Usually, when people think about electronic dance music or electronica, very few people think about nostalgia. People normally don’t look back. If anything, they always look towards the future. It’s easy to see why this is the case because among all the different musical forms out there, electronica is probably the most future-oriented. It’s always looking for bigger, newer and more groundbreaking sounds.
However, as the old saying goes, if you don’t look to where you’ve been, you probably will not get to where you want to go. It always is a good idea to look at the past to see patterns and connect the dots so you can be inspired to go where you need to go as far as musical innovation is concerned. Seemed like a good idea then and it’s a good idea now.
None of this means that we should look to the past and just get all nostalgic and say that great music was only restricted to a certain historical period. That’s the kind of sentiment you get when you read YouTube video comments. There are tons of those comments, whether they’re talking about The Godfather I or a great movie from the past or, in this case, great music.
Sure, there was a great art from the past, but the awesome thing about art is that it’s timeless. It’s meant to be stepped on. In other words, it’s meant to support newer and better things. It pushes people to live up to their fullest potential, and this means reinventing the past, coming up with something new and imagining a better future.
We would really be doing the past and the innovators of the past a really big disservice if we think that our best days are behind us. No, they’re not. They’re always in the future, and this is the reality that we really have to wrap our minds around when it comes to the influential work of Kraftwerk.
Don’t get me wrong. There are tons of friends who are convinced that Kraftwerk is the best electronica group ever. They are saying that none will exceed their work. This may well be true when it comes to innovation and inspiration, but this is doesn’t mean that we should just stop innovating. This doesn’t mean that we should just close off our creative borders and call it a day.
If anything, the founding members of Kraftwerk would be the first ones to push us forward and upward regarding the upper limits of electronic music creativity. They may have laid a foundation, but that’s all it is. It’s a foundation, and just like any foundation, it can be expanded, it can be taken up and it can reach out to new territory. That’s what we should focus on.
Kraftwerk is very influential. They laid the groundwork but, most importantly, they gave us a hunger for anything and everything related to pushing boundaries. That is their greatest legacy. Let’s not drop the ball and get all nostalgic.
The worst thing that we can do to Kraftwerk legacy, as far as electronica is concerned, is to idolize are somehow restrict our creative explorations within the historical boundaries that Kraftwerk has pioneered. They really took our type of music to a certain extent, and it’s our job to grab that baton as it’s passed to us and take it to a whole other level and pass it to other DJs and musical impresarios that we meet along the way.
That’s how progress is made. That is how music expands and goes on living.