April 28, 2005

Midnight Club 3 - A Detroit techno racing videogame

Buying a videogame just for the soundtrack? Yes. I think I will do it for first time, even when I am not a fan of racing games (I don't dislike them, anyway). The game in question is "Midnight Club 3 Dub Edition", which appears to be a decent street racing game according to gamespot. The company behind the game is Rockstar Games, creators of Grand Theft Auto series.

The important thing for us is that the streets in the game are actual streets from Detroit and the music is, of course, Detroit techno, featuring artists like Mad Mike. A recent article in Detroit Free Press tells us more about the story and about the people behind it. All music is from the Submerge label and you can check the "tracklist" here.

According to that article, "Terry Donovan, the CEO of Rockstar Games, was an electronic DJ before he helped found the company in 1998, working at clubs like Berlin's Tresor and the House of God in Britain. He says he's been a fan of Underground Resistance for years". Terry, if this is true, why did you include so few techno tracks in GTA: San Andreas?

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mp3 at Tresor cheaper than iTunes store !

Yes, after paying around 9.9 € for album (from artists like Drexciya, Dj T-1000, Jeff Mills, etc.) I have now realized that those same albums can be downloaded from the Tresor store by less than 5 €. I don't want to even think how much I would have saved...

So, beware, techno fans worldwide !
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April 26, 2005

Some books about techno

Some books about the history of techno that I intend to read.

This is the Bible of (american) techno. The author has a blog. "Techno Rebels: The Renegades of Electronic Funk" (Dan Sicko)

An european view by L. Garnier. Looks very appealing, but it's in french: "Electrochoc" (Laurent Garnier, David Brun-Lambert)

A guide to techno: "The Rough Guide to Techno" (Tim Barr, Tim Barr)

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April 22, 2005

pics & tracks: Jeff Mills - Changes of life

20030525 Toronto 150
Originally uploaded by gakout.
Click to listen: Changes of Life

Techno can be very visual... This is the first of a series of posts that put together a track with a photo, so that they both fit together and reference, or suggest, each other (IMO).
The pics come from flickr. The tracks come from the USA iTunes Music Store, so you can listen it just by clicking the iTunes button above.

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April 18, 2005

Democratization of dance

I don't belong to the "techno generation" but to the "travolta generation" instead. I am happy to see that dancing has been democratized. This was not the case some years ago. My generation had too many issues and prejudices with regard to "dancing good" or "dancing bad".

What was dancing for most of us? Simply stated, it was an exhibition act performed mainly in nightclubs where the first goal was to attract people from the opposite sex. You danced for the others. "To observe and be observed". Generally speaking, dancing was for those gifted people or for those with enough will to learn the "steps" of a particular style. Normally, class, sex and race differences came into play at the time of dancing according to one style or another. Attitude prevailed. PLUR was just unconceivable. That was plain stupid, as attitude only leads to boredom, envy and bad feelings. Combined with alcohol, attitude is the worse drug ever.

Was it some kind of "aristocratic" dance culture? Yes. But a (peaceful) French Revolution was taking shape, thanks to the rave movement and to electronic dance music. At the raves (or "fiestas", as called in Spain) or techo-dance-house clubs, nobody gave a sh*t about how others dance. Now, there is no more "dancing good" or "dancing bad". No more "look at me" or "look at that guy". The point now is to completely submerge your head into the music and enjoy each beat, with your mind, with your soul and with your body. It is, at last, a true dionysian and liberating experience, like it should have always been. Exactly the opposite to what I experienced around the 80's.

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April 14, 2005

Richie Hawtin promises more DE9

In a bizarre article about the Berlin scene, published at Metro Times Detroit, that you can read here, it is said that "Hawtin's next mix-CD project promises to triple the content of 2001's DE9: Closer to the Edit, on which Hawtin reinterpreted and recast 70 tracks into a 53-minute mix."

This is clearly good news for those of us who loved DE9, a true masterpiece of cut-and-paste. When I was a kid and played with tapes and records and voices and re-records, what I was actually trying to achieve was something like DE9, only without Hawtin's genius.

There are also other nice quotes: "There's no me there anymore. It's not important for me to control anything. There's nothing conscious about it. There's no ego in it." Also, it is said that "he'll be working with his friend Ricardo Villalobos on several remixes of Depeche Mode, a band that both call "bigger than the Beatles" for tech-generation kids."

If you wonder about the "Detroit-Berlin" thing he points that: "Both Detroit and Berlin have people with an incredibly strong will to survive," he says. "Out of decay and pain comes this strength; you see it in both cities. You put (the music) out there, and it's like there's nothing they can't understand."
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April 12, 2005

Derrick May: saving the world from bad music

Originally uploaded by sneak.
Here he is, the man himself. Look at the phrase behind. I completely agree ! Just read my previous posts here.

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April 10, 2005

DJ's killed the rock star

I am completely sick of the “song” format. I can’t stand another chorus-verse-chorus-verse-etc. (in spanish: odio los estribillos!). Enough is enough. Luckily, since I get into electronic music I have been freed from such a static, boring and recurrent structure. This is one of the reasons I am so happy with this music: structure is free, completely free. And a DJ can even rise this freedom to a higher degree, if his mixing skills are up to the task. I will post many other reasons why I love e-music later in this blog.

