Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Ripping it up and starting again.


This is dave the silent ssg... breaking his silence. I want to talk about several very encouraging and exciting trends that have been developing both within and outside of the the techno scene. Trends that point towards the development of a new sound which i'm calling, for lack of a better term, "Post Techno" .

I've always felt that there was a strong correlation between techno and punk music. Punk music arrived with a particular sound but also with philosophies and ideologies which were probably even more important than the sound itself (rebellion, anti-authoritarianism, individualism and so on...) Punk music at its peak was dangerous, unpredictable, unique and challenged its audience. The music was able to carry the core messages of the punk music movement which is what drove the scene. However, the music soon became formulaic, institutionalised and predictable. This resulted in the emergence of post punk.

Post punk took the punk music template and took it in new directions. Some of these directions were more subtle refinements of the punk sound (such as The Clash and Wire) while others were more drastic departures (Public Image Limited, Suicide) but the one common theme was a movement away from the core sound in order to either maintain or upgrade the original punk philosophies and ideologies. This transition from punk to post punk is well documented by Simon Reynolds in his book Rip It Up and Start Again and is well worth a read.

Techno, like punk, has ideologies and philosophies as well as a sound. Many people may not agree with me but i feel that the principle drive of techno is the relationship between man and machine as they work together to create new sounds. If i were to simplify techno history you can see the relationship between technology and man in two primary ways: Extracting the human from machines (Detroit) and extracting the machine from humans (Kraftwerk). Yes that's simplifying things quite a lot but you get the idea...

People continued to learn to extract more sounds from machines as well as create new machines (and software) as technology progressed. This kept techno progressing and developing which is why, save for a few lulls along the way, techno remained relevant and interesting for a prolonged period of time compared to other genres. As a core ideology of techno has always been man's relationship with machines and technology, techno would always progress as technology progressed.

This progression came to a halt in the mid 00s. By that time it was the laptop which was the tool of choice for techno producers... However, technology was starting to lose its relationship with people in a creative sense... Software had advanced to such a state where many of the processes that people would need to do in the production process was being performed by the machines themselves. New software had created a wedge between man and machine, thereby resulting in the core techno sound no longer serving its initial ideologies and philosophies. The man/machine was replaced with man/software/machine. I could no longer hear the human expressed through machines or the machine expressed humans... all I could hear was software.

I should point out that I'm not saying the laptop killed techno. A lot of the laptop driven minimal techno that came out initially is my favourite techno sound... Then there's the 90s IDM and early 00s Mego sounds which to this day remain probably my most loved eras of music. I am, however, suggesting that techno had for a long time failed to progress beyond its laptop love affair... which, for me at least, lead to its downfall. I good example of this, I feel, is Richie Hawtin's development. Initially, Richie's use of software was fascinating... He was expressing himself through the software, using technology to develop his sound and express his vision. However, around the time the Transitions mix came out, his sets started to lose any human quality at all. The software consumed Richie and we were left with hearing a relationship between Richie's software and machine, rather than Richie himself. It was a logical progression for him to make, and one i feel he shouldn't be criticized for making. However, a soon as this progression was made, his music was no longer serving the ideologies of techno. It was techno in form, but not in spirit.

So, what is this post techno sound I'm talking about? Like post punk, it's a return to the core ideologies of techno: man/machine music. Much of this music isn't for the club, and a lot of it isn't being produced by people within the techno scene. It's not always loyal to the traditional structures (or bpms) of techno, however, much like was the case in post punk, sometimes traditional sounds need to be either refined or torn up and thrown away to ensure the original core values of the genre are maintained.

As i mentioned before, technology is no longer advancing in a manner that can be used to make interesting music. So what post techno appears to be doing is looking at primitive technology and using that to create different sounds. Yes I'm aware that this has been done plenty of times before... the Chicago and Detroit sounds have been revisited countless times... as has acid techno. Post techno, however, is taking older gear and pushing them in new directions. They're also incorporating methods previously used in other genres (industrial, noise, electroacoustic, krautrock, drone) that haven't been used in techno before. Tellingly, many of the major players from this scene were previously from the aforementioned scenes and have crossed over.

Not only does post techno appear to be ignoring new technology, it almost appears to be flat-out rejecting it. In some cases very primitive gear, previously used well before techno was created, is used. Lo-fi recording methods are employed. Many releases are on cassette only and digital downloads are very rarely offered. This could be seen as rebelling against technology... however, i also see it as a form of asceticism, where luxuries that make producing music easier and more convenient are intentionally avoided in order to increase creativity. As has been discussed before, new software makes producing music easier than it used to be... however, this convenience comes at a price whereby creativity and risk taking are sacrificed as a result. That's probably why these new releases sound so exciting to me... they sound raw and unpredictable... they sound human and they sound like they have been made by machines played by humans. Machines as instruments, not as tools. While many of the releases are highly inappropriate for a club or for DJs in general, they sound like man-made machine music. and to me they sound more loyal to the original ideologies and philosophies of techno than anything else I've heard for several years.

So before i go through some of the releases and artists involved in this scene, it should be mentioned that I'm analysing the releases and scene from a techno perspective. As many of you are probably aware, most of these releases are from people and labels who have been operating in the cassette synth/drone scene for several years now. If you were to ask people from that scene, they'd probably perceive this new sound as just a natural progression within that scene... A progression where people already within the scene have moved from just flirting with techno to a fuller embracing. It could then be said that these techno-flavoured releases are just a temporary infatuation... one that will soon pass. However, i feel that the involvement of techno people suggest more than this. This isn't just simply "outsider techno." Also, it could be argued that the industrial and post punk influences of Sandwell District and Blackest Ever Black were early steps taken from within techno towards this new sound too. So there is more going on here than drone people embracing techno... While the drone/cassette crew have perhaps done more of the heavy lifting thus far, it could be fairly argued that there is a convergence between the drone and techno camps happening here. Also, if this sound catches on i think we'll find the amount of movement within the techno scene to grow rapidly. The Container album and his reportedly amazing live sets (check out youtube and you'll see what i mean) is already making significant waves within techno.

Regardless of what these releases mean (or don't mean) to techno, they're all really bloody good and and interesting. Some of you like new genre tags and movements... it can be interesting to analyse waves of releases and and classify them. However, some of you probably hate it too... and that's fair enough. If you fall into the latter camp, all i ask is to not let my theorising and ranting dissuade you from giving any of the below your attention.

OK so anyways... on to the music!


Container

Container's LP on Spectrum Spools is the most well known release in this list and the first to crossover into mainstream techno. While it's also quite closely aligned to traditional techno sounds, there is also an undeniable rawness which is why it feels very much to be a post techno release. Ren Schofield, the man behind Container, was previously recording under the drone alias "God Willing" and runs the cassette label I Just Live Here which has Container releases dating back to 2009. His label is also doing much to push this new scene forward with its "Fake Sound Routine" compilations containing many new artists producing these new sounds. The highly anticipated 2nd volume of Fake Sound Routine is currently available for sale at his website.

KPLR

These guys already have 9 releases since their debut last year. However, while I personally like all of the material I've heard from them i'd have to say that much of their earlier work is more akin to noise and industrial music than techno. However, of late they have taken a definite turn towards techno sounds and structures... Particularly on their recent EP (and first release on vinyl) "TEK NO MUZIK" and upcoming self-titled debut album.

I should point out that these guys are pretty abrasive, and their own PR releases point out that their music "is not techno music in any sense of the term." They describe their music as mechanised, minimal, repetitive acid. Going by my earlier definitions, I feel that such a description is as "techno" as you can get. KPLR make repetitive, machine music.... they push their gear, themselves and the listener to the limit. In that sense, I actually think they have a lot in common with Pansonic, who would also explore the boundaries of their machines. The one key difference however, was Pansonic were always very precise and disciplined with their compositions. Everything was always in its right place. KPLR, on the other hand, seem happy to push beyond that point where their machines will produce errors or imperfections. In the spirit of post techno, their sound is looser, unpredictable and raw.

The abrasiveness will be a turnoff to many, but what these guys are doing is absolutely brilliant and I'd place them as the best producers of 2011 so far. If you are up for the challenge, they are very much worth your time.

