Arts & Entertainment

Electronic music, the rhythm of youthful freedom

By Manuel Sánchez Gómez

London, 28 July (efe-epa).- Electronic music has more than a century of history behind it: from its slow start to its explosion in the 1980s, it has been bringing people together with its chaotic and electrifying rhythms.

The exhibition Electronic: From Kraftwerk to The Chemical Brothers at the Design Museum in London was presented to the press on Tuesday and will open to the public on Friday.

The sounds go beyond putting on headphones and listening: the neon lights, the flashes. Electronic music is made up of more than just music.

It originated with the rise of electricity in the early 20th century but it was not until much later that this style of music became established in society.

The publication of the futurist manifesto The Art of Noises by Luigi Russolo, the release of the Hammond organ and sound studies after World War Two were some of the events that led to the development of the genre.

In 1968, the first electronic music concert was held in London by Delia Derbyshire, Tristram Cary and Peter Zinovieff.

In 1971, Brian Eno started using synthesizers in his work and the same year Stanley Kubrick used them in the soundtrack for A Clockwork Orange.

Its definitive take-off came in the 1980s, when punk music took a nosedive and young people were craving a new hippie movement.

This time it wouldn’t be led by the sounds of Woodstock but by Kraftwerk and later The Chemical Brothers.

The exhibition at the Design Museum includes all the album covers that marked the story of this cultural wave.

One of the most important is The Man-Machine, a 1978 album by the German band Kraftwerk, which features in the exhibition in a range of ways from listening, video clips and a 3D experience of some of the band’s songs.

“Luckily this exhibition was organized before lockdown, before the Covid experience so during lockdown the exhibition was all here and so it’s been a real pleasure to open up the museum for the first time. And to give the visitors an opportunity to see this incredible exhibition that really tells us what we’ve been missing during lockdown that sense of sensory overload of music, of visual arts, of atmosphere through haze, smoke, lasers and lights,” Gemma Curtin, exhibition curator, tells Efe.

“So I think the exhibition and particularly the experience the Chemical Brothers have created for us, it really gets as near as you can today to being in a club experience.”

Discos in Berlin, Düsseldorf, Dortmund, Turin, Chicago and New York are portrayed through photographs that transport visitors into the clubs.

The exhibition has brought together groups ranging from duo Daft Punk to New Order and goes beyond the visual, immersing visitors in a movement that was driven by young people searching for freedom.

The exhibition will welcome the public on Friday when the Design Museum will also reopen after months of closure due to the pandemic. EFE-EPA


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