I am currently reading the, somewhat definitive, biography of the pioneering German band Kraftwerk “Future Music from Germany”. There is much to ponder over when it comes to Kraftwerk — and how it relates to the work many of us are doing (even if it hasn’t the slightest connection to music or art in general). I also love a good collective listening session where we play each other our favorite Kraftwerk, or Kraftwerk-inspired/influenced, songs. But that is not why I bring this up… In the book you will find the following passage, discussing why we, arguably, haven’t seen any truly new and groundbreaking music since Kraftwerk:
What he wanted to know is: Why aren’t there any bands or artists around that make music which completely breaks with the rules, conventions and patterns that govern pop music as we know it? Music which, by sounding utterly different, would constitute proof that there exists a potential for the arrival of something genuinely new — socially, politically or culturally. Instead, what is sold to us is just the repetition, variation, and regurgitation of the existing: a repackaged version of the past. The explanation is simple: there exists no music of the future today because there is no longer any such thing as a future. The future, according to Fisher, has been cancelled. (…) Today, when thinking about tomorrow, we see more threat than opportunity, given the current climate of economic crisis, global warming, political demagogy and the erosion of democratic values. How could we possibly imagine building a better future?
And this, my fellow Heretics, is the crux: I believe this argument spreads far beyond the question of new music or art — but is a rather universal one. And as such, I further believe, that it is on us to envision, and thus create a better future.
Take this as a rallying cry: Envision and create your preferred future – as nobody else will do it for you.
As my dear friend and collaborator Jeffrey Rogers likes to ask as a focal question: What does the future need?