Thursday, November 12, 2009

PC and Dave-stra-damus put the techno cat among the plugin pigeons

Hello all,

what follows is the uncut funk of a to-and-fro that I (Pete) had with Dave Wiltshire.... Dave has a musical prescience that borders on the freaky - I've learned that when Dave intuits something, you probably won't agree.... for a coupla years. Then you realise he was right all along.

Dave (DW) is the silent ssg in our midst; we'd initially planned to have DW as an integral active blogger, but he's repeatedly said it's not the kind of engagement he'd like to have..., then, is a different way through a thicket of problems, plugins, cables, rough patches, physical music, gag reflexes, personal obsessions, hang ups, ways forward, dead ends, and so on....

[12/11/09 8:42:52 AM] PC: You on?

[12/11/09 8:43:26 AM] DW: yep i'm here

[12/11/09 8:43:52 AM] PC: Well then... shall we get into it?

[12/11/09 8:44:01 AM] DW: yeah sure!

[12/11/09 8:44:28 AM] PC: So... about this time last year, you said, unequivocably, that Perlon had jumped the shark...

[12/11/09 8:45:00 AM] DW: yeah... but at the same time i was also praising oslo :P

[12/11/09 8:45:10 AM] DW: but yeah... i did!

[12/11/09 8:46:00 AM] PC: What was it about those two labels at that time that made you think so... 'cos by that stage I was dead sick of Oslo, and I thought Perlon had had quite a good year... from memory you were saying that the big Perlon records, especially the STL one, *wasn't* a Perlon record

[12/11/09 8:48:26 AM] DW: i'm not sure i can totally explain why i liked oslo at the time. but perlon to me has always been a very important part of techno and a label that was always pushing their own sound. but that sound appeared to be less and less obvious in their records. like it was being diluted

[12/11/09 8:48:45 AM] DW: or like in STL's case it was just them taking one of his releases to borrow his sound

[12/11/09 8:49:53 AM] DW: they were one of the few big labels left that still appeared to be making it their aim to continuously push forward or at least keep its ground

[12/11/09 8:50:01 AM] PC: Right.... not just suPerlongevity, but also hyPerconsistency.... but in 2009, both quantitatively and qualitatively, where is Perlon? ... Both the Dygas release and the San Proper release, they're timid and boring... but see this...

[12/11/09 8:50:56 AM] DW: hahaha

[12/11/09 8:51:00 AM] DW: holy shit

[12/11/09 8:52:08 AM] PC: Hmm... yeah, so if Perlon abandons 'Perlon', in what sense does that old minimal/house assemblage meaninglfully exist anymore?

[12/11/09 8:52:49 AM] DW: i can remember when you could listen to most perlon releases and work out why they decided to release it... but why san proper?

[12/11/09 8:53:20 AM] PC: And meanwhile, you have Sascha Dive, who, for me, was totally one of the people perpetrating the very dull bandwagoneering minimal/house + "soulful" sound, unloading here and saying this: Right now it feels like there's not as much good music out there as there was before. Most of all this so-called minimal/deep/Detroit house sounds all the same. There are unfortunately only a few labels and artists left making good music these days. You can fell that what they do comes from their hearts; has a lot of soul. Many just jumped on the train simply because it's the new hip thing. But it's not new at all actually. Good house music has been there since the very beginning of this whole culture.

[12/11/09 8:53:57 AM] DW: like how kalabrese's chicken fried rice was the first thing perlon released from a demo. it was really hard to get a release on perlon. but what the fuck is with san proper?

[12/11/09 8:55:02 AM] PC: ...yeah, what's 'proper' about it?... that Sascha Dive comment reminds me of Magda's comment in 06 or 07, when she says, when I think about minimal, that's not what we play.... ....yeah, the Kalabrese EP is a good example... I mean, it's *such* a good EP, and still holds up. I played it on the radio the other week, then listened to the podcast of the recording, and was completely immersed in it...

[12/11/09 8:55:21 AM] DW: yeah exactly. that was what depressed me at the time when i thought perlon had jumped the shark. it's kinda a big deal in some ways
[12/11/09 8:56:14 AM] PC: ...maybe it's like: once upon a time everyone wanted to be playwrights. The standard was high, the field competitive, and lots of good, memorable plays got 'wrighted'.... but how many great 'wrighters' wanna write plays anymore... probably they're writing the Wire in stead, no?

[12/11/09 8:56:28 AM] DW: yeah i don't know what to say about the sascha comment. i haven't really listened to much of his stuff but from what you and chris said he seems to be the worst offender

[12/11/09 8:57:21 AM] PC: ...well, we're in a year where vinyl retail has been more or less cleaned out of everywhere, and all the big 'names' (Luciano, Isolee, Losoul) have been releasing stinky, second-rate work...

[12/11/09 8:58:42 AM] PC: ...well, for me, the Sascha thing is that, well, he made some funky, swinging minimal/house records, they were fine as tools, but no more... but he became the flagbearer for this whole movement, which was mostly about all the plugins/mmnl people being able to dig as 'deep house' what was, really, just more flatlining plugins minimal... you just substitute ping-pong reverb a la Robag Wruhme for bongos... and presto!

[12/11/09 8:59:25 AM] DW: for me the problem is techno was always supposed to be (for me) about pushing forward with new sounds and use of technology. the whole "future music" thing... then also with a punk aesthetic in sound but also with culture (raves, drugs...)

[12/11/09 8:59:48 AM] DW: techno needs constant progression

[12/11/09 9:00:35 AM] DW: and also a relationship between man and machine (or computer) but how is there such a relationship when someone is using plugins?

[12/11/09 9:00:57 AM] DW: isn't that just machine-machine instead of man-machine?

[12/11/09 9:01:08 AM] PC: Yeah... my schtick right now is that we need music which much, much, much more PHYSICAL

[12/11/09 9:01:52 AM] PC: In March 2007 I wrote this: and quoted Mad Mike as saying the following:

[12/11/09 9:01:56 AM] PC: In a recent ‘Slices’ DVD interview, Underground Resistance’s Mike Banks talked movingly about the impact of hearing Kraftwerk as a kid: “When we were kids and we listened to Kraftwerk, we thought they was robots. We figured ‘Hey man, this is some cool shit’ and the guys was robots. We never thought ‘black Kraftwerk’ or ‘white Kraftwerk’ – it was just ‘Kraftwerk’. And the shit was funky and it permaeated the inner city.” It’s cute imagining ‘lil Mike dreaming of robots, but boyish chuckles aside, what’s so touching about the comment is the bitter, metallic taste it leaves in my all too human mouth. Fact is, we gave up dreaming of a future filled with electro-hearted robots in the mid ‘80s.

[12/11/09 9:02:25 AM] PC: ...I wanna say, isn't that what's great about Pansonic? It isn't electronic, it's electric. And it gets you in the guts.
[12/11/09 9:03:34 AM] DW: yeah i agree. for me the most "techno" thing someone could do right now is make their own synths or drum machines and pump out their own stuff. even if it had more in common with 80s acid than anything else that would still be more techno than a lot of the new stuff

[12/11/09 9:03:43 AM] DW: oh yeah totally

[12/11/09 9:03:59 AM] DW: that's what i mean... pansonic is more techno than almost anyone else at the moment

[12/11/09 9:04:34 AM] DW: love that mad mike quote btw :)

[12/11/09 9:05:09 AM] PC: ...Raster Noton, too... I mean, the shit is BANGING.... I mean Perlon 2009: you listen to that Dygas record, or the San Proper record, or the Baby Ford record... reminds me of that Lou Reed lyric: "I'll take Manhatten in a garbage bag, with Latin written on it that says: "It's hard to give a shit these days."

[12/11/09 9:05:56 AM] DW: oh my fucking god cyclo was so amazing

[12/11/09 9:06:13 AM] PC: Yeah, the other Mad Mike quote at the end is great, too: A robot future was a better future – Mad Mike talks in the same interview about how Kraftwerk came and ‘hi-teched’ the mindset of inner-city Detroit youth, giving the first-wave of techno innovators a dream of a brighter world. But the robots, and their future, never came – Detroit, Takadonobaba – the revolution never happened, then it returned as a cute setpiece in the middle of an erstwhile junkspace. No wonder techno floundered – they were no longer able to dream. Back to you, Mike: “We need some hi-tech motherfuckers to come through. Until that, kiss my ass.”

