File spoon-archives/postanarchism.archive/postanarchism_2003/postanarchism.0307, message 70


Subject: Re: [postanarchism] Reynolds: "Mille Plateaux: The Rhizomatic Music of Frankfurt, Germany"
Date: Sun, 27 Jul 2003 12:16:15 -0400


I don't know; I always thought that Atari Teenage Riot and other digital
hardcore was pretty reminiscent of hardcore punk rock. But
I'm old (41) and a bit removed from the differences and fine nuances
within youth cultures. Maybe that's not a good excuse, since I'm
exactly the same age as this Szepanski character...  But I also live in the
U.S., which seems to be ironicaly techno illiterate.
>From what I can tell, the vast majority of the anarchos here (still) tend
toward different sub-genres of guitar punk or folk music.

I've tended more and more toward global techno and globally influenced Goth.
Maybe I'm just following in the footsteps of the hippies who got into World
Music once they reached middle age.  But I really like finding things
outside of the usual Western rhythms, structures and niches and hearing
sounds that transcend or even ignore the barriers between different cultures
and even different eras.

Anyway, yes, that was a fun article.


Richard

Common Wheel Collective:
http://www.geocities.com/thecommonwheel/journal.html
http://www.geocities.com/collectivebook


----- Original Message -----
From: dr.woooo <dr.woooo-AT-nomasters.org>
To: <postanarchism-AT-lists.village.virginia.edu>
Sent: Sunday, July 27, 2003 3:59 AM
Subject: Re: [postanarchism] Reynolds: "Mille Plateaux: The Rhizomatic Music
of Frankfurt, Germany"


>
> After a tough week at work it is great to listen to some dark-hardcore, or
> gabba. I always thought the rage and chaos of it was a good way to blast
out my
> frustrations. i was into it before 'politics' proper, ie. getting involved
in
> radical politics and the anarchism.  this was a fun read, and gives me
some
> artists to look up.
>
> thanks
>
>
> Quoting "J.M. Adams" <ringfingers-AT-yahoo.com>:
>
> > Mille Plateaux: The Rhizomatic Music of Frankfurt,
> > Germany
> >
> > by Simon Reynolds
> >
> > (taken without permission from the wire 146, april
> > 1996)
> >
> > By applying philosophical rigour to sonic disruption,
> > the German Mille Plateaux label has become a nexus for
> > resistant musicians such as Oval and Alec Empire. In
> > Frankfurt, Simon Reynolds makes the connections
> > between Teutonic hardcore, post-structuralist theory,
> > digital disobedience and hypermodern jazz
> >
> >
> > LOW THEORIES
> >
> > Frankfurt is simultaneously Germany's financial
> > capital and a longstanding centre of anti-capitalist
> > theory. Most famously, it gave the world the
> > 'Frankfurt School' of Walter Benjamin, Theodor Adorno,
> > Max Horkheimer et al: neo-Marxist thinkers who fled
> > Nazism and landed up in Southern California, where
> > their eyes and ears were affronted by the kitsch
> > outpoutings of Hollywood's dream-factory. Today, the
> > Frankfurt School is mostly remembered for its snooty
> > attitude towards popular culture, which it regarded as
> > the 20th century's opiate-of-the-people, a
> > soul-degrading inferior to High Modernism. Adorno in
> > particular has achieved a dubious immortality in the
> > Cultural Studies world, as an Aunt Sally figure
> > ritually bashed by academics as a prequel to their
> > semiotic readings of 'anti-hegemonic resistance'
> > encoded in Madonna videos and star trek.
