The coronavirus pandemic has caused the closure and cancellation of many events, including gigs, clubs, and raves in the UK’s vibrant music scene, as well as planned exhibitions by museums and galleries across the world. Now, after months of lockdown, the Design Museum in London has reopened with its rescheduled exhibition, ‘Electronic: From Kraftwerk to The Chemical Brothers’.

Review blog notes that the museum has provided the atmosphere, lighting, and thumping music to evoke memories of those missing dancing the night away, and giving a history that goes back further than, and also beyond, the headliners Kraftwerk and The Chemical Brothers.

As with Jazz and Rock music, electronic music has now been around long enough to have matured and gathered enough history to warrant a museum exhibition, which is also ironic considering the genre, even as far back as Kraftwerk in 1970, is associated with ‘the future’.

Tim Marlow, Chief Executive and Director of the Design Museum said it was “A powerful statement about creative freedom across music, art, technology and design, which will be celebrating what many of us have missed the most during the lockdown; and a reminder that a lot of work is still needed to get vast areas of the cultural sector to open again.”

The original exhibition concept is by the Philharmonie de Paris – Musée de la Musique, exploring the hypnotic world of electronic music, from its origins to its futuristic dreams.

The London edition of the exhibition features the premiere of electronic music pioneers The Chemical Brothers’ fantastic sensory vision, produced by creative studio Smith & Lyall, which includes the stunning visuals for the Grammy Award-winning track ‘Got to Keep On’.

Credit is due to the Design Museum for bringing the club experience to the exhibition, as it helps transport visitors through the ages of the electronic music landscape, such as the associated art, design, technology, and photography.

There’s an opportunity to celebrate 50 years of German electronic music pioneers Kraftwerk with their 3D show, or clubbers can travel to the dance floors of Detroit, Chicago, Paris, Berlin, as well as the ever-popular dance scene in the UK.

The exhibition is packed full with over 400 objects from dance music luminaries such as Detroit techno legends Kevin Saunderson, Juan Atkins, Jeff Mills and Richie Hawtin, “Godfather of House Music” Frankie Knuckles, Haçienda designer Ben Kelly and the extreme visual world created by Weirdcore for Aphex Twin’s ‘Collapse’.

Legendary designer Peter Saville CBE provides examples of the graphics he has created for the UK scene, history-making record labels, and a vast collection of posters and flyers dedicated to famous and infamous club nights and venues.

There is a collection of photographs dating back to the beginning of the scene, from Tina Paul’s animated yet tender portraits of queer clubbing, or Andreas Gursky’s panoramas of hundreds of ravers, evoking a recent nostalgia for the days before COVID-19.

The exhibition is all accompanied to a genre-spanning soundtrack from French DJ and music producer Laurent Garnier, who created it specifically for the Design Museum.

‘Electronic: From Kraftwerk to The Chemical Brothers’ is at the Design Museum, London, until 14 February 2021.

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