School of rock: What happened to the synthesiser revolution?

With the news that Florian Schneider is leaving Kraftwerk after 40 years, it’s time to ask an important question: What happened to the synthesiser revolution? Was it destroyed by guitar-wielding Luddites or did its pioneers go undercover and win by stealth?

Keyboards will always sound like the shock of the new, mainly because the future suggested through electronic music never came. Synth pioneers from Kraftwerk to Gary Numan surged through the 1970s and 80s on an optimistic wave of silver suits only to be buried under an avalanche of retro-guitars and the revivalist ironies of today’s electro-twerps. Try looking at it this way: How different is the Mighty Boosh’s Future Sailors to the genuine Trash Fashion Some commentators claim that the 80s was the last time pop music looked forward before being splintered into a million post-modern fragments. Is this really true? Or did the futurists change tack?

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