Kosmische Musik and its Techno-Social Context



kosmische musik, krautrock, production aesthetics


The electrification of music making in West Germany during the 1970s led to what is now often recognized as one of the most important developments in popular electronic music. In this article, the emergence of kosmische musik (“cosmic music”), a style of electronic music developed during the early 1970s, is contextualized within the social climate of West Germany and post-war attraction to emerging electronic music technologies. Beginning from accounts of the period, which associate kosmische musik with themes of space and otherworldliness, matters of production are positioned as a form of aesthetic demarcation that was encouraged by the technological and social context of West Germany. The approaches to acoustical space, sonic design, and performative agency are then explored in an analysis of Tangerine Dream’s “Phaedra”.

Author Biography

Alexander C Harden, IASPM UK & Ireland University of Surrey

Alexander C. Harden is a postgraduate researcher in popular music analysis at the University of Surrey. Following training at the University of Birmingham in electroacoustic composition and sonic art, he received a studentship to pursue a research project in narrative theory and the study of recorded popular song under the supervision of Professor Allan Moore. His research interests include: hermeneutics, narratology, and the art of record production.



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