The music technology pioneer Florian Schneider passed away just after his 73rd birthday, following a short battle with cancer. Together with co-founder Ralf Hütter they formed one of the most significant music acts of the past 50 years. Kraftwerk provided an important cultural touchstone during a trying and divisive period of history, bridging gaps across the world in their fan base. In a time when popular media used "German" as shorthand for "bad guy" it was difficult to embrace my own German heritage. Kraftwerk was one of the very few connections I had growing up.
They have also inspired generations of musicians. While my own music bares little resemblance to theirs, it owes everything to their technical pursuits. Florian was a big part of that. He pushed the band to explore new territory through technology, and held several patents; including their classic Robovox vocal processor.
Many modern musicians who've never heard Florian's name owe him a debt of gratitude. On their behalf:
Vielen Dank, Herr Roboter.