Kraftwerk Plays ‘Spacelab’ With Help From Astronaut Alexander Gerst

On 20 July 2018, European Space Agency astronaut Alexander Gerst joined legendary electronic group Kraftwerk for a  unique performance of Spacelab

The performance was held at the Jazz Open Festival on Stuttgart’s Schlossplatz, and live from the International Space Station, where Gerst will live and work until mid-December 2018.

During the call with space, Kraftwerk founding member Ralf Hütter and Gerst played a duet version of the Spacelab, with Gerst using an iPad.

The ESA shared some of the details on the setup with CDM:

The software on the iPad was custom-configured for Dr. Gerst by Henning Schmitz, especially for this event, and then sent to orbit. The iPad itself made its way to ISS on the SpaceX-launched supply mission CRS-15 at the end of June. (Russian Progress vehicles launched on Soyuz also supply the ISS; the USA uses Dragon atop Falcon 9 at the moment.)

The app is Lemur, the landmark touch control app, with another soft synth behind it making the sound. (ESA are not making public the identity of the other app.)

Because of the 3-5 second lag time, Gerst led solo, and then Kraftwerk was able to join him in sync.

17 thoughts on “Kraftwerk Plays ‘Spacelab’ With Help From Astronaut Alexander Gerst

  1. And he has less latency than my MIDI keyboard connected 50 cm away from my computer. Life is unfair.

  2. Look how damn excited that guy is to play with kraftwerk. And he’s in the space station… I’d be just like him. What a cool thing.

    1. Jazz festivals are one of the few places where you have listeners that are open minded enough to check out and appreciate groups that are outside the mainstream.

    2. This is your opinion. I think it was really great – this has a touch of history for every electronic music fan and it shows how far they have been over 40 years ago. The sound was great, the music is still inspiring and fresh. The ISS thing just shows, that they are able to imagine and realize things, no other has done before – and they are over 70 years old. So are they still Kraftwerk? Yes, for me they are.

  3. I have been there and it was so unreal and stunning! A very special and big moment as you realized that this is not a clip but a live video from the iss. He talked about where he is right now and how fast he is moving and what a great project the ISS is. We all were like shocked in a great way.

    1. yeah, total bs. it´s like td without froese. or dm without wilder. fun fact re kraftwerk: after schneider-esleben had left the band in november 2008 hütter wanted to join depeche mode as their support act. dm said no.. due to schneider-esleben´s departure.
      p.s.: propaganda (“a secret wish”) is my favorite band from dusseldorf – not kraftwerk. listen to this masterpiece, produced by steve “lippo” lipson. sounds great, even today…

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