Monday, April 25, 2011

Shaping Electronic Music in Germany

Perhaps not as well known now as the French electronic scene, Germany has been producing electronic music acts for decades and has provided inspiration for many artists the world over.

In the late 60's and early 70's an early form of electronic music was formed by mixing the regular rock band instrumentation with electronic instruments and experimental production effects such as those used by the Beatles. Germany branded this genre Kosmische Musik. The term encompassed German electronic groups such as Tangerine Dream, Faust and Kraftwerk.

After the Berlin Wall fell, many recently vacated Eastern Bloc buildings became refuges for DJ's and the underground dance and rave scene. In 1991, Berlin held it's first Mayday Music Festival which has grown into one the the largest electronic music events in Europe. The idea was simple: A huge underground rave based off of a theme composed by the Members of Mayday. The first festival reached an estimated crowd attendance of 5,000. In 1992, they more than doubled that number with around 12,000 attendees. High profile artists like Aphex Twin, Moby and The Prodigy have all performed at Mayday festival and similar Mayday Raves have been set up in Poland and Russia.

German music has had an act emerge in every sub genre of electronic music. You may have heard of such artists as KMFDM, Wumpscut, Rammstein, Apparat, ATB, Digitalism and former JLSC Finalist, Maison Vague. Many of the new groups, like Maison Vague, have talked about how, without the groundwork laid out by artists like Kraftwerk and Tangerine Dream, the inspiration for the electronic sound coming out of Germany just wouldn't be there.

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