Machine Soul: A History Of Techno  

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Synthetic electronic sounds
Industrial rhythms all around
Musique nonstop
Techno pop

--"Techno Pop" (1986)

"If there is one central idea in techno, it is of the harmony between man and machine. As Juan Atkins puts it: "You gotta look at it like, techno is technological. It's an attitude to making music that sounds futuristic: something that hasn't been done before." This idea is commonplace throughout much of avant-garde 20th-century art --early musical examples include Russolo's 1913 Art of Noises manifesto and '20s ballets by Erik Satie ("Relâche") and George Antheil ("Ballet méchanique"). Many of Russolo's ideas prefigure today's techno in everything but the available hardware, like the use of nonmusical instruments in his 1914 composition, Awakening of a City." --"Machine Soul: A History Of Techno" (1993) by Jon Savage

"Postwar pop culture is predicated on technology, and its use in mass production and consumption. Today's music technology inevitably favors unlimited mass reproduction, which is one of the reasons why the music industry, using the weapon of copyright, is always fighting a rearguard battle against its free availability. Just think of those "Home Taping Is Killing Music" stickers, the restrictive prices placed on every new Playback/Record facility (the twin tape deck, the DAT), the legal battles between samplers and copyright holders.


There are obviously ethical considerations here --it's easy to understand James Brown's outrage as his uncredited beats and screams underpin much of today's black music-- but at its best, today's new digital, or integrated analog and digital, technology can encourage a free interplay of ideas, a real exchange of information. Most recording studios in the U.S. and Europe will have a sampler and a rack of CDs: a basic electronic library of Kraftwerk, James Brown, Led Zeppelin --today's Sound Bank."

--"Machine Soul: A History Of Techno" (1993) by Jon Savage

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"Machine Soul: A History Of Techno" (1993) is an essay by Jon Savage on the history of techno which first appeared in The Village Voice.


""It's like a cry for survival," a panicked male voice calls out. The beat pauses, but the dancers do not. Then Orbital throw us back into the maelstrom: into a blasting Terry Riley sample, into the relentless machine rhythm, into a total environment of light and sound. We forget about the fact that we're tired, that the person in front of us is invading our space with his flailing arms. Then, suddenly, we're there: locked into the trance, the higher energy. It does happen, just like everybody always says: along with thousands of others, we lift off."

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