Techno Schmechno A Postmodern Approach To Electronica — страница 3

  • Просмотров 377
  • Скачиваний 5
  • Размер файла 21

LSD and ecstasy and the late eighties saw the creation of the phenomenon known as the ‘warehouse party’ which later evolved into the now notorious (usually outdoor) ‘rave’ – where lots of acid and ecstasy (mainly ecstasy) are consumed, and acid house, techno and trance etc are danced to all night long. Electronic music as we now know it is primarily a music of utility; it is not so much listened to at home for aesthetic enjoyment as it is frantically danced to at clubs, parties and raves while high on the substance of one’s choice in order to attain a special magical and transcendent moment. I would suggest that when such a moment is indeed reached there can be no better way to describe it than by recognising it as the post-modern ‘intensity’, where intensities

have conveniently replaced or deferred for now the problem of representative meaning. This is also why electronic music is better at post-modernism – because the whole dance and drugs culture which centre this music may be said to be based on the search for the ultimate aesthetic intensity, not through the authentication of affect or ego, but through the extreme loss and negation of the self by use of repetitive, hypnotic, mechanical dance music and also by drugs. Perhaps to be intense equals to be high, but I don’t want to start sounding religious here. Another reason that hip-hop proper branched off into house et al may well be political. Hip-hop as such was never really amenable to a capitalist music industry, which equates political safety with commercial success. Hip-hop

has always had more of a counter-cultural aspect to it, from Afrika Bambaata’s and Grandmaster Flash’s earlier performances out of the New York ghettoes to Public Enemy’s very distinct articulations and expressions of political protest. MTV is a good case to cite: it wouldn’t even play Michael Jackson’s Billie Jean until CBS threatened to withdraw the use of its other artists, and when MTV played the whole seventeen hours of Live Aid in 1985, they cut the one hip-hop act on the bill out: Run-DMC. The focus of house and its follow-ons into the nineties has always been more on the dance floor it seems. The Summers of Love of ‘89 and ‘90 were much more about a subculture of hedonism and pleasure than any distinctly political culture, which sub-cultural scene seems to

have continued from there. It would be difficult to see electronic music ever becoming distinctly political as it thrives on a depoliticised ethos in any case. One of the more conspicuous features of all the idiolects since house is a genuine lack of personality cults. Where hip-hop retains a focus on the artist, often by immersing the artist entirely within its narrative; house, techno and so forth abhor the artist. To focus on the artist would detract from dance music?s instrumentalising connotations. Often the names of electronic acts are strikingly obscure – this is the list of acts that appeared on a Melbourne electronic compilation Blue Sector Vol. 1: Amnesia, the Headmaster, TSM, Stride, Foil/M24, Prime 8, Tonto, Voiteck, Zen Paradox. Numbers (808 State, Apollo 440, U96,

Front 242), unidentified abbreviations (TCH, JX, SQ16, PGR, MR V, X-Project) and meaningless or ambiguous words (Tonal Plexus, Marmion, Klatch, Datura, Autechre, Drax) most often appear. Are these nick-names of people, names of drugs, of bits of technology or more sinister things? All of the above (certainly Datura is at least a drug, and SQ16 stands for 16-track sequencing) and more probably. In any case the reader may sense that a certain anonymity is strongly indicated – an anonymity that hopes to signify the consumer and intstrumentaliser of the music. Live concerts are not known of in the conventional sense either. When bands do play ‘live’, the gig often becomes a paradox for the consumer. One example is a Black Lung gig in Melbourne, 1997. When Black Lung commenced

playing he, she or they (actually a he and sometimes she as well), they made a remarkable statement by leaving the curtains closed. Actually, the venue they played that night doesn’t have any curtains so they placed some there temporarily. The ‘band’ wasn’t seen at all and the music ended up gelling and becoming almost indistinguishable from the music that the DJ played before and after the ‘act’. The curtains acted as a contiguous symbolic bar, sequestering the signifying artist from the signified music on an historical level. The music then became dehistoricised: it took its form wholly internally rather than presently; the terms became reversed, as on a CD: music became the empty internal signification of the absent artist who was fulfilled in image and concept