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History of Rave Culture

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The idea that "techno usually has NO message, no image etc. it is

faceless" is certainly not one that is embraced by enough of a majority for it

to be considered an intrinsic property of techno itself, but rather an

indication of what Mr./Mrs./Ms. ALLES NAAR DE KLOTE is getting out of it. This

is an important distinction that needs to be made, I think, when discussing

exactly what the nature of the state of the "techno" art is.

I doubt that Mr./Mrs./Ms. ALLES NAAR DE KLOTE can concoct an example of

any kind of music that is utterly devoid of either "message" or "image" without

invoking a generalized (i.e. weak), Cageian definition of music; even then, an

argument that anything perceived as "music" could also be perceived as having a

"message" or "image" practically by definition could be made, for example, by

appealing to the analogy of humankind's search for the "meaning of life" or

something like Iannis Xenakis' remarks in _Formalized_Music_ about the tendency

of humans to impose a notion of order on random sequences.

The fact that a lingua franca has emerged in techno (for example, the

popularity of the TR-909, 303 bassline, the Juno-106) is ample evidence that

not only do techno songs have messages, but that these messages are strong

enough to have produced a set of musical styles. Techno is an effective form

of musical communication -- it has managed to get pretty far considering that

it can't easily be promoted on television (since it provides no MTV-suitable

visuals and half the fun comes from the fact that the DJ is an active

performer). As an aside, it might be my imagination, but it seems that techno

music is much more easily exchanged among different countries than is the case

with other popular styles, presumably because there isn't as much of a language

barrier as there is with more lyrically-based music (such as rap).

One of the triumphs of techno is a more thorough assimilation of

electronic music idioms into popular music than has heretofore been the case.

Synthesizers -- particularly the old Moog-style analog synthesizers -- are no

longer popularly regarded as "fake" or "foreign" or "unnatural" -- not becase

they have gotten good at reproducing acoustic musical instruments, but because

styles like techno came along and allowed these synthesizers (and synthesists)

to excel in their own context instead of being awkwardly grafted onto other

styles. I think that this phenomenon has accelerated in the last couple of

years, and I can point to three reasons:

1. Dance music is the most accessible format in which to do timbral

experimentation (which is what synthesizers currently do best, although the

emphases in computer music are shifting from "sound" design to "high-level

process" design now that computers have become powerful enough and friendly

enough to make such experimentation practical.

2. Audiences have grown accustomed to the sound of old Moog-style analog

synthesizers, so they are no longer novel but instead an essential part of

our modern musical language.

3. Electronic music synthesizers have historically been notoriously difficult

to control with any reasonable degree of subtlety. The availability of

(relatively) powerful and friendly computer interfaces (e.g. MIDI, computer

sequencers) is a new development that allows much more dextrous control of

synthesizers -- the interface has been improved, tedious tasks have become

less tedious, and the productivity of the synthesist has increased. This



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