Kraftwerk: "Pocket Calculator" live with Stylophone

In the comments on my Stylophone post today, Alex_M kindly points to this excellent live performance from 1981 by Kraftwerk of "Pocket Calculator." As Alex_M says, "With Karl Bartos on Stylophone, apparently having a bit of a problem keeping a straight face."


  1. This seems like a great gift for my almost 3 year old daughter.

    Are there any other simple, under 30 dollars types of retro music gadgets like this? I know next to nothing about music.

    1. I was moving from junior high to high school around this time, and endured a great deal of torment from most of my classmates for being a fan (though I didn’t give up). It was difficult, though not impossible to score vinyl like this in a small town, and most people I knew thought electronic music was terrible and/or a fad.

      The Bible Belt wasn’t such a hip place for most back then. I’m glad to see that electronic music endured.

      1. It has not only “endured” it has done far far more it has blossomed expanded and thrived:

        We celebrate it, in our millions worldwide.

          1. Now, accordion music, that would be a kind of music which can be said to have ‘endured’:

            IMO there’s something ancient in that old-timey music.

  2. incidentally, the little keyboard ralf is playing is a mattel bee-gees rhythm machine, though w/ the bee-gees stickers removed. here’s an old demo video i made:

  3. I can’t decide if this is the best thing ever, or a parody of itself. Either way, it’s video gold.

  4. Kraftwerk is still at it, too.

    Here’s a performance of the same song, but of a more recent vintage (that is, of this century):

    The instrumentation seems slicker nowadays….oh, it must be just my imagination.

  5. Hmmmm…perhaps I meant to say that accordion music is something that must be endured.

    Anyhow here’s a link to some more electronica, but a little more long form , from the Love Parade 2008 edition:

    It appears from that that electronic music is more popular than ever.

  6. Wow, thanks, great to see that!

    Yes, Kraftwerk is still morphing, still fitting in nicely with the times. There new versions of their ur-texts simply rock.

    As for live performance, though, I like these older moves more. Trouble now is, they pretty much DON’T move.

    Long ago, the full version of “Autobahn” was one of the best trips (ha) I’ve ever had.

    1. I saw Kraftwerk in Toronto five or six years ago. I was really into them at the time, and knew all the lyrics to all their albums (from Autobahn on, anyways) – in English and German.

      The show was great, actually, but what a disappointment that nowadays they just stand at podiums with laptops. Nothing like all the epic concert films I’d seen of them (such as this one – not sure if I’d seen this one then or not, but I definitely saw ones like it).

      Part of the fun for me is that they made their own equipment (or used devices like the stylophone) and that there was a very analogue quality to the music – it was actually being performed with instruments, bizarre though they may have been, not played-back from a sequence.

  7. Forgot to add:

    Few today realize what pioneering giants these guys are. Even as they continue accruing yet another generation of fans, they don’t get their true due.

  8. Thanks for the heads up (previous post and new)! I picked up the last two Stylo’s they had at the 4th street restoration hardware! I asked why they had them. The three women there had no clue, let alone any clue what this thing actually was. Strange product for a store like that!

  9. Isn’t there like only one of the original members in the remaining band?

    Anyway, Dick Smiths in Australia used to sell a stylophone kit as part of the Funway series. You can still get the Vol 2 book with the instructions and schematics but as far as I know they don’t sell the actual kit anymore.

    I imagine that there are other places that sell stylophone kits though, it’s not like they’re the most sophisticated thing to build.

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