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Since the 1960’s, there has been a circular exchange of musical elements and genre-creation between Black[1]musicians in America and the German band Kraftwerk. The effects of deindustrialization, population decline, and white flight in Detroit, coupled with the presence of the city’s Black inhabitants during the 1960’s and 70’s, created the conditions for a breakthrough of genre in American music. In turn, Kraftwerk’s auditory presence in America, and particularly in Detroit, became a particular influence on the developing electronic music genre of Detroit Techno. Samples and interpolations from this influence still permeate American popular music today. The genre of Detroit Techno also influenced the style of the revolutionary Afrofuturist duo, Drexciya, whose music and mythology has created what I term a “sub-Atlantic” space of Black creativity and innovation. The sub-Atlantic space was constructed historically and remains multivalent. It can be understood both literally, as will be explored in Drexciya’s mythology, and figuratively, as it describes the space they have come to hold in American music and their influence on decades of Afrofuturist creativity. Influences from Detroit Techno have also made their way back to Europe; not only to Germany, but with far broader reach, stretching from the UK to Italy, and everywhere in between. The study of this system reveals the ways in which the spread of culture and music is both transnational and interracial in often unexpected ways, and that this circulation of culture can work to the benefit of all artists, not only those of the borrowing group.


Undergraduate Research Awards - 2024 Finalist, Junior/Senior category

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