Friday, December 30, 2011

The Origins of Industrial Music

The Origins of Industrial Music: With the arrival of Nikolaus Otto's internal combustion engine (ICE) in 1862, factory work became increasingly automated (more so than in the days when steam engines reigned supreme). Factory workers, especially in Otto's home country of Germany (which did not officially unify until 1871), began to incorporate the rhythmic sounds and vibrations of ICEs into their daily routines. The types of sounds that workers often heard included the engine's compression hiss and metal on metal clanging. In other words, the ICE was perhaps the earliest source of industrial music. Although James Watt's steam engine had existed in mills and factories for about 100 years at that point, it proved very inefficient when compared to Otto's ICE. And considering the mass production of automobiles (with ICEs) after the turn of the twentieth century, the industrial sound became both personal and widespread. However, it was not until the 1970s microcomputer revolution that bands like Kraftwerk and Tubeway Army could electronically re-create industrial sounds with their synthesizers.

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