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Electronic is an epic trip through the history of music

Got To Keep On (2019), installation by The Chemical Brothers and Smith amp; Lyall 03
Got to Keep On is an installation by The Chemical Brothers and Smith Lyall

Felix Speller for the Design Museum

With many of the world’s dance floors currently empty, the latest exhibition at the Design Museum, London, which evokes some of the same experiences, is very welcome. Electronic: From Kraftwerk to The Chemical Brothers is a trip through electronic music in all its guises and offers hope that things will be alright in the future.

The exhibition feels like a club. A pulsating playlist from DJ Laurent Garnier flows from 1970s New York disco via 1980s acid house to the techno of the 2010s. A huge Andreas Gursky image of partygoers at the Union Rave in Düsseldorf, Germany, in 1995 hangs on one wall. Flyers, tickets and record sleeves from the New York disco scene and posters from the Hacienda, Cream, Balearica and London’s Fabric add to the sense of nostalgia.

“Whether it’s the illegal raves of the 1980s or those that we are seeing again today post-covid, there is actually a need to dance, there’s a need to get together and experience music as a group”, says Design Museum curator Gemma Curtin.

The history of electronic music goes back to the 19th century, when electricity was transforming the home and the workplace. The early timeline shows innovators generally

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