Friday, 29 October 2010

Time-Wasting Torment...Techno...Drexciyan Salvation

All over the musical shop this afternoon, from Kraut Rock to...more Kraut Rock on various compilations...almost finding things I like but a minute into the otherwise solid enough Prog-Funk-Rock groove some arse starts singing – happened again and again. Singing in German, of course.
   Later, having realised I’ve entered a mouse-clicking time trap, I claw my way out, finding I’ve grown a beard, got more grey hairs and hours were wasted. Huh.
   I settle on a compilation of Slovenian techno called ‘Tehnik 1’, the contents of which come very much from the school of Detroit and Berlin (of course?) which may date it, but is no bad thing since the tracks are pretty solid, no surprise sounds, but the Random Logic and Octex tunes stand out – perhaps they’re big in Slovenia and satiate huge crowds regularly. I’ve no idea when it came out and don’t care.
   So I go to the source, a batch of reissues by Tresor, which I think are now available digitally for possibly the first time or something (I’m losing my grip on trivialities such as facts around now) – and, yes Drexciya, Surgeon, Jeff Mills and Robert Hood have re-entered the bunker. I’m not hot on Surgeon because like Mills he does bang on and yes I know it’s sacrilege to slight Sir Jeff but since I’m not part of a (or the) Techno community I can get away with it, especially here in the seclusion of this remote corner of the online world which few people visit (and that, I must say, gives me a certain freedom, does it not?). I know someone who dared dis The Smiths once on his website, or at least, suggest that not everything they did was amazing. He’s still in a safe house years later.

   The brute force of Surgeon is appealing in small doses, but Drexciya are another matter. ‘Harnessed The Storm’ demonstrates what can be done with a lot of imagination, ie, reaching for those buttons few others dare touch and twisting fresh sounds to ensure elevation about the Techno herd. ‘Mission To Ociya Syndor And Back’ (who knows what the hell that means? And that’s a good thing, sound as unfathomable fiction)....’Dr Bowfins Black Storm Stabilizing Spheres’! How about that for a title? Dr Blowfin, by the way, was a mysterious character who inhabited a vast undersea dome and is said to have been the result of mating a killer whale with an African Prince...(honestly)....
   Around Hood’s minimalism there’s a whole school of conceptual philosophising and a Wire writer could tell you all about it but I can’t and like Surgeon I enjoy him in small chunks. Sometimes he sounds great, others, monotonous (yes, I know that’s the point, not monotony (the evil flipside of minimalism) but repetition). Like I said, look up a techno theorist (how about Kodwo Eshun?) for in-depth anal-ysis.
   Bam Bam’s ‘Where’s Your Child’ has also been made a digital thing. It’s evil. And brilliant. You should play it loud, especially if friends who are parents pay you a visit and never stop talking about their new baby or child...

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