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Thursday, August 9, 2007

Minimal Nation

posted by on August 9 at 11:55 AM

Jeff Mills above:
Robert Hood below.

From Mills we get Waveform Transmission - Volume 1 (1992). From Hood we get Minimal Nation (1994). What drew these black American artists to minimalism (or modernism) is it’s logic to break from narrative and to escape from culture—in sum to become inhuman. Why would black artists want to revolt against humanity, which is what techno music is (a techno rebellion), which is what its first song, “Clear” (1982), celebrates—the end (clearing) of humanity? Because the history of civilization has been the history of white supremacy. Narrative power has never been black power, and so resorting to modernism, is resorting to an art that tells no (or the least) stories. It is in the liberated area of the un-story black American techno begins and ends all at once. It’s not surprising that mainstream America absolutely rejected black American techno. Unlike rap or funk, techno rebels refused to play the game of storymaking. (Drexiya is of course the one exception, but the least compelling part about Drexiya is its science fiction story.) No counter narrative but no narrative at all. No narrative leaves us with just the present. In the present, everything is left to happen. Clear out the space. Modernism must fulfill its promise.





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Goddammit, why does modern have to mean a fucking box? Can we move away from the cube as the end-al, be-all expression of architectural progress? Please don't equate techno with boxy modern building styles (dancing about architecture!), Techno is far more hypnotic than these FLW wannabes...

Posted by NaFun | August 9, 2007 12:07 PM

Charles, what the fuck is that Osaka thing at the end. It is incredible.

Posted by Nick | August 9, 2007 12:12 PM

i completely disagree with the narrative being the least compelling thing about drexciya. to the contrary, that story is what sets them apart from every other techno act, and you can feel that narrative bubbling through each of drexciya's "7 waves", despite an almost complete lack of words to tell the story. best electronic act ever - and few who agree with that statement would cast aside the narrative as not compelling.

Posted by brandon | August 9, 2007 12:18 PM


Posted by Mr. Poe | August 9, 2007 12:28 PM

The mainstream rejected techno because it's like listening to the refrigerator hum, only louder. No, actually less interesting than that.

Modernism is the fullest expression of 1953.

Posted by Fnarf | August 9, 2007 12:31 PM

So what draws white artists to minimalism/modernism?

Posted by keshmeshi | August 9, 2007 1:04 PM

Black = good, White = bad.

Got it, thanks for the clarification.

Posted by monkey | August 9, 2007 1:19 PM

Fnarf is a twat who does not know what he is talking about.
Doubt he's ever heard a proper techno tune in his life.

Posted by kanzleramt | August 9, 2007 1:21 PM

Given the obvious and persistent effort that Charles puts into being provocative, it's a bit depressing seeing him fail so utterly at being anything but banal.

Posted by Bison | August 9, 2007 1:44 PM

Techno is not rebellion. At its most cerebral, you might convince me it's "recontextualization" of technology or music or culture or ZZZzzzzzzz... but really only because that could mean anything, and not becusse it's true.

I don't think there's anything racial or political about black American techno artist not being more popular... to anyone but ardent fans of the genre, it's dance music created by the nameless and faceless, to be heard only in clubs or blasting from convertible Mustangs. Hardly a formula for American super-stardom.

Posted by Dougsf | August 9, 2007 1:58 PM

Jeff Mills still likes to tell a story. Check out any of his live recordings!

The tracks on his records are just elements to be stitched together. By themselves they have no progression, in the same way that a word is not a sentence. In his heyday, that was where techno was really at. Things have moved on a bit since, much like your fridge Mr fnarf :)

Posted by Sto | August 9, 2007 2:01 PM

chaz fucks with drexciya and loses.
what is the most compelling part of drexciya dumbass, if not their image and story?

Posted by Bellevue Ave | August 9, 2007 2:20 PM

and learn how to spell names of references you talentless hack.

Posted by Bellevue Ave | August 9, 2007 2:26 PM

I bought a Squarepusher CD once. That's jungle, not techno, right? I can't tell them apart. People have tried, but it's all just one big thumping sound to me. The buzzing, speeding drums were funny, though. I can see how they would appeal to someone who has bees living in their head.

Posted by Fnarf | August 9, 2007 3:58 PM

Chuck's text always makes me want to throw myself down a well ("the history of civilization has been the history of white supremacy"- tell that to the Chinese), but man are those pictures beautiful.

Posted by Big Sven | August 10, 2007 8:29 AM

fnarf, you either get it or you don't like as was explained to me with fashion.

its like why i dont get why people think bob dylan is great when I just find he mumbles a lot.

Posted by Bellevue Ave | August 10, 2007 10:38 AM

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