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Lecture

GER100 Lecture Notes - Benno Ohnesorg, Rainer Werner Fassbinder, Kurt Georg Kiesinger


Department
German
Course Code
GER100
Professor
Paul Malone

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7 November 2012
Krautrock and Austropop
1965: rise of far-right NDP
Nov. 30, 1966: “Grand Coalition” – CDU/SPD under Kurt Georg Kiesinger
o Was a previous Nazi
From 1967 on: student unrest and rise of left-wing APO (Extra-parliamentary Opposition)
o The time of youth movement/”Hippies”/”68-ers”
June 2,, 1967: killing of Benno Ohnesorg during anti-Shah protest
o Many youth didn’t believe that democratic nations should be supporting a dictator in
Iran
o Benno Ohnesorg was shot by an officer, who wasn’t even on patrol
o Similar situation to Kent State University in 1970 in opposition to Nixon’s decision to go
to Cambodia.
1968: unpopular emergency laws
Sept Oct 1969: steep decline of NDP; end of “Grand Coalition” – move to left with SPD/FDP
coalition under Willy Brandt
“As *Andreas] Huyssen has pointed out, the development of German pop culture has to be understood
within the context of the reconstruction of postwar Germany in which the omnipresence of American
pop culture combined with a concerted effort to resurrect pre-war avant-garde modernism to the status
of official German culture…. It was in this atmosphere that German artists such as Joseph Beuys,
Gerhard Richter, Sigmar Polke and Anselm [Kiefer] as well as filmmakers such as Wim Wenders and
Rainer Werner Fassbinder attempted to recapture a sense of post-war German identity. This was also
the climate in which a new generation of young musicians turned their back on the US rock ‘n’ roll that
had been so eagerly embraced by the West German version of the notorious British Teddy Boys, the
leather-jacketed Halbstarke of the late 1950s and early 1960s, in an attempt to develop a rock aesthetic
which was at once indigenous and distinctly European.”
1970: Willy Brandt at Warsaw Ghetto memorial
1972: Basic Treaty between FRG and GDR to acknowledge that exist and have their own rights
1974: Brandt’s surprise resignation as Chancellor
Replaced by Helmut Schmidt (continuing SPD/FDP coalition)
“As Masse and Poiger have indicated, an understanding of the development of the West German rock
scene in the 1960s involves an appreciation of the ways in which traditional and modern jazz, rock ‘n’
roll and mainstream pop were assimilated into a peculiarly West German set of traditions, patterns of
perception and evaluation, signs and references for patterns of distinction in which they acquired new
meanings as elements of German culture…. “Emphasising change, progress, novelty and the cultural
‘shock tactics’ that had once been the touchstones of pre-war Central European modernism and
combining this with an emphasis upon the collective improvisation that stands at the heart of modern
jazz … Krautrock came to stand for a specific cluster of values, for ‘freedom from conventions, tolerance,
cosmopolitanism, civility, opposition to all that seemed conformist’…. Can’s first recordings of
improvised sessions in June 1968, for example, included ‘free’ sound samples of the riots that had
brought Paris to a standstill during the preceding month. As the group’s keyboard player, Irmin Schmidt,
has remarked, ‘*t+he 1960s generation in Germany had to begin with a tabula rasa; we had to construct
a completely new thing. In Germany we had no global metropolis like New York or London, we only had
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7 November 2012
our own provincial capitals in which we were trying to reconstruct a new, cosmopolitan, distinctly
European aesthetic’.”
Tangerine Dream
“Ashes to Ashes” (1969)
Amon Düül II (God’s Dick)
“Eye-Shaking King” (1970
Popol Vuh
Improvisation (1971)
Can
Experimental band formed in Cologne
At one time, had a Japanese frontman
Was notorious for drugs, “heroin”, more so than others
“Bring Me Coffee or Tea” (1972)
Faust
Archetypal band of Krautrock
“Krautrock” (1973)
One of the staple bands signed to the Virgin records, that started the empire
Kraftwerk (Powerplant)
Another archetypal band for Krautrock
“Autobahn” (1974)
o Takes some Beach Boys’ songs and makes them electro-rock
“Airwaves” (1975)
“Die Roboter” (1978)
o Theme of dehumanization
“Musique Non-Stop” (1986)
o Most techno album ever!! Sounds similar to Benny Benassi
“Ralf Hütter declared that the band was proud of its country and language, emphasizing how they sang
in German:
“‘After the war,’ explains Ralf, ‘German entertainment was destroyed. The German people were robbed
of their culture, putting an American head on it. I think we are the first generation born after the war to
shake this off, and know where to feel American music and where to feel ourselves. We are the first
German group to record in our own language, use our electronic background, and create a Central
European identity for ourselves. So you see another group like Tangerine Dream, although they are
German they have an English name, so they create onstage an Anglo-American identity, which we
completely deny.
We want the whole world to know our background. We cannot deny we are from Germany, because the
German mentality, which is more advanced, will always be part of our behavior. We create out of the
German language, the mother language.’”
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