> > There's no denying Adorno deserves derision for his
> > infamously suspect comments about the "eunuch-like
> > sound" of jazz, whose secret message was "give up your
> > masculinity, let yourself be castrated... and you will
> > be accepted into a fraternity which shares the mystery
> > of impotence with you". But in other respects Adorno's
> > critique of pop culture's role as safety valve and
> > social control is not so easily shrugged off. Witness
> > his remarks on the swing-inspired frenzy of the
> > 'jitterbug': "Their ecstasy is without content... It
> > has convulsive aspects reminiscent of St Vitus' dance
> > or the reflexes of mutilated animals." Adorno's
> > verdict on jitterbuggers - "merely to be carried away
> > by anything at all, to have something of their own,
> > compensates for their impoverished and barren
> > existence" - could easily be transposed to 90s rave
> > culture, which - from Happy Hardcore to Gabba to Goa
> > trance - is now as rigidly ritualised and conserative
> > as Heavy Metal.
> > The Frankfurt-based label Mille Plateaux shares
> > something of Adorno's oppositional attitude to mass
> > culture. For label boss Achim Szepanski, Germany's
> > rave industry - which dominates the pop mainstream -
> > is so institutionalised and regulated it verges on the
> > totalitarian. Adorno-style, he psychoanalyses Ecstasy
> > culture as "a metonymic search for mother- substitutes
> > - Ecstasy can be your new mommy". Alec Empire, a Mille
> > Plateaux solo artist and prime mover in his own
> > Berlin-based anti-rave scene Digital Hardcore, is more
> > blunt: "Rave is dead, it's boring! House is disco and
> > Techno is Progressive rock." As for Oval, Mille
> > Plateaux's 'star act', when asked about their
> > relationship to Techno, they seem astonished by the
> > question. "Relationship?!" they reply.
> >
> > Influenced by post-structuralist theory and named
> > after a gargantuan tract by French philosophers Gilles
> > Deleuze and Felix Guattari, Mille Plateaux release
> > deconstruction electronica. Situating their activity
> > both within and against the genre conventions of
> > post-rave styles like Intelligent Techno, House,
> > Jungle and TripHop, Mille Plateaux identify these
> > musics' premature closures and seize their missed
> > opportunities. The results may not offer the easy
> > satisfactions of less ambitious Techno labels/auteurs,
> > but they do constitute the most consistently
> > stimulating catalogue in the post-rave universe.
> > One January weekend, I met Szepanski at his Frankfurt
> > apartment, which doubles as HQ for his four labels
> > (Mille Plateaux, Force Inc., Riot Beats and Force Inc.
> > USA), and is located in the city's sleazy equivalent
> > to King's Cross (handy for trains, lots of junkies and
> > hookers). Having read his Deleuze-style press releases
> > (lots of references to "sound-streams" and
> > "disjunctive singularities") and conducted a
> > theory-dense e-mail conversation, I'm expecting a
> > rather severe individual. But over the course of the
> > weekend, Achim reveals some unexpected sides to his
> > character: a dry sense of humour, a soft spot for
> > plastic pop (he owns CDs by TLC and Kylie Minogue) and
> > an awesome talent for piss-artistry.
> > Plagued by a mystery ailment, he spends most of
> > Saturday sipping homeopathic remedies and complaining
> > that he's too ill to undertake a planned excursion to
> > see Chicago House DJ and Force Inc. artist Gene Farris
> > spin at a club in nearby Mainz. At midnight, he
> > decides he's just about up to it. For the first five
> > hours, Achim's spirits remain low, despite an alcohol
> > intake rate of three beers to my one. But by 6am and
> > beer number 12, Achim is flailing on the dancefloor,
> > enraptured by Farris's trippy set. Every few minutes,
> > he accosts someone to blearily proclaim: "Gene Farris
> > is the best House DJ in the world. I don't care, I
> > will tell anyone - Josh Wink, Laurent Garnier - to
> > their face: Farris is the best."
> > Now aged 35, Szepanski got involved in student
> > politics in the radical, post-1968 climate of the
> > mid-70s. He read Marx, flirted with Maoism, protested
> > about conditions in the German prison system. Later in
> > the decade he immersed himself in the post-punk
> > experimentalist scene alongside the likes of DAF,
> > playing in the Industrial group P16D4. In the 80s he
> > went back to college, watched the left die and got
> > very depressed, consoling himself with alcohol and the
> > misanthropic philosophy of Cioran.