Carl Calm

This is an alias for one of the members of the popular drone group Caboladies and his self-released album "A Party Tide" is one of the best releases of the year. Like the other releases mentioned, this is quite raw and lacks the polish of mainstream. However, Carl Calm's sound does contain some traditional techno synth sounds and structures, making it a relatively easy listen. Despite the lack of a techno background, the limitations of sounds used, and the low-fi recording techniques, A Part Tide sounds confident, bursting with ideas and effortless. It's the kind of release that sounds fresh and inventive but at the same time like an obvious development that could have easily been done earlier. It's releases like this that show the potential benefits of people from outside of the techno scene producing techno. Their fresh, unbiased perspective allows them to see ways of development that those from within can't.

Diamond Catalog

Previously known as Expressway Yo-Yo Dieting, Diamond Catalog's debut LP "Magnified Pallette" is one of the highlights of the year... While this isn't the most unique release soundwise, (it almost sounds like a lost Basic Channel release) the LP's 2 long tracks are constantly mashed up, dissected, then reassembled in a way that is both disorientating and entrancing. It is a divisive release and it won't be for everyone but if you're feeling adventurous then i strongly recommend it. He also has more releases on the way, including a track on Container's label compilation, so it's someone you should keep an eye on.

Mark Lord

This is an alias of the man behind the experimental/noise group (noticing a pattern here?) Kites. His Mark Lord releases are heavily influenced by early industrial music and use primitive electronics and minimalism. You can purchase his latest cassette here:

Of all the artists on this list, Mark would be the one most closely aligned to post punk and industrial music. I'd say his sound owes more to punk and industrial than techno actually. However, techno and industrial has always had a lot of overlap... particularly in the early/mid 80s... which is the particular sound that Mark Lord is pushing. Much like KPLR, his sound feels like techno to me. The man/machine relationship is there and minimalism is employed.

Peter Rehberg

Better known as Pita, co-founder of the Mego label, Peter Rehberg allegedly first coined the phrase "Post Techno" in an interview back in the early 2000s when describing his DACM project. Although he has spent much of his time making drone music with Sunn O)))'s Stephen O'Malley of late, he did put out the Kubu/Zikir EP with snd's Mark Fell which and it's absolutely brilliant. While it's quite abstract, the use of loops and even a drum machine on the track Zikir (my fave track of the year so far), gives it a strong techno influence. Perhaps this release is the beginning of a return to Pita's post-techno sound? Even if it isn't, Peter's contributions to outsider techno can not be overstated.

Patten

Patten's GLAQJO XAACSSO is another great post-techno release. The way it effortlessly pulls together many influences is reminiscent of Carl Calm, only Patten's sound is busier and more glitched out. I've read some comparisons to Actress, which are not without merit but i don't think his sound is directly comparable with anyone else.

Vatican Shadow

Chris has already sung the praises of Prurient's alias and rightly so. While many of Vatican Shadow's influences vary from the rest of the artists on this list, its ties to noise, industrial and post punk is enough to justify a spot on this list.

Kassem Mosse

The reason why Kassem is on this list is not for his releases but for his label Ominira as he is, to my knowledge, the first established techno artist to attempt to crossover into this new scene. As I've already mentioned, much of this sound is coming from those outside of the techno scene. While this has its benefits, involvement by those inside the techno scene is required for this new sound to progress from a new trend to an actual techno movement which has a lasting influence.

Kassam has released a track on Ominira's "The Weekly Contract Events EP" under the alias Kareem Moser. I haven't heard this release myself but i have heard the EP by IMG_6502 which is a brilliant mix of industrial, techno, world music and god knows what else. By all reports, the other releases are just as good.

Jan Jelinek

Released under his Farben alias, "Xango" is another great post techno release. Interestingly, Xango contains the unpredictable, tilted sounds that the other mentioned releases have. However, Xango isn't raw or lacking in detail. As you'd expect, it's quite complicated and obviously the work of a very talented producer. These key differences shows what "techno insiders" can contribute to this new sound.

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I've discovered the above music in the past 2 months and most of it has come out in the second half of this year. This is all new, fresh and exciting music that deserves your attention. I'll apologise to readers who don't appreciate people tagging new genres to sounds all the time. I'm not doing that to try and be first in to place a label on something... i wouldn't expect anyone to use the tag post techno and nor should they feel the need too... the only reason why I've mentioned the term is in an attempt to take a look at what is currently happening in music and what appears to be on the horizon... I'm aware that I could be taking a snapshot of something and trying to make it out as something it isn't... but maybe... just maybe... we are witnessing the beginning of a new movement in techno. If we are then that's pretty fucking fantastic... and if we aren't then that's fine we can just enjoy the new sounds coming out. Either way, try to track some of this stuff down and give it a shot... it could be the best decision you make all year.

70 comments:

  1. It's Jan Jelinek. (You can delete this comment).

    cheers

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  2. It's "techno" mostly made by people who don't go to clubs and aren't sucked into using sounds that everyone else uses.

    In this age of access, distant isolation is what drives ubiquity. Dance music's homogeneity, even with previously undergound scenes that birthed Berghain et al, is now so overpowering that I think it's almost predictable that people will begin to make music like this.

    I happen to think most of it is not of a particularly high quality - it's sustained by internet memes, a ridiculously high output of material, rabidly enthusiastic shops like Boomkat and a nostalgic love of packaging and media that is acerbically utilised by labels. Actress was making this stuff 2 years ago and I can't really see it having much of a life beyond that.

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  3. Expressway Yo-Yo Dieting has got to be the best artist name in a while

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  4. Good article.

    I agree with a lot of it (and specifically with the album recs) but i'm not so sure about the statement

    ".. technology is no longer advancing in a manner that can be used to make interesting music."

    I think that while software has (in some cases) hit a bit of a creative wall (though people programming in MAX/MSP, or using creative tools like the Monome may disagree) creatively, hardware has responded with some amazing new voices - specifically I am thinking of all the people making modules that are allowing modular synth users to sculpt and twist sounds in ways we have never heard before. or for that matter a lot of the "boutique" instrument market, where people are making sequencers, oscillators, pedals, drum machines etc. that are pushing the boundaries

    though i suppose if hardware is viewed as "old" and software as "new" for the purposes of this discussion/article then I'm just supporting what you're saying anyways!

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  6. for DW:

    where do you place Keith Fullerton Whitman in all this, and to a lesser extent Hecker? Haven't they been doing 'post techno' for years?

    Second: Carl Calm sounds like early Mouse on Mars in parts and pieces. MoM, being uni kids with an arty, krauty, Joseph Beuys-in-Dusseldorf background, was already post-techno, no? In fact, wasn't MoM called that back in the day?

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  7. I definitely agree with Toby's assertion that a lot of this is techno made by non-clubbers. To be honest, this is not really my favorite vein of newer dance music made by traditionally non-dance artists (Blondes' Orbish deepness and 100% Silk's punk-funk-techno tend to be more my style) but I think it is hardly predictable nor a bad thing that these spinoffs/sidegenres exist. Dance music always does best when it incorporates a wide variety of outside influences! All these things mixing together is leading to a scene where experimental, dance, and all kinds of other styles all play a part. Since homogeniety seems to be the worst destination for dance music, this mix-up should keep things interesting for a while.

    That said, there is a lot of low quality results in these related genres, sometimes endearingly so but just as often plain old bad. But whatever, I'm happier with a wide variety of bad sounds as opposed to a million variations on one bad sound!

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  8. I'd concur roughly with what Toby and Pipecock are saying.

    It strikes me that 'outsider techno' may be a more appropriate label, but I can see how the analogy with post-punk is useful for the point you are making.

    Ekoplekz would be another good example, and one that has been pretty popular in 'crossing over', so to speak. Also I'd say Jamal Moss has been doing this stuff for a long time. And I am sure there are some other examples I could think of.

    But I do agree with your general point - it does seem like there are some interesting connections and linkages appearing. And it is not just with this more industrial / noise / machine side (for lack of a better description). I think you can also see it with the way artists involved in the new synth music scene are beginning to engage more directly with techno. So perhaps it might be more a case of the micro-scene of tapes, CDRs and mini-releases that has been happening mainly in the States really expanding and starting to interact and impact upon more contemporary / established techno. And vice-versa.

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  9. glad to see a lot of you liking the article!

