Re: Techno, ahem, Electronic Music

J de Lyser (
Sun, 12 Jan 1997 22:28:00 +0100

Guru George wrote:

> Speaking as a techno musician, of both house and drum&bass genres, I
> have to say that you are quite right about techno not being experimental
> in a sense. Modern techno music is a quite narrowly constrained genre.
> All the sounds, fx, etc., are designed with people in mind who are out of
> their trees on drugs. There is a selection pressure that comes from the
> dance floor, via the DJ, to the music-makers, that drives us to copy what
> other people are doing that works on the dance floor

There is experimental music in EVERY musical scene. If you don't look for
it, you're not going to find it.

Max M wrote:

>The techno scene died because of the popularity of the DJ's in the mid
>eighties. Ever since then it has been mostly dance thats been focused on.
>DJ's world view is so narrow minded. Techno could be so much more, and of
>course it will be again, but the last ten years has mostly been a musical
dead >zone. (with some exeptions.)

Ofcourse a DJ's view is focussed on making people dance. But what about the
phenomena of 'ambient DJ's' ? Don't forget that the popularity of the techno
'dance' scene has created a market for more alternative and experimental
varieties of the music as well. Before the mid eighties the world's leading
music style was american guitar rock, i think anything 'techno' today is an
improvement over that. The scene has just exploded, and it's harder to find
what you like, but it's there, and more of it.

>I find that it's a perfect example of what happens when technology makes it
too >easy for thousand of people with no imagination or nothing to say to
make >something that "sounds right" or seems like art.

Well then ? What is art ? Would you call Mozart art ? The simplicity of
Mozart's music is obvious, yet we refer to it as art. Who is to say what is
art, and what is not ?

Guru George wrote:

>The competition in techno music is FEROCIOUS.

It is. :)

>Mind you, I gather from some American friends of mine that the club scene
in >the States is only just now starting to catch on in the way it has been
going >here in the UK and the rest of Europe since the late 80s

Some of the first house records in '86, sold over a million copies in
chicago alone. But you are right, In the US, the scene has only recently
(the last two or three years) expanded beyond the north eastern large
cities. It's the largest potential market for the future (and what about
eastern europe ?), one where the the market still grows faster than the new

>As Vonnegut said, 90% of everything is crap, and there is indeed a lot of
crap >techno around, but it certainly isn't the artistic desert you seem to
think it >is.

Let's say 99% of techno is crap. 2000 new releases a month, that means 20
quality releases a month (by whatever standards you prefer to use). The
problem is even when you're a specialized DJ, you're only going to find
about 5 of those 20...

> Modern techno is music designed for people on drugs in a specific
environment, >and you won't understand it, or be able to appreciate it at
home on your hifi >or on the radio unless you have gotten into it in those
circumstances. That's >the reality, take it or leave it.)

This is a very narrow minded view as well, techno expanded beyond that long ago.
It has grown up to be a full musical style, with countless subgenres which
are not all 'tailor made' to suit drug crazed kids on raves of 50.000
people. It's true you have to have been there to understand the roots of the
music and the effects of it, and in most genres of house and techno, the
element remains, but techno is much more than just a 'soundtrack' to xtc or

J. de Lyser (DJ since '87, pro since '94)
-Weird Dream & Surreal Sound records
-DJ @ Cyber theatre, Brussels (ex-Fuse, Brussels, ex-Network, Brussels.)
-Techno producer (Mekanik, Phono UK)
-Ex-music journalist