> > Two late 80s breakthroughs pulled him out of the mire:
> > his encounter with the post-structuralist thought of
> > Foucault, Lyotard, Derrida, et al, and his excitement
> > about HipHop and House. While still working on a
> > doctorate about Foucault, he started the first
> > DJ-orientated record store in Frankfurt and founded
> > the Blackout label. By the early 90s Szepanski was
> > triping out to Deleuze and Guattari's A Thousand
> > Plateaus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia, a colossal
> > tome that Foucault hailed as "an introduction to the
> > non-fascist life".
> > For Achim, the experience was revelatory and
> > galvanising: Deleuze and Guattari's theories showed
> > him "that you don't have to be negative or sad if you
> > want to be militant, even if what you fight against is
> > very bad. The Frankfurt School and Marxism has a very
> > linear interpretation of history and a totalising view
> > of society, whereas Deleuze and Guattari say that
> > society is more than just the economy and the state,
> > it's a multitude of sub-systems and local struggles."
> > >From this notion, Achim conceived the strategy of
> > context-based subversion which informs his labels:
> > hard Techno and House with Force Inc., Electronica
> > with Mille Plateaux, Jungle with Riot Beats, TripHop
> > with the Electric Ladyland compilations. These
> > interventions are somewhere between parody and
> > riposte, demonstrating by deed, not discourse what
> > these genres could really be like if they lived up to
> > or exceeded their accompanying 'progressive' rhetoric.
> >
> > Founded in 1991, Force Inc. was initially influenced
> > by Detroit renegades Underground Resistance; not just
> > sonically, but by "their whole anti-corporate,
> > anti-commodification of dance stance". In its first
> > year, Force Inc.'s neo-Detroit/nouveau Acid sound had
> > a lot of impact. At the same time, the label was
> > involved in the underground party scene, organising
> > "guerrilla events at strange locations, without all
> > the tricks and special effects that get at normal
> > discos". But in 1992, as the Acid revival took off and
> > trance tedium took over, Force Inc. "made a radical
> > break", towards a breakbeat-oriented hardcore that was
> > a weird parallel to the proto-Jungle emerging in
> > Britain.
> > Szepanski and Force Inc. deserve respect for
> > recognizing so precociously the radicalism of the then
> > universally deplored 'Ardcore. They even loved the
> > much derided accelerated 'squeaky voice' tracks that
> > ruled in 1992.
> > "Maybe it was our peculiar warped interpretation, but
> > the sped-up vocals sounded like a serious attempt to
> > deconstruct some of the ideologies of pop- music. One
> > dimension to this was using voices like instruments or
> > noise, destroying the pop ideology that says that the
> > voice is the expression of the human subject."
> > And so Force Inc. embarked upon its own "abstract
> > Industrial take on UK breakbeat", mashing together
> > harsh sonorities and angelic samples over ultra-fast
> > breakbeats, as on Biochip C.'s marvellous "Hells
> > Bells", available on the recent Force Inc. anthology
> > Rauschen 10. Achim also licensed UK tracks such as
> > NRG's super-sentimental "I Need Your Lovin'" and
> > material by Force Mass Motion. "We did some great
> > parties, our DJ friend Sasha playing much faster than
> > the English DJs, at 200 bpm, using an altered Technics
> > [deck] cranked up to +40. At this velocity, it was
> > very abstract, coming at you like a sound wall. It
> > worked good for us but nobody else! We were very
> > isolated in Germany."
> >
> > In 1993-94 Szepanski watched aghast as rave went
> > overground in Germany, with "the return of melody, New
> > Age elements, insistently kitsch harmonies and
> > timbres". With this degeneration of the underground
> > sound came the consolidation of a German rave
> > establishment, centred around the party organisation
> > Mayday and its record label Low Spirit, acts such as
> > Westbam and Marusha, and the music channel Viva TV.