    I think if we look at it purely from a sound perspective then yeah there are some similarities with actress and MoM. (actress/patten and carl calm/MoM in particular)

    i don't really feel that quality control is much of an issue but i can see why some others would. i honestly haven't heard anything that i'd describe as "bad" but then i'm always pretty forgiving as long as the artists involved are pushing for something new. i think pipecock's "endearingly bad" comment would be a good way of describing it. i'll always prefer failed experimentation over generic filler.

    however, there has been plenty of generic/bland synth wankery recently as well. but i think it's important to remember that a lot of this new stuff shouldn't be lumped in with the synth/drone scenes. there's similarities for sure, but they aren't one and the same. particularly container, diamond catalog and KPLR who couldn't be further from that sound.

    while i think the "outsider techno" tag would be appropriate for the moment, i'm hoping these outsiders can eventually engage with mainstream techno enough that they are no longer considered as such. also, hopefully people within the scene start to adopt many of these newer methods too. so while "outsider techno" would probably be the best current description, with any luck it won't be in future.

    bengood, i was aware of some new waves in hardware but it's not something i know a great deal about. do you have any recommendations in terms of artists/releases which are adopting this new gear?

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  10. I wonder sometimes about the effect on our listening caused by our urge to pigeonhole things. Don't get me wrong, I do it as much as anyone else. I think the urge to classify is usually the first reflexive reaction to hearing something, that urge to place the sound we hear within our knowledge and experience. But sometimes I think it may act as a barrier to a more straightforward act of simply hearing and feeling what's going on.

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  11. Some of the music is nice, but the term post-techno is..idk.

    I remember that first article I read about Pan Sonic (Panasonic then) in mid 90's labeled them as "post techno" act. Complete Autechre catalogue is kind of post techno / post rave thing, Mille Plateaux could also be labeled post techno, and to take thing even further, isn't Basic Channel essentially post-techno?

    Let's just hope it doesn't become genre, once that happened to "post-rock" it became ultimately dull and stale.

    I still think Jamal Moss' music is 10x more adventurous than this, and he's been doing it for years and years.

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  13. the punk well still hasn't dried up!

    but it's certainly not as though this is the first time electronic musicians have mined the underground for punk deposits! Really, industrial and postpunk have always been a part of the sound. the downwards sound, the birmingham sound, adam x/traversable wormhole... hell, Joey Beltram used to say he wanted to make Black Sabbath riffs in techno form. Ok, so that's 'metal' technically, perhaps, but the metal-punk-industrial continuum has never been a neat and tidy thing, now has it?

    Hell, the Berlin/Ostgut sound that borders on overexposure these days was kind of like injecting the industrial/'tekno'/ebm gene back into mnml... right?

    Ahhh and the hard-acid hardware-fetish re-emerging was all over in the bunker records, drop bass network, crusty sound of decades gone by as well! those guys were always already post-techno crust punks!

    up the techno-punks! techno for non clubbers is a fine thing indeed. nothing against clubs, but the undergound, diy vibe that many of us romanticize is a bit more alive in the punk/hardcore/noise circuits than dance music, at least in a lot of the U.S.

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  14. This article may also be tagged: 'A treatise in defense of writing treatises to defend the pigeon-holing of music genres from inside a closed loop.' Following the mnml ssgs model, anecdote and fuzzy conjecture has become the high-water mark of electronic music journalism...

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  15. Bengood's comment about gear is spot on. The Eurorack modular synth scene is getting huge and new and interesting modules are coming out all the time. It's a very exciting time for new analog (and digital) gear. Don't look to the old masters like Roland and Korg though. Look for names like MakeNoise, The Harvestan and Intellijel.

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  16. I've been interested in this style for a while, starting with Black Dice stuff like Load Blown, and I have to say I agree and disagree with some of the article.

    The appeal for me is definitely the attitude, but that really has more to do with the person than the technology. On the bad side of the noise-people-getting-into-techno scene, you just get people playing simpler instruments with an attitude that is as dumb or dumber than club music, or you get people who want to do this "techno" thing but have no sense of rhythm. I've seen a performance where someone trainwrecked, live, with gear that could have been synced via midi. It's not appealingly DIY, it's just boring.

    On the other side of things, laptop techno doesn't suck because software isn't developing, it sucks because nobody's trying to do anything new! If you restrict yourself to making simple drum machine music with something like Ableton, which can do way more, all the extra features turn into useless ornamentation rather than new possibilities. And if you make 20-year-old techno today, it's gonna appeal to a more boring, conformist crowd, because it's more familiar. That's why noise people don't like clubs.

    Some of these "post-techno" people are really good. I've seen Container and Mark Lord live recently and they both really have their shit together. Also that Mark Fell/Peter Rehberg single is great. But I'd be more excited if people focused on what is actually new musically, instead of trying to inject new attitude into an older form. I'm psyched about noise people who are using computers to really push things further, for example James Amoeba, or stuff like juke, or Mark Fell's solo stuff, which are much more of a breath of fresh air to me as far as the rhythms are concerned.

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  17. I'm just unclear what the chronological or aesthetic qualifications are for being lumped in here. You profess knowledge of the early 00s Mego scene which was moving in these directions for a long time before the mentioned artists. You mention Peter Rehberg, but only in relation to Mark Fell, who you don't call out by name but whose deconstructed techno (along with Actress') is certainly a major component of this scene. Rene Hell/Jeff Witscher would be another great reference point: his live shows are gnarled stabs at primitive techno with analog gear that come in pop-song size bursts (Witscher was hanging with the early Not Not Fun crew and other SoCal noise/drone outcasts before he signed to Type and got a nice haircut).

    Other 00s and earlier artists that prefigured the current scene were Yellow Swans, whose sound veered toward noise techno at times and there is the question of Keith Fullerton Whitman's place as another commenter astutely pointed out. Whitman crossed over from glitch "techno" to drone/avant over a decade ago and has been going very strong. You don't even mention Carlos Giffoni's No Fun Acid project which was an explicit attempt at linking noise and early techno aesthetic impulses. Perhaps it's more about the industrial sound, but then surely Factory Floor's boundary-pushing live instrumentation punk techno must be mentioned. There is certainly something happening, but this piece fails to create an artistic lineage or say much of substance beyond "here are some artists making good music in a vaguely defined genre." Which is fine. But invoking Simon Reynolds and the legacy of post-punk is pretty ballsy at the outset and there should be a bit more substance to these claims.

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  18. @ isothermal:

    where's your work, where's your countermodel, where's your solution? Links and thoughts and normative ideas, please...

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  19. Nice article for those of us who just have a toe in the water of the techno blog scene (as opposed to the party scene!) Thanks for the journalism, and the blog in general. It's one I keep coming back to.

    Your mixes often end up on my player to accompany my long distance runs. cheers.

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  20. Alright I’ll do the best I can to reply…

    Rhythm Method: Yeah I know what you mean about pigeonholing things. Personally, I don’t have a problem with it as long as it’s in moderation. I like to appreciate a release on its own terms initially then if it’s something I really connect with then I’ll start to analyse it in terms of how it fits in with the music scene in general, it’s influences, how it could influence others and so on… It’s at that point that I pigeonhole. There’s no particular purpose to doing this, it’s just what I like to do. However, come to think of it I also use genre-tags to decide if I should seek out particular music or not. It’s not the sole way I’ll choose what to listen to but it is one method I use. I guess that’s not so healthy.

    Umbe: Yes I know that the term post-techno has been used for IDM and pansonic before but I think that the kind of music I’m referring to on this occasion is a movement away from the techno sound in a different way to IDM/pansonic. In the 90s, techno was still in its state of constant progression. IDM, the clicks n cuts sound and basic channel, to me at least, were spin-offs to the core techno sound. Their roots were very closely aligned to proper techno initially (the bleep sound for IDM and the Sahko sound for pansonic/mika) then as they progressed they moved further and further away from the mainstream. The music I’m referring to feels like a conscious decision to tear down the common techno format and create something new. This is why I’ve referenced Simon Reynolds’ post punk theory…

    JAH: Yes you’re right that industrial and post punk have always had some relationship with techno. Agree with most of your mentioned labels/artists you’ve thrown in there but I don’t really know much about bunker/drop bass network/ crusty sound you mention. Do you have any recommendations from that sound? I’m going to add optimo to your list as well… their sets have shown the ties between techno and punk sound-wise for years now too.

    Linux_14: I’d really appreciate it if you could point me towards some artists who’ve released some work using this gear. I’m curious!

