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Pop has long been history. And for some years Düsseldorf was a central meeting place for labourers in the electronic lab. In Electri_City, the musician and scene connoisseur Rüdiger Esch has gathered together voices from past and present and combined them in a panopticum of the pioneer years.

It is a late, almost sublime triumph. At the start of 2015, before the general refurbishment of the New National Gallery in Berlin, Kraftwerk performed a concert cycle that, on each of eight sold-out evenings, placed one of their albums from Autobahn to Tour De France centre stage in an elaborate 3-D installation. The forefathers of German electronic music in the incunabulum of modernist architecture by Mies van der Rohe. “If this is a visionary, utopian idea of a building, Kraftwerk stands for a visionary, utopian idea of music”, says the Director of the New National Gallery Udo Kittelmann, describing this close dance of cultures. Robots in the transparent palace of glass. Computerliebe under the girded steel roof. Rarely has Pop seemed so sublime as here.

THE DÜSSELDORF PRIMORDIAL SOUP

Kraftwerk thus returned to its origins. Even before its official founding, the group moved in the tension field of the Düsseldorf Art Academy, which back then overlapped with glam rockers and fashion designers in the avant-garde club “Creamcheese”. It was here that, in December 1968, Joseph Beuys and his assistants chained themselves for hours to a beer table, surrounded by psychedelic noise and experimental films. There was hardly an evening without a performance. A primordial soup compounded of the vapours of dark beer and concepts, which after 1970 also produced a singular school of sound. Bands such as Kluster (later Cluster) and Neu! sought their own musical paths and wanted to depart from that of the Anglo-American models. “These were the days of kraut rock, cosmic music, prog rock and the pioneers of electronic”, the introduction to the book Electri_City – Elektronische Musik aus Düsseldorf (i.e. Electri_City – Electronic Music from Düsseldorf) tells us. In writing it, its author, the musician Rüdiger Esch, conducted dozens of interviews with the leading figures of the scene and has assembled from these original soundtracks a polyphonic chronicle.

The first generation wanted to be “progressive”. Free of ideology and thought control. It looked to advertising and industrial design, oriented itself to the newly emerging synthesizer technology. “This was a transitional period: the electronic alienation of acoustic instruments. It was then developed further so that at some point the instruments were omitted and there was pure electronic music”, says the bassist Eckhard Kranemann, recalling the beginnings of Kraftwerk. These sound experiments did not yet have a song structure and the major record companies responded to them with reserve. Thus many memories in Electri_City revolve round the producer Conny Plank, who sat behind the mixer console for the first records by Kraftwerk, Neu! and La Düsseldorf and who died in 1987. He gave Düsseldorf electronic music the necessary degree of timing and rhythm, and thanks to his contacts to the major labels was also an important catalyst. Even a decade later, the Düsseldorf electro-punks trusted in his “machine park sounds”.

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Renowned photographer Stephen Shore’s latest book gives an intimate glimpse into Andy Warhol’s world and the outrageous demimonde of the 60s art scene

CHECK it HERE

seen by Laurent Orseau 

  • Arnold Dreyblatt & The Orchestra of Excited Strings
  • Arnold Dreyblatt & The Orchestra of Excited Strings
  • Arnold Dreyblatt & The Orchestra of Excited Strings

seen by Laurent Orseau

  • Liz Harris & Roy Montgomery
  • Liz Harris & Roy Montgomery
  • Liz Harris & Roy Montgomery

 Arnold Dreyblatt & The Orchestra of Excited Strings recording during their residency at les ateliers claus

  •  Arnold Dreyblatt & The Orchestra of Excited Strings
  •  Arnold Dreyblatt & The Orchestra of Excited Strings
  •  Arnold Dreyblatt & The Orchestra of Excited Strings
  •  Arnold Dreyblatt & The Orchestra of Excited Strings
  •  Arnold Dreyblatt & The Orchestra of Excited Strings
  • lightning bolt

Christophe Clébard his album Honte is available via our bandcamp page

Liz Harris & Roy Montgomery residency at les ateliers claus this week

  • Liz Harris & Roy Montgomery
  • Liz Harris & Roy Montgomery
  • Liz Harris & Roy Montgomery

The Meakusma Program is online

  • meakusma
  • meakusma presales

The sequel to Grammar Wanker no one has been waiting for: 
Jason Williamson’s House Party collects all the Sleaford Mods LP 
and singles lyrics since 2014, along with insights and 
observations (read: rants) on the music industry and beyond. 

Special 1st edition mail order only – available exclusively from Bracketpress

  • Jason

BRORLAB - This could just be our bad sense of humor  

BRORLAB is a no wave punk band from Antwerp. They play short songs and short concerts. A short interview. 

When did you start BRORLAB? 

Sam (vocals): We started making music about a year ago.

How did you got to know each other? 

Casper and I knew each other when we were kids and met again while studying film. 
Around that time (this was about three years ago) we started going to a lot of garage rock shows in Antwerp, especially those of Hotsjumenas. Raf also played at a lot of their gigs with his (now defunct) band Jagged Frequency, so we saw him play a couple of times.
We started to get to know him better when filming him as part of a Belgian garage rock documentary we made and became friends.

Was there a plan? 

We didn’t really plan on starting a band together, it happened spontaneously: we were recording a song for Casper's band O’Grady at Raf’s studio, where I was doing the vocals. This was my first time “screaming” so we didn’t know beforehand how it would sound. Raf heard it and decided we should try a song he wrote with my vocals. That became the first song of BRORLAB.

Why do you play one minute songs? 

There isn’t any big reason for us playing such short songs, we just do it because we think they would quickly become boring when stretched. It also keeps the energy up, and gives me time to breathe. 

Why do you play ten minutes concerts? 

We think us playing so short is funny, but that could just be our bad sense of humor. 

Why do you record with a smartphone?

We use a smartphone as our drumcomputer for the same reason, but again, it’s highly possible we are the only ones who think it’s funny.

Why the female voice? 

We think using female vocals has a different sound, which we like for our songs. I also like doing it a lot because I’m quite calm and quiet in everyday life, it’s really an outlet for me. 

Is BRORLAB a performance act or a band? 

I can see it as a performance as well because, in a way, I’m playing a character. We also sometimes wear costumes or do silly things on stage, I really like exploring that stuff, but it’s still mainly about the music, that’s why we consider it a band in the first place.

Are you working on a record?

We just finished recording our first EP at Raf’s studio, Tooth Mountain studios. We recorded it on his tape machine. We decided not to use a synth anymore, for the moment, we don’t really need it and it gives me the freedom to move around when we play a concert, but it can always be reintroduced in the future. 

Live plans? 

We are currently planning our release show, somewhere in the near future.

Joeri Bruyninckx

BRORLAB live:  25/09 at Les Ateliers Claus, Brussels
http://www.lesateliersclaus.com/index.php/activities/acte-bonte-brorlab

Track from "The Sisypheans" LP/CD, available on November 8, 2019 from Drag City.

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Erste Erinnerungen
von Dieter Sperl, Komposition: Caroline Profanter

Listen HERE