[12/11/09 9:06:31 AM] DW: also, have you heard the album nickolai and mika did on raster notion back in hte early 00s? it's like the best thing on the label. pure electricity

[12/11/09 9:06:52 AM] PC: So were Cyclo some high-tech muthafuckers? .... No, I haven't. Can you hook a brutha up?

[12/11/09 9:07:17 AM] DW: yeah will do! it's super droney but awesome

[12/11/09 9:07:35 AM] DW: yeah cyclo were super hitech and funky too

[12/11/09 9:07:39 AM] PC: ...but don't you think this is why Oleva resonated so strongly with techno people? 'Cos it was like, you needed someone who didn't have this laptop/Ableton/plugin/produce/remix/tour/DJ mindset to come out and say THIS is what it sounds like...

[12/11/09 9:07:42 AM] DW: people were dancing their asses off

[12/11/09 9:08:06 AM] DW: sorry don't follow.... what's oleva?

[12/11/09 9:08:11 AM] PC: ...but then Richie comes along and plays the Byetone 'plastic star' record and tweets it as he goes... something dies in techno everytime Richie tweets

[12/11/09 9:08:14 AM] DW: is that an old mika ep? can't remember :P

[12/11/09 9:08:48 AM] PC: Mika's last 'Ohm' record

[12/11/09 9:09:12 AM] DW: ahhh yeah got it

[12/11/09 9:10:16 AM] DW: i think you make a good point in the 2nd mad mike grab. the relationship between man and machine has changed so techno has to change accordingly

[12/11/09 9:10:57 AM] PC: But, the thing about Mad Mike that I agree with is, it's a mindset: we need to renovate our mindset. I mean, it's unfathomable to me that 2009 has been a boring year for music... I mean, it reminds me of my sister's ex, who moved to Madrid and now says 'Melbourne is boring'. I mean, Melbourne is a bit boring, but the thing was - HE was boring in Melbourne. Then he goes to Madrid and he's got this 'I'm on a working holiday' mindset, and the whole situation changes...

[12/11/09 9:11:55 AM] DW: techno is just due for a slump

[12/11/09 9:12:05 AM] DW: but it will pick up eventually... i hope!

[12/11/09 9:12:54 AM] DW: maybe indie is the answer... like what jay-z said with indie and hip-hop. he said the indie revival is great because it has overtaken hip-hop in innovation which should "push" hip-hop producers into lifting their game

[12/11/09 9:13:02 AM] PC: ...yeah, like Jeff Mills' black/sci fi/Metropolis futurism... he's never given up on it, to his credit... I kinda feel... I know this is weird, but I was watching the new Star Trek film, and it reminded me how incredibly timid people have become about the future... I mean, the only Americans with a Vision for the Future in the early 00s were the fucking neocons....

[12/11/09 9:13:09 AM] DW: he went on this big rant about it after going to a grizzley bear concert

[12/11/09 9:13:41 AM] PC: Indie is *not* the answer... I mean... well yeah, if you mean Grizzly Bear, then yes... but if you mean Pitchfork-reading motherfuckers in tight jeans on fixies, then NO

[12/11/09 9:13:42 AM] PC: :)

[12/11/09 9:13:49 AM] DW:

[12/11/09 9:14:16 AM] PC: Yeah, well hip-hop died because it became inward-looking and conservative and rejected innovations in lyricism and sound design as

[12/11/09 9:14:33 AM] DW: yeah just like techno :P

[12/11/09 9:15:15 AM] PC: sorry... as not hip-hop.... thus all the Anticon stuff, Prefuse, you know, they were really taking things in one direction, Outkast in another, Miss E and Timbaland in another, but all those directions were regarded as anomalies by people 'within' hip-hop... they rejected it, 'cos they could read the new signifiers as hip-hop...

[12/11/09 9:15:29 AM] DW: but it will be back... as will techno. but that whole "tweaking" of the sound and revisiting old sounds which you were talking about last year is a good point but only part of the solution

[12/11/09 9:16:05 AM] PC: ...yeah, just like techno... to finish up on the Star Trek thing, it's like …we forgot to boldly go. We forgot to dare… I remember Cam talking to Brinkmann, and him saying (of German DJs and certain records): ‘they do not dare!’

[12/11/09 9:16:24 AM] DW: haha! it's true

[12/11/09 9:16:32 AM] DW: i'm waiting for "post-techno"

[12/11/09 9:16:55 AM] DW: it will be like the early mego stuff. anti-preset and in many ways anti-technology

[12/11/09 9:17:13 AM] DW: techno doesn't need to tweak the past it needs to learn to hate it and rebel against it

[12/11/09 9:17:22 AM] DW: and totally piss off the detroit fanboys

[12/11/09 9:17:34 AM] DW: when they get offended then we'll know things
are on the right track :P

[12/11/09 9:17:47 AM] PC: Yeah... well, how come so few people sample techno in the same way that house does with disco and hip-hop did with funk and soul... ...nah, it's 'cos the plugins/mnml people have no historical horizon in their music... 'cos plugins/laptops is the future, sailor

[12/11/09 9:19:17 AM] DW: yeah good point... we need someone to sample and bastardise the past

[12/11/09 9:19:27 AM] PC: Yeah... the key is to not equate technology with progress... most technologo-centric producers have a very stupid undersanding of technology... one which is totally 'unplugged' from history, context, anything.... was talking about it here

[12/11/09 9:19:28 AM] DW: like your detroit sampling group idea

[12/11/09 9:19:38 AM] PC: I thought that was your idea, no?

[12/11/09 9:20:03 AM] DW: i think it was both of us... but you in particular mentioned sampling detroit very heavily

[12/11/09 9:20:23 AM] PC: To sample 'sacred' Detroit techno records, and turn it into fun music, like early Daft Punk/Stardust... something a bit fucking ridiculous... is humourlessness not techno's worst problem?

[12/11/09 9:20:51 AM] PC: Yeah... like get that double CD of Derrick May's classics, and shred them... .with love, natch...

[12/11/09 9:21:00 AM] DW: the residents are a perfect example. they were futurists by tearing up the past. they released a few albums of "awful" covers of old classics... especially the beatles and james brown

[12/11/09 9:21:19 AM] PC: Did you ever listen to James Forrest?

[12/11/09 9:21:56 AM] DW: yeah i loved his ideas... didn't quite like the execution (too fast and frantic for me) but really liked what he was trying to do

[12/11/09 9:22:22 AM] PC: Yeah, this album:

[12/11/09 9:22:44 AM] DW: oh wait i didn't hear that one though...

[12/11/09 9:22:48 AM] PC: ...also Soft Pink Truth... I mean, that's where Matmos' high concept rubber really hit the road for me...

[12/11/09 9:23:04 AM] DW: yeah they were good too...

[12/11/09 9:23:27 AM] PC: But Q: why haven't more people emulated the 'ethos' or mindset of Richard James? Why have we got these po-faced, humourless laptop muthafuckers whingeing about boring music which they're perpetrating?

[12/11/09 9:23:36 AM] DW: but i want someone to do it much more disrespectfully

[12/11/09 9:24:12 AM] DW: in my opinion "put your hands up for detroit" was such a great track for that reason. i want something like that but with a little more irony

[12/11/09 9:24:15 AM] PC: ...I mean, why was it that laptops captured imagination... it's 10 years of Ableton, and it's been the Ableton decade for dance music, definitely...

[12/11/09 9:24:16 AM] DW: or like crazy-frog!

[12/11/09 9:24:48 AM] PC: ...yeah, but .... yeah, crazy frog! That's why I didn't mind the last Alter Ego... the thing is though, I think it was 'seriously' fun music....

[12/11/09 9:25:15 AM] DW: fuck "serious-fun"

[12/11/09 9:25:34 AM] DW: actually no i take that back... serious fun is good

[12/11/09 9:25:42 AM] DW: but i want some other forms of fun too

[12/11/09 9:25:45 AM] PC: So is fun, natural fun.

[12/11/09 9:26:18 AM] DW: isn't the sort of fun we're talking about just free-creativity?

[12/11/09 9:26:24 AM] PC: All these visions have been put forward though - KLF sprung to mind immediately - so how come the serious laptop music thing took hold so much?

[12/11/09 9:27:00 AM] DW: mabe because it was easier? i dunno...

[12/11/09 9:27:06 AM] PC: Yeah maybe... .creativity, expression... but, I mean, Shed's music isn't 'fun' per se, and it's definitely classicicst techno, but it's great... same as Redshape... the difference is some kind of 'power' , I guess.

[12/11/09 9:27:08 AM] DW: was it you who told me that kid-606 quote?