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  21. Skillet: Oh yeah I love that black dice album too… I wasn’t really into their latest one but have high hopes for their newie after the recent Eic Copeland solo stuff! You raise some good points… Perhaps it’s a bit overly simplistic to point the finger at the software and technology itself. I still think it is a factor and there does seem to be some correlation between the inventiveness of the music and the choice of gear/software which would support this. But I do see your point… I haven’t encountered any techno-noise that’s had the lack of rhythm you’re talking about but I can totally imagine such a thing happening… particularly live. As you can probably tell, I’m more into techno and its structures and forms rather than pure noise. Although it sounds like some of the artists you are mentioning may not be noise in the pure sense? Either way, I’ll try to check some of them out.

    Radio Free Burke: I actually totally agree that a lot of the artists you have mentioned can be classified as some form of post-techno. I’m sure we could all list dozens more on top of that too… but I wanted to limit the number of artists mentioned to keep the post at a manageable length. Also, I was trying to primarily focus on very recent artists who fit the Simon Reynold’s post-punk analogy. The artists were chosen to demonstrate this relationship and also to hopefully give them some exposure too. To clarify the Mego link for you, the reason why I mentioned Rehberg in particular is because he professed a love of techno and said his DACM project and some of his other releases were an attempt to create a post techno sound. If I were to expand on the Mego link I’d also include Farmersmanual (“No Backup” in particular) and others. I could go on and on about all the mego guys… I was trying to self-edit a bit! I haven’t heard rene hell’s live stuff but I have heard a Mandelbrot & Skyy live set that has that primitive techno sound you are talking about. Worth a mention for sure! I didn’t like what I heard of No Fun Acid to be honest… perhaps I should give it another go. I’ve never heard of Factory Floor before but your description sounds interesting. Will check that out… and thanks for mentioning Yellow Swans… I loved “Going Places” when I heard it last year but it had totally slipped my mind until now.

    Nans: Cheers :-)

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  22. and lastly, a reply about some commonly mentioned artists that should have been included:

    Mark Fell - I was actually going to write about him but decided that he didn't really fit the scope of the article... What I see Mark as doing is actually the opposite of what my mentioned artists are... Multistability and UL8 sound like they are taking techno sounds and using them in non-techno ways. The guys i was talking about are bringing non-techno sounds to techno. so it's the opposite in that regards. that's not to say teh mark fell stuff isn't any good though. i just felt that i couldn't mention him without going off into a whole new tangent which would make the post too long (much in the same way it's making this comment too long!) Hecker also did something similar on his album last year and it seems that Russell Haswell has a similar release on the way too... really looking forward to that one!

    Keith Fullerton Whitman - Seems like i've totally missed out on this guy... I have his Playthroughs and Lisbon albums and i assumed that he was still continuing down that road now. Seems that he isn't though and I have some new music to explore... yay!

    Jamal Moss - I was going to give him a mention but didn't get around to it. i guess i should have though... seems that he's pretty highly rated on here which is great to see! I don't, however, feel that his work makes the artists i've mentioned any less relevant though. He's doing his own thing and does it well but it's different to the kind of music I'm talking about. but yeah going by my definitions we could classify him as post-techno too. and he deserves a mention for sure.

    i really wish i mentioned night burger too... he's doing some great stuff. STL deserves a mention too! but as i said before, I wanted to limit the number of artists i chose. It wasn't my intention to coin and explicitly define a new genre, it was more to take a look at the landscape and identify a new movement taking place and show some examples of it.

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  23. Dave, there are older Yellow Swans releases that fit in with this sound better. Dreamed Yellow Swans is probably the closest, but I'd think of it more as a descendant of Al Jourgensen-style industrial than of techno. But Pete Swanson (the half of Yellow Swans that's currently releasing the most music) is certainly exploring this new area you're talking about: http://vimeo.com/30955092 http://vimeo.com/32264498

    One of my favorite older releases that made the noise/rave connection very explicitly is A.M.'s Rag Red Reverie from 2008, made by the guy that runs New Zealand's Pseudoarcana label. I can't think of anything else that's achieved such a satisfying mixture of the ever-building party side of dance music with the dangerously sloppy improv side of noise.

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  24. One interesting thing about Magnified Palette is that there is already a release with a bunch of remixes. None of the names I recognize from it come from the techno side of the street. So it's not only techno sounds that are being appropriated here, it's also the idea of remixing that's being used.

    It'll be great when this stuff starts showing up in mixes. There have been a number of mixes that use similar beatless stuff. The Gigli/Obtane RA mix, for example, starts with two Hospital Productions tracks and uses Shining Skull Breath, but ends up moving into more standard techno--nothing with any nonstandard beats.

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  25. @ PC re: "where's your work, where's your countermodel, where's your solution? Links and thoughts and normative ideas, please... "

    So, readers are not allowed to dislike a convoluted article without offering up more pseudo-intellectual nonsense in reply? You may have misunderstood the meaning of my original comment, my friend...

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  26. I'm with isothermal on this one. The great thing about techno and house are that they're broad. The process of reinvention is nothing new here. Why intellectualize why or how it's changing? Change IS techno.

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  27. @ isothermal and blawrence:

    Of course you are 'allowed' to do a range of things. I'm not trying to lay down the law, I'm trying to engage you here... What do you actually think?

    But in general: yes, my thinking is that it if you criticise, you have some responsibility offer a counter-position of substance or interest, either your own or one you think is worth chasing. Otherwise, what's the value of what you've said?

    As to what you have said:

    *that* is your analysis? 'Pseudo intellectual'? That's all you have to say? So I take it that things should be either: totally intellectual, or (more likely) totally not intellectual. Why? What would be the advantage of something totally not intellectual?

    This is a blog. It offers the perspectives of the people who write it. We're just people, not some authority. We put our thoughts out there, self authored and self-authorised. We don't ask permission but we don't hand it out or take it away, either... and one of the reasons that we blog is that we're passionate about music and interested in engaging with people about it.

    As I see it so far you have offered very little, and yet you give yourself the absolute right to just dismiss the thoughts of another person without engaging with them. I point this out not just to point the finger.

    To me this is indicative of one of the big problems with the internet.

    In my uncharitable moments, I have the thought that 'Reader' (consumer) knows best, right? Producer/creator/writer/blogger/critic whoever, well, they had just better uncritically serve up fresh content, or...? It's not a very good relation. We don't owe a service, because you haven't purchased anything. This isn't commodity exchange.

    At least Statler and Waldorf were funny.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=14njUwJUg1I

    I really mean it: I really want peopl to take the risk of putting themselves out there by saying something like DW has, something *positive* in the sense that you have actually posited, not just 'deposited' on our www.doormat...

    invitation is open...

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  28. i'm gonna stay out of the isothermal/pc debate... but seriously, i'd love to see isothermal reply to PC's point. not just for the sake of debate but because i'm interested to see his/her point of view on that...

    as for blawrence, i think you make an interesting point actually... why theorise/intellectualise? i honestly don't know... that's the way i approach music at times. i always have and always will... and it's not so i can make blog posts about it... this is my very first post on here or any other blog or publication or whatever. i love different genres of music and i find it fascinating how they interact and feed off each other and society. to each their own i guess!

    but anyways, the part of your post that i'm interesting in your "change IS techno" comment. i'm not sure if you read my post but the lack of change in techno recently was a key part to it. i haven't heard any significant change in techno for at least 5 years now... and any change has been very slight when compared to other scenes. however, maybe i'm missing out on something here? what change have you seen in techno recently? i'd love to hear some suggestions!

    djhubajube: thanks for the recs! will check out that other yellow swans, Rag Red Reverie and the RA mix. i'm keen to check out that diamond catalog remix pack too... that remix pack and the container compilation are really key in the progression of this scene imo... it's how newer artists get some exposure. so i'm hoping they are quality

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  33. @PC: I gave up trying to paste my reply into the comments section here (Google's draconian character limits), so I have posted my reply to yours comments at my blog:

    http://isothermal.blogspot.com/2011/11/mnml-ssgs-post-techno-and-blogging.html

    Apologies for all the deleted posts in the comments.

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  34. @ isothermal:

    thanks for taking the time to reply in substance.

    First of all, you are using language. This means you are theorising. And naming things. And using metaphors.

    In terms of intellectual, as one name, it was you who offered the hat. I don't think Dave wears hats, I've certainly never seen him wearing one like that.

    My question: you say that things have a 'root', that music has 'substance' - do you mean that literally? I've never seen them. Surely you mean this figuratively, and you are using language to do so (which means you are theorising, again).

    What gives you the right to name music in that way (holding you to the standard you hold DW to)?

