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Knob Twiddlers
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Everything posted by headplastic

  1. @Alcofribas and @dcom, yeah, I think what you guys are referring to is "cultural omnivore" theory, where elitism is based on eclectic tastes that don't really concern whether the cultural texts being consumed are from 'popular culture' or the 'avant garde' I'm drawing on ideas like that for this paper I'm nearly done writing on idm.... thanks again for your inputs on that
  2. https://geometriclullaby.bandcamp.com/track/b-ss-cop NMESH going nuts
  3. Agreed. The back of my head tingles when an awkward silence turns into a comfortable pause between me and someone else, it is incredibly relieving. Reminds me of that Pulp Fiction scene with Uma, "why do we feel it's necessary to yak about bullshit in order to be comfortable?" always think about that line... I think this discussion is pretty cool. Sometimes I wonder if this digital age will push the majority of society towards a frustrated, anxious, depressed, and anti-social mess that's ripe to be controlled easier through media and misinformation. Yet I hope it leans more towards a knowledge-generating society that uses our skill for thinking to learn better treatment of each other and become aware of our shortcomings. Humans have really progressed pretty quickly in terms of tech and intellect (for the most part) since the industrial age
  4. I've been playing M4 Lema exclusively when walking around outdoors, epic af
  5. hey WATMM, thanks for your help and interesting ideas about IDM/braindance the last time I posted a topic. The feedback was humbling for the research, plus the sarcasm and general lels were pretty helpful too lmao If you are interested in helping further, I put together a quick, structured form to more easily track some community data for both idm/braindance related queries and representational data: https://forms.gle/zdNSAgEuoEjkJYNc9 If you choose to participate, you can be sure that all of the data is anonymous and no information is tracked beyond your answers (no emails, names, anything that specifically identifies you). Since this project is limited in its scope, WATMM is one of two online communities associated with idm/braindance/post-techno, whatever it may be called, to be analyzed for this research. The other is r/idm on reddit, mostly because these two forums are the ones I have most experience with/are most active. Plus, any more thoughts or questions on the research are more than welcome in this thread If you're curious to know where my research has taken me since I last engaged with you: The topic of what 'IDM' is became more necessary than I had intended, mainly because, as many of you pointed out, it's exhausted but there is still obvious uncertainty. I have come to the conclusion that while 'IDM' was historically used to classify certain artists and post-rave, explorative techno music, its definition has changed in the last twenty years to more accurately represent a philosophy behind making electronic music, or as some people have noted "a way of life". Not to mention 'IDM' was coined by Americans in an interpretation of what Warp was doing with AI. The tongue-and-cheek just got out of hand in the mainstream ('mainstream' being the commercial sector of widely accessible music, image, and other media). The term has controversy, and discussing it is exhausting, but it's still used popularly and has an interesting history to it. but enough of that There is much more to the research, mostly exploring how 'popular music' is much different today than it was 10, 20 and especially 30 years ago. There is some rave history involved and the transition from subcultural movement to commercial enterprise (raves > clubbing), and how electronic music blew up mainstream. Also I touch on online fandom and 'prosuming', as today us as fans add to the narrative of artists and engage with them in the digital space. if any of this interests you, feel free to comment or PM anyways, thanks again
  6. @cwmbrancity btw Microgravity by Biosphere is said to possibly fit under the same movement/era with acts like Coil coming out around '91
