Neue Deutsche Welle

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Neue Deutsche Welle, translating to "New German Wave", is a genre of German music originally derived from UK Punk, Post Punk, and New Wave. It is believed that this term was first used in a record shop advertisement by Burkhardt Seiler in the German magazine "Sounds", during the August of '79, and then coined by journalist Alfred Hilsberg whose article about the movement titled "Neue Deutsche Welle — Aus grauer Städte Mauern" ("New German Wave — From Grey Cities' Walls") was published in Sounds in the October of the same year.

Some History

The history of this style, consists of two major parts. From its beginnings to 1981, the Neue Deutsche Welle was mostly an underground movement with roots in UK Punk and New Wave, it grew very fast into an original and distinct style, influenced in no small part by the different sound and rhythm of the German language which many of the bands had adapted from early on.

Whilst some of the lyrics of artists like Nena and Ideal epitomized the Zeitgeist of urban Germany during the Cold War, others used the language in a more surreal way, merely playing with the sound or graphic quality of the language rather than using it to express meaning, as done by bands and artists like Spliff, Joachim Witt and Trio.

The main centers of the NDW movement during these years were Berlin, Düsseldorf, Hamburg, Hannover and Hagen as well as, to a lesser extent, the Frankfurt Rhein-Main Region, Limburg an der Lahn and Vienna (Austria).

From about 1980 on, the music industry started to take notice of Neue Deutsche Welle, but due to the idiosyncratic nature of the music, the focus shifted to creating new bands more compatible with the mainstream, rather than promoting existing bands, this led to many one-hit wonders and short-lived bands appearing and getting forgotten again in rapid succession, and the overly broad application of the "NDW" label to these bands as well as to almost any German musicians not using English lyrics, even if their music was apparently not influenced at all by the 'original' NDW, this quickly led to the decay of the entire genre when many of the original musicians turned their backs in frustration.

Around 1983/1984, the era of the Neue Deutsche Welle came to an early end, following the oversaturation of the market with what was perceived as stereotypical, manufactured hits.

Into the 2000s

A revival of interest in the style in the Anglophone world occurred in 2003, with the release of DJ Hell's compilation New Deutsch. The NDW has come to be acknowledged as a forerunner to later developments in SynthPunk, Electronic Body Music, and Electroclash.

During the 2000s, the term has been used by the Berlin-based Rap label Aggro Berlin to describe a supposed new German Rap movement that they claim to be a part of. This was the subject of Aggro-signed Fler in his 2005 single Neue Deutsche Welle.

Some Bands

Einstürzende Neubauten

Deutsch-Amerikanische Freundschaft aka DAF

Die Krupps


L'Âme Immortelle

Umbra et Imago