The 2021 Pop Convergence: A Virtual Pop Conference, April 22-25th
Artwork by Alex Nero; Design by The Art Dictator
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Jason King

(EMP Pop Conference Producer for Clive Davis Institute). Jason King is the Artistic Director of The Clive Davis Institute of Recorded Music, an innovative leadership institute for aspiring young music entrepreneurs at Tisch School of the Arts, NYU - and its founding faculty member. He has been a pop music critic for magazines like Vibe and Blender as well as a producer and manager. He is the author of The Michael Jackson Treasures and Blue Magic (forthcoming from Duke University Press).



"Berlin Outernational: The Weird/Wonderful Travels of George Kranz's 1983 'Din Daa Daa'"

In the summer of 1983, Berlin-based drummer and theatrical performer George Kranz released "Trommeltanz" on Pool Records. Better known outside Germany by its anthemic hook "Din Da Da," the dancefloor stomper ultimately climbed to #1 on the 1984 Hot Dance Music/Club Play chart. In a decade full of oddball hits, "Din Daa Daa" stands out as really odd: there's the nonsensical lyric, Kranz's campy blurted-out 'beatboxing', the boogiefied walking bassline, the glossy synth stabs. While other pop music curios of the 80s have mercifully fallen into cultural obscurity, "Din Daa Daa" refuses to leave the party. The 28 year old synthpop hit has, over the years, become a garage/house DJ mainstay, a post-Madonna voguing anthem as reimainged by Kevin Aviance, and an essential part of the DNA of tracks by artists as diverse as MARRS, Kirk Franklin, Ying Yang Twins, the Roots, FloRida, Pitbull, and Friendly Fires.

In this talk, I'll track/explain 'Din Daa Daa' as 80s 'cosmo-kitsch', a kind of mutating and recombinant pop music object in perpetual transit. I'd like to think that "Din Daa Daa" remains a priceless example of the complex relationship between German synthpop (not just Kranz but Kraftwerk, Moroder, Alphaville, Asha Puthli, etc.) and black soul/funk/disco that was, at that particular moment the 70s and 80s, just on the verge of remodeling itself into electronic styles like house, hip-hop and digifunk. These days, we're once again seeing complicity between between global digifunk styles (electronic r&b, hip-hop, reggaeton, baile, etc.) and German house/dance music….and that complicity is happening in tandem with the increasing emigration of the financially- and spiritually-squeezed American creative class into hip 21st century Berlin.