Techno Schmechno A Postmodern Approach To Electronica — страница 4

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only. Those people who weren’t already too out of it to know the difference had problems deciding what to do. Dance? If not, then chat with friends? In any case, there wasn’t anything to look at and the atmosphere was more like that in a cafe than anything. Sit around in little groups and get stoned perhaps… So here we have an example of mechanical reproduction without a source, a move from the symbolic to the structural wholly opposed to the ethos of hip-hop, which is all spectacle and exhibition. All that remained was the electronic music, which seemed to proceed from the infrastructure of the club itself, like a type of digital epiphenomenon but with no particular analogical supervenience or parallel. Indeed as one punter exclaimed when the music stopped for the night

– “what happened to the band?” Good question, but apparently they had already played. Had we seen them though, we would have seen two people sitting behind some keyboards and mixers not doing anything except occasionally twiddle some knobs. Black Lung were probably well aware of the visual poverty of their ?show? compared to a traditional rock concert ? but ironically the device of the curtains as opposed to, say, a visually distracting laser show, produced a much more disorientating effect Essentially and formally there is exactly no need for a human presence to play the music here. What we have is a deferral of the problem of artistic legitimation in favour of legitimation as cultural product. Electronic music does not so much refuse legitimation as a product but to that

extent a product is all it is. It is not possible to legitimate the artist when the artist is absent from the process of identification. There is a total flow to the phenomenon of electronic music. Any one piece becomes indiscrete, when on the dance floor songs are beat-mixed to the same speed and/or pitch so that gaps both of form and space are perpetually absent, barring the event of complete breakdown, in which case it is the music that disappears and not the song. This flow is similar to that of TV and radio. If ‘dead air’ is anathema there then ‘dead beats’ are anathema in the techno club. The song is itself deconstructed in another sense as well: the remix. The remix (then better known as the extended version) became the defining phenomenon of dance music in the

eighties. But in the extended version, the original song was still very much signified. The extension usually consisted of an extra three or four minutes inserted at various points of the original song. It was quite easily possible to formally identify various bits of the song as original bits and extended bits. But in the nineties the remix usually plays with the very concept of the ?original? song, completely restructuring all the tracks and sometimes dispensing with the original vocals altogether. A good example in dialectic terms is the remix single by Underworld, Born Slippy (Junior Recordings: 1996). Five versions of the song are offered here. The first is the short version which is a straight edit of the long version which sounds like what we might have called the original

version because it is the one which was played on radio, TV music shows, and appeared in the movie Trainspotting, from which it gained its popularity in the first place. Note how originality is here constructed not at all in terms of production though, that is, original because it was the first version to appear because all versions appeared pretty much simultaneously. A dialectic between broadcast culture and club culture becomes apparent here, because clubs usually eschew radio mixes and vice versa. Often the consumer who gets to know a track in a nightclub and subsequently buys the single nowaydays may be quite disappointed when he or she discovers the version they know and love is nowhere to be found on their disc as it is a limited edition DJ’s mix or something similar.

Originality is here then wholly constructed out of context, as an arbitrary apparition dependent on place of ‘broadcast’. Originality is then also dependent on the consumer – the consumer literally constructs originality all by her or himself. The artist has already disappeared behind a formally impenetrable wall of technology anyway, so the artist is no source of authority here, as the artist is the one who has prostituted what is left of the song out to various remix engineers. I say prostituted because the artist pays the engineer (often DJs or fellow techno acts) to put their ‘body’ in terms of concept onto the song and make it sound other. The second version on the Born Slippy single is the Darren Price mix. We now lose all the musical tracks from the short