People into e-music never use the word “song”. They talk about producing “tracks” or just "productions", which is, IMO, a more humble and realistic concept. Absolute lack of pretentiousness. They never say “I write songs”; they say “I produce tracks”. And the main purpose of a track is not to be remembered for the next ages to come: they come to live when they are mixed with other tracks. Tracks, unlike songs, are not ends in itself. The value of a track is given by other tracks that act as context. My value as an individual is given by my social network...

Of course, this is closely related to the lack of attitude and the lack of cult to personality that is so surprising in electronic dance music, and that I absolutely LOVE. Electronic artists (DJs, producers) are hard workers that do not pursue stardom at all cost. The audience of a DJ just wants to have FUN, and does not care about their favorite drinks or about the shirt they wear or about their opinion on animal rights or about how many instruments broke on stage or about flying pigs on the shows or about their last problems in court or about their last marriage or about their haircut or about how many drugs take per day or about how nihilist they are or about how cool is the way they hold the micro or about...

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April 08, 2005

Browse tags at a glance with OmniWeb

With OmniWeb you can create wonderful shortcuts for browsing Technorati tags at a glance. Just go to Preferences, Shortcuts and create a new shortcut (clicking +). Name it, for example, technorati and use tag@ for the keyword. In the URL write: http://www.technorati.com/tag/%@

It's done. Now, if you want, for example, browse the "music" tag just go to the addres bar and type "tag music", as you would do with a normal URL. You will be taken to the technorati page http://www.technorati.com/tag/music. Want to see what's going on with "mac"? Just write "tag mac"...

It works because the @ in the keyword tells omniweb that a parameter will follow the keyword ("music" in our example). In the URL the parameter is expanded right at the %@ location. Of course, this method also works with flickr and del.icio.us. This is left as an exercise for the reader !

(Yes, this is a bit off-topic in this blog... That's why I love blogging: freedom of posting at last! )

P.S: OK, I have learned the lesson. Now, this things will go to my other blog. I promise to keep this on topic from now on...

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April 06, 2005

Soon in this blog...

Well, this is not an entry but a list of topics that will be posted in the future to this blog. It really makes me think that this blog deserves to exist. Feel free to suggest more, if you are listening:

- Rythm belongs to the people
- Democratization of dance
- Attitude perceived as harmful
- No cult to personality
- Repetitivism and minimalism
- No violence
- How to fill an iPod if you are not into electronic music?
- Techno as tribalism+technology
- About emotion (and lack-of) in electronic music
- Ambient: the background/foreground model
- Depressive vs. exciting vs. euphoric music (?)
- About “all sounds the same”
- About particular artists, labels, DJs, movements, etc.

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April 04, 2005

Techno at the 30s, Is it possible ?

As a 30-something (30-too-many, actually), I have not been into electronic dance music all my life. My first favourite music was Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, Yes and the like, at the end of the 70s. Then punk, after-punk, new wave, techno-pop, etc. Other musics also catched my attention: Brian Eno, Motown, Velvet, some classical, a bit of jazz, etc. The grunge movement was too little interesting for me. Too many bands playing songs that sounded like other songs I was already tired of. I was also too bored of all that rock-and-roll attitude that I can’t still stand. Well, Green Day were not bad...

The point is that I never payed attention to all the electronic movement that was around Chicago, Detroit, Berlin and taken the world by storm. “That’s Bakalao”, I said, as it is known here in Spain. Nothing strange, of course, as many, many, people of my generation still think it’s a bunch of crap. My only touch with that music was at some clubs in Madrid, but I just was there having a good time with friends. I never payed attention to the music or even the DJ (a DJ? what’s the point of paying attention to the DJ?, I thought).

One day, around 2002 I arrived at home with some CD’s recently bought: Creedence Clearwater Revival, Thin Lizzy, The Jam, Costello, etc. Looking at them I had an illumination “do I really think in keep buying this kind of music for the rest of my life?”. It was something lika a Paulinian experience. So I started a search for the music that “the kids” like now, found some dance radios, attended two or three “raves” (yes! only!), looked for sessions in mp3 and a new world opened for me. I have never looked back.

Of course I do not renegate of my past, so the parallelism with St. Paul ends here. I still like Pink Floyd or Yes or even Green Day, just as my grandmother likes Sinatra, Nat King Cole or Marife de Triana. I just do not care about that music any more, nor even about new bands that, actually, have nothing new.

If I look at the past, I go to Motown and stop there. This amazing story will continue in a future post...

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April 03, 2005

Elevator Breakdown iMix

Visitors have the right to know about my tastes. So please check my 1st iMix created by me at the iTunes Music Store. It is called Elevator Breakdown. Very .

Why "The Motown Elevator" ?

I think I should first explain the title of this techno, ambient and e-music blog. As many people know, Derrick May defined Techno as "Kraftwerk and Funkadelick stuck in an elevator" (more or less). I always have found that image very exciting and a very precise description of how Detroit Techno sounds. Something like: imagine that Kraftwerk are not german-born but african-american born in the Motor Town. Which music would they do?

I thought that the evocatory power of such image could be enhanced by putting that elevator at the Motown building in Detroit. So that's why I decided to name this blog as The Motown Elevator. A reason as silly as any other...

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