  7. Hard to say in terms of music style, I'm thinking about Love's Secret Domain, but it could be considered 'IDM' before IDM was introduced as a descriptor, by that I mean a real exploration of what the tech and other music influences had to offer. I believe the first documented mention of 'intelligent techno' is associated with Coil's The Snow EP, and that's dated 1991. It seems that incredibly adventurous forms of techno emerged around the early 90s. I believe the term electronica came later. To get away from IDM as a genre/style term, I'm re-framing it differently. It's important to remember that IDM is from an American perspective, too. @Zephyr_Nova brings up a great point, since the community is so scattered it's difficult to define it as an ethos. Maybe a philosophy works better? I believe IDM describes something beyond the music itself, whether it's an approach to making music or something else. Whatever it is, it has stuck around for 25+ years for good reason, and has been used in popular culture but not appropriately. I think it can be argued that it might represent [Edit: the values lost in the rave subculture with the commercialization of electronic dance music*], but I'm still wondering how you guys might also re-frame it. @chenGOD Yeah I see what you mean. I've been dying for AFX to release the "old saw era track" he played at Field Day 2017 (I find the brief stop at @2:40 so cheeky, pulls great energy from the crowd). An untouchable era. The late 80s and early 90s also saw the rise of electronic music 'auteurs'. Aphex may as well be considered something of the sort, same with Mike P, Luke V, Squarepusher, Autechre, the lot of them. Bedroom studios helped in that regard
  8. Yeah, good point there. I don't think the intentions of the music are to make statements or send political messages, but I do think the popular image that has been constructed for IDM involves the values I outlined above. There doesn't have to be intent behind music to give it meaning, especially in popular culture. Aphex has mentioned that he felt the public just wasn't ready to hear some of what he's made, I find that interesting from a commercial and artistic perspective. @cwmbrancity yes that's a good read, I support that recommendation to anyone interested in this kind of discussion. Alwakeel offers interesting theories on IDM and the continuous variation of its identity, as well as its dynamic rejection of any norm. My work builds on his breakdown of IDM from a popular music perspective. As a "minor language," IDM cannot be defined as a static entity, for its very nature is dynamic and evolving. Humour and playfulness are key ingredients to its success. But it's clearly more than just a style of music
  9. For anyone who is still interested, two questions have come up in my latest research and conversation with the community. 1. Some people have mentioned that listeners 'grow' into IDM/braindance, or that there is a bar of entry to the music/community. 2. I believe there are oppositional values in IDM, both in the popular images of big name artists (AFX, au, BoC, Squarepusher) and in the musical texts associated with the music (AI series, Rephlex braindance statement, squarepusher manifesto, The Philosophy of Sound and Machine). Oppositional in the sense that they reject mainstream, commercial EDM values, but hypocritical to a degree, in the sense that artists still need to make money and 'settle' with the reality of the multi-billion dollar industry. This idea comes from the fact that IDM/braindance is rooted in the rave scene which was considered oppositional. Is there a message inherent in this music? AFX kind of touches on this in the Syrobonkers interview when talking about why he released Syro at the time he did, to sprinkle on some good music in a heap of commercial shit. Any thoughts on these points? Happy to discuss An update on my research if anyone is curious: I am beginning to re-frame 'IDM' as an ideology that supports subcultural values in electronic music, such as creativity, social connection, imagination, playfulness, exploration, and adaptation. We see this as evident in the evolving, dynamic musical output from artists like Autechre and Aphex, even BoC. Not so much Squarepusher, IMO, although he speaks a lot about anti-mainstream in interviews, his music output seems to be more in-line with mainstream values. Totally up for debate on that. Therefore, the term IDM is useless as a genre classification or musical style descriptor. Not just because it's ugly, elitist, and clearly unaccepted, but also because it is often conflated with other music style descriptors or genres (ambient, techno, experimental, leftfield, absract, etc. etc.). Any thoughts on this are welcome, of course.
  10. Hmmm, you've inspired me to go back to SIGN, although PLUS really feels like an extension or bonus track EP. As if they were like "Oh you liked that? Here's this" Hahah I love it. I don't subscribe to the stars, but I could subscribe to weekly autechrescopes. I will ask the committee before I defend, "PLUS or SIGN?"
  11. SFWP - Having to constantly run my phone charger back and forth between rooms when I forget to charge it overnight. My attempt to just get a second one has been thwarted by Amazon's ability to lose my package twice in a row, so I'm just giving up at this point, but at least it's a test of my (failing) memory and some light at-home cardio....?.......?..
  12. PLUS, but that was a hard one to answer... It's actually been the soundtrack to my writing for the past two weeks, marhide and TM1 open to be specific How about you?