[12/11/09 9:27:17 AM] DW: about how easy it was to make music now?

[12/11/09 9:27:21 AM] PC: no? Which one?

[12/11/09 9:28:42 AM] DW: i can't remember exactly but he talked about how he could make a track in 15 minutes nowadays or something like that. he's a pretty interesting guy actually... good quotes

[12/11/09 9:28:48 AM] DW: i think i read it in inpress a while back

[12/11/09 9:29:12 AM] DW: sorry it was years ago now so can't remember

[12/11/09 9:29:25 AM] PC: ...yeah, but then, some of the Gas records were made in an hour... ...I wanted to say, this Alex Cortex 'statement' REALLY got my goat

[12/11/09 9:30:09 AM] DW: this is what i want to see

[12/11/09 9:30:23 AM] PC: ...just some laptop entrepreneur whingeing about 'the scene'.... I dunno, is *that* a reason to make music?

[12/11/09 9:31:26 AM] DW: i kinda like this though

[12/11/09 9:31:38 AM] PC: ...great clip.... I wanna say, I agree with Terre when he said this: How do you see your craft developing (if indeed it is a ‘craft’ to you)? And how is technology influencing this?

‘Craft’ is no longer suspect to a lot of electronic producers. Especially in the house genre. Everybody wants to be a full-on musician. I think that makes a lot of music complacent, because we stop challenging social norms around how music should sound or be performed.

As for technology, does anybody else find it unbelievably patronizing that the default file name for most Apple software follows the formula ‘My…’ – ‘My Disc’, ‘My Song’, ‘My Movie’, etc.? It's a real sign of how we've socially come to project personal identity onto corporately structured media. It goes hand in hand with the rise of the ‘DJ as Artist’.

[12/11/09 9:31:53 AM] PC:

[12/11/09 9:32:14 AM] DW: it's like techno people know there's something wrong and are finger-pointing and in-fighting. admittance is a good first step :P

[12/11/09 9:33:29 AM] DW: hmmm maybe computers have to be shunned entirely in techno?

[12/11/09 9:34:19 AM] DW: i want some really elitist new producer to come out and make some sweeping statements like "techno cannot include laptops" or something silly like that. even if just to ruffle feathers

[12/11/09 9:35:30 AM] DW: haha this is exactly what i want to see!

[12/11/09 9:35:47 AM] DW: but do it with detroit instead of rock classics

[12/11/09 9:36:36 AM] PC: # Denial — "I feel fine."; "This can't be happening, not to me."
Denial is usually only a temporary defense for the individual. This feeling is generally replaced with heightened awareness of situations and individuals that will be left behind after death.[1]
# Anger — "Why me? It's not fair!"; "How can this happen to me?"; "Who is to blame?"
Once in the second stage, the individual recognizes that denial cannot continue. Because of anger, the person is very difficult to care for due to misplaced feelings of rage and envy. Any individual that symbolizes life or energy is subject to projected resentment and jealousy.[1]
# Bargaining — "Just let me live to see my children graduate."; "I'll do anything for a few more years."; "I will give my life savings if..."
The third stage involves the hope that the individual can somehow postpone or delay death. Usually, the negotiation for an extended life is made with a higher power in exchange for a reformed lifestyle. Psychologically, the person is saying, "I understand I will die, but if I could just have more time..."[1]
# Depression — "I'm so sad, why bother with anything?"; "I'm going to die . . . What's the point?"; "I miss my loved one, why go on?"
During the fourth stage, the dying person begins to understand the certainty of death. Because of this, the individual may become silent, refuse visitors and spend much of the time crying and grieving. This process allows the dying person to disconnect oneself from things of love and affection. It is not recommended to attempt to cheer up an individual who is in this stage. It is an important time for grieving that must be processed.[1]
# Acceptance — "It's going to be okay."; "I can't fight it, I may as well prepare for it."
This final stage comes with peace and understanding of the death that is approaching. Generally, the person in the fifth stage will want to be left alone. Additionally, feelings and physical pain may be non-existent. This stage has also been described as the end of the dying struggle.[

[12/11/09 9:37:08 AM] DW: haha that's what i was thinking

[12/11/09 9:37:27 AM] DW: in the meantime i want some techno troublemakers... to speed up the process??

[12/11/09 9:37:47 AM] DW: maybe that put your hands up for detroit guy can rip off The Bells or Jaguar :D

[12/11/09 9:38:16 AM] PC: Imagine the outrage... back to Brinkmann: they do not DARE!

[12/11/09 9:38:34 AM] DW: we need outrage

[12/11/09 9:39:00 AM] DW: and we need outsiders to "out-techno" the current scene. to damage some egos

[12/11/09 9:39:10 AM] PC: And a power outage.... ...I mean, from a purely sociological point of view, what is the difference betwen the contemporary scene and a massive multiplayer like Warcrack? Not enough, unfortunately.

[12/11/09 9:39:30 AM] PC: ...hasn't Animal collective kinda done that with Merriweather?

[12/11/09 9:39:48 AM] PC: It's so much more bold and colourful than stuff within the mindset of electronic music...

[12/11/09 9:40:01 AM] DW: yeah i think so! also, i get the feeling that animal collective wouldn't even know much about techno. which makes it so much better

[12/11/09 9:40:55 AM] PC: ....hmm... yeah... but so many of the people making interesting techno don't listen to techno much... Vladislav...

[12/11/09 9:41:19 AM] PC: ...Ben Frost doesn't listen to much laptop music, and his new album is amazing... I'm not saying it's amazing BECAUSE of this, but...

[12/11/09 9:41:45 AM] DW: yeah i'm pretty impressed by the frost too

[12/11/09 9:42:22 AM] PC: It gets you 'by the throat'... a very visceral music, very physical response...

[12/11/09 9:42:22 AM] DW: it's pretty much unclassifiable too

[12/11/09 9:43:29 AM] PC: Hmm.... true... so, to kinda wind up, would you say that techno's being bad is gonna be good for techno?

[12/11/09 9:44:10 AM] DW: because we need people to stop being comfortable

[12/11/09 9:44:27 AM] DW: and the boosterism telling them they are still talented and progressive

[12/11/09 9:44:43 AM] DW: how doesn't luciano know he's being a total tool now? seriously

[12/11/09 9:45:32 AM] PC:'s true... complacency is the real disease... ....yeah... but that Luciano album is too weird to simply suck... I mean, it's so 'off' it's kinda on... and that cover? Is he taking the piss? No! But it's the kinda yacht rock phase of minimal/house....

[12/11/09 9:45:46 AM] DW: techno people need to feel like they need to lift their game... and mnmlssgs and a few other (correct) vocal minorities isn't enough unfortunately

[12/11/09 9:46:40 AM] PC: ...what I really don't like is the new Tama Sumo mix.... I mean, she looks so UNHAPPY on the cover, and it is such a boring, boring, boring mix... even though I really like Tama as a DJ and I really dig a lot of the artists she chose... but the 'final statement' is a 'serious mix by a serious Dj' and it's seriously fucking boring to listen to....

[12/11/09 9:46:40 AM] DW: i actually haven't listened to it all the way through!

[12/11/09 9:47:09 AM] PC: Tama, or Luciano?

[12/11/09 9:47:59 AM] DW: serious music is only interesting if it's really progressive and fresh. so techno isn't in the position to be serious at the moment imo :P

[12/11/09 9:48:01 AM] DW: luciano

[12/11/09 9:48:34 AM] PC: Yeah. I'm with what AGF says on her new AGF/Delay album (which is actually really, really good) "There's nothing progressive about/progressive thought, ever"

[12/11/09 9:49:20 AM] PC: I mean, progressive house? Like Margaret Thatcher: If you have to say you're a powerful lady you're neither...

[12/11/09 9:49:35 AM] DW: hmmm yeah very true

[12/11/09 9:50:35 AM] PC: The moment for me was when stinky mainroom proggers from Sydney - Sydney, OMG! - started putting out minimal mixes.... ...but now I'm bitching... shall we wind it up?

[12/11/09 9:50:53 AM] DW: yeah i should probably get going

[12/11/09 9:50:57 AM] DW: it's been fun though

[12/11/09 9:51:03 AM] DW: always fun to bitch :)

[12/11/09 9:51:18 AM] PC: Cool... well, thanks for your time... yeah,really
fun! Wanna do this on a semi-regular basis for ssgs? I mean, whenever we feel the urge

[12/11/09 9:51:42 AM] DW: yeah sure no probs!

[12/11/09 9:52:05 AM] DW: alright, cya!

