When you’re 40 years into a career, it’s only fair that you’re afforded the opportunity to go back and right any outstanding wrongs. After decades of waiting, Kraftwerk’s Ralf Hütter has finally been given his chance with the reissue of the group’s last eight albums.
“I don’t want to complain but some of the catalogue was never in the quality that it should have been,” says the only remaining original member of the group. “It was a nightmare.”
To be issued next week both individually and as a box set titled The Catalogue, Hütter now feels Kraftwerk’s music can be appreciated the way it was supposed to be. “We reworked the masters, so for the first time they are remastered with the latest technology in our Kling Klang studio,” he explains. “So we’re very happy that for the first time the albums come in the formats with all of the artwork, like they were originally conceived.”
Considered as influential on modern music as The Beatles, the pioneering electronic act from Düsseldorf, Germany can be heard in music of everyone from David Bowie and New Order to Madonna and Coldplay. But Hütter downplays Kraftwerk’s impact beyond the work he and his various collaborators have put into the music.
“We called ourselves musical workers, and we just did our work with electronics,” he says. “Music and technology for us were like a unit, always, and we just continued our work from there.”
Hütter can’t take all the credit though — there are those iconic robot mannequins that have represented the look and sound of the band all these years.
Whether it’s the music or the robots people remember Kraftwerk for, Hütter says he and co-workers aren’t done innovating. Earlier this year they began presenting the second half of their concert in 3-D, and in Manchester invited the British Olympic cycling team to ride on a track during a performance of their hit song Tour De France. New music is also expected at some point.