Kraftwerk co-founder Florian Schneider has passed away today at the age of 73, after a lengthy battle with cancer. His passing was revealed by fellow Kraftwerk co-founder Ralf Hütter, who released a statement to Billboard earlier today.
“The very sad news that his friend and companion over many decades Florian Schneider has passed away from a short cancer disease just a few days after his 73rd birthday,” Hütter said in the statement.
Hütter and Schneider formed the pioneering electronica outfit as a multi media project based out of Düsseldorf, Germany in 1970. Originally a flute player, Schneider began performing in various improvisational music groups alongside Hütter, before expanding his sound with electronic instruments as Kraftwerk developed.
In 1974 Kraftwerk began placing electronic instrumentation at the forefront of their album release Autobahn, which cemented the outfit as a pioneering krautrock and electronica outfit. Prior to Kraftwerk, most electronic music was largely experimental, however the success of their albums such as Autobahn, The Man Machine and Computer World helped influence dance music, synth pop and a variety of electronic music genres which would become popular in the latter decades.
Schneider left the band in 2008, following the group’s world tour. In an interview with Mojo magazine in 2005 Hütter described Schneider as a “sound perfectionist,” in the studio, who worked tirelessly with the group.
“He is a sound perfectionist, so, if the sound isn’t up to a certain standard, he doesn’t want to do it. With electronic music there’s no necessity ever to leave the studio,” Hütter. “You could keep making records and sending them out. Why put so much energy into travel, spending time in airports, in waiting halls, in backstage areas, being like an animal, just for two hours of a concert? But now, with the Kling Klang studio on tour with us, we work in the afternoon, we do soundchecks, we compose, we put down new ideas and computer graphics. There’s always so much to do, and we do make progress.”