> > The charts were swamped with Low-Spirit pop-Tekno
> > smashes such as "Somewhere Over The Rainbow" and Tears
> > Don't Lie", based on tunes from musicals or German
> > folk music. And the alleged 'alternative' to this
> > dreck was moribund, middlebrow electro- trance music,
> > as represented by Frankfurt's own Sven Vaeth and his
> > Harthouse label.
> > For Achim, what happened to German rave illustrated
> > Deleuze and Guattari's concepts of
> > "deterritorialization" and "reterritorialisation".
> > Deterritorialisation is when a culture gets all fluxed
> > up - punk, early rave, Jungle - resulting in a
> > breakthrough into new aesthetic, social and cognitive
> > spaces. Reterritorialisation is the inevitable
> > stabilisation of chaos into a new order: the internal
> > emergence of style codes and orthodoxies, the external
> > co-optation of subcultural energy by the leisure
> > industry. Szepanski has a groovy German word for what
> > rave, once so liberating, turned into:
> > 'Freizeitknast', a 'pleasure-prison'. Regulated
> > experiences, punctual rapture, predictable music:
> > "Boring!" sneers Achim.
> > Would he go so far as to describe a kind of aesthetic
> > fascism at work in rave culture? "The techniques of
> > mass-mobilisation and crowd-consciousness have
> > similarities to fascism. Fascism was mobilising people
> > for the war-machines, rave is mobilising people for
> > pleasure-machines."
> > In 1994 Achim started Mille Plateaux. Just as Force
> > Inc. worked with and against the demands of the
> > dancefloor, Mille Plateaux is a kind of answer to
> > 'electronic listening music' and the Ambient boom.
> > Achim sees the label's output as the musical praxis to
> > Deleuzian theory, fleshing out concepts such as the
> > rhizome (a network of stems that are laterally
> > connected), which is opposed to hierarchical
> > root-systems (such as those found in trees). In music,
> > 'rhizomatic' equates with the Eno/dub idea of a
> > democracy of sounds, a dismantling of the normal
> > ranking of instruments in the mix (usually privileging
> > the voice or lead guitar). Instead, says Achim,
> > there's a "synthesisation of heterogeneous sounds and
> > material through a kind of composition that holds the
> > sound elements together without them losing their
> > heterogeneity". Anticipated by the fractal funk and
> > chaos-theorems of Can and early 70s Miles Davis (the
> > 'nobody solos, everybody solos' principle), rhizomatic
> > music today takes the form of DJ cut 'n' mix (at its
> > rare, daring best), avant garde HipHop and post-rock.
> > And the output of Mille Plateaux, of course.
> >
> > Another key Deleuze and Guattari trait shared by Mille
> > Plateaux is an interest in schizophrenic
> > consciousness. Achim talks of admiring darkside
> > hardcore for its "paranoia", and mourns the way Jungle
> > traded its vital madness for "serious" musicality.
> > "Since the 50s, in musique concrete, in Industrial
> > music, in Techno, one heard diverse noises, screaming,
> > creaking, hissing - all noises related more to
> > madness," he explains. "Echo-effects allow sound
> > hallucinations to occur, they delocalise the
> > perception apparatus, allowing forms of perception to
> > emerge that one had previously attributed to lunatics
> > or schizophrenics." For Achim, as for Deleuze and
> > Guattari, such sensory disorientation is valuable,
> > acting as a deconstruction of 'subjectivity'.
> > Last year Szepanski contacted Deleuze himself, sending
> > material by Oval and other Mille artists, and asking
> > if he'd write an essay for Achim's planned anthology
> > of techno theory, Maschinelle Strategeme. Thre great
> > man wrote back saying he couldn't do it, but gave his
> > blessing to the label, and said he particularly dug
> > Oval. "He even wrote about specific tracks!" exclaims
> > Achim. "Later, the German publisher of A Thousand
> > Plateaux told us this was really quite unusual, to get
> > such a letter."