[12/11/09 9:52:57 AM] PC: Cool, Cya!


  1. interesting thoughts, but i must ask:

    if perlon were still making records like the ones they made in 2003, would you still be listening?

    perlon have been smart and adapted with the times. clearly we disagree about the dygas release (though i also didnt like the san proper), but i think that perlon's output this year has been quality, especially shackleton and dygas.

    i love those classic perlon records as much as anyone, but they have hardly jumped the shark.

  2. i've got plenty to say, which i'll do later, because dont agree with some/much of what has been said. just wanted to resopnd to minimill: what perhaps didnt come through in this dialogue (or maybe it did) was i think what dave's point is - based on other conversations we've had - is that basically perlon have stopped making perlon records. they might be good (or not) but they are no longer perlon records as such. i think dave gave the a guy called gerald EP as an example of this. i am not saying this is my opinion, but i *think* that is dave's position. i think.

  3. "that Sascha Dive comment reminds me of Magda's comment in 06 or 07, when she says, when I think about minimal, that's not what we play"

    True, because you didn't play minimal, you played mnml.

    "Yo Richie, I'm really happy for you, imma let you finish, but Robert Hood was one of the best minimal artists of ALL TIME!"

  4. I took a large amount of resentment from that, what really seemed to come through though, was a resentment of the scene and not so much the music.

    Surely the rise of laptops has allowed people who have no access to massively expensive and rare machinery, to create music influenced by those machines. Is this not the part of the anti romanticism you seemed to be advocating? Does the laptop not rebel, in some way, against the machines and their exclusivity? Whether reducing exclusivity and allowing the masses in is a good thing, is a different question. Was this a subtext of this chat?

    Regards the lack of risk taking in techno DJ's, I know I am probably going to get hung for this, but that's exactly what came through in the Function RA mix (to me). The most exciting part of that mix was when they mixed Acid Eiffel, it was also the messiest. It moved out of the sentiment and style that every other track seemed to be aspiring for. I have a suspicion that the seamless nature of Ableton also advocates safety is song choice.

    I have to agree with the words on the Tama Sumo mix. I am still wondering how she managed to take so many great tracks and producers and make such a forgettable mix. I dug out Galluzzi's mix the other day, and it still excites as it did when I first listened to it.

    If I can pluck up the courage to read the post again, I might be able to add some more productive comments.

  5. Something that really struck me in this conversaton was the point of needing some outsiders to shake things up. I think a big problem with techno generally is that the people making it are all too familiar with it's sound. They set out to make "Techno", when they should be setting out to make "Music". For me the best thing I've heard this year is Moritz Von Oswald Trio's Vertical Ascent. It is open and engaging, and when it comes down to it, it's the one album that made me feel genuinely excited about what's to come in the future of music. That's the feeling I want to get from techno, that's what got me so addicted to techno to begin with.

    Also, I don't think lack of humor is techno's worst problem, I think lack of any personality is techno's worst problem. It's any music's worst problem. There are plenty of examples of lifeless music out there from the minimal folks who hide behind ableton plugins to the academic composers who hide behind music theory. If you are not inspired, your music will not be inspired. I think Oni Ayhun's OAR 3 release this year is a great example of an inspired piece of music that is full of personality. It's not all that forward thinking, or complex, but I keep coming back to it because it is so alive. Thank you mnml ssgs for introducing it to me! And thanks PC and Dave for your conversation piece here. I'm sure plenty of people will disagree with a lot of what was said, but disagreement is good because it gets people talking and (hopefully) thinking.

  6. It was good reading this post, because it reminded me about those old mnml ssg posts where interactions were put down (exactly like that why Johnny D or Oslo is boring or not).

    Couple of, probably superficial thoughts, that were raised after a first read of this post:
    1. Perlon seems like it will go like Kompakt. For me, Kompakt was one of the biggest disappointments that happened lately. On a personal level, sometimes I am in the mood to listen to some deepish/techish/housish/minimalish techno (call it whatever you'd like), and so far Perlon was a good choice in those moments. Lately, this happens much more rarely.
    2. For some of the answers to these problems/changes I would consider looking into how the label-artist relationships have changed throughout time. I strongly think that label management practices did influence this evolution. I am not completely familiar how the label-artist cooperations work (who goes to who, sending demos, working together, shaping the sound etc.), but my hunch is that they've changed a lot. Furthermore, I think that, for example, in the case of labels like Perlon (don't know exactly what these labels are), these changes had a much more serious impact on the sound.
    3. I kinda face one of the classic dilemmas: you find a smaller, more "underground" artist/label/sound, you love it and than it gets full recognition, people you would not even imagine start playing those records, you see youtube videos of middle section of sets where the 2000 festival crowd goes wild for a track that you've always kept at home for those days when you really need it. Should I be happy or not? (a remote example: Alva Noto and how extensively Mr. Hawtin plays those tracks).
    4. The use/ban of computers in production for me is not that much of a straight answer or solution. It gives you some possibilities, but it can also enhance the chances to be completely sterile (maybe wrong word). But if you don't know the difference, fuck it! At least some of the labels should point you (as an artist) into a direction where you will find the answer.
    5. Outside revolution: with the actual state of the industry - if there is a possible measure for this, and the distribution practices, the clubs and gigs etc., I think that revolution is a bit more problematic. The outside revolution even more. No matter how much balls some artists/labels would have to push these "deus ex machina" type of solutions, it will not have the impact, exactly because how the techno industry looks like (nb. in my perception).

    Though Animal Collective (and not just their latest 2009 album) is indeed such a refreshing listen that it redefines something. However, and I know the comparison is not very accurate, Moritz von Oswald Trio should just perfectly do the job for the techno scene.

    Before being even longer, it seems that "labels" (as units of I dunno what) are not the best proxies anymore for the expected style. Artists never were, but now another anchor seems to be lost (not just because of Perlon). But some of the questions/arguments raised in this post can be actually assessed "scientifically", and I really thing that some good methodology can be worked out. There should be data out there...

    Sorry for the long comment, will go now and listen to Perlon-like record. Whatever this means.

  7. Can't agree when Dygas and San Proper releases estimated the same. Last is dull but former brilliant and "perlonish" enough. As for antilaptop theme then Russians have the proverb: there are no bad tools there are bad navigators. As always problem in people themselves and this "techno cannot include laptops" philosophy is absolutly unnecessary and boring.

  8. Firstly, the last Perlon release was Shackleton's phenomenal Three EP's so they've got to have a finger on (something's) pulse - even if Shack doesn't show as overt a techno influence and thus as anti-techno-establishment a sensibility as say, Scuba. His music exists in some kind of wonderful, creative outerworld with tendrils of influence just about visible floating in the void. And yes, in my opinion the dubstep fusion is the closest we are to healthy disrespect and genuine progression.

    Secondly, this fear of the future thing. Bloody true. And how depressing to note that the ambition towards technological advance has been mainly a conservative ethos. Why not learn new ways to adapt, whether it's to global warming or a more inclusive philosophy from a dance label? And yeah, I am aiming for some kind of irony here, unsuccessfully admittedly.

    Thirdly, you could map the iTunes 'everyone who owns one of their products is a fucking auteur and thus oh so special even if their taste extends to not ruining the dinner-party ambience' sales philosophy onto pretty much any aspect of the modern commercial nuum.

  9. this conversation is a little to much black painted... Some truths are in off course but cant agree at all.. hope i can say something later.. no time at the moment..

  10. You must think you shit gold

  11. You know what's awesome? Old stuff. Everything else sucks.

    This post adds little to the discourse except more jaded grumbles and probably should have stayed an IM conversation.

  12. Couldn't agree more than with the two previous anonymous replies. It is unnecessary and shouldn't really be put forward as something containing relevant information. This is a personal conversation, and so it should be kept.

    Notice, this is not out of frustration or anything, there is room for hit and miss, as always. Excellent blog, been following it for a year, first comment.

  13. in response to the last couple of comments, i'd just say we are trying some different ways of engaging, sometimes might succeed, other times not. also this was a way for us to lure dave in. i dont agree with plenty of what he says, but i think some of his observations, especially about shaking up techno, are thoughtprovoking and good for starting a discussion.

    where i mainly disagree with dave is i think he is stuck with an outdated vision of techno. i dont think it can always be future music. that was a vision context specific to its birth. i am not sure whether that can be maintained, at least to the degree he wants...

  14. Quote of the fookin year: "something dies in techno everytime Richie tweets."

  15. yawn yawn. more of your finest please

  16. I think that this analysis misses out an very important dynamic of techno music, which is the culture that goes with it.

