The zen garden theory of minimal technoApril 8, 2008
As you can probably gather from this blog, I have a deep and abiding love of pop songs. However, in the last year or two, I’ve gotten more into techno music, especially minimal techno. Techno is a pretty maligned genre, and minimal definitely has a reputation as one of its least accessible forms – it’s widely considered to be all bleeps and glitches, of interest mostly to geeky boys who are high-functioning Asperger’s cases. It’s also somewhat overwhelming to get into – there is a massive amount of music available and not a lot of guidance.
But I’m going to argue that it’s worth persevering, or at least not dismissing minimal techno out of hand. Traditional pop songs are like Western gardens – a showcase of colour and form, easily accessible and understandable, and rewarding to our senses. But minimal techno is like a zen garden. At first glance, it seems impossibly austere, even barren. However, sustained attention reveals that its severity hides just as much complexity as greenery does. I listened to the song below half a dozen times in a row, and heard new details with every iteration. Give it a try.
Further reading: A Spirited Defense of Techno