Posts Tagged ‘techno’

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Moderat at Neumo’s, and a call for better visuals

May 19, 2009

What is it with naked women in the visuals at techno shows? I went to see Dietrich Schoenemann at ReBar a week or so ago, and the images included, yup, women in various stages of undress. This was a persistent peeve for me at Midweek Techno in Cambridge (I haven’t been there in a while, so I don’t know if it’s still heavy on the softcore, although I imagine it is).

Here are three excellent reasons to avoid female nudity in visuals. VJs, please listen up.

It’s boring. Do something more creative! Resorting to porn basically tells the world that you are bereft of good ideas. It must be easier than ever to find interesting videos or (better) to create your own graphics – do it!

It’s distracting. Human beings are hard-wired to look at people. Really. Lots of T and A in your visuals is incredibly distracting from what we are really there for, the music. It’s also difficult to abstract people; no matter how much you visually distort the images, our monkey brains persist in focusing on them.

It’s off-putting. Techno is, at least in the US, a sausagefest. There’s a reason why women frequently get discounted admission. Putting naked women on a screen sends a message to any females that do show up that they are not the target group and that they are somewhere they don’t really belong. And honestly, would you rather have two-dimensional women on the screen, or real women in the crowd?

Tonight (May 19) is the Moderat (Modeselektor + Apparat) show at Neumo’s in Seattle. Based on these great examples, I’m looking forward to the visuals, by Berlin-based Pfadfinderei.

MP3: Simian Mobile Disco – Tits & Acid [buy]

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Watch: Speaking in Code

April 1, 2009

After four years in production, Speaking in Code, a vérité-style documentary about the world of techno, is set to hit the big screen. The film features techno artists such as Modeselektor, Monolake, Wolfgang Voigt (a co-founder of the influential Kompakt label) as well as local faces Smartypants (Mike Uzzi) and Six Million Dollar Dan (Dan Paluska). It’s set to premiere at the Somerville Theatre on Thursday, April 23rd, as part of Independent Film Festival Boston. You can buy a festival pass now, and individual tickets will be on sale shortly.

MP3: Modeselektor – Dancing Box (Sleeparchive remix) [beatport]

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Threesome: Women in techno(logy)

March 24, 2009

ellen-allien

In honor of Ada Lovelace Day, which celebrates women in technology, today’s posting is focusing on women in techno. DJ’ing as a whole is incredibly male-dominated, and I thought it would be great to highlight some females who are getting the crowd moving from behind the decks.

Classically-trained pianist Kate Simko came of age in Chicago at the height of the Midwest rave scene. On the one hand, she has formal training in music technology and composition; conversely, she was a key player in the Chicago electronica scene, including hosting the well-known Chicago night, Wake Up! Her own tracks reflect her roots in both Chicago house and Detroit techno.

Techno DJ and producer Ellen Allien (pictured) is based in Berlin. She organized the BPitch parties there and eventually started her own label, BPitch Control. She’s released several solo albums as well as a collaboration with Apparat, and her own compositions are experimentally-oriented techno/electro hybrids.

Finally, Seattle’s own Chloe Harris is best known for her DJing (including touring with John Digweed), for her show on Proton Radio, and for mixing up her genres to make her unique sound. She’s just started creating her own tracks, and here’s one of them.

MP3 link: Kate Simko – Soltera

MP3: Ellen Allien – Sehnsucht

MP3: Chloe Harris – Skooch (original version)

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“Why are Germans so mad about techno?”

January 21, 2009

[embedded YouTube link: if you can’t watch it, click here]

Deutsche Welle, Germany’s international broadcaster, has a show called The Truth About Germany, and on this four-minute segment, they consider the question: “Why are Germans so mad about [techno]?” The clip is  pretty fun to watch, although I think there might be some people in Detroit who would take issue with the assertion “Germans invented techno.”  There’s a brief interview with Sven Väth, but mostly it’s pretty high on the self-mockery scale (not a trait that is stereotypically associated with Germans), including bits like “let’s get some Germans to hum their favourite techno tunes!” and “let’s see how creative techno dancers can be with their light sticks!”

[via Passion (the enemy of love)]

MP3: Ellen Allien and Apparat – Turbo Dreams (original mix) [buy]

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Upcoming: Decibel Festival, Sept 25-28

September 22, 2008

The fifth edition of Seattle’s Decibel Festival begins on Thursday, September 25 and ends on Sunday, September 28. And when they say ‘begins’ and ‘ends,’ they really mean it. With a full line-up of afternoon activities (like dB in the Park) and after-hours parties, it’ll be going pretty much non-stop. Multiple evening shows reward springing for a pass to facilitate dashing from venue to venue in Capitol Hill – for example, my Thursday night schedule has Stewart Walker at Sole Repair, followed by Barbara Morgenstern at Neumos, and wrapping up with Attentat at the Baltic Room. Other highlights include Audion and Carl Craig on Saturday night, and The Bug and Supermayer on Sunday night – you might want to clear your schedule for Monday morning.

MP3: Claude VonStroke – Who’s Afraid of Detroit (Audion remix)

Previously: xkcd on techno, The zen garden theory of minimal techno, Techno and impressionable young minds

Image: Robert Babicz @ Neumos, Decibel Festival, 9/22/2007 by Flickr user donte, reposted here under its Creative Commons license.

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Upcoming no more: Dominik Eulberg

September 4, 2008

German DJ and producer (and part-time park ranger) Dominik Eulberg was scheduled to play a Kontrol SF night this weekend, and I’ve been looking forward to it for ages. A quick check of Eulberg’s Myspace page, however, suggested that it fell through – he’s scheduled to be in Mainz. I suppose I could turn down the lights in my apartment, turn my stereo on really loud, and listen to the song below, but somehow I suspect it wouldn’t be the same.

MP3: Hot Chip – One Pure Thought (Dominik Eulberg remix)

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The future is here

August 20, 2008

I’ve seen a decent number of DJs perform using setups that were not all that different from this, other than having a sound system that was many orders of magnitude better (and louder).

toothpaste for dinner

Previously: A taxonomy of electronic music; The zen garden theory of minimal techno; Techno and impressionable young minds