    Techno music surely lives in equilibrium between headphones, speakers, clubs, after parties, record shops, podcasts, blogs etc and i think we would be living in a dream world if we thought all music is or even could be independent from hype, trends and fashions and availability.

    Innovation is incredibly important in all art forms, especially in electronic music to keep it from getting stagnant, however the way in which we gain access to our music and the healthiness of the scene has a lot of bearing on our reception to it. I think while this article raises some very important points, it is at its heart very cynical about the music which may no longer impact on the topic in point. Music/artists/DJs ebb and flow. To resign yourself to the feeling that techno needs a massive shake up in order to achieve anything is a little drastic.

  17. @ minimill: maybe perlon should have adapted… but maybe it’s a matter of not knowing when to stop… I mean, the irony here (Alanis) is that Skull Disco did a limited release of EPs that had a very tight sound/vision. Shackleton made his statement and moved on with his life… the Shackleton on PErlon is great, but is it a Perlon record? Or is Perlon just skull disco now? They’re not a label set up for these big swerves like Warp has done. Or will Perlon release the next Animal Collective EP?

    @ Oliver: Okay, large, expensive equipment, sure, but remember - 303s became popular ‘cos they were pawn shop cheapies. And all Vainio’s famous ‘Ohm’ releases were done with a synth, an effector, a drum machine and a mixing board (no overdubs!).

    ~ The question is not the technology though, it’s our relation to technology. I mean, Ben Frost uses Ableton, so I’m not ragging on Ableton, just the goggles people have on when they use it, when they sit down and say ‘I’m gonna make a minimal/house track’. The cookie cutter is in people’s heads, not necessarily in the production tools.

    @ Jeremy on the notion of making techno vs making music: - yes, yes, yes, I totally agree. People should listen outside their own archives, it won’t hurt! And then bring back new forms, sounds, approaches to their music.

    ~ seems like different kinds of music take turns being dull. I mean, before the Strokes released Is This It, it seemed like game over for guitar music, no? But now the guitar kids have cottoned on…

    @ Zoller: you may be on to something… we do have an extremely label-focussed constellation at the moment… the recent past has also been a matter of distro…. I mean, Kompakt distro shaped what people who liked Kompakt tended to get into (I speak for myself as someone who then started listening to Areal, Sender, other labels that Kompakt-affiliated people were playing, pushing, listening to).

    @ Simon: I think you’ve nailed something really, really fundamental - the culture aspect… for me, as you may know, I feel that the present conjuncture is one in which we see an incredible intensity and diversity of styles, sounds, etc *online*, but plugged into a whole club/event scene which is a double relic from the commericalisation of the rave scene (festivals, etc) and the disco era (clubs)…. really not ideal venues for music, considering they are primarily hedonistic places.

    It seems like 2009 has been a brilliant year for ‘electronic music’, but a very mixed year for electronic music that feels it has to think of itself as ‘house music’ or ‘techno music’.

    …and if this is the social that it produces, then, well, what is going on? Maybe it is cultural, no? Any thoughts to any of the above?

    PS I think it's time to turn of anonymous comments. I am sick of having our openness abused by nameless turds on the welcome mat.

  18. I think there are some interesting points to consider here, but this format is a bit tough to digest. This conversation feels more like a starting point than anything.

    I have to agree with Chris that Dave's conception of what techno is and should be seems a bit pie in the sky, and it doesn't square with his wish that Perlon never expand its sound. It also largely ignores all the new sounds coming out of the UK which, while traceable to past sub-genres, feel fairly fresh. Now if only they had a truly critical press rather than a parade of sycophants.

    Although I'm an outspoken proponent of pushing things forward and general sonic innovation, it seems rash to want to chuck out the whole thing or push for a bunch of unnecessary dogmas just to rile folks up.

    The latter half of this decade has certainly been more stagnate than years past, no doubt about it. But in reworking older sounds I feel like some great refinements have been made, especially by certain deep house crews and harder/weirder techno circles. Of course they've been accompanied by tons of shit, but the same could be said for any time in electronic history. One need only check the techno/house music bins to see endless 12"s from the 90's that stunk then and now. Whether this second ride on the merry-go-round does anything interesting for dance music's future is to be seen. In a world where it's easy to be cynical about the future, I have some hope for electronic music, at least.

  19. @PC, well yes "porn shop cheapies" gave them access to equipment, what made them popular was the stunning sound they produced and the imagination of the producers (something clearly the music industry lacked, criminally ignoring them). So if we are talking about access, then surely again, this is what the laptop does. Perhaps the internet is just one giant porn shop (haha, i mean obviously it is).

    But you seem to want to understand our relationship with technology, as you mentioned in the post. You might have to elucidate the point you are trying to make (sorry for my lack understanding). Is it anything more than saying some people use the machines, some people are used by the machines?

  20. on perlon, interesting that the next release is going right back to its very roots/core:

    [PERLON77] Markus Nikolai - Kiss Your Mind

  21. re: perlon

    the swerves have always been part of perlon; look at thé au harem d'archimède. it's far from the funky house of earlier catalog numbers, many considering it a stone cold classic, and yet i think three eps is its closest counterpart in the perlon discography. it's interesting that the next release is from nikolai, someone we haven't heard from in a very long time. despite perlon's branching out sonically, they are still what they've always been.

    warp is a sad story. it's certainly a giant leap from "surfing on sine waves" to the soul-crushingly boring grizzly bear, but so it goes. no one wants this to happen to their favorite label, but perlon has always offered forward-thinking and extremely reduced electronic music, and (i hope) they always will.

    and i think techno outsiders would, in some cases, be terrible, especially from indie. no indie band can be remotely considered as forward thinking as, say, our friends at perlon, save for the anomaly of animal collective, who are themselves massively indebted to techno. just look at the liner notes of panda bear's "person pitch", naming, first and foremost, basic channel, luomo, dettinger and wolfgang voigt as influences.

    as mi amigo steve says, shit releases are always going to be there, but house/techno always find a way to innovate.

  22. @minimill, shame you find Grizzly Bear so boring, I find them one of the few lights of the indie world, and was really impressed with them when I saw them live in the summer. A breathe of fresh air from genre of music that has mastered the art of posing, and is so historically self aware as to be incapable of moving forward. However I don't think I could ever forgive warp for that Newcastle band (I genuinely can't remember their name).

    One thing I don't get is Animal Collective. When I listen to them they come across as being confused as to what they want to be, I found their album a real slog.

    Techno and House like all art will remain exciting as long as it still attracts the sons of chance. Until the day they abandon it, I don't think we have much to worry about.

  23. Interesting discussion.... I think techno have not always something to do with innovation. Off course it’s always nice te be in front of new developements from a artist and label perspective. I think a lot of artist haven’t the proper time to produce music in that way it should be. Artists and Labels try to move from a hobby to a profession and based on that the release politics are strongly influenced of that approach. I read a interview in a German magazine some days ago about hyperdub. There was the statement from Steve Goodman. We are so successfully because we run the label as a semi profession or hobby and we finance the label through our several jobs we have in real life. Therefore we are able to release tracks which maybe not fit to the broader audience. This kind of label management (i would call it real independent) was 10 years ago standard. Today there are round about 80% of the so called techno labels professional labels. And this struggles release politics. !0 years ago there was 80% of the labels like hyperdub. So basically the problem has nothing to do with innovation.. it’s simply money. My personal opinion. Another thing which hit me personal is this kind of online stores. Just take look this week first page techno releases on beatport. For example.. Boxer075 is classified as techno release on Beatport. WTF has this release with techno to do ? Nothing but 80% of the crowd recognize and accept this classification and anchor this in here brains.. Yeah this is innovative techno. Great and cool music. A lot of people believe that... Affin another example, the imprint of Joachim Spieth´s Label.. I assume Joachim have made the decision to finance his life over affin in the future.. What the result.. 45 or 50 fucking bad releases in just 1/12 year… i can´t feel the soul of techno with this approach. That the problem in my opinion.. but there are always still some labels and artist around include ours :-) who focusing on good music not on money…

  24. I respect this blog and look for each update. Remarkable that there are people who are not too lazy to discuss the state of modern electronic music. In my opinion, the arguments of Perlon and OSLO is not talk about techno music, because in my understanding techno is always possible to distinguish from house music to the emotional content. Symbiosis of techno and house has reached its critical point, became mainstream and ceased to agitate the minds from nothing similar shape! He has outlived itself. and passing now are those producers who are working in favor of pure form (I mean not so much the sound as emotional). That is why it seems to me, house music (deep house) is now enjoying a rebirth. I mean artist's like Above Smoke or Anton Zap for example.

