Techno Schmechno A Postmodern Approach To Electronica — страница 5

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version, but retain the original vocals. The new musical tracks share a conceptual equivalence with the short version too, ie, the melody is retained. So Born Slippy is still quite easily signified – a formal connection is retained. Once we get to the third version, the Darren Price remix, we are in deeper deconstructive waters. All signs of the song we knew as Born Slippy have disappeared, a wholly other musical piece takes its place. Nonetheless it’s still known by its name and as a remix. It’s not another song. Listening closely for signs of the song we thought we knew, it seems that the song’s speed is still the same. Maybe that’s the signifying link? It seems so, because when we get to the fourth version: the Alex Reece mix the musical elements are once again

wholly replaced, but the beat does sound familiar in an ambiguous manner. In vain we make the link though, because once we get to the fifth version even the signifying beat disappears in what’s called the deep pan banstyle/alex reece mix. I chose this example because apparently it offers a dialectic of deconstruction – we began with the conventional short version and gradually all the formal signifiers disappeared. But if we apply this commentary fairly then no version is really anymore authoritative than any other. It was, after all the context that we saw as defining originality, because, if I was a DJ, I would have license to call any of these versions Born Slippy by Underworld. Maybe then it would be better to join all five versions together and the whole piece as one

song. Indeed one can do that, but this is only to defer the problem of definition into its own particular mini-total flow constucted by naming. It doesn’t really solve the problem, as one might as well go all the way and call every techno song Born Slippy by Underworld. The whole interest in anonymity and confusing the definition of songs has a certain attitude of glee or jouissance about it. On the other hand, it may well be that if anonymity is assured by the use of mechanical reproduction, the artist seems to remain present, albeit in a ghostly type of manner, by appealing to idiolect, and this is why there is such a proliferation of idiolects in the electronic scene. As formal significations are dispensed with entirely, eg, songs, musicians, melodies, lyrics etc. a type of

individuality returns out of its repression to haunt this music. But are we talking about the ‘unique and individual brushstroke’ or just the fact that different brands and types of brushes, pallettes and paints are being used in different combinations? That is, can we sense artistic presence here or just the fact that this piece uses a Roland DX-100 and a Jupiter 8 while that one uses a Casio and a Yamaha? End notes1. As an element which remains constant for the whole duration of a piece of music. See N. Ruwet. 2. See Barthes, Roland (1977) “Structural Analysis of Narratives” in Image-Music-Text. References:Jameson F. (1991); “Postmodernism, or, the Cultural Logic of Late Capitalism”, Durham, NC: Duke University Press.