Kraftwerk taught me how to count to acht in German. They also taught me how to count to four in Spanish, but I prefer their German accents. I was young. I had never really taken an interest in German before. In 1970s Britain, we were raised in a culture of gloating over victory in World War II, probably because we were still smarting from the recent football defeats inflicted on England by Franz “Der Kaiser” Beckenbauer and Gerd Müller. Suddenly as I started to explore identity in my my mid-teens, I found myself liking Germans, and I’ve liked them ever since. I feel an affinity towards the language, and long to be good at it. Those who find it harsh don’t hear its rhythm, its syncopation, its precision and probing. Like Kraftwerk in fact.
I loved Kraftwerk when it wasn’t particularly cool to love them. I loved them in the late 1970s and early 1980s. I played their meisterwerk continuously as I made Chimera. Looking back, there couldn’t have been a more appropriate album to write Chimera to.
We regret those things we do not do, and hopefully, not too many of the things we have done. I regret not having taken the opportunity to see Kraftwek at the Tate Modern. If you were one of those people who planned their life well enough to accommodate a live show that features one of the most prophetic “bands” in pop history, my hats off to you.
If you don’t ache listening to Computer Love (and you can tolerate the Coldplay desecration), then you probably don’t remember a time before Facebook, or a time before compact discs and mobile phones. Yes, there was such a time.