  25. my thoughts:

    sampling Detroit classics - have you ever heard of the genre called "bass" or "ghetto tech"? i guess you must not have, since they have made "fun" versions of many of those records for a number of years. and oddly, none of us "detroit fanboys" have any problem with that shit because those guys make killer music.

    all this indie talk is retarded. the Animal Collectve record sucks. that's the end of my engagement with that record. also "I mean, before the Strokes released Is This It, it seemed like game over for guitar music, no? But now the guitar kids have cottoned on…" really? all the shit after that album sucked too. misguided perceptions don't matter.

    laptops - i've said many times that the tools REALLY don't matter, but only in that you CAN make good music on anything. that doesn't mean that laptops are the BEST way to achieve good results. in fact, you can buy plenty of good gear that will give distinctive sound to your music for very cheap, spending way less than a laptop even if you choose to do it that way. of course, i don't see what the problem is with actually working to get something. the ability to just "have" it seems to make it matter less to many people, and that definitely has an effect on the final results.

    you guys basically blather on about all this nonsense complaining about how bad techno was this year, but for everyone i know who just loves good funky dance music, 2009 has been a banner year. and WE'RE the ones taking ourselves too seriously?!?!?!

  26. if you wanna see some srs business, i might start posting gmail chat conversations between Kenny and i on ISM.

  27. 2009 has been an awesome year for techno. best in ages.

  28. you know Chris, something you said in another comment is something i have argued:

    "where i mainly disagree with dave is i think he is stuck with an outdated vision of techno. i dont think it can always be future music. that was a vision context specific to its birth. i am not sure whether that can be maintained, at least to the degree he wants..."

    if you listen back to the earliest shit, it was mainly Juan Atkins who pushed the "futuristic" thing. and of course that was a result of much Kraftwerk influence, but i also think that the futurism was a big part in ELECTRO music in general as opposed to techno. just looking at the track titles of all the early Transmat, KMS, etc records, there isn't anything like Juan's futuristic vision. even if you extend it to Mills and UR, sure they did a bunch of space themed joints but they did plenty of other things as well.

    what people forget is that while techno owes Kraftwerk, it also owes disco, Chicago house, NYC/NJ garage, funk, and jazz music just as much. so i wouldn't even say that the futurism was a "vision context specfic to its birth" as much as it was ONE MAN'S vision, even if it was one of the most important guys in the genre. if you just like funky abstract electronic shit, 2009 was a bad motherfucker.

  29. @ pipecock: even if juan was its most obvious proponent, i'd say the futurism theme was larger than that. for starters, i'd say it has been a very constant theme throughout all of jeff mill's music, right through to today. also if you leave the states, with kraftwerk (and a lot of other groups from around that time), you do get that futurism. some of these themes come through in a really interesting documentary recently shown on bbc called 'synth britannia'. strongly recommended:

    i know you are going to probably disagree with those points, but the other thing i'd say is that futurism was broader than just a vision of translating a vision of the future into the music that was being made. it was broader than that, what was possible for techno was still very open and undefined, it was being created through the music. whereas now, i'd say techno has largely solidified as a genre. there will be developments, plenty of good music etc., but most of it will operate within existing boundaries and patterns, structures which were established during this earlier period. which has passed. and i doubt will be repeated. at least anytime soon.

  30. see, to me there is a huge separation between Kraftwerk, the stuff covered in Synth Brittania, and techno (though they are of course all related, and those things were influential on what happened in Detroit). you say that techno was "wide open" early on, but i'm not sure i agree. i don't know what is missing from Ron Hardy's edits and sets that would later pop up in techno or house. to me, that set the bar. everything else was just refinements on that template with bits of influence from other genres (electro, minimal composition, jazz, disco, soul, etc). Derrick May, one of the other primary innovators of techno says just about the same thing when discussing Hardy.

    in fact, i would also say that the electronic/dance genres that have gone on to REALLY push futurism as a main tenet of their philosophy have all crashed and burned in horrible ways: IDM, drum and bass, etc. i'm not saying that it didn't have a big influence in the beginning or techno, or that there wasn't an obvious string of related releases throughout the history of techno that have included futurism heavily. but i just don't think that it must be considered one of the main identifiers of the genre. there were way too many exceptions, all the way from the very beginning of the genre.

  31. It's an interesting discussion here no doubt, I've a few comments to add.

    I think part of the problem with techno is that it is seen as an ideal, something that is always pushing towards the new and that it is primarily venerated for that reason. I think a lot of this stems from the fact that, and whilst obvious, it does need saying, this is an extremely young genre, probably still finding its feet.

    Yes, we can talk about classic Detroit cuts from back in the day, but such discussions don't carry the same weight (yet) as say the idea we have in our minds of classic rock (for good or bad).

    If I could compare the state of techno to anything, it would be computer games. I think this is an extremely useful analogy, to me anyways!

    They both emerged at roughly the same time (let's not argue about this, they are in the same ballpark) and are arguably at similar levels of development and I believe, suffering from the same problems to an extent. In the early days of both, tools were limited so to stand out you had to do something new with them and make them sing in ways unimagined. Now both have a huge library of shortcuts, be it the Unreal Engine or Ableton plugins, resulting in a blockbuster culture centred around bombast over creative content to an extent.

    As loathe as I am to say this, both computer games and techno are in dire need of a shot up the arse and I believe this needs to come from the next equivalent of the 80's bedroom coders on their ZX Spectrums or whatever. Core skills that allow creativity to shine and an understanding how to build things from the ground up as opposed to merely coopting technology that leaves a large fingerprint over the end product.

    Finally, as an aside, I fucking love techno and coming from a metal/rock background, it's pretty much what I now listen to 90% of the time.

  32. I'd have to agree with a lot of what Pipecock says. While Kraftwerk and various other European electronic acts may have inspired an approach, techno and house was very much rooted in the already impressively vast and great history of Afro-American music that came before it. I just see the birth of house and techno as a new way of saying the same thing! I love the fact that a Delano Smith record and a deep jazz record from the 70s make me FEEL the same way, despite the fact that were made using vastly different instrumental approaches. There is something eternal in the music that connects it to other great music down through the years and the feeling it inspires doesn't die when the technology used to create it becomes outdated. After all, human experience doesn't change that much.

    I find a lot of reflective pieces on the scene on blogs and various websites to be like a techno version of a Carrie Bradshaw ramble. I'm always wary of this unerring desire for newness, as imo it amounts to little more than ADHD rather than any real progress. So much music that is self-consciously experimental sounds contrived and so often it's value is eroded as time moves on and it's "experimental" status compromised. I love to hear something that sounds fresh as much as anyone else and by this I mean something takes me somewhere different than other music I've heard and this is NOT tied to the technology used to make. It happens as often (actually probably more often) with old music I discover as new music.

  33. just a quick word: can we *please* steer conversation away from the issue about where techno came from. we've had that discussion here before, and i dont think there is much point revisiting it now. there are plenty of other ways we can take this discussion.

  34. @Chris I don't think anyone is trying to delve too deeply into the roots of techno mire. Its emergence is worth mentioning, to the extent that it has something to contribute to the argument surrounding its relationship to futurism/technology, which is the real debate here as far as I can tell. I don't see anything particularly controversial that has been said about its birth.

  35. @ pinker: yep, completely agree. my comment was a preemptive strike!

  36. @ Prologue and Adam F's first comment:

    I think professionalisation has been a death-force for creativity 'to some extent' - there is always a tension between love and commerce, but then the latter wins out and people become dependent on generating a living from making music, this makes 'making music' (and its attendant activities) a business model, subject to the imperatives of the capitalist market... this sense, a lot of the festivals, even the parties, are more like the showcases and industry expos of the inter-relatedcomputer/gaming/military/simulation industries... it becomes all about new instruments to be mobilised by an instrumentality.... that simply has groove-based electronic music as its audible by-product, no different to the sounds of explosions coming from the combat sim I hear my neighbour playing into at all hours...

    ...meanwhile though, 2009 has been such an incredibly fertile year for all kinds of new music, including Grizzly Bear, who have made something really great with Veckatimest. Yes, I agree with other commenters that AC's Merriweather is a bit of a listening chore, but there is real sonic invention and risk-taking there, as well a the full blossoming of Panda Bear's loop hodge podge from the other year.

