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master's thesis on IDM


headplastic
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i was a member of that original IDM message board / email subscription thingy in the 90's. talked to richard (briefly) through that, via email, about video game emulation. probably mentioned it before around here. any other members or discussion about that initial use of the term on this forum over the years?

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Outstanding work Nicholls, data & resources provided. Thank you.

I would say that 'IDM' is just a vague label to define some kind of affinity, specifically in electronic music, call it braindance, experimental music or whatever you want. The point is that is hard to gather all electronic styles and each culture in hip hop, ambient, techno, etc. Applied to the community implies that we're quite different as individuals even if we match racially, by gender, age or education.

Edited by Diurn
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lads we have been etnographically analysed.

Zephyr_Nova from Canada, our dear North Korean Silent Member. BobDobalina originating from the dankest Peru, Ignatius from his home in Oregon's own little "public shitting". And don't forget our admin, he resides "right behind you", implying he is quite good at etnographic infiltration.

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20 hours ago, T3551ER said:

"WATMM users can use one of eight reactions to communicate value: ‘Like’, ‘Thanks’, ‘Haha’, ‘Confused’, ‘Sad’, ‘Facepalm’, ‘Burger’, ‘Farnsworth’, or ‘Big Brain’. While the first five reactions are self-explanatory, the other four remain ambiguous, even to some users (2021)" 

I can hardly express how much I love knowing that this text was read by whomever was tasked with reviewing your thesis. I'm only that far, but it already wins the entire internet and also most of cyberspace. 🍻

hahaha so yeah, def wanted to drop a quick note to say this:

I have a lot of gripes with academia, specifically regarding how my ideas as a students were influenced by my supervisors and the wider values of the academic community at the time (mostly American influences). also I realized by the end that many admin just want students to finish so they can tick another box from their list. incredibly impersonal for such a social-based practice. online school prompted by COVID didnt help much either tbh. anyway, basically these little ridiculous phrases are me poking fun at my committee. as if they didn't even question it... I find it hilarious -- to me it shows the gap in our cultural awareness between me and my supervisors, or maybe a sense of humour lost  -- I also cited a reddit user named "peepeeland" who offered some decent material hahaha - passages like these aren't supposed to be taken seriously imo, in fact, these 'reactions' are never mentioned again

that reminds me @zero, I think since I approached the community and discussions posted on watmm/reddit as if it were discourse (eg. artifacts of cultural behaviour, activity, values, interests, etc. that represent a community of people), my citations of random internet strangers are framed differently than if I were to approach the forums as public discussion. the interesting thing to me is that anonymity doesn't necessarily mean the 'truth' is hidden. I mean, I'm not looking for the truth - I'm looking for an interesting history in a music culture that has large-scale influence. so even if everyone I spoke with was full of shit and having a laugh, in a way that response also describes the community. in other words, there is no guarantee that speaking with each of you in-person with full identification will warrant truthful/useful/accountable responses either

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56 minutes ago, headplastic said:

hahaha so yeah, def wanted to drop a quick note to say this:

I have a lot of gripes with academia, specifically regarding how my ideas as a students were influenced by my supervisors and the wider values of the academic community at the time (mostly American influences). also I realized by the end that many admin just want students to finish so they can tick another box from their list. incredibly impersonal for such a social-based practice. online school prompted by COVID didnt help much either tbh. anyway, basically these little ridiculous phrases are me poking fun at my committee. as if they didn't even question it... I find it hilarious -- to me it shows the gap in our cultural awareness between me and my supervisors, or maybe a sense of humour lost  -- I also cited a reddit user named "peepeeland" who offered some decent material hahaha - passages like these aren't supposed to be taken seriously imo, in fact, these 'reactions' are never mentioned again
 

lol - oh yeah, no, that's totally how I read this - a little wink and a nod peaking out, destined to completely sail by anyone who is just cursorily reviewing (or even, I suppose, seriously reviewing ... but without a sense of humor). Think that's why I found it particularly hilarious - I imagine someone just moving past it without a second thought and it's just... yeah, it's lovely. .

