Kraftwerk and Germany

Sean Albiez’s Kraftwerk and Germany (expected 2018) will explore Kraftwerk’s complex relationship to their German national identity, and the ways in which their work addressed, critiqued and transcended the meaning of what it was to be German in a time marked by as much by a hyper-capitalist-modernity as it was by a number of counter-cultural currents.

As well as tracing the internationalist dimensions of Kraftwerk’s music – it’s impact in Germany and beyond – Sean Albiez considers how Kraftwerk positioned themselves in relation to not only a pop music culture dominated by Schlager, but also the Marxist political climate of protest movements that marked West Germany in the sixties and seventies. Kraftwerk, he shows, attempted to reach for something that seemed to belong to neither of those currents; back to aspects of the post-WWI Weimar era, and thus defining themselves through a contentious nostalgia for the notion of Mitteleuropa – a term simply meaning ‘central Europe’, but repositioned by German nationalists in the early twentieth-century to mean the political project to establish a German-dominated central European political area.


SEAN ALBIEZ is Senior Lecturer in Popular Music at Southampton Solent University. With David Pattie, he is the editor of Kraftwerk: Music Non-Stop (New York: Continuum, 2011). He has also been making electronic music since the 1980s (most notably on a series of albums and singles with industrial-electro-EBM band WMTID) and currently makes music as obe:lus.



By John Scanlan

John Scanlan is the Series Editor of Reverb with Reaktion Books.