> > Not long after, the terminally ill, 70 year old
> > Deleuze committed suicide. Szepanski immediately
> > organised the couble CD tribute In Memoriam Gilles
> > Deleuze. Featuring contributions from American
> > post-rockers Rome and Trans Am, DJ-philosopher Spooky,
> > a gaggle of Achim's old allies in the European
> > experimental music scene, and all the usual Mille
> > Plateaux- affiliated suspects (Oval, Mouse On Mars,
> > Cristian Vogel, Ian Pooley, Scanner, Gas, etc), In
> > Memoriam is probably the best thing the label has put
> > out yet. Stand-out tracks include the electroacoustic
> > jiggery-pokery of Alec-Empire's "Bon Voyage", the
> > musique concrete Jungle of Christophe Charles's
> > "Undirections/Continuum", and Rome's Cluster-like
> > drone mosaic "Intermodal".
> > The ubiquitous Jim O'Rourke also appears, and is
> > working on a sort of O'Rourke versus Mille Plateaux
> > remix project, using the entire Mille catalogue as
> > source material. Techno Animal may also be doing a
> > remix project based on the 'versus' concept, Techno
> > Animal Versus Reality, which will involve five guest
> > collaborators; material will be shuttled back and
> > forth between each artist and the group, eventually
> > resulting in ten versions of five tracks. And then
> > there's Oval, who are currently scheming their way
> > towards a sort of Listener versus Oval scenario: a
> > digital authoring system that will enable the punter
> > to make their own Oval records...
> >
> > Interviewing Oval is, shall we say, challenging. Their
> > methods are obscure, their theory fabulously rarefied,
> > their utterances marinated in irony. All that can be
> > safely said is that Oval's 'music' - however
> > irrelevant aesthetics might be to the trio - offers an
> > uncanny, seductive beauty of treacherous surfaces and
> > labyrinthine recesses.
> > Ironically, given Oval's polemical engagement with
> > digital culture, my encounter with the trio takes
> > place in one of Frankfurt's new cyber-cafes.
> > Immediately there are communication problems. Humble
> > enquiries about backgrounds and influences are met
> > with rolling of the eyes, sniggers, and "Next
> > question!" Tentative characterisations of their
> > activity are treated as a reduction or
> > misrepresentation of the Oval project. So what are
> > they trying to do?
> > Put as simply as possible, Oval is "not so much about
> > music as the technical implementation of notions of
> > music," says Markus Popp. "It's an effort in
> > sound-design rather than music with a capital M. The
> > main content of our effort is to have an audible
> > user-interface."
> > In nuts and bolts terms, this means fucking with the
> > hardware and software that organises and enables
> > today's post-rave Electronica. Most critical of these
> > technologies is MIDI (Musical Instrument Digital
> > Interface), which allows different pieces of equipment
> > to be co-ordinated like players in a group, or
> > instrumental 'voices' in an orchestra. For Oval, this
> > is precisely the problem. "MIDI is basically a
> > music-metaphor in itself, one that's so deplorably
> > dated. It's so constraining in every way, you have to
> > go beyond these protocols."
> > Despite, or rather because of, this technology's
> > reliance on "traditional music syntax and semantics",
> > Oval deliberately use the set-up, because their real
> > interest is in standardisation. Their first Mille
> > Plateaux release Systemisch, explains Sebastian
> > Oschatz, "was done with a very cheap MIDI set-up and a
> > borrowed copy of Aphex Twin's Selected Ambient Works
> > Vol II. This later turned out to be an Oval in-joke;
> > apparently, Richard James is one of many artists who
> > have claimed that Systemisch was based on their
> > material. "That album is composed of material that is
> > really old, and it got edited, layered and recombined
> > so many times, it's stupid to ask whose music is
> > this?" says Popp. "That is the only truly negligible
> > aspect in our music. Most of the CDs we used were
> > rented, and often they didn't have their covers!"