  13. Bits of it at first, yes. From what I gather it's rare that anyone sits down to read the entire thesis except the grad committee I submit to. The anonymous aspect of the forum is tricky, and I am working on proper justification for it, but my supervisor and the ethics office agree that it is a valid source bc you guys are the community. Sure this might not be taken as if it were a peer-reviewed journal, but it's still a significant voice. WATMM will be both an acknowledgement and a reference
  14. @chenGOD hey this is great to know! I just meant avoiding terminology after it felt exhausted on the forum, but I totally know what you mean. Glad to have your support here. More than half of academia is defining terms and maintaining clarity, analysis is only the end result. I will reach out to you once my definitions have developed a bit more. I have a week of reading electronica articles ahead of me! Thanks for the inspiration there @picklish Everyone here has helped so much for that process of definition, and you will all be acknowledged in the opening pages! Hahah. Without WATMM this paper would be lacking significantly, so thanks for the feedback as well as the sarcasm. It is all that I expected and more. Also, this is not a sign-off or anything, just a general thanks so far. Keep discussing if you are interested by all means, I will visit the forum twice a day @Kid Lukie, well said. I will have to take some dedicated time to dig into your points because you offer a lot of interesting material. The psychological perspective behind community and seeking like-minded individuals, for example. Recent scholars have noted that neotribalism (see: Maffesoli's ideas) is best at explaining how people interact with one another to form communities and develop social values. The notion that we belong to tribes that are multiple and don't dominate our lives is relevant to online communities. It may even be a better descriptor than 'underground' if used correctly. Also yes, I will happily share my paper once it's published. Aiming for the summer months, originally May but not sure. @Satans Little Helper interesting point about popular films and the zeitgeist of sound effects. I think this applies to video games too. Although like you mentioned with Transformers, there may be a standardization that has formed with sfx. Ben Burtt, Star Wars sound editor, has mentioned that a lot of sfx creativity has dissolved with budget cuts in favour of a common library of sound. Why pay sound artists when hundreds of thousands of sounds already exist to choose from? I don't agree with that, but it's real. Probably the same with video games. Good point @zero that point definitely moves the discussion forward. Vocals are interesting in popular music, but then again, isn't techno considered popular music in some respects? That being said, there are vocal clips and samples from other popular musics from history. I'm just not sure if the sing-along aspects of those vocals is the same as, say, an Ed Sheeran song. Pop anthems have their own history of standardization, but that is becoming more difficult to argue because it risks offending people's musical taste. Just as @Zephyr_Nova said, if the dance element is obvious enough I think it makes a difference. Calvin Harris is not considered electronica, even his instrumental stuff. I think it also depends on the song structure, like how long the song is and how it keeps listeners attention, especially in the age of streaming services I admit to always, always singing the "muuuuaaaaaa eeeeuuuuuuuooooo" vocal distortion in Windowlicker. It's so much fun... my roommates think I'm doing something nasty in the shower......
  15. @nikisoko /s Yeah a few users have touched on this. I have to do some more research to understand why this may be, because it seems like too much of a coincidence! I hate to say it, but you've inspired me with your comment, maybe there is a certain intellectual significance behind "IDM" hahah!! Something to look into at least
  16. There are accessible internet archives with some of the back-and-forth conversation on the mailing list, including the first mentions of IDM by Americans In terms of geography, COVID disrupted a lot of plans to travel for the research, plus a large portion of my writing is based on social and cultural theory. The discussion around community is why I'm focusing on internet forums that relate to this music. If anything the geographical focus is historical, so yeah it would be UK with mention of the US because that's where the mailing list started. Yeah I get what you mean, and you guys aren't the first to point this out, but you also don't have the full context of my project. These questions and your responses are being used to represent the community. As I said above, the significant part of my thesis is a theoretical analysis, reanalyzing social theories and cultural theories that help those who write policy and history make decisions. It's a foot-in-the-door to begin a career studying music and culture. Whether it seems pointless to you or not really doesn't concern me. I appreciate the harshness and blunt honesty though, it helps remind me why I do it! I chose IDM because I enjoy talking about it, I identify with the community for the most part, and from a musical perspective it has a lot of unique factors that haven't been touched on. Other scholars have a history of focusing on medieval music and classical music. That kind of thing just didn't jive with me, but hey, plenty of thesis topics still available!
  17. @zero thanks for the responses. I was thinking about the diversity question a lot during my time in-class with my colleagues. Because it seems like a welcoming community, and I've learned quickly that it truly is, but the reason as to why the scene is not more diverse may be due to the white-male history of the genre. Still, from what I've learned about the rave culture (I was born in the 90s), it has always been welcoming, free-spirited, and untainted by bigotry for the most part. I think @Stickfigger makes a good point on that topic. Also, yes, true, the statement is a bit loaded. As I said in my reply to @dingformung, the term 'underground' is a bit finicky in general. There are debates in popular music studies about the defining differences between 'popular, mainstream' and 'underground, subcultural'. But I think you ask good questions here that are worth exploring. Ultimately, I don't think terms like 'underground' are really that useful today. Unless 'alternative' counts as a catch-all
