Florian Schneider, who as one of the founding members of German group Kraftwerk changed the sound of pop music forever, has died aged 73 of cancer.
The news was confirmed to the Guardian by one of his musical collaborators, who said Schneider had died a week ago and had a private burial. It was also confirmed via Sony Berlin.
Born in 1947, Schneider was the son of Paul Schneider-Esbelen, a noted architect who designed Cologne’s airport. Schneider first played music in various groups while studying in Düsseldorf, beginning in a band called Pissoff. Operating in the experimental, open-minded rock scene dubbed “krautrock” in the British press, he formed the group Organisation with Ralf Hutter, the pair later forming Kraftwerk in 1970.
Schneider played the flute, violin and guitar, though often filtered through electronic processing. His interest in electronic music grew. “I found that the flute was too limiting,” he later said. “Soon I bought a microphone, then loudspeakers, then an echo, then a synthesiser. Much later I threw the flute away; it was a sort of process.”
After three albums with Hütter in the mid-70s, Kraftwerk released Autobahn and expanded to a quartet. The album was composed primarily on synthesisers, and its highly original sound and witty ly