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Rudi Esch - Electri-City: The Düsseldorf School Of Electronic Music book review

English translation of definitive oral history of city of Kraftwerk, Neu!, D.A.F.

A small town with not an apparent rock’n’roll brick in its architecture, and once primarily renowned for its galleries and advertising agencies, Düsseldorf has exercised an incalculable, literally electrifying influence on the rock landscape. This is primarily thanks to Kraftwerk but also the motorik innovations of Neu!, the Eno-esque ambience of Cluster and the more punk-driven Teutonic shapes cast by groups like D.A.F. and Der Plan.

In Electri-City Rudi Esch tells the story of the city’s musical evolution, from the first stirrings of Krautrock in the 1960s through to the avant-dance scene it hosted in the 1980s, via the accounts of participants and eyewitnesses. Not everyone sees eye to eye; Neu’s Klaus Dinger was a truculent character, while resentment of Kraftwerk’s Ralf Hutter and Florian Schneider – considered rich boys who failed to empathise with the struggles of fellow musicians – abounds. Interviews with Daniel Miller, Rusty Egan and OMD’s Andy McCluskey emphasise the transformative effect of Düsseldorf on the UK scene.