In 2008, a documentary was released called ‘Kraftwerk And The Electronic Revolution’. At three hours, it is a pretty comprehensive overview of the German music scene that gave us Kraftwerk. What makes this epic doc all the more fascinating for us and readers of Electronic Sound, is that David Stubbs, a regular contributor to Electronic Sound, is featured, performing the role of contextualising Kraftwerk and the German music scene of the early 1970s and beyond, with considerable aplomb.
Here’s the film, you might want to bookmark this post and set aside some time…
We asked the esteemed David Stubbs what he thought of the documentary.
“I enjoyed the resultant documentary, which I found useful as a resource for my book ‘Future Days’,” he told us. “It was good that they interviewed Conrad Schnitzler extensively – he died not long afterwards, before I got a chance to speak to him. He was one of the most obdurate and extreme figures in German music of that era, ploughing his own, self-taught arty/electronic anti-hippy furrow, a pertinent harbinger of the electro-pop future. As a general overview of the electronic stirrings in West Germany in the late 1960s and early 1970s it worked pretty well, I thought, though as is sometimes the case in these overviews, Faust were a major omission, I recall. I’m not sure the programme makers knew about them – they didn’t appear to be on their tick-list. Obviously, this wasn’t meant to be an exhaustive Krautrock documentary and ultimately was about Kraftwerk, who in Düsseldorf were probably barely aware of Faust or influenced by them. All in all, it’s a professional documentary that in its length and depth went further than most, and it’s therefore valuable for more serious fans, who might find BBC4 treatments of these subjects ultimately a bit perfunctory.”
How did you feel about your own presence in the film, David?
“I wince at my own contributions mainly because of my slightly dishevelled state. That olive coloured shirt I’m wearing is an old Paul Smith item intended to exude a certain Teutonic cool. However, it’s already seem better days at this point and the collar has curled up slightly. Also, the little of my hair that’s left is dancing about atop my pate a la Billy Whizz.”
And what can you tell us about the film makers and what it was like working with them?
“They were called Prism films, who did a range of documentaries to which I contributed doing face-to-face interviews, usually filmed at a studio near Old Street, in London. Other subjects they covered included Radiohead, David Bowie and Pink Floyd. I was happy to work with them because they paid decently for contributions, rather than promise that this would be good for my profile and give me some much-needed exposure as is sadly too often the case today. This one, I believe, was made back in 2008. They were enjoyable people to work with, very professional.”
David’s excellent book, ‘Future Days: Krautrock And The Building Of Modern Germany’ is available here: