Das Pophörspiel

Holger Schulze:
Das Pophörspiel.
On mediated sound of popular music
in a radiophonic art form

Workshop Music and mediation/mediatization
of the research project A Century of Radio and Music
at Københavns Universitet
(concept: Morten Michelsen)


Københavns Universitet
Karen Bilxensvej 4
2300 København S



Abstract (in German)

This presentation provides an introduction to, a historical framing for and a critical analysis of an exemplary work of the German radio artform under the name “Pophörspiel”. It introduces this artform by way of one of its earliest protagonists, the composer and sound artist Heiner Goebbels. His work, coming from leftist avantgarde brass bands of the 1970s (“Linksradikales Blasorchester”), was influenced by the aesthetic and political approach of Hanns Eisler; the interpenetration of aesthetic practice, political action and popular artforms which is characteristic for Eisler’s work is – mutatis mutandis – as present in Goebbels’ work. With one of his earliest radioplays “Wolokolamsker Chausée” (1989/90) he promoted the genre of the Pophörspiel which was characterized by a specific way of integrating and mediatizing contemporary forms of popular music (Rap, Hip Hop, Death Metal, leftist workers’ songs et.al.) in a genuine avantgarde radio play containing forms of cut-up, improvisational stand-up, “Lautpoesie” and concrete poetry as well as musique concrète. Later examples by sound artists and authors such as Andreas Ammer (“Radio Inferno” with FM Einheit, John Peel, Phil Minton, Blixa Bargeld et.al., 2001), Thomas Meinecke (“Work”, 2009) or Zeitblom (“BeatTheater”, 2011) differentiated this new radio artform and were important for establishing this genre as a major part in German public radio, as a form of audio media art. This new and joyfully heterogenuous hybrid artform provided – this would be the main argument in this presentation – a specific way for German music culture to integrate and to mediate extreme, irritating and state of the art production techniques of popular music into a genuine form of artistic expresssion. In German music culture the Pophörspiel was the most acknowledged and respected way into popular music.