Travelogue Sound of Düsseldorf
The Pop-history of Düsseldorf - from then until now
As a pop metropolis, Düsseldorf is a phenomenon: the capital of Germany’s largest state should be much too small to attract international attention, but time and again it has fostered unusual music scenes, bands and movements. Kraftwerk, for example, is the prototypical German pop band that gave impetus to the emergence of new wave, hip-hop and techno. The long-forgotten NEU! has been named favourite German band by members of Blur, Radiohead and Stereolab. The Düsseldorf punk scene of the late 1970s was less embittered than its counterparts in Hamburg and Berlin, which led to more experimental styles of music. Der Plan, Fehlfarben, DAF and Liaisons Dangereuses and their avant-garde new wave attracted fans far beyond Germany’s borders. The Krupps were co-founders of the industrial music movement. And the homegrown band Propaganda became hit writers of the electronic wave in the 1980s.
For many music fans, the era of Düsseldorf as a pop metropolis ended in the mid-1980s when many members of the scene decided to take up bourgeois professions and lifestyles, or even left the city altogether. But time and again the city’s fascinating pop history and continuing artistic infrastructure has brought together new creative minds. Crucially, the Kunstakademie art college kept and keeps on attracting experimental musicians. Kreidler member Detlef Weinrich founded the club Salon des Amateurs, which remains the central meeting place for a young electronic scene that connects (Krautrock) tradition and modern music. Düsseldorf might no longer be the musical hub of the world, but every decade or so, great things happen here: in the mid-2000s, Hauschka introduced the concept of a prepared piano for the pop scene, and ten years later, Grandbrothers refined it. This enterprising streak was continued in hip-hop and punk with the Antilopen Gang and the Broilers.