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Machines with a Heart: German Identity in the Music of Can and Kraftwerk

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Abstract:

This essay compares Can and Kraftwerk, two bands associated with Krautrock, a branch of West German rock and electronic music from the late 1960s and early 1970s. Both bands created a new, postwar German identity that engaged with and set itself apart from the Nazi past and the influx of Anglo-American music into West Germany. This new German identity was connected to technological inventions and blending “man-made” and “machine-made” music, as well as diverting from rock music's phallocentric and guitar-heavy approach. While Can were still a traditional rock formation and looked beyond Germany's borders for musical influences, Kraftwerk gradually became an all-electronic outfit and deliberately emphasized their distinct German heritage in a semi-ironic fashion.

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/03007766.2011.567908

Publication date: 2012-07-01

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