To me, the whole period was like a musical renaissance -- a German high renaissance.
Kraftwerk, Iggy Pop, Brian Eno, Cluster, Bowie, Fripp, etc
Philip Glass made a note in his Heroes Symphony liner that not only did the era serve as a canon for all modern music, but so much so that it deserved direct attention (by himself), as any appropriate work of art would in the past.
I don't know though -- maybe it's just my taste. I'm sure someone could just as easily call the Led Zeppelin era some kind of blues/rock renaissance, or the Elvis to Beatles transition one as well.
But, I'll argue this is more important. Right before the "Berlin era" musicians were starting to truly starting to see music objectively (with much thanks to the synthesizer) -- as amplitudes of sound frequencies over time. Bands could function entirely in studios, instruments could be imitated, etc. -- music was limitless. One can see this from Eno's pre-Berlin work, Pink Floyd, Kraftwerk, Tangerine Dream, etc. The Berlin era was just the complete collecting and mastering of this musical perspective -- applying and using it perfectly to preexisting techniques. Low is particularly amazing, as it used blues and rock instrumental techniques as some sort of guide to apply this perspective. No respect is paid toward the lyrics as a song normally would, no respect is paid towards the band or their instruments -- it is pure music -- layered, cutup, etc. A great example is that reverbed snare sound, which is still copied up to today (thanks to Visconti -- who deserves much more credit as a producer).
Of course, that whole perspective gradually dies down even within Bowie and Eno, and music goes back to some poorly abstracted format of that successful era (80s synth pop), and things go back to normal.
I don't know, that's what I think at least -- it is kind of abstract.
Edited by stevetobias on 03/21/04 12:13 PM (server time).