Only just saw this... "Last year the band were back on tour in Ireland, eastern Europe, America and Australia. Schneider dropped out of the touring line-up in April last year [didn't make it to NZ, then}. He was originally rumoured to have left the band in November. With characteristic tardiness, Kraftwerk have now made his departure official." From the Independent.
Deutsche Welle suggests that "There are plenty of reasons not to care about Florian Schneider leaving Kraftwerk. The group made its last proper record in 1986 -- and its last great one in 1981. Since then, it's been mostly remixes and one-off jingles, with Schneider declining to take part in tours....
People only passingly familiar with Kraftwerk think of them first and foremost as pioneers of electronic music, specifically synth-pop and techno. They overlook the fact that the group wrote more than their fair share of universally catchy, at times stunningly moving melodies.
Take, for example, "The Model." On first listen, the 1978 Kraftwerk original sounded like satirical ditty with a danceable beat about the cult of beauty. But it also contained a wistful nine-note central theme, whose profound sadness only became fully apparent when covered in 1992 by the classical Balanescu Quartet.
Or listen to "Computer Love" -- an homage to and melancholic reaction against electronic amor whose melody was so great not even Coldplay could ruin it when they appropriated the tune for their 2005 song "Talk."
Kraftwerk were unlikely to ever reach those heights again, and Schneider's departure is almost certainly the final nail in the creative coffin."