    Do you think that it is wrongheaded to define the words we use to try to discuss music? Should I therefore just 'know' what you mean by 'root' and 'hat' and 'substance'?

    ~ I thought Jim Henson was a pretty creative guy, in spite of his fairly transparent strategies, both as puppeteer, and as language user.

    I never 'gave you homework', and how could I have 'read it out'? Seems like we are back in language. Whoops, we never got out...

    If this is commodity exchange, what was the commodity, and when did I/we sign the contract? You think that's what reading is? Now *this* is a tidy lil' system of thought...

    As I read what you are saying, you came over here from RA and browsed what Dave wrote, and passed comment. Does that give you rights? Without responsibilities? Sweet deal...

    Dave did offer a positive argument, full of contentions and examples. Read it again: as I interpret it, it is written in a speculative, chatty tone, very friendly, open and skeptical, not at all arrogant, and full of suggestions, heaps of suggestions, for good new music. Which has been added to by the many other thoughtful comments here.

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  35. @ PC: I posted, in good faith, a point-by-point answer to your challenge to "put something out there," and all you have to say is: "Language has its limits"?

    Well, I must agree, as you've said enough here to prove that this limit is a very real thing...

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  36. I'm looking for a traversable wormhole through which, on the other side, things are reversed. In this other world every forum/blog/chat conversation immutably and irreversibly gets ever more positive and glowing with each passing contribution until in the end they explode into a thousand shards of universal love.

    It says a lot about the importance of sitting face to face that when flesh and bone is replaced by dots on a screen peace, love and understanding are replaced by ire, scorn and opprobrium.

    May the road rise up to meet you. X

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  37. @ The Rhythm Method:

    "It says a lot about the importance of sitting face to face that when flesh and bone is replaced by dots on a screen peace, love and understanding are replaced by ire, scorn and opprobrium."

    - Surely you can think of plenty of instances where "face to face" discussion has resulted in far worse than ire, scorn, and opprobrium in the comment section of a news group. I've seen fist-fights over smaller things than music. Still, you paint a rosy picture, shards and all.

    - You may be confusing "love and understanding" for consensus, which is a sore point for most music fans who feel the need to defend their tastes, as if their favorite genre (pick any) was a delicate flower, and must be protected from the pesky neighborhood kids. (Note that the protectors are usually self-appointed, and become instantly defensive.)

    - Vitriol has its place in all good-natured discussion, as long as there is some truth to it. And I would never dream of censoring the vitriol of others, because there is usually wisdom to be found in the things that piss us off the most.

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  38. "As i mentioned before, technology is no longer advancing in a manner that can be used to make interesting music."

    that's just nonsense and simply not true. you just aren't paying attention or you are listening to the wrong things

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  39. Isothermal - pretty sure PC said a little more than just "words have their limits" i feel you're missing the point of (or refusing to engage with) his core argument. and Rhythm Method's too for that matter. but anyways thanks for your contribution to the discussion!

    Rhythm Method: Yeah that would be nice, eh? To be honest, i'm a little confused by some of the motives behind some of the comments... but then apparently it's the norm for techno forums and blogs. i'm pretty new to all this so it's a bit surprising.

    Steve: Fair enough, but why not suggest what you feel are the right things to listen to?

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  40. btw, i've asked some commenters for some suggestions of music that they feel shows progression with newer technology. this isn't some sort of challenge i'm issuing so then if the suggested music isn't up to my standards i can turn around and say "A HAH! Your suggestions suck! Your argument isn't valid now... I WIN!" I'm asking because there could be some really great music i can find :-)

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  41. "Fair enough, but why not suggest what you feel are the right things to listen to? "

    well, 'right' is a subjective thing.. just like 'good' but i'm sure that in whatever genres of music you listen to there are people putting in the effort with new technology but it's not 100% relevant except to this blog. the technology is only something that the nerdy types (like myself) and techy types and fellow producers think about. otherwise, everyone else just wants it to be good music to their ears.

    but if you want examples of what i think is good music these days being made with newer technology.. the obvious is richard devine (has a new EP coming out soon), phoenecia (their new album "Demissions" is incredible), autechre, si begg, subjex, funckarma, Plaid and the like. there is a lot of good music out there it's just harder to find because there is 1000 times more bad music out there.

    the technology is everywhere and being used alongside old gear and the people doing a good job of it make it all work in a seamless manner.

    and then there are the kids fascinated with everything 80s who just want a linn drum and the cheesiest sounding lead synth being fed by an arpeggiator so they can new wave all over themselves.

    the most interesting stuff, to my ears, is being done by people who have embraced the new and know how to use it.

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  42. also, it would be easy to split hairs and say that pretty much all music being made today is using modern technology since i'd say more than 90% of bands and producers are recording and mixing their projects on computers using modern software. some dive into this part of the process in an almost unhealthy way and obsess over all the details and others use the computer like a glorified tape machine... it's the rare few (relatively) who use an analog 8 track or 4 track.

    i know there is a bit of a backlash against technology but i think it's mostly a rejection of the 'being wired in/connected' all the time lifestyle more than the technology itself.. some people cannot distinguish between an internet addiction and embracing technology for art's sake.

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  43. Oh yeah i've heard of richard devine! I got one of his albums on warp about 10 years ago or so and assumed that he had just faded away but someone switched me on to him recently and i really love this vid of a live set he's done with Alessandro Cortini: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6U59o1vO3GQ I'll have to keep my eyes/ears peeled for his new stuff!

    Autechre are one of my all time fave groups but while i liked Oversteps and the EP after that I didn't think it sounded all that "new" or anything. Likewise with recent Plaid. I haven't heard the new phoenecia and i haven't listened to any si begg, subjex or funckarma to be honest. Will do some investigating!

    I agree that technology isn't the only important thing with music but i was isolating it in my post and relating it to my point of techno traditionally being seen as "future music" by many (including myself) and man's relationship with technology yet I wasn't hearing a lot of techno with new sounds and technology. Especially when compared to other eras. However, there is a new wave of music which seems to be abandoning the technology progression (and in many cases even rebelling against it) to make new sounds.

    That doesn't mean music without new sounds/technology is bad though... that wasn't my point... my point was that if there isn't at least a noticeable chunk of releases that are pushing things forward then techno's "future music" philosophy needs to be called into question. So i was questioning it...

    so going back to this quote:

    "there are people putting in the effort with new technology but it's not 100% relevant except to this blog"

    i'd like to change it to this:

    "there are people putting in the effort with new technology but it's not 100% relevant except to this post"

    My post isn't intended to be some absolute, all encompassing declaration of music as a whole... it's just taking a snapshot of some stuff that's going on now, trying to define what it is exactly, then try to explain why it's happening and what impact it can have on music in the future.

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  44. i like this point btw:

    "i know there is a bit of a backlash against technology but i think it's mostly a rejection of the 'being wired in/connected' all the time lifestyle more than the technology itself.. some people cannot distinguish between an internet addiction and embracing technology for art's sake."

    "embracing technology for art's sake" sure has potential and i'd be rapt to find any music that is doing this and making something interesting out of it... around the time Richie Hawtin was about to put out his Transitions mix i was all about the embracing of technology. I thought richie was really on to something and i couldn't wait to see what the mix would be like. Then there was Wighnomy Brothers / Robag doing great stuff... Cadenza, Perlon, Villalobos... all this really amazing stuff that seemed to be embracing technology and making it an art. what happened? :-(

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  45. just got round to reading all this. interesting stuff, thanks dave. I like your considered, open approach to responses on the posts too. be great to hear more from you on the blog!

    i have hunted for great music this year within the "post-techno" realm, but never found anything more than just good. (I'm going to listen to all the unknown recommendations though).

    Techno for me isn't moving, so I struggle with the term "post-techno" as it implies some sort of direct progression. i don't see the artists i know from your recs as being that closely closely related to what i call techno either. more music made in parallel, as previous posters said, it's mostly "techno" made by non clubbers. techno largely has to = club for me.

    also a very valid point from previous poster, it's interesting how much of this is pushed by boomkat with huge enthusiasm and such adept marketing skills that you feel that you HAVE to be on to something here. Only to give more of a listen and realise it isn't actually all that (sweeping generalisations here, yes). there seems to be just as much emphasis placed on an aesthetic with all this music, rather than just concentrating on making something that is really good to listen to.

    re@ post punk itself, i was listening to andy weatherall on bbc6 (GREAT set) last night & he and his guest briefly discussed how the post punk DIY ethic had been fully realised by 2011 with people able to put out anything they want. The debate being whether they would have been happy with the end result that we see today?! probably not eh.

    re: embracing technology. Well I would say:

    RYOJI IKEDA (thanks for the tip Chris)

    His Datamatics show was quite easily the most jaw droppingly good experience I have had in 2011. A full body information submission explosion that made me feel extremely hopeful for what can be done in the future.