  18. Good question, and as many things are in academia the definition is up for debate (why can't people just agree on shit!). Whatever the case, 'underground,' much like the term 'subculture,' has changed in the last 20 years because of the impact the internet has had on communities and commercialism. The definition my research subscribes to is a community of artists and listeners that operate distinctly apart from mainstream values, popular trends, and widespread attention. The tricky part here is how musicians, such as the Featured Artists on WATMM, make money while remaining "underground" or apart of that community without becoming a sell-out. I argue, as many others do, that they use tactics to shield their underground identity. For example, Aphex Twin skips the Grammys when he wins with Syro, among other examples. This is similar to what you are pointing out @J3FF3R00, thanks for that detailed response btw. These kind of actions protect his subcultural capital, a form of social value that identifies community members respective of their community (eg. this is not a country music community, there is a lot of evidence for that). The thing with many niche or underground musics these days is that they are not in opposition of mainstream culture so much, at least in a political nature, as are traditional subcultures like Mods, punks, Teddy boys, or rockers. @Zephyr_NovaI think this is interesting. There is a large sense that idm/braindance evolved with an incredible amount of influences from other types of music, so much so that the production is too complex to simply define. Jazz had a similar problem. Luke Vibert mentions in an interview, "Whenever I’d pop up to London to buy some records they would always just say names of genres I’d never heard of before. You’d think, ‘Oh god,’ we’d just think of it all as dance music, or all acid house, or whatever we called it at the time." Just goes to show that the early ideas some of these guys might of had towards classification never mattered in the first place! But still, it has to sell and thus be categorized. In terms of what you guys are saying about diversity: Yes the white, educated males with left political views. It is really interesting, and unusual, that the diversity is in age range. I think that says something about the music itself in terms of legacy, but I'm quite sure what it is yet. The phrase "ahead of its time" is mostly banned in the academic circle, hahah. But I'm sure it's something like that. @Ivan Ooze, just to clarify, by the "new Arca" do you mean post-gender transition Arca? Who identifies as 'she'? Or a new form of music she released? A growing trend right now in academia, and the progressive left, is reconciliation, gender fluidity, racial equality, and the recognition of these topics. So I feel like part of my responsibility in this paper is to discuss these matters. Do you guys think these topics fit into IDM/braindance at all?
  19. Yeah, good point. I think the music evolved as the artists began to explore the tech and their own musical sensibilities more. What may have started as a sort of experimental techno definitely evolved into something different. I think braindance is a a good term. I mean, there are tonnes of crappy sounding genre names, I think RDJ comments on how silly the name hip-hop sounds, for instance. Such a badass music genre gets a primary school name
  20. @toaoaoad Hahahah that's great. Yeah I didn't take it that way, I see it as a great document as well and thanks for the suggestion. Combing through this forum is key to providing a description of the community and how artists are represented. WATMM has been active for so long and does not follow the same community structure as many music fandoms do. YouTube, Instagram, reddit, and other social media platforms are mostly used these days, so I see it as unique
  21. Thanks for the responses here. I'll try to respond to you guys in this post, so far: @usagi Yeah I know autechre has been pretty straight forward, and I can appreciate them for that. I should have rephrased that statement. I find Squarepusher is similarly outspoken and candid about his ideas especially on the topics of commercializing music and gear obsession. You bring up a good point in regard to how underground scenes have their moment and then ultimately feed into what remains as mainstream. It's similar to what @Satans Little Helperdescribed, crossovers and borrowing may have created an accessible gateway to IDM and the more artsy, experimental output. I mean, for the pop music listener, "Avril 14th" is more accessible than, say, "Ziggomatic 17" yet they are from the same album. How pop musicians sample underground/experimental music seems to shed light on the impact that IDM heavyweights had. @Alcofribas, prime historical analysis hahah. I wish I could submit that proper! The history of IDM has already been established, this project is to gauge where it fits as popular music, because what defines popular music vs underground music is up for debate. Warp, Rephlex, R&S, among other labels, all had a hand in marketing the music to a wider audience once the rave scene dissolved. Most notably Warp and the AI series, as some of you have mentioned. @zkom thanks for putting Raster on my radar. Any other labels you could recommend? @toaoaoadI see what you're saying, and I've definitely heard it before, but the main focus is not on the term itself. If anything, I'm using IDM in the same way popular media does, to gain attention. The term itself is easily dismantled, as we've seen. I opt for the term experimental techno or plainly experimental electronica. IDM is what gets attached to these artists and their music, and that can be productive when discussing commercialization of subgroups and underground musicians. The project is meant to advance the subculture capital theory I outlined above, which is ultimately a social theory. The classification of these terms is not the fun part but it's still something the community can comment on, even if it's grudgingly. As a general note, I'm aware that the discussion of the term 'IDM' and the semantics of it all are exhausted. I gather that it was never taken very seriously by the artists or the community, but it is still interesting because it stuck in popular culture. Perhaps part of the reason it stuck was the relative controversy around the term. @zkom mentioned braindance, is that term not synonymous with IDM as a genre? What about 'experimental techno'? I can acknowledge that this kind of discussion can seem pointless but I think it does matter because how we classify music makes a difference to who listens to it, how they find a community, and how well it sells. Popular music is typically based on sales, branding, and an artist's image, especially today with the impact of social media. If interest remains intact, and we can escape the topic of terminology, respond to this post and I can offer more (interesting) questions.
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