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Industrielle Volksmusik for the Twenty-First Century

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Kraftwerk and the Birth of Electronic Music in Germany 

The first ever international academic conference on Kraftwerk took place at Aston University on Wednesday 21 and Thursday 22, January 2015. It attracted nearly 200 participants from around Europe, Scandinavia and the US.

The conference was opened with a keynote speech by Dr Stephen Mallinder, formerly of influential post-punk band, Cabaret Voltaire. This was followed with a paper by David Stubbs, author of Future Days: Krautrock and the Building on Modern Germany (Faber & Faber 2014). Amongst the speakers were Prof Hillegonda Rietveld (London), Prof Ulrich Adelt (Wyoming), Dr Perttie Grönholm (Turku/Finland), Dr Nick Stevenson (Nottingham), Prof David Pattie (Chester) and Dr Alexei Monroe (London). There was also a special guest appearance by Rüdiger Esch (Die Krupps).

You can download a copy of the programme HERE.

Podcasts of the papers delivered at the conference can be downloaded HERE

Dr Uwe Schütte, organiser of the conference, says: "The event was a resounding success thanks to the perfect mix of enthusiastic contributors to the programme – we had academics, musicians and journalists delivering talks on a really wide and stimulating range of issues. The event received huge media interest, which acted as a catalyst to bring together a dedicated audience much larger than normally seen at conferences. There were scholars, fans and nerds, all passionately debating Kraftwerk."

The conference was the cause of considerable interest and comment across social media and the international music press. For instance, check out these articles from Mixmag, FACT or the NME. The conference was also written up by dance music website Insomniac.com

There were reports and interviews with Dr Schütte on various BBC radio channels, including BBC 6 Music, BBC World Service, BBC Radio 2 and BBC Leeds & Coventry.

Local as well as national press reported on the conference before it happened, with the Birmingham Post, the Independent and the Guardian all running features. There was also a full-page article reporting from the conference in the Independent and a piece in the Telegraph on the topic of popular music and academia.

The conference was also the subject of a high profile feature piece on BBC One’s Breakfast programme of 22 January. 

We are excited to reveal our plans to organise a Krautrock conference in late 2016. More details will be announced in the coming months.

Rüdiger Esch, author of Electri_City, has organised a 3-day event celebrating electronic music from Düsseldorf. Apart from concerts by Michael Rother, Heaven 17 and others, the first day will be devoted to a conference on Kraftwerk organised by Dr Uwe Schütte, featuring papers in both English and German. It will take place from 29 - 31 October 2015. For more details visit this link: http://www.electricity-conference.com/en/

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