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  46. This is an interesting article, and I will definitely check out some of the music mentioned, thanks!

    However, my disagreement with this piece is theoretical - you have chosen a personal definition of techno here that I'm not sure I agree with . I'm not by any means a particular techno head, and therefore consider myself a total outsider to theoretical positions on what techno "is" - so you'll have to tell me if your position is one that you feel is shared by a lot of people or not.. ;)

    Essentially this seems to be a rockist argument about the authenticity of one kind of music making over another - (humans + simple hardware) > (humans + software/complex hardware). Taking such a position seems to undermine "techno" as a whole - because the natural conclusion to such an argument is to simplify the machines used altogether, so that the most authentic kind of music is that made with traditional instrument technology.

    "Software" is a pretty flexible term here that can mean what you want it to mean. Humans and machines cannot interface on direct terms (as much as some of us would no doubt like them too! ;) ). There has to be a layer of communication and translation at the interface, this can be very simple like a step sequencer, or complex like ableton. Both though I would regard as kinds of "software". An 808 has more software than a drumkit.

    To me, techno has been more about teasing the humanity out of machines. In this light, you could the shift you describe of Hawtin towards hearing the relationship between his software and his machines as the ultimate techno process, generating sounds with minimal human intervention. Techno to me has always been a modernist pursuit, and the idea of only hearing software seems exciting and forward looking*. So to me, what Hawtin is doing certainly is techno in spirit. I'm reminded of Aphex Twin's comment about working on software to make the music for him, so he could spend more time in bed…

    It's important not to forget that both machines and software are created by humans, and any intentionality realised in them comes from humans, and the idea of machines and software having a relationship devoid of humanity is not really possible, although an exciting and laudable goal to strive for.

    Oh - and I agree with what everyone's said about techno really having to have at least a foot in the club…

    PS - What about Nisennenmondai..? :) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ozn-w2qX0P0


    * This is totally without reference to the sonic aesthetic of the music produced, it's possible for such "techno" to not sound like techno as people generally mean...

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  47. @ dave: "Isothermal - pretty sure PC said a little more than just "words have their limits" i feel you're missing the point of (or refusing to engage with) his core argument. and Rhythm Method's too for that matter. but anyways thanks for your contribution to the discussion!"

    Thanks, dave. It's good to hear your thoughts on all of this.

    You are lucky to have good friends here on this forum, but I must respectfully disagree with the words of your protectors.

    In response to my blog post/reply, PC offered only a first-year primer in language philosophy, apparently because he thought I was putting myself "above" language in daring to question the sanctity of this forum. (Even though I was careful to point out in my reply that I appreciate how difficult it is to relate musical experience and ideas in words.) He effectively talked past every point I made in my reply, even though I answered his previous questions, at length, point by point, in great detail. (At his request, no less.) I believed that the music at the heart of this debate deserved the time and energy in reply, but maybe I was wrong.

    (And, dave, I never did hear your impressions. A lot of what I posted was meant for you, too.)

    Then The Rhythm Method offered a utopic vision of people talking "face to face" and "loving and understanding each other," which are noble ideals, but far from the truth of human nature. I might point out that when these ideals are wrapped up in an attempt to be patronizing, it defeats the message. ("May the road rise up to meet you" indeed.) You need only turn on the news to see that people do not get on very well "face to face," and anybody who thinks the world ought to be run this way exclusively is a dangerous heretic.

    As far as I can tell, in the above the only thing put forward is "why can't we all be nice?," which apparently means making sure that:

    - all readers comments are in line with mnml ssgs
    - all outside opinion must be the talk of nutters and people who don't know techno

    All said, this dance has gone on long enough. At issue here originally was the quality of writing in the post-techno article. We can all become better writers, but I feel that this point has long since been passed in favor of the usual wounded defensiveness that underscores so much of what is said in comment sections when an "outsider" like myself joins in.

    (It's a tired story... First the whip chimes in, and then others take pot-shots from the sidelines, all of it with a whiff of "I'm part of this group, and you're not, so fuck you.")

    If you're looking only to create a safe-haven for like-minded sycophants at mnml ssgs, you're going to miss out on a lot. (Perhaps this is why technology seems to have reached a creative stop for you?) It's easy to find people that agree with us all the time, but I would suggest there is more value in a friend that has the balls to tell you when you're phoning it in. But not everybody agrees with this.

    If my original message was received poorly, or not clear, I apologize.

    Anyway. I never questioned the validity of what you have set out to do in writing the post-techno article above. I look forward to reading more of your stuff, because it is clear you love music, and your tastes speak to my own. And when I've posted more onto my own blog, I would invite you (and everybody else here) to drop by and sling mud, disagree absolutely, and take me to task, because I think debate is what makes writing and music so enjoyable. And I promise that you'll never hear me complain about being "nice."

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  48. @ tryptych: "To me, techno has been more about teasing the humanity out of machines."

    Spot on.

    (The same could be said of all creative mediums.)

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  49. Quickly... I'd like to throw Astral Social Club (Neil Campbell, ex Vibracathedral Orchestra) in the mix here. He's been doing this stuff for years. RA even reviewed an LP of his a few years back (which I was surprised, and happy to see on a site like RA).

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  50. Great read Dave!
    Funny thing is I have also been thinking quite a lot about the similarities in punk and techno.

    I love the music you described in your post and I have been listening and following a lot of this stuff over the last 6 months maybe and what I have learned from this is, that we need to transport a lot of this what you call "post-techno" back to "original" techno and also house.
    To finish this off with a quote:
    "Raw power honey just won't quit
    Raw power I can feel it
    Raw power baby can't be beat"

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  51. There's no way I can defend the purpose of what I was saying without entering into exactly the rigmarole to which I was offering a counterpoint. Look away now if you find good wishes patronising.

    There is nothing stronger in the world than gentleness.
    Han Suyin

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  52. @Dave -

    i guess i take issue with saying that those people who are 'rejecting' technology are actually doing something new. sure they are making (good?) music but they aren't exactly breaking new ground.


    the larger issue is that the technology future is now. techno and electronic music has been around for a while now. it's infiltrated other forms of music in many ways and music technology is present in everything just like technology is present in every day life. so, it's arguable, that the math just doesn't make sense anymore when saying that techno is the music of the future.

    regarding abandoning technology i think there is a larger cultural trend to examine there. there is a 'dropping out' happening in relation to modern life that i feel has to be incorporated into technology trends in art/music/film. but there is just as strong (stronger) a push by people embracing technology in every way.

    and one other thing.. i think the nature of the sounds and composition of the music is more relevant to the "music of the future" tag than the tools being used. it's easier than ever to throw down a 4/4 with some shuffled hi hats and plunky bass line but to put something together that sounds 'futuristic' i think the nature of the composition is just as important as the sounds.

    oh and that richard devine EP is gonna be on detund (detroit underground) and is due out in a month i think. i only mentioned si begg because i heard a track of his the other night that was bonkers in a good way. i think it was a remix. he's been around forever and has hit unpon every genre of electronic music at one time or another.

    i think an easy example of someone making good music with technology is jamie lidell. yes, there's a band but there's a lot more going on. go see him live. great show.

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  53. Nice article Dave.

    Some interesting music here - good and bad. I’m not fazed by genre semantics or the struggle for intellectual accuracy. I’ll leave that to those who care. But I do love ideas and there were quite a few in this piece.

    It also reminded me of the dichotomy (one that constantly disturbs me) of so much modern techno. That the artists ‘apparently’ taking techno forward are the ones using antiquated technology.

    I think Steve has covered a lot of this above and I am in full agreement with him. I don’t have too much more to add. But I do earnestly hope that techno will continue to progress as technology progresses. Otherwise it could forever be relegated to the dichotomy of ‘new’ creations using ‘old techniques’. How new can it really get?

    I hope the future of techno is in the future, not the past.

    Another example of a incredible artist using software very well is Ben Frost. His ‘Theory of Machines’ album came with the disclaimer: “Ben Frost uses software by Ableton and Native Instruments.”

