Berlin School of electronic music

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The Berlin School is a style of electronic music that emerged in the 1970s.[1] An offshoot of Krautrock, Berlin School was so named because most of its early practitioners were based in West Berlin, Germany. It was shaped by artists such as Tangerine Dream, Klaus Schulze, and Manuel Göttsching. Innovative Berlin School recordings were a precursor of ambient music.[not verified in body]

The genre's identification with space music distinguished it from the more percussive and rhythm-oriented Düsseldorf School, which included Can, Cluster, Kraftwerk, and Neu!. These latter bands have had a greater impact on synthpop and techno, while the Berlin School was a wellspring for ambient, electronica, new-age and trance.[not verified in body]

Classic period[edit]

Landmark[how?] albums of the style include Phaedra (1974), Rubycon (1975), and the live album Ricochet (1975) by Tangerine Dream; Timewind (1975) and Moondawn (1976) by Klaus Schulze; New Age of Earth (1976) by Manuel Göttsching; and Departure from the Northern Wasteland (1978) by Michael Hoenig.[citation needed]

Vintage Berlin School tracks typically ran about twenty or thirty minutes, filling one side of a vinyl LP. With the advent of the compact disc, artists were no longer limited by the need to flip over a vinyl record. Consequently, some newer works run continuously as a single track for almost 80 minutes. Sound loops of unlimited length are now possible with MP3s.[citation needed]

Latter-day Berlin School[edit]

Ambient musician Steve Roach experimented with the genre on his first albums. Other early 80s artists include Michael Garrison and musicians connected with Sky Records.[citation needed]

Several groups formed during the 1990s are still mainstays, including Radio Massacre International and Redshift (fronted by Mark Shreeve, who had worked in the genre in the early 80s as well). Many of them had a "retro" or back-to-basics approach, seen for example in Redshift's use of vintage Moog synthesizers, including a Minimoog and Moog 960 sequencers.[2]

Klaus Schulze continues to work in the genre. While Tangerine Dream has moved on, it still sometimes nods in the direction of Berlin School, as on the album Mota Atma from 2003.[original research?]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Vladimir Bogdanov (ed), All Music Guide to Electronica, 4th Revised Edition (San Francisco: Backbeat Books, 2001).
  2. ^ Interview by Paul Graham with Redshift (Mark Shreeve)

External links[edit]