> > Getting back to MIDI or a sampler/sequencer software
> > such as Cubase (the power tool of choice for the
> > post-rave generation), Popp complains that "there is
> > so much determinism within these programs, working
> > with them involves so much compliance to principles
> > that are highly critical. In a social context these
> > technologies are mostly used in a contrlling way:
> > monitoring the workplace, worklace efficiency,
> > optimising the user-interface. On-line newsgroups are
> > full of people who e-mail back to the manufacturers
> > saying, "We'll need this, change that", and all of
> > this keeps them in front of their computers even
> > longer. Our way of dealing with this is to overcome
> > the manufacturer's distinction between 'features' and
> > 'bugs'.
> > Which brings us to the famous Oval deployment of
> > deliberately damaged CDs to generate the raw material
> > of their music: the glitches, skips and distressed
> > cyber-muzik that makes Systemisch and its sequel 94
> > Diskont so ear-boggling. The CD-thang is another
> > 'reduction' that irks Oval: "We did use CDs, but that
> > is neglectable, there are so many other things we
> > could have used... The important point was that the CD
> > player has no distinction if it's an error or a proper
> > part of the recording, it's just doing calculations,
> > algorithms."
> > This recalls Hendrix's aestheticisations of feedback,
> > a 'bug' or improper effect immanent in the electric
> > guitar but hitherto unexploited. Oval rejects terms
> > like 'sabotage' to describe the CD treatments and the
> > more esoteric forms of algorithmic mischief they wreak
> > within hardware. But they do use the word
> > "disobedience", which also has a frisson of
> > subversion, and talk, deconstruction-style, of
> > engaging in a kind of non-antagonistic dialogue with
> > corporate digital culture: Sony, IBM, Microsoft, et
> > al.
> >
> > Contradictions abound in Oval's own rhetoric. They
> > speak in almost punk 'anyone-can-do-it' terms of
> > deliberately keeping their activity at the "lowest
> > entry-level", of not wanting "to convey an image of
> > arcane technology and years of expert study in digital
> > signal processing and programming". Yet their
> > discourse is often absurdly forbidding and
> > user-unfriendly. Then there's the way they deny any
> > musical intentions, only to later come close to
> > characterising their project as an enrichment of
> > music. They talk of not wanting to produce a merely
> > "predictable outcome" of the hardware and software, of
> > wishing to "offensively suggest" the existence of
> > soundworlds "from 'outside' the digital domain", of
> > having invented a "completely new music-paradigm".
> > Says Popp, "Another aspect of what we wanted to
> > achieve musically is to generate a new kind of
> > perception. In the beginning, some labels sent back
> > the demo tapes because they said there's no music on
> > it!" In that respect, Oval's audio-mazes induce a
> > 'perceptual dissonance' akin to the Op Art of Bridget
> > Reilly, or the perspectival chaos of Escher. Sebastian
> > adds: "It works the other way: obvious mis-pressings
> > on the albums, or DAT dorp-outs on certain compilation
> > tracks, don't get spotted during the production
> > process!"
> > Future Oval projects include some kind of EP for Mille
> > Plateaux; the US release of Systemisch and Diskont,
> > accompanied by "exclusive material, possibly predating
> > Systemisch", via the ultra-cool label Table Of The
> > Elements; and an 'interactive' product designed in
> > collaboration with British computer boffin Richard
> > Ross.
> > "It's not exactly CD-ROM or hypertext," explains Popp.
