Das Ich

Published on June 28th, 2018

Das Ich

Europe is a hodgepodge of cultures and, as the “Old Continent,” suffers from a long and complicated history in which some of its individual parts shine brighter than the rest. In many ways, and usually for vastly different reasons, Germany’s role in the arts and music is overshadowed, or clouded by stereotypes of stuffiness and rigidity.

Notwithstanding, the Germanic contributions include Bauhaus (the design ethic, not the British band), Neue Sachlichkeit (New Objectivity) in visual art, Neues Sehen (New Vision) in photography, and the Sturm und Drang (Storm and Stress) literary movement. There are some definite ideas out there about the attributes of German music, most derived from krautrock and Kraftwerk. But artists that banded together starting in the late ‘80s to create Neue Deutsche Todeskunst — New German Death Art — have continued to challenge the notion of “Germanic” music.

Of these, Das Ich take the lead with their 1991 sophomore album, the aptly titled “Die Propheten” (“The Prophets”), a fusion of classical music ideology with gothic rock and darkwave, all manifesting as an industrialist Freudian “ego” — the titular “Ich.” Ever since, vocalist Stefan Ackermann and programmer/synths/keys helmsman Bruno Kramm have pushed deeper into the possibilities arising and evolving from the NDT movement.

Conceptual and theatrical, Das Ich are a visual and aural experience. Symbiotic in its internal relationships, their work is as independently danceable as it is visually arresting. As influencers and pioneers of German electro-industrial music, Das Ich have been instrumental in organizing the genre into a viable enterprise with their label, Danse Macabre Records and have harnessed the properties of the digital-viral age for more than just creation and propagation of music. Kramm is active politically and has been affiliated with the Pirate Party Germany and most recently, Alliance 90/The Greens, a centre-left European Green Party.

Since Ackermann’s recovery from a brain hemorrhage in 2012, Das Ich have taken a more visceral and eccentric approach to music and live performance. Though based on the concept of the ego, they’re feeding human frailties into a turbo-charged superego product that seems to exist beyond the mere battles of the human psyche.

Das Ich perform July 5 at Respectable Street in West Palm Beach. new.dasich.de

~ Abel Folgar