Who were the key figures in early German electronic music?

For assorted reasons I’ve been thinking of writing and illustrating a children’s book about electronic music. In particular, a book in German about German pioneers of electronic music. I’m not a native speaker of German so part of this is to help me learn the language. And have fun in so doing. I’m aware of Karlheinz Stockhausen. And Kraftwerk, of course. But less familiar with the pre-Kraftwerk people. Thanks!

Update: I’ve started tracking stuff in a spreadsheet:


13 May 2015: Added a few more entries. If you’ve not seen http://120years.net you own it to yourself to check it out. Great history of electronic instruments.

4 June 2015: I’m trying to limit this to people and places pre-Kraftwerk. I think from 1970 on there’s a a fair amount already known. Plus, after that, making electronic music was far less novel.

I’m not sure how far back they go, but Tangerine Dream comes to mind. Can was formed by students of Stockhausen. NEU! was also in that group or bands. Outside of that, maybe look into Musique Concrete and see if there are any more German artists there.


Have a look at yello (http://www.yello.com/). Not quite as early as Kraftwerk and also swiss, but pretty innovative sampling pioneers.

Not a musician and only because we are where we are: Karsten Obarski, the developer of the Ultimate Soundtracker (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ultimate_Soundtracker), one of the early predecessors of our lovely renoise.

Not to forget these Dudes:



Maybe it’s a good idea to start with Berlin School (and Düsseldorf School), the Wikipedia articles probably contain the most important names:





Pete Namlook and all of his collabs on FAX. Legend!

I’ve started putting stuff into a spreadsheet:


Aloso important persons in Germany’s electronic music History:

Torsten Fenslau: Resident DJ of the Dorian Grey discotheque in Frankfurt (opened in 1978, closed in 2000). One of the first pioneers of “Sound of Frankfurt” and also founder and producer of Culture Beat (Mr. Vain), LDC (Die Schwarze Zone), Klangwerk and some more and owner of the electronic music label Abfahrt Records. He died after a car crash on December 6, in 1993.

Andreas Tomalla: also known as Talla 2XLC (tracks: Come With Me, Spring, Can You Feel The Silence, Anybody Out There. Projects: Axodry, Bigod 20, Zyrus 7), also Resident DJ of the Dorian Grey in Frankfurt, also one of the first pioneers of “Sound of Frankfurt” and the trance/techno scene in Germany. He is the founder of the famous “Technoclub” dicotheque (1984) in Frankfurt and also of the same called, still today existing radio show. He was and still is one of the biggest trance producers and maybe the inventor of the word “Techno”.


Talla, in the early to mid-1980s, worked in City Music at Frankfurt Station and began to categorize artists such as New Order, Depeche Mode, Kraftwerk, Heaven 17 and Front 242 under the heading techno, to sum up all technologically created dance music.

BTW: you can listen to the Technoclub radio show today at 9:00 pm local german time (GMT +1:00 hour, and +1 hour again because of the german summer time) on the german radio station Sunshine Live. You also can listen via livestream here.

Also these guys: Welle: Erdball

I suspectEinstürzende Neubauten might not fit the genre?

Perhaps check outChristina Kubisch? I like her electrical walks and she’s been at it since seventies, early eighties.

…Oh, the subject read ‘key figures’… Hey, why not throw in a few extras, like characters in the background or something :wink:

Thanks for the recent posts and suggestions. I’m trying to limit this to 1970 and earlier. After that electronic music was fairly common (however much genres changed).

Maybe the Key - Figure, if we had to name only one & maybe also the very first. …When u didnt read the op’s original post for a while. :ph34r:


In December 1952, he composed aKonkrete Etüde, realized inPierre Schaeffer’s Parismusique concrètestudio. In March 1953, he moved to the NWDR studio in Cologne and turned toelectronic musicwith twoElectronic Studies(1953 and 1954), and then introducing spatial placements of sound sources with his mixedconcrèteand electronic workGesang der Jünglinge(1955–56).

seventies (not all is pure electronic)

code 3 - planet of man - 1974


jürgen karg - elektronische mythen - 1977


popol vuh - affenstunde - 1970


kluster - zwei osterei - 1971


baba yaga - collage - 1974


dzyan - electric silence - 1974


michael bundt - neon - 1979


lutz ran - solo trip - 1978


robert schroder - harmonic ascendant - 1979


– off topic –

best kraut rock album: