was used for each LP albeit re-colored, allowing fans to nickname the albums "Red Cone" (''Kraftwerk'') and "Green Cone" (''Kraftwerk 2'').
*** Bootleggers took this even further - a bootleg edition of ''Ralf und Florian'' replaces the original cover depicting the two artists with a blue cone to match the first two albums. And to complete the 'cone' quadrilogy, one version of the bootleg ''K4'' (a live performance of otherwise-unavailable material recorded between the first two self-titled albums) depicts a yellow cone on its cover!
* PoeticJustice: The single ''Tour de France'' was supposed to have been issued as the first single from the album ''Techno Pop'', before the production work on the album had been completed. The album was shelved when Ralf ended up in a coma from a cycling accident.
* ProtestSong: "Radioactivity." Later live versions, and the version from the 1991 album ''The Mix'', make it an explicitly anti-nuclear anthem, specifically the proposed second processing plant at the Sellafield processing site in Seascale, England:
--> ''Sellafield-2 will produce 7.5 tons of plutonium every year. [[YouFailNuclearPhysicsForever 1.5 kilogram of plutonium make a nuclear bomb.]] Sellafield-2 will release the same amount of radioactivity into the environment as [[GoingCritical Chernobyl]] every 4.5 years. One of these radioactive substances, Krypton-85, will cause death and skin cancer.''
** "It's in the air, for you and me."
** In 2012, Kraftwerk started performing an altered version of Radioactivity with new, Japanese lyrics concerning Fukushima.
* RealSongThemeTune: Happened at least twice. For its initial 1983-1990 run, the {{Edutainment}} show ''Newton's Apple'' used "Ruckzuck" (from their long-disowned debut album) as its theme (it was replaced for the home soundtrack due to licensing issues), and the ''SaturdayNightLive'' sketch "Sprockets" used a sped up[[note]]specifically, playing a 33RPM record at 45RPM[[/note]] version of "Electric Café"'s 'chorus' melody.
** The Chinese film ''MasterOfTheFlyingGuillotine'' uses "Kometenmelodie", "Mitternacht" and "Morgenspaziergang" off of the ''Autobahn'' album as most of its {{BGM}}.
* RidiculouslyHumanRobot: Perhaps at some point in the early to late Seventies, but as time went on their robot personas became less and less human.
* {{Robot or Spaceman Alter Ego}}: See above.
* SelfTitledAlbum: Their first two albums.
* ShoutOut: The "eins zwei drei vier" count that begins "Showroom Dummies" was made as a reference to Music/TheRamones' habit of starting their songs with Dee Dee quickly shouting "one two three four!".
* SpeedyTechnoRemake: Their remake of ''Autobahn'' on their album of self-made remakes, ''The Mix''. It is speedy only in comparison though, given that they've taken the original version which was over twenty minutes long and condensed it to only over nine minutes long, by making it a little faster.
* StandardSnippet: Any TV item about postwar Germany (unless soundtracked with schlager music) is pretty much guaranteed to make heavy use of "Autobahn".
* TheStoic: A staple of their robot-like personas.
* SyntheticVoiceActor: Or rather, synthetic singer, in many of their songs.
* TitleOnlyChorus
* {{Trope 2000}}: The single Expo 2000, filled with repeating soundbytes of different voices saying "das einundzwanzigste jahrhundert"/"the twenty-first century" throughout.
* TrrrillingRrrs: "Wirrr sind die Roboterrrrr". Not present in the English version of "The Robots", however, due to the vocals being processed through a vocoder.
* {{Zeerust}}: Some of their older works sounded futuristic at the time but are somewhat dated now, or they've already come true, like ''Computer World''.
** The version of "Computer World" on the 2005 live album ''Minimum-Maximum'' still references [[TheGreatPoliticsMessUp the KGB.]]

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