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A Ban on Synthesizers May Prevent Kraftwerk From Playing Buenos Aires

NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 10: Ralf H?tter (L) and Henning Schmitz, of the band Kraftwerk perform during the Kraftwerk - Retrospective 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8, Autobahn (1974) at The Museum of Modern Art on April 10, 2012 in New York City. (Photo by Mike Coppola/Getty Images)

Kraftwerk may be forced to cancel an upcoming show in Bueno Aires thanks to a temporary ban on electronic music events in the city, NME reports. The Argentine capital instituted the rule after the deaths of six people at the dance music festival Time Warp, saying it will continue issuing permits for electronic shows only after a law is put in place to curb drug-related deaths at concerts.

According to a Buenos Aires government representative quoted in the Argentine newspaper Clarín, the ban was enforced against Kraftwerk because they “use synthesizers or samplers as their primary instrument.” The German electronic innovators were scheduled to play Luna Park Stadium later this month, and had already sold tickets, but the city refused to issue a permit to hold the concert.

We’ve seen local governments cracking down on electronic music for its perceived ties to drug culture before (the recent shutdown of Fabric comes to mind). But an outright ban on synth-based music is surreal—like a dystopian novel where the city is ruled by a guitar-slinging, disco demolishing, “techno sucks” t-shirt-wearing strongman. That the ban is being enforced against Kraftwerk of all acts is even funnier. These are men in their 60s and 70s, performing precise, conceptual, almost academic music. Anyone dropping molly and freaking out at a Kraftwerk show will be in the severe minority.

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