Things to Read…
This month, New York’s Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) unveiled an exhibit dedicated to the work of German electronic pioneers Kraftwerk. Kraftwerk’s founding members Florian Schneider and Ralf Hütter met as art students in Düsseldorf, Germany in the late 1960s. At the time, Düsseldorf was the epicenter of West Germany’s avant-garde art scene and German musicians were looking to push the boundaries of pop music beyond the rhythm and blues template that dominated the American and British scenes. Kraftwerk, like their other “Krautrock” contemporaries, found inspiration in the electronic experimentation of artists such as John Cage and the Velvet Underground. Aided by technological advancements (like the increasingly popular Moog synthesizer), the band ambitiously forced their music in the opposite direction of mainstream pop music. Solos were verboten, computers were king and vocals were fed through a synthesizer to produce a robotic effect. The result was music that sounded stark, cold and, well, awfully German.
This week, the New Yorker‘s resident music writer, Sasha Frere-Jones, recounts Kraftwerk’s road to MoMA and the significance of their status as the only musical act to earn a retrospective by the museum’s curators.
Read the article here.
“Das Model” (German Version)
“The Model” (English Version)