German Pop Music. A Companion

Out now is a new book by our colleague Uwe Schütte. He has edited a collection of essays on major musical styles and bands in the history of German pop music. The contributors comprise a range of international experts on popular music from across Germany, the UK and the US.

The volume is chronologically structured: following the introduction by Uwe, it starts with a chapter on German Schlager, followed by chapters on Krautrock, German Punk, German Industrial, Techno and Rap. There is also a chapter dedicated to Kraftwerk, written by Uwe.

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The survey is concluded by an interview with Diedrich  Diederichsen, the leading scholar in the field who has recently published his major study Über Pop-Musik. For more info see the publisher’s website here or order the book, reasonably priced at £18,71 from Amazon or any other online retailer.

Read an illustrated excerpt from Uwe’s chapter on Kraftwerk on the CUEPOINT music blog.

Award for staff publication: “Constructing a German Diaspora”

Aston Reader in German Dr Stefan Manz’s book on German emigration has been named a CHOICE Outstanding Academic Title 2015. The book has been reviewed in a number of highly regarded academic journals as being ‘a very significant contribution to the field of breathtaking scope’, ‘essential’, ‘a model of historical scholarship’, ‘pioneering’, ‘innovative’, ‘unique’, ‘fascinating’, and ‘important.

From the publisher:

“This book takes on a global perspective to unravel the complex relationship between Imperial Germany and its diaspora. Around 1900, German-speakers living abroad were tied into global power-political aspirations. They were represented as outposts of a “Greater German Empire” whose ethnic links had to be preserved for their own and the fatherland’s benefits. Did these ideas fall on fertile ground abroad? In the light of extreme social, political, and religious heterogeneity, diaspora construction did not redeem the all-encompassing fantasies of its engineers. But it certainly was at work, as nationalism “went global” in many German ethnic communities. Three thematic areas are taken as examples to illustrate the emergence of globally operating organizations and communication flows: Politics and the navy issue, Protestantism, and German schools abroad as “bulwarks of language preservation.” The public negotiation of these issues is explored for localities as diverse as Shanghai, Cape Town, Blumenau in Brazil, Melbourne, Glasgow, the Upper Midwest in the United States, and the Volga Basin in Russia. The mobilisation of ethno-national diasporas is also a feature of modern-day globalization. The theoretical ramifications analysed in the book are as poignant today as they were for the nineteenth century.”

GODSTAR – Der verquere Weg des Genesis P-Orridge

Straying a little from his usual area of expertise, our colleague Uwe Schütte has published a small book on the life and artistic career of Neil Megson, better known as the extremist performance artist Genesis P-Orridge. Screen Shot 2015-12-21 at 21.41.10

In the late 1960s he founded the performance group “COUM Transmissions” which later grew into the band “Throbbing Gristle” who are credited with inventing the industrial music genre. Their dissonant anti-music, played at ear-piercing noise levels, intended to question the role of entertainment in a post-Auschwitz world. Picking up on the cultural critique of Critical Theory, they disavowed all forms art or artistic activities that aim to cover up the ugliness and moral decay of modern existence.

Following the dissolution of  “Throbbing Gristle”, P-Orridge founded his new band “Psychic TV”, which dabbled in esotericism, and he even founded a sect called “Temple of Psychic Youth” in the early 198os. It was shortly afterwards that “Psychic TV” first released a single and then an entire double album with the title GODSTAR as a tribute to the late Brian Jones, founding member of the Rolling Stones, who had prematurely died in mysterious circumstances in 1969, aged 27. P-Orridge had met Jones by chance in May 1966 in a film studio on Aston Road, just a stone’s throw away from Aston University.

Uwe’s book, which extends on a  long essay written over ten years ago, traces the results this meeting had on P-Orridge and how it changed his life. More info on the book can be found in this article published by Uwe in the Austrian national paper WIENER ZEITUNG. The book was launched in Vienna on December 12 at the Künstlerhaus in Vienna and can now be ordered at the Der Konterfei website.

Uwe Schütte on Pop Music and Literary Writing

The leading German literary magazine VOLLTEXT was re-launched today with its title story written by our colleague Uwe Schütte.

SScreen Shot 2015-12-21 at 21.19.52tretching over seven pages, “Poetry + Electricity = Rock’n’Roll” takes its title from a quote by Patti Smith. The essay deals with the overlap between pop music lyrics and high-brow poetry but also looks at novels recently written by pop musicians.

You can download Uwe’s essay here.