    ...but to return to what is for me the crux: it is not technology, it is our relation to technology that is important.

    Unfortunately the only thing that is 'common' to this forum is LCD-mediated interfaces, networked computing, laptops... but I hope that we can, by seeing the tools as tools, not ends or ideals, try to retain critical passion, creativity, and not end up being 'a tool holding a tool' (tweet tweet)

  37. OK there's a lot of stuff here and don't really know where to start but i'll try to clarify some things.

    i really disliked the Portable and Guy Named Gerald perlon releases last year. I didn't dislike the releases themselves, i disliked them being on perlon because to me they didn't sound like perlon releases... and that's not because i wanted the old perlon sound, it's because i've always loved how perlon were constantly progressing but in their own way. it's like they were continuously pushing themselves towards this one ultimate sound or philosophy. You could throw on some key EPs from each year chronologically and hear some sort of constant thread in them. It's not that they were doing the same thing and therefore potentially getting stale (like kompakt/dial or minus) because it felt like they never settled on a particular sound. it's like they settled on a vision instead. To me perlon never needed to branch out by going in entirely new directions, they just needed to take further leaps forward within their own vision. but portable and guy called gerald sounded like they were outside their vision. then stuff like STL (who is my fave producer of 08/09 btw) was released on perlon and it didn't sound like perlon at all... it just sounded like a Something release on Perlon. Why not have it on the Something label? at least STL's smallville release didn't sound like Something. i have the same issues with the shackleton release too. why not have it on skull disco? As for the dygas, i actually quite like the A-side on it but the B-side is cheesy and not suited to the label imo.

    For me i felt that the Portable and Guy Called Gerald releases signalled the end of mnml. ok so maybe that's a bit over the top but i felt that at that stage perlon was the last large progressively-thinking label standing and those releases signified "yeah we don't really know what to do with our sound now... but in the meantime here's 2 random EPs we like!"

  38. alright now onto the rest of the discussion... chris is my best friend and he's a totally awesome guy and knows me really well... especially my music tastes as a lot of our friendship was centered around techno. he's quote here about me is pretty accurate:

    "where i mainly disagree with dave is i think he is stuck with an outdated vision of techno. i dont think it can always be future music. that was a vision context specific to its birth. i am not sure whether that can be maintained, at least to the degree he wants..."

    yep i totally agree with this. what a lot of this comes back to is my views on what techno actually is which is quite different to most people. but genre labels in general are always like this. i've always felt that techno has been a continuation of punk music. to my ears what guys like The Residents, Klause Schultz, Suicide and Raymond Scott were doing in the 70s was where techno started. or to be more accurate, it's a part of the techno equation that isn't given as much acknowledgment as the more obvious detroit/kraftwerk connections. and this is the part of techno which has always interested me more.

    My music listening background was split 50:50 between techno and indie in the 90s then towards the end of the late 90s i discovered warp which pretty much dominated my listening for a few years. then after that i moved on to Mego and more abstract electronic sounds. I can't really express why exactly but i've always been drawn to new sounds.... whether it be some new use of digital processing, analogue manipulation, electroacoustic... as long as it's new to me then there's a very good chance i'll like it. During my warp/mego phase i still listened to techno but it wasn't my fave. but then once i discovered minimal i was rapt because it combined techno with IDM. actually i've always seen minimal techno as post-idm. and by IDM i mean the early warp stuff (tricky disco, lfo, nightmares on wax) which was more dancefloor orientated. to me minimal had finally realised the initial vision warp had but then got sidetracked my more abstract sounds (autechre, aphex twin)

    So i can draw my own line of development/progression in electronic music (post punk --> techno --> idm --> mnml) and feel pretty disenchanted by techno and electronic music in general. as pipecock has said "if you just like funky abstract electronic shit, 2009 was a bad motherfucker." which could be kinda true for me. but just liking funky abstract shit is probably an over-simplification of my music tastes. I know many people really like 2009 so far and i can see why... there's been a lot of refining of sounds and revisiting stuff which was only explored briefly back in the early/mid 00s and further expanding on it. sandwell district is a good example of this... and yeah i can absolutely see how this can be exciting to some and i like it too to an extent but there needs to be some risk-taking to coincide with this! i just wish there were some groups of people pushing things forward and exploring new sounds while this refining is taking place.

    i totally don't buy the whole "constant evolution in techno isn't sustainable" argument at all. there's still much more to explore.

    anyways this is too long already so i'll stop here...

  39. oh and the new Animal Collective album is absolutely fantastic

    i'd say it's one of the best album of the 00s along with Brinkmann's first Klick album, Mu's "Afro Finger and Gel, Liar's "Drum's Not Dead" and ricardo's "Fizheuer Zieheuer"

  40. furthermore, there's much more stuff than animal collective coming from the indie scene which techno could draw some inspiration from. The XX have a great sound which draws equally from dubstep, indie and techno. then there's Dirty Projectors who's "Stillness is the move" which is the best piece of minimal funk in ages.

    Also, while i'm not sold on this whole "cool-wave" sound which indie circles are going nuts over, Washed Out seem to have some potential.

  41. @ dave. your last few posts are the most refreshing views in this thread for me (it would be nice to hear your thoughts on a more regular basis). i think my enthusiasm for 2009 techno may be greater than others owing to the fact that i was busy listening to warp and guitars when the last techno purple patch was in full swing. i cannot easily make the comparison to say that 2009 is not risk taking with respect to techno - it sounds very fresh and exciting to me. but the need for risk is an excellent point. i would say that the fusion of sounds between dubstep/grime/house/techno etc represents the 'riskier' end of the spectrum however, and has been a highlight of 2009 for me....definitely being propagated by 'groups of people pushing things forward and exploring new sounds'. do you think that the lack of innovation you comment on in techno is the result of artists making a conscious decision not to push things into unfamiliar territory, for fear of a lack of sales? maybe the recession has resulted in 'safer' output from labels? re: MPP, i think it's a fantastic album but having seen them live in the summer i have to say i was rather disappointed. in stark contrast, gang gang dance were on in support and were rather amazing. this thread has been exhausting but a very interesting read nonetheless! thanks a lot guys. oh yeah also, for me the perlon releases this year have been great (other than the san proper one). good music is good music and i am glad they released what they've released rather than releasing nothing because it didnt fit the idea of the perlon sound.

  42. @ jonnyp: some interesting points there... got me thinking, dave what do you think of the dubstep/grime stuff? what about joker and those guys? and labels like numbers?

    i'd also be interested in what you think of someone like shed. for me i think he is pretty much the best producer about at the moment, but i'm not sure how much he is advancing sound, as renovating it and using existing structures very, very well.

  43. Thanks for the discussion guys, although i can't say that i agree with the majority of what was said. I think that the influence from outsiders in techno is definitely going on at the moment, primarily in the interaction between the dubstep scene from UK and Berlin mnml and people like Scuba and Shackleton embody that. After years of same four-four there finally seems to be a new progression that is drawing on the wide variety of influences that techno was built on/with: dub, hip hop, funk, jazz (notice the influence of Afro culture).
    With regards to indie music, I don't think that there is much to be drawn from that. Basically it's dominated over the last 5 years and I'm fucking sick of seeing the same bands referencing the ground-breaking acts of the 60s/70s/80s. Animal Collective are widely held to be the saviours of contemporary music and Merriweather was a good album, but vastly overrated. Someone like Hudson Mohawke I find way more interesting in the way that he takes a hip-hop base but somehow manages to work in all this Prince funkiness and just total silliness of De La Soul-style skits.
    Laptops have their inherent problems, but I completely agree with the discussion that they are a democratic tool that gives a much wider group of people access to music making capabilities. Just make it with whatever you can get your hands on, as long as it's good.

  44. @Chris, I think Shed has taken things forward, and I think people like Tobias and Omar S have been and still are taking things forward. I feel the that the track "That Beats Everything", is very progressive, purely for its pure ballsy, honest and shameless attitude. This is what I would like techno to push further. I remember Tobias talking recently, and he said "the Kick", and that's pretty much it.

    I don't think Techno's form is what we need to look to for advancement, but rather the emotional response it can induce. And in that respect, I think it is just plain obvious that Techno has progressed over the past few years.

    I also think revolting against the machines won't be any sort of revolution, I think the machines have simply allowed us to distill our response to the 4/4 structure, and push it to it's extreme. What would it mean to be anti technology in techno? Would we use real drums to and body parts to create the same effect? I'm not sure, but I think this has been done.

