Last night the legendary electronic act Kraftwerk won the Grammy for best electronic album. It was a move that in hindsight should not have been as surprising as it was to many. In electronic music Kraftwerk is kind of responsible for well, a lot. The group pioneered the shift electronic music made from the classical productions of Philip Glass to that of the dance infused rhythms we know and love today. The group also had never received a Grammy for any of their past work. They did receive a lifetime achievement award a few year's back from the academy but it remains a fact that Kraftwerk never actually won a Grammy they were nominated for.
A Field Of Nominees With No Shortage Of Talent
The nominees for best electronic album included Odesza for their junior album, ‘A World Apart', Bonobo for his near perfect study in sonic intrigue ‘Migration', Mura Masa who pushed the boundaries of what is accepted with his self title debut, and Sylvan Esso's enigmatic ‘What Now' and of course Kraftwerk's return from years of silence, ‘3-D The Catalogue”. In short not one of the choices was a weak entry into the field.
That being said the Academy award Kraftwerk the Grammy for Best/Electronic Dance album. It undeniably feels like a move to make up for lost time. In other words, almost just another life time achievement award for the group. What Kraftwerk did on 3-D: The Catalogue was nothing short of excellent, but groundbreaking? No, it was nothing really that unbelievable. In a year where the other nominees are less than stellar it would easily take home the golden gramophone, but this year was not like years past.
Winning For Talent Or Legacy?
Odesza and Sylvan Esso both had incredible albums in their own right. Were they better than Kraftwerk's record? In my opinion no. Mura Masa and Bonobo though? Those two artists produced some of the most impressive electronic albums in the last decade. ‘Migration' was truly an artistic work, each and every track was carefully crafted, the arrangement of the album as a whole was near flawless. Overall it was otherworldly.
Mura Masa has been making a name for himself since he started producing. The use of unusual elements, and bending the accepted level of sound design into the stratosphere, Mura Masa demonstrated that when it came to music theory – he was not to be fucked with. His self titled debut album was…jaw dropping. The amount of different themes woven into the LP on top of the forward thinking level of development showcased Mura Masa's ability to look into the future of electronic music.
In the end when compared to Bonobo or Mura Masa with an objective ear, Kraftwerk fell short. Honestly, it wasn't even close. So while most people were pissed off at the Grammy's use of politic themes, the EDM the nerd that I am groaned as the academy once again stayed stuck in the past.