Remembering the late Florian Schneider-Esleben today. Florian founded Kraftwerk alongside Ralf Hütter in 1970.
Florian started off playing the flute initially. He also played violin, guitar, and made (obvious) use of the synthesizer. He met Ralf a few years before Kraftwerk’s formation in 1968, at the Academy of Arts in Remscheid. They would eventually make improvisational music together before forming Kraftwerk.
Known as a sound perfectionist and dubbed a “sound fetishist” by Ralf Hütter, Florian found sound design extremely important. His use of the vocoder (i.e. Kraftwerk’s famous Robovox) was a key part of Kraftwerk’s sound, and in 1990, he even patented a “system for and method of synthesizing singing in real time”.
Found an interview excerpt from 1988 via Electronic Sound and Electric Cafe. The interview was between Florian and Japanese magazine Silverstar Club, where he recorded his answers via cassette tape- the audio on YouTube.
[Silverstar Club : We found a cybernetics concept in your album ‘The Man Machine’. How do you think about cybernetics? What kind of influence does music give to the human body?
Florian: Any interaction between machines and human beings could be described as a cybernetic situation, since they influence each other mutually. For example driving a car or playing an instrument. Musical influence and the human body. Look
what happens in discos, people shape their body to the rhythm of music. There is a lot of literature about it and the question as old as mankind. And there’s certainly still a lot of things to be researched.
The human body and brain can be compared with computers, if you want. There’s also electricity within us. The process of thinking and central perception in the nerves as also electric nature. So, there’s certainly a very obvious connection between electric music and human beings, I think.]
A legend to other legends, the late David Bowie titled his "Heroes" instrumental track "V-2 Schneider" after Florian.