Space Punk Musicpunk space music
Electronic music and the legacy of punk. A journey to discover the subtle threads that connect the sounds of the last millennium - PART 3
From the sci-fi synthesizers of Krautrock to the minimalistic samples of New Wave, from the hypnotic sound of Acid House to the freedom of live PA in raw movements. Germany has played a decisive role for the European musical avant-garde. It was not only the birthplace of Stockhausen and Eimert, but also the birthplace of those musicians who in the late 1960s, inspired by the American psychedelic rock sounds of the past decades, produced Krautrock and Space Rock and thus laid the foundation for the current styles of electronic music.
By merging the raw sounds of proto-punk guitars with the cold precision of techno (quoted by Simon Reynolds), the representatives of Krautrock have created a real musical revolution whose effect is still visible today. True pioneers of this genre were Amon Düül (and Amon Düül II) and Ash Ra Tempel, who had been encouraged since the late 1960s by their independent label Ohr (ear) to explore new territories and thus create space and science fiction atmospheres that stand for the genre later called Space Rock.
The latter have been playing exclusively with electronic instruments since 1968, and in 1971 they released the first record in the history of the synth-pop genre, "Autobahn". A record that is often regarded as the "founding father" of contemporary electronic music genres such as acid house and techno.
Kraftwerk was the first company to spread the electronic sound of synthesizers and sequencers on a large scale, making it commercial and attractive, no longer only for classical music compositions. This new school is to inspire great masters such as Brian Eno and David Bowie, whose collaboration has produced timeless masterpieces such as "Low", as well as and above all the movements that develop between the late 70s and early 80s, New Wave and Neue Deutsche Welle.
In 1978 Tony Wilson and Alan Erasmus founded Erasmus Factory Records in Manchester, an emblematic label featuring musicians such as Joy Division, Cabaret Voltaire, A Certain Ratio and the OMD. These bands combined their pop and rock sounds with an avant-garde and melancholic touch, electronic minimalism and a willingness to break with traditions.
The New Orders were born, and in 1982 together with Tony Wilson they founded the Acid House birthplace, the Fac 51 Haçienda of Manchester, better known as Haçienda, to which Michael Winterbottom's movie "24 Hour Party People" was dedicated. In 1983, following her debut record, which followed in the footsteps of her already active career, New Order released "Blue Monday", a true hymn to the new era, characterized by synthesized bass lines and electronic sounds made possible by the newborn MIDI technology.
The MIDI technology introduced in the same year made it possible to connect different types of computer equipment to each other or to a computer by giving each button or knob the desired sound and revolutionizing the way manufacturers, including Roland and Korg, understand synthesizers. It is also the sound of Roland drums (including the TB-303 or TR-909) and digital samplers with a deliberately artificial touch to characterize the acid house played in the sleepless nights of the Haçienda, sounds that laid the foundation for the rave movements of the 90s.
Since then, dance music has never been analog again. Now the electronic instrumentation was accessible to everyone: portable, relatively easy to use, it was part of the collective imagination and was mainly associated with modern and nonconformist movements. After all, everyone could decide to bring their musical project to life by using synths, drums and samplers.
The rave movements of the 1990s benefited from these libertarian characteristics by expanding them, wandering, no longer tying them to places or places for existing or institutionalized concerts and events. The spirit of rave culture, in the wake of the punk philosophy of the 70s, demands freedom of expression, anarchy and DIY culture, but no longer with guitars, but with programmable electronic instruments.
First and foremost, these include sound cards, which for the first time enable computers to create and play back sounds by slowly separating electronic music from computer equipment, especially recording studios. Thanks to them - in addition to MIDI controllers and so-called trackingsoftware developed later - musicians can not only compose their own music completely independently, but also follow the entire production process without having to rely on intermediaries.
These instruments, however, were still connected to the recording room, so the musicians could only exhibit live sounds and sequences that had been recorded before. This paradigm is only reversed with the spread of the laptops and the development of the US -bus interface (which allows MIDI controllers to be connected to the computer to interact with the software), allowing artists to play their instruments live.
Since the early 2000s, the domain of electronic music has been closely linked to Ableton Live technology, which makes it possible to sample sounds and create sequences in real time, with or without human intervention, as well as manipulate complex sound sources and compose harmonies without programming skills.
We are in the era of clubs, long nights, long days, when music is no longer only heard with the ears, but perceived with the whole body. The new instruments expand the old unidirectional musical model and make the performances more increasingly, merge the audience with the artists and cancel out the social distances that have existed between them for centuries.
Punk has left behind a tangible legacy of understanding art and music, liberating them from their elitist dimension and making them accessible to all. The development of technology and the democratization of instruments have made it possible to implement these principles and to realize the utopia of the futurists.