Kling Klang (also spelled as "Klingklang") is the private music studio of the band Kraftwerk. The name is taken from a track on the Kraftwerk 2 album. The studio was originally located at Mintropstrasse 16 in Düsseldorf, Germany, but in mid-2009 was relocated to a new location in Meerbusch-Osterath, around 10 kilometers west of Düsseldorf.
Kling Klang began as a studio in 1970; the band marked this as the real beginning of Kraftwerk. The studio began as an empty room in a workshop premises located in an industrial part of Düsseldorf. The building exterior was clad in yellow tiles with a large electric shuttered doorway leading to an enclosed courtyard. On the right was a loading stage used by an electrical installation company that used the upper floor. The studio was accessed through a small anteroom. The main studio room was fitted with sound insulation and measured about sixty square feet. Later on other adjoning rooms were used for things like making instruments such as home made oscillators. The basement of the studio was used to store old instruments and machines. The band never threw anything away and used the older equipment to later recreate sounds.
When first using the studio, the band recorded with stereo tape machines and cassette recorders. These master tapes were then taken to a commercial recording studio for the final mix down. Part of the reason for this was so the band could self-produce their albums. The PA equipment at this time was self constructed and consisted of plywood bass horns and cast aluminium mid range horns. In 1971 Kraftwerk were still without a drummer so they purchased a cheap drum machine. By treating the sounds with echo and filtering they used the drum machine to record rhythm tracks for their second album. During the making of their third album they purchased their first commercial synthesisers for the studio, the Minimoog and EMS Synthi AKS. Other equipment at this time included an Echolette Tape Echo. Wolfgang Flur had joined the band at this stage. When he had first visited the studio only a small acoustic drum kit resided in the studio for Wolfgang Flur to use. However, he noticed a drum machine Schneider bought during a trip to the USA in the corner of the studio and converted it into his electronic drum kit in October 1973. It was during that time that the studio was christened Kling Klang. After Karl Bartos joined the band more studio equipment was designed, by all four band members. A full time engineer was employed to assist with the designs and new equipment purchases.
In March 1976 Kraftwerk began recording Trans-Europe Express at Kling Klang studio. Hütter and Schneider had commissioned Matten & Wiechers, the Bonn based Synthesizerstudio, to design and build two 16-step sequencers music sequencer, the "Synthanorma". The music sequencer controlled the band’s Minimoog creating the album's rhythmic sound.
The band members had begun spending eight to ten hours a day in the studio, regarding themselves as "musical workers". That time was spent designing a complete portable studio setup, including stage backdrops, curtains, lighting, staging and a stereo PA system. Portable nineteen inch equipment frames were designed and linked to other equipment using custom made wiring looms used for quick dismantling whilst touring. This new system of mobile equipment was designed for the Computer World tour and replaced the previous "messy" system. Kraftwerk spent three years designing the newer system. The newer studio could be set up in about two hours and was far easier to transport whilst touring. The Kling Klang 12k PA system was also designed to be portable and matched the grey colour of the equipment frames.
In September 2007, the Neuss Grevenbroicher Zeitung reported that Ralf Hütter had purchased property space in a proposed new commercial property development ("Mollsfeld") in Meerbusch-Osterath, about 10 kilometers west of Düsseldorf, with the intention of building a new sound studio and office there, so that Kraftwerk's recording, merchandise, and administration can be managed from a single location. The move to the new premises was completed in mid-2009 and, as well as sound recording, the new Kling Klang includes a rehearsal space for the preparation of concert performances.
Kling Klang Schallplatten
Starting in 1975, Kraftwerk released its records on the vanity label Kling Klang Schallplatten. Later and current releases are credited to Kling Klang Produkt. A number of labels have acted as licensees for the group's output; most notably EMI. Kling Klang Music also existed as a music-publishing company for a small period of time in the US, being associated ASCAP.
Kling Klang Konsumprodukt GmbH
Kraftwerk also sells all of its band merchandise through Kling Klang Konsumprodukt.