May 18, 2005

A 1984 view of electronic music

A book from 1984
"The New Music"

This is a book published in Spain in 1984. The title is "The new music: from industrial to techno-pop", written by Adolfo Marín, who was closely related to the industrial scene in Spain at that time. Not a bad scene, by the way, with people like Aviador Dro, Macromassa and, of course, Esplendor Geométrico (whose music inspired Autechre at some point): the grandparents of Oscar Mulero and Cristian Varela.

The book traces the history of electronic music, from martenot-waves to krautrock to Depeche. The most interesting parts are interviews with Schulze, Schnitzler and Kraftwerk ("we are closer to electronic funk than to rock"). There are some things that look strange from a contemporary point of view. For instance, there is not a single mention to black artists (with the exception of M. Mooney, lead singer of Can before Suzuki joined the group) and there is little interest in rhythm. No Detroit, no House, no clubbing, no DJing (we are in 1984). The rock-and-roll model was unchallenged, even in avant-garde circles. At most, some artists laughed of that model (The Residents, Devo) but were actually trapped inside it.

The end of the book, after revisiting it last week, left me a bittersweet feeling. The latest pages are devoted to artists that promised a lot but delivered nothing. Many of them were de-technified or absorbed into the pop-rock circus. There was a depressing, dark, after-punk feeling in most of them. Others were stuck in a pretentious, pseudo-avant-garde junk (Laurie Anderson, my god!). No fun, no dance, few rhythm. It is clear to me that african-american people from the Great Lakes saved the day, but that history belongs to another book...

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Anonymous Christof Damian said...

nice one! just discovered your blog. there are just not enough good techno blogs and podcasts.

3:57 PM  

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