Out of all the genres of modern music, Germans have always had a particular grasp of electronics. When the ability to create new sounds with electronic synthesizers came onto the modern market it seems as if the government was handing them out to musicians everywhere because the surge of electronic sounds that poured out of the country was shocking. Yet you may think that Germany does that one sound very well and that’s that, but the plethora of sounds that have emerged from this movement are insurmountable. From the electro pop, lo-fi sounds that may have started it, the presence of a good synth seems to be mandatory in any German band from any genre. To get a better view of just how far this movement has spread check out this list of bands and their diversity in sound.
Of course, these guys always make the list, not because they were necessarily the first but probably one of the most recognisable in their era thanks to their clearly defined sound. With synth keys creating bass, percussion rhythms as well as the main melody in their tracks, Kraftwerk purposefully sounded robotic. This mixed with their unique visual aesthetic made for inspiring stuff that has influenced bands like Devo and Yellow Magic Orchestra all the way over in Japan. Their sound was quintessential synth-pop which opened the door for many to vary upon.
It may be easy to call these guys the German Daft Punk, which in itself is a compliment, yet this duo doesn’t make exactly the same sounds and also don’t wear full body disguises. With a more electro house feel to their music, the pumping constant drums here are mixed with filtered electronic sounds. The noises emanating from their synths are far more recent than what Kraftwerk were tapping away at in the 70s. Therefore, the sounds are warmer, richer and easier on the ear.
Who can forget the techno sounds that filled almost every club in the 90s and of course their name which their vocalist H.P. Baxxter would shout out at every possible moment? This band may be more associated with dancefloor cheese, but it hasn’t made them any less popular in the circles that live for happy hardcore. Their very European style of dance managed to top the charts on several occasions and shows a much different, more mass-market side to electronics.
The musical Project created by German Michael Cretu fits its name very well. Enigma has been categorised as many different things with worldbeat or simply experimental being the closest to its sound. Mixing modern music making techniques with vocals and vocal samples in very interesting ways, he has created tracks with the sounds of Gregorian Monks such as the well known song Sadeness Part 1. This unconventional mix of the old and new hadn’t really been done before, coupled with the very clear and equally perplexing emotions Cretu was going for, this field of electronics is both ambient and incredibly powerful simultaneously, vastly different from the electronics that led it here.