Academics To Study Kraftwerk

A UK university is hosting the world’s first international academic conference about German electro band Kraftwerk.

Photo: AP Photo/dpa, Jens Kalaene
in Berlin. 

Aston University in Birmingham has “Industrielle Volksmusik for the Twenty-First Century,” as the Kraftwerk confab is called, scheduled for Jan. 21-22. According to The Independent, the uni initially thought it could get through all the Kraftwerk stuff in an afternoon. But with speakers apparently coming from Germany, the UK, Finland, the Netherlands, the United States and Austria, it seems it’s going to take a couple of days.

“These days Kraftwerk are not just a pop band or electronic music artists, they’ve developed into a kind of total work of art,” explained conference organizer Uwe Schütte, who heads Aston’s German department.

He said he was surprised that so many people were taken aback when hearing that academics were gathering to discuss a band whose heyday was in the 1970s.

“They are a pop band, they are producing music you can dance to in terms of low-brow entertainment, but at the same time they are high-brow art. “Due to a certain degree of snobbery it’s seen as odd or contradictory to bring Kraftwerk and an academic conference together.”