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  54. MēM aka RYAN MILLER said...
    Personally, I don't think these sounds are 'post' anything. They're a throwback to the experimentalism that literally LINED every bin in my favorite techno shops throughout the 90's. Glad to hear these sounds inspire, but its nothing ''''NEW'''' (Holy Grail of hyper-consumerist DJ culture.) But hey, just an opinion from the Society of Spectacle.

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  55. Interesting thoughts on categorisation and being joined in to the cosmic consciousness here, it's a fascinating watch...

    http://www.ted.com/talks/lang/en/jill_bolte_taylor_s_powerful_stroke_of_insight.html

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  56. Hi all

    I'm back to respond to Dave's inquiry re: crusty acid + its punk-ness. (see my earlier post)

    here is an interview with Bunker Records owner Guy Tavares:
    http://www.zero-inch.com/blog/The_Bunker_Records_Story_gl03/14020

    the whole bunker catalog is stylistically relevant, especially the moebius unit stuff.

    there's a connection here between squatting lifestyles and truly underground parties, as well as a certain new-wave hardware fetishization (and/or low-budget minimalism) that's really 'punk'.

    the way the techno 'market' exists these days, stakes are too high, demand for perfect soundsystems is too high, the DIY approach can sometimes get a little buried-- not to say it doesn't exist, just that it is deeply underground.

    here is an example of the drop bass network sound:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eQh2zDFKD7g&feature=related


    also see the "Crusty Rave / Spiral Tribe" chapter in Simon Reynolds' classic Energy Flash (also called Generation Ecstasy in some distros, which I don't understand).

    But in general, I would say this 'punk' approach/aesthetic is related to getting 'bang for your buck', ie, squeezing lots of sound out of somewhat limited equipment. That is what Minor Threat/Fugazi frontman Ian Mackaye always said defined 'punk' for him, and I think it holds water even outside of punk/hardcore proper.

    A case could be made that the real underground circuit is (partially) a vestige of the punk/hardcore/alt/experimental/noise circuits that sprang up from the 70's-90's. (See 'Our Band Could Be Your Life', Michael Azzerad)

    To me this 'post techno' circuit we're discussing is something like a meeting of the underground, in which punks, noise-sters, and techno-folk meet up for smaller scaled, more DIY experiences in sound.

    And once you factor in the cross-pollination between punk, metal, house and industrial (with a sprinkling of dub and shoegaze) apparent when tracing career arcs of Justin Broadrick or Mick Harris (Napalm Death, Godflesh, Jesu, Scorn), or Genesis P Orridge (Throbbing Gristle, Psychic TV) you'll see that the dirty punx have always been pushing dance music forward.

    And we could also add the Kid606 bay area glitch sound to this discussion as well-- not techno, of course, but a great example of punk approaches informing electronic production, with a wide influence on later forms (mashups especially).

    As a reformed punk/hardcore kid, this has always been my point of entry to dance music. So I might take issue with calling the current wave 'post-techno', arguing that much of techno has always been post-punk, and that good electronic music has been benefiting from punk approaches for quite some time now-- but I'm perfectly content to just enjoy the tunes. Naming movements like this is like throwing jelly at a wall-- you just keep at it and see what sticks =)

    anyway-- up the technopunx.

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  57. Sorry about the delayed response guys, I’ve had a busy week!

    Jonnyp:

    Thanks for the compliment! I think it mostly comes down to taste really… Maybe a lot of this music isn’t for everyone but it does it for me. For me they are not closely linked with many aspects of techno but they are very much linked in terms of the man/machine philosophy of techno I’ve mentioned. But yes… not entirely linked in other ways… That’s why I’ve given it the “post” techno tag and related it to the post punk movement. Unlike post rock, post dubstep and other “post” genres, post punk was a rather violent rejection of many of the core principles of original punk ideals. It was done by people within the scene but also those outside of the scene… “outsider music” was embraced in the no-wave scene (which I lump in with post punk) and post punk bands like PiL who went as far as to make their band members learn a new instrument when they joined. (jah wobble used to be a guitarist but was made to play bass) Yes techno is linked to the club and ties with the club scene must always been maintained in some form. But maybe post techno could reject the club? Do all it can to distance themselves from it. I mean, what has club culture done for techno lately anyways? Surely techno doesn’t owe anything to clubs. That’s not to say techno as a whole should abandon clubs… such a thing would be ridiculous even to me! but a new counter-movement that does this… yes please sign me up! It would shake things up a bit and be a nice alternative to the mainstream sound. Interesting about the weatherall comment.

    You raise a really good point about boomkat though. Rather than open up that can of worms (it’s a pretty big topic afterall) All I’ll say for now is that yeah boomkat is perhaps getting a bit too influential for its own good but as long as you know you’re reading promo disguised as review then their site is worth a look at to keep up with what is going on. If you read one of their “reviews” and purchase based on that alone then there’s a danger there. But if you do some counter-googling afterwards then you can make an informed decision.

    I was a massive fan of Ryoji back in the late 90s right up until the early 00s but I feel his sound has stagnated a little since then. However I get the feeling this could be more to do with me. I should try to catch is live again soon to see if I can get back into him.

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  58. Tryptych:

    Yeah I totally get what you mean about your definition of techno. Good point about drum machines having software too… that’s something I hadn’t considered. I think it’s totally reasonable to argue that the relationship between hawtin’s software and his machines is techno in spirit too… but it doesn’t fit with my definition. Or… it just takes techno to an area that I don’t personally find interesting. Once techno is so software driven the human element gets lost and I don’t find it interesting anymore. Yes I agree that the human element must always be there but I want to feel that when I listen. I’ll check Nisennenmondai out thanks for the rec!


    Isothermal:

    PC isn’t protecting me… he just knows that the things you are debating, while interesting, aren’t the kind of things I engage with or relate to. PC and I have been friends long before mnmlssgs was born and he knows I’m a passionate guy about my music and will go on excited rants to whoever cares to listen about new music I love. He also knows that I tune out when debate moves towards the territory that you and PC have been discussing. Also, I like to defuse arguments and avoid debate! That’s why he stepped in and jousted with you. Not to protect me… probably because he knew he’d be a more entertaining opponent to you! :P

    I’m not a blogger (or at least I haven’t been previously,) I don’t read newsgroups much, RA or many sites that I feel you are commenting on and basing your critique of my post on. Your initial short comment seemed to be just as much of a critique on mnmlssgs than of my post in particular. Also, your comments about defining music being a form of navel gazing and my kind of writing being a way of a writer to “puff themselves up” just sounds really foreign to me. That doesn’t mean I’m dismissing your opinions… but I do think you’re thinking on this matter is just really different to mine.

    I love defining music and relating it to past movements and using that to track directions it heads off into. Not to blog about it and come across as intelligent about it or whatever… I’ve done this for as long as I can remember and most of the time I just keep these thoughts to myself. I think I just appreciate music in a different way to you… not in a better way, or an inferior way… just in a different way.

    You may disagree with such an approach and that’s totally fine. I’ve ranted to enough people to know that some hate defining music. However, are you really sure that my approach is such a bad thing? I mean, it’s not to your tastes at all and that’s totally understandable… However, does that truly mean that what I’m saying is wrong? I’m not trying to dismiss what you wrote as just me writing in a different style to what you like either… There’s a chance that maybe my writing is truly crap! I don’t know it’s hard for me to judge my own output in that way. However, your points, while interesting, just feel like they don’t apply to me personally… like you are thinking “oh man this dave is EXACTLY the kind of writer I hate. He’s doing _____ and _____ and ______! Grrr the nerve of him!” yet your assumptions about me are totally off base. Or this could be a defense mechanism on my part to deflect criticism! Anyways, hopefully this reply indicates that you have me pegged wrong. I am trying to engage here… and I’m not hiding behind people or trying to put myself out there as being above anyone or whatever. Feel free to elaborate or clarify or whatever...

    Let us know if you get your blog up and running!

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  59. BPP:

    Astral Social Club rings a bell but I don’ t think I’ve heard them before… I’ll add it to my list!

    (I really do have a list btw guys… a notepad file to be exact!)

    Max:
    Thanks Max! Yes absolutely we need some of this to be transported back into mainstream house and techno… even if it’s just a small amount. That’s what I’m really hoping happens out of all this… Also, it seems that there’s a backlash to the use of drum machines in the drone scene happening already! So we may only get another 2-3 months of this sound from the drone peeps before they move elsewhere.


