Here’s a bit of a (space) oddity. On Friday night, Kraftwerk drew their set at Stuttgart’s Jazz Open Festival to a close with a literal out-of-this-world performance of “Spacelab.” That’s because the krautrock pioneers called upon an astronaut, actually floating in a tin can in space, to help them out on the synths.
German astronaut Alexander Gerst is the spaceman who lent his musical chops to the occasion. Currently stationed in the International Space Station (ISS), Gerst was beamed onto a massive screen at the festival as he fiddled with a virtual synth on his tablet.
“Here in the European Columbus Laboratory, the successor to the Spacelab, the European Space Agency is researching things that will improve daily life on Earth,” Gerst introduced before the song. “More than 100 different nations work together peacefully here and achieve things that a single nation could never achieve. We are developing technologies onboard the ISS to grow beyond our current horizons and prepare to take further species into spaces, to the Moon and Mars.”
And with that opening, Kraftwerk and Gerst got on their way with the performance of the track, off 1978’s The Man-Machine. It’s a pretty far out show, even by the avant garde group’s standard.
Check it out here: