Rudi Esch

Electri_City – Electronic Music from Düsseldorf

(German title: Electri_City)
ca. 459 pages
Rudi Esch
Foto: Rudi Esch
© Suhrkamp Verlag

Rüdiger Esch, born in Düsseldorf in 1966, studied philosophy and played music with former Neu!-drummer Klaus Dinger in 1986/87. Since 1988, he has been the bass player of the electro-band Die Krupps and of the studio project MakroSoft. He lives in Graceland, south of Düsseldorf, with his family.

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English world rights (Omnibus Press), Russia (Kabinetny Utcheny)

The definitive book on Kraftwerk, Neu!, La Düsseldorf, DAF, Die Krupps, Der Plan, Liaisons Dangereuses, Rheingold, Propaganda


Just as Memphis is for rock 'n' roll, Düsseldorf is regarded as the Mecca of electronic music. It’s where Kraftwerk worked on classics such as »Autobahn« and »Wir sind die Roboter« in the Kling Klang Studio. It’s also where DAF fried their sequencers. Chart successes like »Das Model« or »Dr. Mabuse« as well as underground hits such as »Der Mussolini« and »Wahre Arbeit – Wahrer Lohn« made Düsseldorf famous overnight.

Electri_City recounts the beginnings of electronic music – in the words of those who created and experienced it. Rüdiger Esch, himself part of this infectious scene as a member of Die Krupps, sheds light on the development of the analogue phase from beginning to end. He follows the trail of those who shaped and lived this era and those who were majorly influenced by it: bands like OMD, Heaven 17, Visage or Ultravox, who all referenced the pioneers of the Electric City before they became ambassadors of this new style of music themselves.

In this oral history, the reality of the myth is made visible just as much as the reality behind the myth, and we experience the metropolis of modernism, as well as the village, that Düsseldorf was then and still is today.


»The construction of Electri_City is similar to that of Jürgen Teipel’s epochal documentation of the Punk movement, Waste Your Youth: it allows for open contradictions and injustice and anger and passion.« Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung

»A brilliant title by Suhrkamp, a book on the invention of electronic pop music in the Düsseldorf of the seventies and eighties.« DER SPIEGEL

»This book, stringent in its diversity of voices, makes the vibrations of that time comprehensible: a contribution to pop history of fundamental status.« Frankfurter Rundschau

» In Electri_City, Esch has unearthed a considerable treasure, one that will significantly determine the perception of Düsseldorf’s scene.« WELT am SONNTAG

»A highly interesting sampler« Deutschlandfunk

»Electri_City is a mirror image comprised of fragments: you find yourself stuck inside a disco ball that Esch has turned inside out. It doesn’t stop sparkling and beaming.« Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung

»At first glance, this book is a documentation of music history directed at people who have an almost nerdy interest in the technical details of the upcoming electro sound from Düsseldorf. But at second glance, one realizes that it’s a tale of intense, unique music.« Jungle World

»Esch guides his readers into the depths of a German music culture that receives an appreciation abroad that is normally reserved for Beethoven and Schumann.« WDR

»A great journey through time! The book closes the odd gaps and lets us re-immerse ourselves in a time that put the reception of electronic sounds onto a breathtaking level for good.« rockblog.bluesspot.com


Electricity CD

A CD of the same title is availabe from Grönland Records.

La Düsseldorf: Düsseldorf
Wolfgang Riechmann: Wunderbar
Harmonia & Eno: Luneburg Heath
Der Plan: Wir werden immer mehr
DAF: Der Mussolini
NEU!: Hero
Teja: Säuren Ätzen
Die Krupps: Wahre Arbeit Wahrer Lohn
Liaisons Dangereuses: Los Ninos Del Parque
Wolfgang Flür: I was a robot
Rheingold: 3Klangsdimensionen 2010
Michael Rother: Flammende Herzen
MakroSoft: Electricity


This playlist contains extracts from all titles on this compilation.