When you think of EDM right now, some of the first people to come to mind might be European DJs like Tiësto, David Guetta, Hardwell, and Armin van Buuren. DJs from all over continental Europe have played a major role in shaping many EDM subgenres, and remain a dominant force in the world of dance music today. How did European genres become so dominant in EDM? To find out, we need to go back to Germany in the late 1960s.
The Rise of the Synthesizer
In 1967, a German musician named Edgar Froese founded the group Tangerine Dream. Their groundbreaking second album, Alpha Centauri (1970) was a merging of space rock and electronic music that relied heavily on the sounds of keyboards and synthesizers. That same year in Düsseldorf, the band Kraftwerk was founded as an experimental rock band. By 1974, their sound had changed to embrace synthesizers and drum machines.
Kraftwerk’s albums Autobahn (1974), Trans-Europe Express (1977), and The Man-Machine (1978), as well as Tangerine Dream albums like Alpha Centauri (1970) and Phaedra (1974) became important influences for a number of early American house and techno pioneers, and laid the foundations for the rise of electronic music all over the world.
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