Techno Schmechno A Postmodern Approach To Electronica — страница 2

  • Просмотров 378
  • Скачиваний 5
  • Размер файла 21

parallel to other kinds of music (eg heavy-metal or AOR) and to read styles as individual lexicons rather than as evolving movements, especially in the post-techno era. An example of this is Melbourne (Australia) musician Guyver 3’s album Perception Camera (if?: 1996), which occasionally contained recognisable elements of jungle, trance and techno but was generally so ?idiolectic? that it would be necessary to invent a whole new term/style to categorise it. Another example is Pan(a)sonic?s Kulma (Blast First: 1996), which wholly employed what one might call mechanical pastiche by using analogue machinery within a distinct wider context in which the dominant paradigm is production using digital technology, but then became stylistically indistinct due to a subsequent lack of

?historicity?: the ?band? itself is an anonymous entity: it fiercely resists contextualisation, its idiolect was not drawn upon by others. Here are two examples: I could cite many more, but the exponential growth in categorical or generic styles is actually a result of electronic music’s utter loyalty to mechanical production and reproduction which leads to a distinct waning of affect. I quote Jameson in this context: ‘The end of the bourgeois ego, or monad, no doubt brings with it the end of the psychopathologies of that ego – what I… [call] the waning of affect. But it means the end of much more – the end, for example, of style, in the sense of the unique and individual brush stroke (as symbolised by the emergent primacy of mechanical production). As for expression

and feeling or emotions, the liberation, in contemporary society, from the older anomie of the centered subject may also mean… a liberation from every other kind of feeling as well, since there is no longer a self present to do the feeling.’ All the above may be quite clearly seen in electronic music above all because of its dependence upon mechanical production for its syntagmatic existence. The first big idiolectic explosion here was acid house circa 1987/1988 (originating in Detroit some years earlier. No one knows exactly who wrote the first acid house song or what it was, and rightly so: it’s a rather irrelevant argument. When acid house became big it was often hailed as a new resisting movement, the ‘new punk’ or the ‘punk movement of the eighties’. This was

because, in line with the punk ethos, which uses simple guitar, drum and bass; acid house could be done by almost anyone with a sampler, sequencer and programmable keyboard. Little theoretical knowledge was required and acid house acts popped up from nowhere and everywhere before popping back into the general vacuum or total flow of electronic music. Some important distinctions from punk as a syntagm were quickly discerned however – acid house was extremely minimal, even more so than punk with its “vocals, three chords, and drums” formula. Most acid house songs consisted of little more than a simple drum machine pattern, a bass line that was very distinct in that it always employed sharply defined phasing techniques (whence the definition ‘acid house’) and some sampled

vocals, often lifted from other songs. Here is the first discrete example of monadic absence – all that I just described was produced electronically. The form of the song was always extremely repetitive and hypnotic, focussing on quantity, while the concept quality remained in the background. Sequencing one or two quite short musical phrases produces this type of electronic music. Sequencing involves electronically copying and pasting a musical phrase or phrases in a very similar way that one might copy and paste a paragraph on a word processor. The analogical equivalent to much acid house (and other idiolects of electronica) would be a paragraph pasted and thus repeated over and over again. Thus the presence of the musician literally almost becomes irrelevant, as the machine

produces almost all the music. Musicologists (and fans of guitar rock) might criticise this sort of composition as slack and unoriginal but that would be missing the point. This music nonetheless sounded incredibly fresh and new – it was a whole new way or syntagm of making music, challenging the traditional concept of composition. The ethos behind it and its means of production actually required the ?waning of affect? by intuitive absence and extreme repetition. This ethos signifies the instrumental (in the ‘utility’ sense ? echoes of Max Weber perhaps) features of electronic music, and the word hypnotic as I used it above is important. Why ‘acid’ house? Sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll – acid house was made primarily to dance to while tripping on various forms of