> > "But it will involve guiding the user through some
> > kind of design-environment, and basically enabling
> > people to do Oval records themselves. The working
> > title is 'The Public Domain Project', and it will
> > involve a lot of work. We also want to investigate the
> > forthcoming video-disc; maybe there are ways to work
> > with the combination of optical and audio, new
> > potentials. And we are thinking about using the sounds
> > of data processing itself - the sounds the computer or
> > sampler generate when they calculate or process the
> > sound. There is always sound somewhere in the mixing
> > desk, when the stuff is stored or [screen]
> > window-boxes get closed or opened. We are thinking of
> > recording this because it is basically the sound of
> > the user-interface itself."
> >
> > At the other extreme from Oval's oblique strategies
> > lies Alec Empire's insurrectionary anarcho-Tekno.
> > Empire and the Ovalboys appear to have had some sort
> > of ideological rift, in fact. Popp refuses to comment,
> > but Empire makes a veiled jibe about Oval doing "their
> > music from this very intense theory, whereas I do it
> > not only from books but from what I feel."
> > An engaging fellow who's constantly laughing, usually
> > at his own utterances, Alec Empire divides his energy
> > between recording solo albums for Mille Plateaux (the
> > sombre Electronica of 1995's Low On Ice, the zany Sun
> > Ra meets Perez Prado avant EZ-listening of the new
> > Hypermodern Jazz 2000.5), and fostering the
> > Berlin-based Digital Hardcore scene. This two- pronged
> > campaign reflects Empire's interestingly jumbled
> > background. On one hand, he studied music theory for a
> > while and, unusually for a Techno artist, uses
> > notation when compsing his own music. On the other
> > hand, he was a breakdancer at the age of ten and
> > playing in a punk group by the time he was 12.
> > At the end of the 80s, Empire got swept up in Berlin's
> > underground party scene. Despite being anti-drugs
> > himself, he embraced Acid's cult of oblivion.
> > "For a lot of people at the Acid parties, it was about
> > escaping from reality. At the time it made sense,
> > politics seemed futile, with the Left dead, and even
> > the autonomists seeming like silly kids rioting for
> > fun."
> > The German scene quickly turned dark and nihilistic:
> > "People got into heroin and speed, there were parties
> > in East Berlin with this very hard Industrial Acid
> > sound, Underground Resistance and Plus 8, 150 bpm."
> > Influenced by the abstract militancy of Underground
> > Resistance, Empire formed the agit-Tekno group Atari
> > Teenage Riot. Atari signed to a major label, but were
> > dropped before they released an album. Wrecking a
> > recording studio's amplifier and running up huge cab
> > bills by stopping off at record stores, they were just
> > too much trouble.
> > By this point - the end of 93 - Alec had already
> > released around 15 EPs of solo material on Force Inc.
> > and other labels, including "Hunt Down The Nazis" and
> > "SuEcide". Meanwhile, he was experimenting with a
> > Germanic Jungle sound for Riot Beats, drawing on the
> > influence of UK 'darkside' tracks by Bizzy B and
> > Reinforced. Darkcore remains an influence on Digital
> > Hardcore, which is both a scene and a label (DHR).
> > "Our beats are fast and distorted, but the programming
> > is not as complex as the UK producers'".
> > Breakbeat appealed as both an antidote to Germanic
> > Techno's Aryan funklessness, and as a multicultural
> > statement. "I did "Hunt Down The Nazis" at a time when
> > skinheads were attacking immigrants. Then you'd
> > discover, talking about the attacks to people on the
> > rave scene, that a lot of people were quite racist. At
> > the Omen Club, Turkish kids were turned away for no
> > reason. There was quite a nationalistic aura to German
> > Techno: 'Now we are back on the map'. Mark Spoon from
> > Jam And Spoon made a comment on MTV, about how white
> > people had Techno and black people had HipHop, and
> > that's the way it should stay. One neo-Nazi magazine
> > even hailed trance Techno as proper German music."
