Back to the future with KRAFTWERK

01 March 2018
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‘Universiada’ Hall, Sofia
28 February 2018
words by: Nikola Shahpazov, photo: Orlin Nikoloff
Realizing it's been 13 years since you last went to a KRAFTWERK show could be a bit scary. But even weirder is the realization just how different you've become and just how KRAFTWERK they've remained. Because KRAFTWERK is not really a band name but a state of existence beyond time, beyond the stylistic trends of the here and now – whichever they might be. Don't forget – it's their 40th year of existence and their last proper studio rtelease came out way back in 2003 but still they were awarded the 2017 Grammy award for best electronic album.
KRAFTWERK's latest 3D show is very, very 2018 (hence the 3D glasses making each fan look strangely transfixed), sounding deep and detailed, fir for any epoch but at the same time very, very 1978 although a huge part of the audience wasn't even born at the time the seminal ‘Die Mensch-Maschine’ was released. 
Talking of the fans, they're quite a versatile crowd (including bearded PANTERA fans, hipster girls and Bulgarian electronic pioneers) but much more surprising is their numbers – there's no doubt tonight's show has attracted far more people than the one 13 years ago.

Which only comes to show just how out-of or rather beyond time KRAFTWERK are – they would never be retro, old or worn out. Not to mention irrelevant.

Just like those everyoung, red shirted robots from the ‘Die Mensch-Maschine’ cover, those four Germans are universal, mechanically perfect, digitally innovative, seemingly the same but really quite different every other time.
That's why in 2018 those 3D glasses makes their ever strong visual side even more magical and deep while their audio presentation has also evolved into a sound that is basic (‘Boing Boom Tschak’), signature (‘Trans Europe Express’) and quite modern (‘Aero Dynamik’).
Founder Ralf Hütter might not be center stage but is at the heart of tonight's music – playing, singing and improvising (yes, you heard right!) in the 3-dimensional, retro-avantgarde-futuristic setup of 4 robotized Germans taking us to a walk around 40 years of songs about sports, radioactivity, dehumanization, Dusseldorf, Detroit and beyond. 
Beautiful, theatrically calm and surgically accurate,  Hütter and his boys really take us for a ride through classics like ‘The Model’, ‘The Robots’ and ‘Radioactivity’ but it's the ‘Tour de France Soundtracks’ (six of them!) that excite us the most.
Going way beyond the idea of a dance party and the dry perception of yet another gig, KRAFTWERK demonstrated just how easy it is for them to exist like a great creative force in the past, present and future all at once.