    @n.maersk, democratic indeed. I think this is something people actually have a problem with. Perhaps they are right to. Democracy makes things massively chaotic, and also seems to produce a massive amount of shit. I guess it's how much you like to wade through it to get to the things shiny things.

    Animal Collective, far too aspirational for my liking, but I will give it a fair shot. Experimental it might be, but I just pick up Pet Sounds when I am looking for that.

  45. i think there's definitely something to be said about the influence on techno by dubstep. scuba's aesaunic EP is probably the best melding of the two i've heard

    that said, the arcadey space gamey angle that hyperdub has been taking doesn't really offer many options that i can tell. joker is cheeseball as hell. faltydl treads the line between jungle and dubstep really well, but the overwhelming bassline stuff is just a re-tread of drum and bass, surely

  46. scuba is definitely the future. if there was a techno noah's ark kind of situation, he's definitely one of the dudes going in the ark.

  47. @ Maersk and Oliver'd 'demos ex machina': what makes you think you're gonna get democracy out of a laptop?

    I mean: technology was supposed to save American capitalism from risk, to save the American military from casualities and fighting modern and pre-modern wars... it hasn't: GFC, Afghanistan/Iraq, and Richie Hawtin...

    ...'the people' are still the meat in the silicon sandwich... I dunno, it seems that, given the last decade (as the decade of networked computing's becoming nearly ubiquitous in the rich world) the onus is on you guys to explain how/why there is anything necessarily democratising/democratic about computing....

  48. Yeah, i guess looking beyond computing to technology, there is a democratic aspect to it. the thing that i find fascinating is that the iPhone has enough technology in it to have won the Cold War for either side. And this is what we carry in our pockets. Futhermore, its not just us. Even in the least developed parts of the world people now have mobile phones and satellite dishes, giving them access to participation and knowledge which was unthinkable even ten years ago. From the techno perspective, I think that PCs carry the same implications and that's what I'm referring to when I talk about the inherent 'democracy' in laptops. Where that leads is another story and will have positive as well as negative consequences...

  49. @ jonnyp: if you look at music in the past a recession has usually resulted in much more creative and progressive music so i'm not sure if it's recession related but it could be. "safer output from labels" could be a reason too but it's pretty cheap to put stuff out digitally or just get it heard on myspace, right?

    @ chris: Shed is absolutely awesome. He's probably my fave current techno producer along with STL. As for grime/dubstep, i loved grime back in the early 2000s but not so much recently. there's some great dubstep out there (particularly scuba and 2562) but while it feels structurally different i don't really get much new sounds out of it. that's not a criticism of dubstep btw, they are obviously doing some great stuff... i just wish there was something else as well.

    @ n.maersk: if computers are used as a democratic tool which give a wider group of people access to making music then we'll get the problem we currently have: too much music that sounds the same.

    @ Oliver: I personally think being anti-technology in techno would be fantastic. It wouldn't mean using real drums (99% of the time that sounds like absolute rubbish) it would mean using technology but not in conventional ways. also, it means not allowing the technology to dictate your sound. Which basically means: NO PRESETS! or at least no ableton presets. a laptop should be used as an instrument, not as a tool. there's many unique sounds that can only be made by a laptop... just look at artists Pita Rehberg and Hecker and what they were doing on the Mego label. That stuff is fantastic and a great use of a laptop.

    @ jack: glad to see someone say joker is cheesy. i really can't stand that guy!

    @ chris: yep i'd throw scuba in the ark but i can't think of many other techno people i'd put in there too :(

    @ PC: oh yeah i totally agree with you here

  50. i think my issues with computers is the way they are used as a "shortcut" or a cheaper option in music. yes i know computers give more people access to making music but it also makes it easier to make music and that's what i have a problem with.

    i love new sounds and a computer can make such a wide range of new fresh sounds... so why use presets that others have used already? or even worse, why use a computer to simulate other sounds or machines (909s 303s and so on...) doing this is just using a computer and a cheap and convenient tool for producing music. it's almost like the muzak you hear in department stores or elevators or karaoke boxes...

    that sort of thing just isn't interesting at all to me. if you want to use a drum machine sound then get a drum machine.... or if you want a digital sound then produce your own sounds from scratch. and don't use any sequencers or soft-synths. i know that is probably really difficult to do (i know i'd not be able to do it!) and that's probably where the problem is. hopefully in the future there will be some sort of new program which has much more flexibility... perhaps open-source coding?

    i think using a computer as an instrument instead of a tool would be a very "anti-technology" approach to music because it goes against what computers are trying to do... computers attempt to make life easier for people through automation of tasks. it makes things easier but takes the human element away from the process... this is all well and good for day-to-day activities but it's horrible for creativity. also, i've always felt that techno was all about man's relation to machines... for this to continue the human element needs to remain present in the music-production process.

    this probably isn't making sense anymore but what i'm trying to say is an "anti-technology" approach is exactly what techno needs and in many ways would be more aligned to the spirit of techno than what has been going on recently

  51. @PC - I was not really using the word "democracy" in a political or ideological sense. Rather I was using characteristics and nuances of the word to suggest laptops have given people greater opportunity to express themselves, and inform themselves about music listening, sharing and producing. Perhaps the word equaling would of been better.

    Beyond the field of music I have really no idea whether laptops have made people more democratic. I also at no point suggest that what laptops have done is purely a beneficial thing.

    American foreign policy, clean wars and home land security are not areas that I feel comfortable commenting on.

  52. @ recent comments re technos/demos:

    all that may be true, but you also get the CIA's predator drone program:

    (this article is really long, but really worth printing and reading over a cup of tea - or a beer, but it makes for 'sobering reading' and therefore might negate your beer)

    ...I'm not saying technology either/or, but both/and...

    ...and yes, to chime in with Dave's notion of instrument, I think it's the relation to technology that generates, in loop, the relations we build with technology.

    But the mindset and the relation we enter into it has to be the motor and the motivator...

    ...Dave: presets are bad, but what about The Presets :) ?

    ...seems like even 'giving people what they want' can be interesting, if it's done with some smarts/elan, no?

    The question, in terms of where it hits the road, is: is it boring? I went out on Friday to a big gig with big names, and it was BORING. No connection.

    A party, a mix, a set of connections, it should be HOT, or warm, not cool to cold... yet so much of the music of late is cool to the touch... partly this is an aesthetic choice, partly it's an anaesthetic effect...

  53. @Dave. What you say makes perfect sense, and I see how you mean, "anti-technology". Music production is as deep or shallow as want to make it. Luckily it is really rather easy to tell which is which.

    I could not agree more about no presets, I find it quite hard to believe anyone would ever be comfortable using them. However synthesis can be a terrifying thing, the science behind it is rather staggering. However nothing stops anyone from messing with a patch bay, or fiddling with A,D,S,R. I watch this kind of anti-technology everyday amongst fellow students, from all social backgrounds. It is raw, I can see how so much great music has been produced by this, in fact that kind of anti-technology has moved technology forward. Music hardware and software is constantly incorporating advances made by in such a fashion

    Still, I am also a firm believer in knowledge and a love of the technology, this in my eyes is what is necessary to take you to the next level. It can show the limits of the technology your using, and then show you how to break those limits.

  54. @Dave: "i think using a computer as an instrument instead of a tool would be a very "anti-technology" approach to music because it goes against what computers are trying to do..."

    you mean like this? :

    that's pretty anti-technology.

  55. all these comments make an interesting read. interestingly, what i get out of this is that "techno" is as enigmatic and alive as it ever was.

    a lot of this discussion is musicological (in some ways reflective of an older formalist considertion), and also rubs up against the post-modern dilemma.

    music, bound as it is in comforting nostalgia, has always been a little behind the curve, but I think what we are really seeing, and what is discussed in these comments, are the pluses and m_nuses of postmodernism

  56. As an aside, and probably to an extent the antithesis of what most of you believe and support, I just downloaded a fairly impressive application for the iphone called Technobox which has a 303/808/909 emulator in it.

    I know that it is never the same as using the real machines, but as someone looking to learn and get into producing music (I'm an apprentice solicitor and we get paid literally nothing until we qualify fully here in Ireland) it is a good means of learning some rudimentary basics and getting used to the idea of manipulating sounds in real time.

    My point is, it is also easy to be against technology and the democratisation of source materials but when it gives someone an opportunity to experiment which might not otherwise exist then I think that is valid. I just don't intend on polluting an already saturated internet with anything until I know it's good. Probably in 5 to 10 years!!!


Say something constructive, bitte. Or if you're gonna take a swipe, at least sharpen your nails.

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.