RIGA - Latvian PR companies tend to hugely overstate things when promoting forthcoming concerts. When Sting played in Riga a while ago, for example, you might easily have thought it was the Second Coming, given the outrageously over-the-top press release that preceded the event.
So it's nice to see that in the case of Kraftwerk the group is merely "the founder and inspiration of electronic music," according to Pro-motion, the company behind the group's Baltic dates.
Kraftwerk will be playing in Riga on May 29 and Tallinn on May 30 in what are apparently the group's first ever concerts in Eastern Europe. Although most young people will probably never have heard of the group before, it's certainly a concert worth seeing for anyone with an interest in electronic music.
Like it or not, Kraft-werk's influence has been enormous. Its subtle, atmospheric, minimalist music was devilishly cool and infectious. Remember the old classic "She's a Model?" Never was the dry, wry sound of Germanic-sounding English so effective in music.
The group was founded by Ralf Hutter and Florian Schneider, who met while studying improvised music at Dusseldorf, Germany, in the 1960s. Heavily influenced by the likes of avant-garde composer Karlheinz Stockhausen, they began producing their own music using drum machines and synthesizers.
They released their first album "Kraftwerk 1" in 1969, but it wasn't until 1974's seminal "Autobahn" that the group became internationally famous. An edited version of the album's 22-minute long title track even made the top 10 in the U.S. and U.K. charts.
The group's line-up changed considerably over the years and when one ex-member published a book in 1999 entitled "Kraftwerk: I was a Robot," it was reported that Hutter and Schneider were not very happy about it. The group's last album was 2003's "Tour de France Soundtracks," which received some extremely good reviews in the press. Go catch a slice of musical history while it's still hot.