I Was a Robot - book

Anmeldt av Jens Nepper
(Omnibus Press, 2017)

Karakter: 4.5/6

I Was a Robot cover.jpgFormer Kraftwerk drummer/percussionist Wolfgang Flür published this interesting and thought-provoking autobiography of his a number of years ago, which caused quite a bit of controversy in that many of the myths surrounding his former band were debunked and laid bare. Flür provided us with a unique access and insight into the inner workings and dynamics of the group, which left some feeling that the mysterious entity that was Kraftwerk had lost some of its charm and uniqueness. On the other hand, there were others who reveled in the fact that the fans were finally able to catch a glimpse of what it was like to be a robot in the groundbreaking electro pop ensemble.

The ever-awesome Omnibus Press recently published a revised and updated version of "I Was a Robot" and it is a captivating and moving account of what it was like to strike up a musical partnership with the other members of Kraftwerk. It also elaborates and focuses on what the atmosphere within the band was like, where some of the ideas originated from, and what it felt like to conquer the world by means of innovative and visionary music. Obviously, one of the most compelling things about the whole chronicle is the formative years of Kraftwerk and how the whole thing came together only to fragment and collapse later on. Flür's childhood years and upbringing are also covered in great detail and are a treat to absorb, but, like I said, the chapters on the early years of the electro institution known as Kraftwerk are priceless and provide the reader with a a lot of stuff to digest and absorb.

One very cool aspect of Flür's story is that it actually feels as if he is talking directly to you, almost as if you are sitting in an intimate setting together, drinking a cup of coffee, and him simply sharing some of his life's stories with you. The way in which the book is written reflects the way that Flür talks and expresses himself in real life, which is the way it should be when it comes to biographies. In other words, the book has a personal, warm, and reflective tone and aura to it that is quite endearing and charming. Flür comes across as open, sincere, and deeply devoted to his art, but also hurt and bitter from time to time, which is what makes him and this particular story of his human and moving. The creative spirit of Flür permeates nearly every chapter and he is clearly a man who has experienced quite a bit over the years. Regardless of whether one agrees or disagrees with some of his opinions and points of view, he is most definitely an insightful chap who is not afraid to speak his mind, especially when it comes to all the emotional turmoil that he went through before, during, and after his time with Kraftwerk.

The last third of the book is a bit of a mixed bag in that it occasionally loses focus here and there. Flür has a tendency to digress a bit from the overall narrative and sometimes he appears slightly lost in his own thoughts and musings on all manner of different things, some of which are relevant and others that are most certainly not. While I do appreciate the many discussions and inner thoughts relating to various cultural, sociological, and ideological ideas and paradigms, there are passages and sections that are tiring and unengaging. Still, the fact that "I Was a Robot" tries to cover more than just the existence of Kraftwerk as well as Flür's solo projects and various collaborations with other musicians and artists over the years is commendable and worthy of praise.

Overall, "I Was a Robot" is definitely worth seeking out and immersing oneself in as it covers way more than just Kraftwerk. Although Kraftwerk were groundbreaking and influenced countless bands and artists from a long line of different genres, Flür's story goes beyond that and encompasses so much more than his robot existence in the aforementioned group of pioneers. A highly entertaining and yet haunting piece of literature that perfectly illustrates what it was like to be a human being inside the great Man-Machine.

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