Kraftwerk: Autobahn Production Notes

Production Notes

In 1970, Kraftwerk decided to rent an industrial workshop on Mintropstrasse in an industrial area of Düsseldorf, which they set about appointing as a recording studio they named Kling Klang (both German words describing types of sound). They spent days as 'musical workers', toiling away in a secretive manner within its 60 square metre soundproofed main space, generally resisting revealing too much about their working processes.

That year they also began a relationship with Konrad 'Conny' Plank, who went on to engineer their recordings up until 1974's Autobahn, which was produced by Hütter and Schneider. The album was recorded both at Conny's Studio, as it was called, and at Kling Klang.

Kraftwerk liked to modify their instruments and Wolfgang Flür was their first drummer to use 'custom-built' – as described by Hütter – electronic pads. Klaus Röder played guitar and violin, and he and Schneider also had customised electronic instruments, one being the Robovox, which produced some of the harsh, synthetic vocoder sounds on the album's title track.

It was in Conny's Studio that Schneider began experimenting with a Minimoog synthesiser. Hütter then bought one for himself, which he used for basslines, while Schneider acquired an ARP Odyssey.

One of the things that made Conny's Studio such a sought after recording location was Plank's unique, handmade 56-channel mixing desk, which was mounted on a wooden base made from a cherry tree from his garden. Plank designed it so that he could reach all the faders and a patch bay without having to move from a central position between the monitors.