    Steve:

    To my ears the stuff these guys are doing is some of the newest stuff I’ve heard in at least 2-3 years… it’s possible that that could be just because I’ve missed a whole bunch of earlier stuff which they are being inspired by but I don’t think that’s the case… Of course it’s possible though!

    I agree with your point about technology future being now… and therefore maybe we should say that techno is the music of the future. But this then goes back to the definition I gave to techno in my original post. I said techno should be future music to remain loyal to its core philosophy. Once it isn’t doing so then it is no longer techno in spirit. I admitted in my post that this isn’t a view everyone would share and that’s totally fair enough… let’s agree to disagree there.

    For me the nature of the sounds and composition of the music sounds stagnant. There hasn’t been progression there for quite a few years now. I definitely agree that the nature of the sounds is more important than the tools used… but because I couldn’t hear progression in sound I decided to try and explore why I wasn’t hearing such progression. My conclusion was that the tools used was the reason for this. It’s a simplistic view and yes I agree that people should be as much to blame but I chose to focus on the tools because the tools and methods of production used are the major difference between the mainstream techno scene and this new wave of music. It’s a simplistic view but one which I think is worth considering even if just for the sake of analysis.

    I’ve seen Jamie Lidell a few times now… but haven’t seen him for at least 5 years now… The first time I saw him was about a year before Multiply dropped and he was still mixing old super collider stuff into his sets. Amazing show. But, what advancements has he made lately? Of course he doesn’t NEED to advance anything if he doesn’t want to… he can do his own thing. However, I don’t think he can be used as an example of pushing things forward in 2011 and into the future. Thanks for the Richard devine info btw!

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  60. alright this is the final one for now!

    Luke:

    Glad you enjoyed the article! I like your point about the dichotomy of modern techno… I do, however, think that artists are taking techno forward if they use machines that have never been used in techno before… KPLR for example seem to use all kinds of vintage gear that dates back to the 70s and even earlier (one of their releases reminds me of some of the drum machines Raymond Scott was using in the 60s!) If these old machines introduce sounds into techno which haven’t been incorporated before then that’s some form of progression, right?

    I too hope techno progresses as technology progresses and techno can be music of the future. Perhaps that’s why I used the post techno tag. It’s an alternative to techno… not an improvement or upgrade… not techno 2.0… however, perhaps post techno can inspire more progression within mainstream techno.

    I’ve really given Ben Frost a good try but he wasn’t doing it for me at the time. But I’m due to give him another try so I’ll add him to my notepad file!

    Mem:
    I’d love to hear some of these 90s artists you’re speaking of! Feel free to throw some names out there.

    Rhythm Method:

    Enjoying your comments in here :-)
    Will check that vid out!

    j.a.h:
    Oh man thanks for all these links! Will check them all out later! It’s really good to get your perspective too with your punk/hardcore background. I like what you’re saying about the DIY parties too… maybe this really is partially a clubbing-backlash? I mean, there are enough techno fans who no longer like typical clubs… plus there are far less outdoor raves nowadays… there would be an audience for an anti-clubbing side-movement. Also, I get what you mean about the techno market being high stakes… but maybe the cassette movement has already started to erode that somewhat.

    Really like your theories on the meeting of the underground of all these scenes… I think it makes a lot of sense if you consider the sounds coming out and the anti-technology backlash steve and others have brought up. I’ve read Generation Ecstasy btw… really interesting read and perspective. Good to bring up kid606 too… I need to check out his “songs about fucking steve albini” album.

    Maybe you’re right about the post-punk sound always being an influence on techno… Anyways, up the technopunx!

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  61. @ dave: Thanks for your reply to my comments, and to everybody else's. Nobody can fault you for not tying up loose ends, or ignoring your readers.

    Speaking to your last, I would be an asshole if my only aim was to persuade writers not to write, or to shut down their ideas, no matter how much they differ from my own.

    All jousting with PC aside, I took issue with your article because your subjects were given secondary treatment, wrapped up in conjecture about a new or emerging genre which was, to me, just more talk from on high. Too often in writing about techno, writers elevate one artist over another, or fetishize gear, or worse, employ a combination of both in the service of their argument.

    The artists you named, and their stories, could have been better served, particularly where you are trying to get a handle on technology, and how people use it. This is where your argument fell apart for me.

    I put forward that writers should let their subject speak for itself, instead of trying to inject meaning into something that could be drawn out and defined in other, better ways. This is not simply a critique of writing style, but that any writer who simply riffs on a ideas, without speaking directly to his/her subject, is playing games. Some would even argue that it shows a lack of respect, depending on how elaborately the game is laid out.

    When writing about electronic music, a lot of people seem to equate technique -- in this case, "how we interact with machines and other mechanical systems" -- with creativity. I would argue that, in an ideal situation, one complements the other, and at the best of times, even the most seasoned electronic music producer, famous or otherwise, cannot pinpoint which aspect is taking center stage. Discovering bits of inspiration in our machines is one of the most enjoyable things about making electronic music. But at no point should we let machines guide us in this process.

    Nor should our music be pigeon-holed for using this or that machine to get sounds.

    When we set out to make music, we do not discern between technique and creativity, as in "now I am applying this or that technique to make post-techno," or "now I am being creative in the service of post-techno." As soon as we start to work this way, we set a trap for ourselves... Choosing instead of creating, or "naming things" instead of looking at the bigger picture. And you can hear the results of this thinking in a finished track, usually because it sounds like a genre exercise, not an inspired piece of music. I have been guilty of creating music like this, as I'm sure most of us have in the early stages of our craft. And sometimes we lapse in and out of this state, which most people call a "creative block."

    To give you an idea of technique and creativity at play, here is something for producers to think about:

    Remember the last time you came up with a great hook, or rhythm, or synth line? Or when a track suddenly gelled? At what point in in your work did this idea take shape? Did you discover this gem hiding behind other sounds, and tease it out over time? Did you sit down with the deliberate intention of creating this or that sound? Or did it come to you after hours of seemingly pointless tinkering? Sometimes when we set out to work on music, the good stuff comes bubbling to the surface immediately, and other times, the good stuff eludes us, no matter how hard we apply ourselves.

    I'm getting short on space here (comment character limits), but I hope that the above illustrates what I mean when I say that intellectualizing music is a trap, and that writing about music in this way is usually the hallmark of people who want to make grand pronouncements in defense of their own ideas, or "make rigid" something that does better when left on its own.

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  62. @isothermal: some good points undermined by a willingness to stray beyond critiquing the method into assumptions about the motivation.

    Criticism is the art of appraising others at one's own value.
    George Jean Nathan

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  63. @ The Rhythm Method said...

    "Criticism is the art of appraising others at one's own value. George Jean Nathan"

    Perhaps.

    On the other hand, dismissing others with quotes taken out of context from larger works is the art of petty reductionists.

    (I mention this only because this is the second time you've quoted some dusty old source, in an attempt to frame my argument as "just more crazy talk.")

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  64. Some people, if they found a fiver, would complain that it hardly bought anything any more.

    Anger is an acid that can do more harm to the vessel in which it is stored than to anything on which it is poured.
    Mark Twain

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  65. The Rhythm Method: "some good points undermined by a willingness to stray beyond critiquing the method into assumptions about the motivation."

    I would argue that method is informed by motivation, and vice versa, though it is charming that you have tried to neatly separate the two.

    Speaking of motivation, in this discussion you've done nothing but snipe from the sidelines, wielding The Quotes of Others like a club, in abbreviated bursts of smugness.

    I wonder if this extends to your idea of returning to the virtues of "face to face" communication? I can picture it now: droves of budding philosophers sitting in a lush arboretum, selecting and reciting heady quotes from leather-bound books, talking past their peers, who are engaged in the same blind recitation.

    But surely, if you can find these learned quotes in books, you can speak for yourself at length?

    Please, don't school me with quotes, and I promise not to do the same to you. It opens up a stalemate, wherein only the biggest library wins. "Mine is bigger than yours" does not apply to everything.

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  66. "Some people are so busy being serious and angry they can't see when someone is taking the mickey"

    The Rhythm Method

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  67. http://soundcloud.com/collin-mckelvey/long-load-truckers

    http://www.hardscrabbleamateurs.com/?p=270

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  68. Whenever you go and where ever you go. Be it the spa, a hotel or any-where else, its not the surrounding that gets inside you, it`s the inspirational music that plays with your mind and the environment around you..

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

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