Berlin Techno - Between Myth and Reality

Berlin is in many respects a centre for Electronic Dance Music (EDM), combining a vivid, internationally recognized club scene, numerous record stores and special synthesizer shops, and local music hard- and software developers.

During our workshop we will deal with different texts and films regarding the history of Techno music, especially in connection with the development of Berlin since the fall of the Berlin Wall. We will talk about both the shifting scenes and locations – focusing on economic and ideological aspects and the effects on everyday life – and the emergence of sub-genres in the context of Techno, House, and Electro. Therefore, we will investigate the linguistic potential to "mark" scenes and describe the music. Furthermore, approaches to musical analysis using transcriptions or software will be discussed, as well as the reciprocal relationship between the production of EDM and the construction and programming of music hard- and software, respectively. Different perspectives on the aesthetics and the history of the music will be intensified through excursions to relevant locations and discussions with the protagonists of the EDM-scene.

Among others, selected approaches from the book “Techno Studies. Ästhetik und Geschichte elektronischer Tanzmusik” (Techno Studies. Aesthetics and History of EDM) will be discussed.


Topics and outline (preliminary):

Thursday, July 20:

Techno: History and Historiography – general questions and approaches (incl. examples of films and books, i.e. Maren/Sextro: We call it Techno! (2008), Denk/Thülen: The Sound of Family (2015))

Friday, July 21:

"The Sound of Reunification"? – Germany around 1989 (incl. excursion "What the sources can tell us" to Archiv der Jugendkulturen / Archive of Youth Cultures; optional at night: participatory observation)

Saturday, July 22:

The Minimal City? Berlin and Techno after 2000: Segmentation and clichés of places, speech, and genres. – Techno-tourism and -economy (incl. excursion to the Holzmarkt area)

Sunday, July 23:

Dancing to Techno – Talking about Techno – Analysing Techno?!

Approaches of aural analysis, transcriptions und software-based analyses of tracks

Monday, July 24:

How is this music made? - An investigation of the role of soft- and hardware in the production of EDM.

Why do they make these tools? - On the influence of EDM on the development of hard- and software.

Including excursion.

Kim Feser works in the field of electronic and new music, threshold of pop/underground/avantgarde, aesthetics and music technology. He is currently working on a research project at the Berlin University of the Arts (Darmstadt Events. The Darmstadt International Summer Courses for New Music from 1964 to 1994 as a space of aesthetic, theoretical and political action), on Pauline Oliveros’ music with oscillators and tape delay in the ‘60s, and on the musical use of synthesizers and sequencers.

2014: conference „Techno Studies. Aesthetics and History of Electronic Dance Music“ (with Matthias Pasdzierny; book 2016);

2006 fellow of a research and teaching project at the University of Potsdam (Transformationen von Wissen, Mensch und Geschlecht);

1996–2001 Studies in Sociology and Philosophy in Frankfurt am Main.

Matthias Pasdzierny studied musicology, music and German literature in Stuttgart, Berlin, Hildesheim and Krakow.

2013 Dr. Phil. (Wiederaufnahme? Rückkehr aus dem Exil und das westdeutsche Musikleben nach 1945), University of Arts Berlin (UdK);

Since 2007 research assistant in musicology at the UdK, 2009-2014 research assistant at the DFG-research project „Kontinuitaeten und Brueche im Musikleben der Nachkriegszeit“;

Since May 2016 research coordinator of the Bernd Alois Zimmermann Edition at the Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences and Humanities ( Subjects of research: History of music in Germany after 1945; Techno/EDM aesthetics and history; Pop music and German history; Digital Music Edition.

Run period:
20.07.2017 – 24.07.2017
Course time:
10.00 am – 5.00 pm
Application Deadline:

Course fee:
EUR 500

Min. number of participants:
Max. number of participants:

For further information please contact: