dj- und club-kultur & elektronische (tanz)musik – dj and club culture & electronic (dance) music

Kategorie: english

„Ten Ragas to a Disco Beat“: Do we need to rewrite the history of acid house?

Recently, I stumbled across this album from 1982: „Synthesizing: Ten Ragas to a Disco Beat“ by the Indian musician Charanjit Singh. Due to the play of Indian ragas with the acid-synth, the Roland TB-303, and the steady disco beat this record could be considered one of (or even: the) first Acid-House-record – some authors do so. In fact, it pre-dates „Acid Tracks“ by Phuture, which is widely regarded as the first acid-track, by 5 years! That made me think: Do we need to re-write the history of acid house? Short answer: No, we don’t! But I wanna argue that we should think of aesthetic novelties such as acid house as a social process. Dan Le Sac and Scroobius Pip put it nicely in their song „Thou Shalt Always Kill“ (2007): „Thou shalt not put musicians and recording artists on ridiculous pedestals, no matter how great they are or were“.

My arguments is based on two line of thoughts: first, the distinction between an invention and an innovation, and second the specifics of „Acid Tracks“ compared to other, earlier 303-heavy tracks. Despite of my attempt to deconstruct myths of single persons ‚inventing‘ something new out of thin air, I still want and still am able to give credit where credit is due. And Phuture still deserve their credit 😉

‚UNTZ, UNTZ, UNTZ‘ – my conference-paper on repetion in EDM

thanks to twitter-users @mixmag, @mixvibes, @f0la_, @Ltm67 and @houseninjamusic for their tweets!

Two days ago, on friday, April 26 2019, I held a presentation on repetition in EDM and in DJ-sets at the conference „Again & Again. Musical Repetiton in Aesthetics, Analysis and Experience“ at City, University of London Music Department, . In that presentation, I used tweets by the aforementioned users – that’s why I’d like to thank those users this way and give a brief synopsis of how I used those tweets and what insights they gave me (and hopefully, to the audience of my presentation).

… to remix a classic

In a blogpost from March 2017, which appeared on my twitter-timeline just now, Funster of asks the question:

„Is it ever acceptable to remix a classic?“

Well, the question itself is already wrong. What exactly is a „classic“ in the first place, and who is it to decide which tracks are „classics“? Why should it NOT be allowed to remix? And most importantly: who should it be to allow and monitor, wheter a remix of a classic is „good“ and therefore „allowed“, or „bad“ and should therefore „be banned“? If we go down that road, we’d end up with a remix-police – and who should it be? A central committee of DJs and remixers? Your national culture ministry? The UNESCO? Funster of mixmag?

We already have such a system that works fine: it’s the huge community of DJs, fans, listeners and dancers. You don’t like the remix of „Blue Monday“ or „Born Slippy“? Well: Don’t play it, don’t buy, vote it down on Youtube. If you hear it being played in your club by a DJ: don’t dance to it, or let the DJ in any other (polite and friendly) way understand, that this track kills the vibe on the dancefloor (any sensitive DJ would understand that intuitively without any words, btw…). In the end, that’s what Funster himself is doing, as you can read at the end of the blogpost: „Funster is Mixmag’s Deputy Digital Editor and he’ll stop dancing if you play a shit remix.“

I personally do really like the Bulletproof/Dino Psaras remix of „Blue Monday“. It nicely translates the original into psytrance. I played it a few times and the response was great. Of course, as a DJ you need to pay attention wheter the tracks fits the overall style and atmosphere of your set, and wheter the audience would appreciate it or not. That’s basically an issue with every single track you select, but with remixes of such „classics“ the risk of failure is much higher.
I played it to a rather mixed audience of goa-fraggles and people who were not so much into it. I’d  refrain from playing it on a „strictly psytrance“-party, though.

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So, the answer to Funsters question is simple: of course it should be allowed to remix a classic. Always!

There are only two kind of limits to it: there are limits set by copyright-laws. I am just simply stating that in many cases these limits exists and that everyone violating them should be aware of what s/he does. Wheter such limits are good or bad, is not the case to discuss here.
The second kind of limits are the one set by the artists themselves, who might not want their beloved work to be remixed. No matter if you agree to that or not, that should be respected.

For everything else: just go ahead and remix whatever you want. Let the people decide if you did a good job and added something special to that classic tune, or if you failed to do so and presented yourself as a copycat.


screenshot Audio-Tape-Culture & Magazine-Culture

With the beginning of the new year, a new website and online-database has been launched: It focuses on non-commercial DIY-culture of a pre-digital music era, when xeroxed fanzines and tape-trading were the only means available to bypass the commercial system of major-labels and to promote and distribute underground music. is a Non-Profit Online-Archive & Information-Database for Audio-Tape-Culture (Cassettes/Tapes/Reels) and 20th Century Art- & Music-related Small-Press Publications / Magazine-Culture.

This Archive-Database focuses on the following styles/genres.

– Mid 70’s to late 90’s Industrial / Experimental / Free Improvisation / Post- Punk / New Wave, Minimal / Synth /Ambient and further musical directions of the DIY-Cassette-Culture.

– early 50’s to late 90’s Sound Art / Sound Poetry / Text-Sound-Compositions / Poesie Sonore / Verbosonics / Lingual Music / Music Concrete / Audio Art plus related printed Mail-Art / Concrete Poetry / Visual Poetry / Lettrisme / Fluxus


I just digged in a bit into this huge database. You will find many unknown (at least to me) and abscure bands and artists, alongside the well known pioneers of these genres like Tangerine Dream, Throbbing Gristle, Skinny Puppy, Front 242, Killing Joke, Einstürzende Neubauten and so on.

What distinguished it from (to my impression) is the focus on small, unofficial, homemade releases on cassette, tape or reel, and the vast amount of press and zines, all connected in a nice database. The press-material is scanned and available for registred members, as well as sometimes links to mp3s on filehosting services.

The look and feel of the website reflects the DYI-attitude in the 21st century: basic CMS-design 😉

via IASPM-Newsletter/Julio Mendevil

DJs and mental health

In a recent podcast on Resident Advisor (RA Exchange EX.355 @51:00 min onward), UK-based Bass-Producer Om Unit talks about mental health issues of DJs. According to him, problems arise for example because of sleep deprivation and because of being on the road constantly. He states, that recently there’s been a more open discussion about it, but still there needs do be done more discussing.

Just 4 days ago the documentary „Why We DJ – Slaves to the Ryhthm“ was published on the same issue, covering portraits and statements by DJs like Carl Cox, Seth Troxler or Eric Morillo.

All of them are well aware that it’s complaining bout first world problems and compared to an assembly line worker it’s hell of fun living this lifestyle – but it comes with a price. Nevertheless, some tweeters don’t seem to see that:

As far as i know, no research’s been done on that exact matter. Although british psychologist Alinka Greasley, who also appears in „Whe We DJ“, has done some work on music and wellbeing. Looks like that’s a topic where more needs to be done.

Update (9 Nov. 17): the current issue of the german magazine „Groove“ dedicates 14 pages to the issue of mental health of electronic dance musicians, djs and club owner, featuring interviews with Christian Beyer (Âme) or Luke Slater amongst others. Looking forward to that read!

Update (14 Jan 18): djtechtools dedicates a blogpost to depression amongst DJs and producers. They indicate a british support initiative Music Minds Matter, that offers a 24h-hotline for affected people and their friends and relatives: 0808 802 8008. Unfortunately, this number is UK-only, and there is no such service in Germany (at least to my knowledge). But you can reach ‚em also via mail:
I also learned that, contrary to what I wrote before, there is in fact an academic work concerned with exactly this matter. You can find a summary and link to the full study here.

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