> > Ironically, Empire now thinks that UK Jungle has
> > gotten too funky. "The energy is missing. Jungle is
> > just not forceful enough, and a whole night of it is
> > just too flat. The idea of mixing, of fading tracks
> > into each other smoothly, is over-rated. Pirate radio
> > was better before the DJs learned to mix properly. DJ
> > technique is like a guitarist who knows how to make a
> > really complicated guitar solo. A Stooges riff can
> > mean much more, with just three notes. If the energy's
> > not there, what's the point?"
> >
> > With its speedfreak tempos and brutalist noise
> > aesthetic, Digital Hardcore has less in comon with
> > Jungle than it does with that other descendant of
> > original 1991 pan-European hardcore: the terror-Gabba
> > and speedcore sounds of labels like PCP, Kotzaak,
> > Fischkopf, Cross Fade Entertainment, Praxis and
> > Gangstar Toons Industry (many of whom can be found on
> > the Empire- compiled Capital Noise Chapter 1 CD. DHR's
> > own acts, such as EC8OR, Moonraker, Killout Trash and
> > Sonic Subjunkies, mash up 200 bpm breaks, ultra-Gabba
> > riffs, thrash-metal guitar, Riot Grrrl shouting, and
> > lots of midfrequency noise. "In Techno, in Jungle, the
> > middle frequencies are taken out, it'ms all bass and
> > treble," says Alec. "But the middle frequencies are
> > the rock guitar frequencies, it'ms where the
> > aggression comes from."
> > As well as "boost the midrange, cut the bass", Digital
> > Hardcore's other key precepts are "tempo changes keep
> > it exciting" and "faceless Techno PAs are boring". At
> > their parties, DJs favour a crush-collision
> > mess-thetic of mixed up styles and bpms, and there are
> > always groups playing live. Instead of hypnotising the
> > listener into a headnodding stupor, Digital Hardcore
> > is meant to be a wake-up call.
> > So if rave is Heavy Metal (rowdy, stupefying) and
> > Electronica is Progressive rock (pseudo-spiritual,
> > contemplative), does that mean Digital Hardcore
> > (angry, speedy, noisy) is punk rock? "The only
> > similarity with punk is the frustration," says Alec.
> > "And that's also where our stuff differs from Mille
> > Plateaux: it's less theoretical, and perhaps more
> > negative. All the kids are into chaos and anarchy,
> > because nothing else seems to work.
> > "There's this foundation of musicians who used to play
> > at parties and have now been put out of business by
> > DJs: German Rock Musicians Against Techno, and we want
> > to join it." He pauses, then adds, "Just to take the
> > piss." Except I think he means it, man.
> >
> > ------------------------------------------------------------------------
> > Early 1996, a club in Meinz near Frankfurt, a
> > Vauxhall-Arches-style catacomb carved into the
> > concrete foundations of a bridge over the big river
> > (whose name I forget). That's where I fell in love
> > with house again, after a long period of thinking it
> > the lightweight option c.f. jungle. Accompanied by
> > Force Inc/Mille Plateaux boss and lager connoisseur
> > Achim Szepanski, I'd came to check out a set by
> > Chicago DJ Gene Farris of Relief/Casual/Force Inc
> > reknown. Helped by copious alcohol intake and a
> > contact high from the killer vibe in that murky
> > crowded cavern, a revelation began to unfold: just how
> > much fantastic music I'd missed out on through being
> > such a monomaniacal junglist patriot, and the extent
> > to which house had a rebirth of creativity in the
> > mid-Nineties after a long null lull of tribal tedium
> > and handbag hackwork. Farris played so much great
> > stuff--from early filter-house/disco cut-up stuff to
> > Relief-style nu-acid to stuff so techy, tracky and
> > abstrakkk it was essentially what we'd today call
> > micro-house. But if a single song can be said to have
> > opened my ears it was when Farris dropped "Flash" by
> > Green Velvet. When those double-time snares kicked in,
> > it was one of those whatdafuck?!?!?!?! see-the-light
> > moments.
> >

















   

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