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52 minutes ago, headplastic said:

that reminds me @zero, I think since I approached the community and discussions posted on watmm/reddit as if it were discourse (eg. artifacts of cultural behaviour, activity, values, interests, etc. that represent a community of people), my citations of random internet strangers are framed differently than if I were to approach the forums as public discussion. the interesting thing to me is that anonymity doesn't necessarily mean the 'truth' is hidden. I mean, I'm not looking for the truth - I'm looking for an interesting history in a music culture that has large-scale influence. so even if everyone I spoke with was full of shit and having a laugh, in a way that response also describes the community. in other words, there is no guarantee that speaking with each of you in-person with full identification will warrant truthful/useful/accountable responses either

that's fair. I wasn't sure how serious this all was meant to be taken. I assumed that in the academic world "citing your sources" would usually entail including at least first name/last names, not just forum usernames. but if you weren't looking for 100% truthful responses any way, then all good.  

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that's another handle for the guy who did the "Skrillex is a badger penis" vid, iirc (who very occasionally swoops in here and posts some monumentally hilarious thing only to disappear without a trace for another couple years... can't remember his watmm handle for the life of me).

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2 hours ago, zero said:

I wasn't sure how serious this all was meant to be taken.

an idm thesis is about as serious as it gets imo. better cross your eyes and dot your Ts if you know what i mean

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1 hour ago, zero said:

that's fair. I wasn't sure how serious this all was meant to be taken

to me, whatever idm culture *is* includes a sense of humour, something generally lacking from the despicable egotistical ethos found in the ivory tower that can be higher education. certain aspects of my research are serious, such as how mainstream/underground ideologies form around groups of individuals, or how individuals form communities online based on their own self-identity and understanding of their own cultural value. idm was a great case study for approaching these ideas, I think. I'm most interested in pop culture and how idm fits into it

in regard to the citation practice, since you guys are members are part of the community I am researching and have online identities that correspond to your cultural practices (making music, discussing idm), your activity is forming the very culture in question. this is valid from an ethnographic POV, and a lot of worthwhile questions are raised: why would you lie about something you are passionate about? what separates the validity of your responses to my research in comparison to a peer-reviewed scholar? everyone has their own agendas in scholarship, too. there is a sizeable amount of poor scholarship, who knows where I sit on that spectrum, but I try to approach research with at least a fkin dash of humility

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Badass!

Are you the first one to do this? Now I have the sudden urge to look for Master Thesis' on my favorite music artists. Lol. Also, I've always liked the term Braindance. Much more creative than IDM.

Edited by Brisbot
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6 minutes ago, headplastic said:

to me, whatever idm culture *is* includes a sense of humour

indeed. and if we're going to do a deep dive analysis as to why this is in this genre, I'd guesstimate that started way back when with Richard trolling in interviews, similar to what the punks did in the '70s/'80s (and that attitude also continued on with bands like the Meat Puppets and Nirvana into the '90s). Richard could come across as aloof, sarcastic, and completely full of shit / not to be taken seriously when you would read what he said in the music mags. I really think in some way, that laid the foundation for the humor/sarcasm that comes along with this scene. then of course the labeling of this music as "intelligent" dance music itself is very tongue in cheek, hard to know if that is a serious genre label or not. 

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Congratulations on your successful defense on such a cool topic, and thanks for sharing! Looking forward to reading it soon!

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On 1/18/2022 at 6:16 PM, Brisbot said:

Are you the first one to do this?

thanks so much -- my contribution is significant to the scholarship on idm, particularly in regard to subcultural capital theory and online social formation, yet several others have written about idm to explore critical social theory and popular music

if you're interested, Ramzy Alwakeel writes about idm as a cultural text, discussing how afx and autechre perform their identities as popular electronic musicians; Thomas Brett writes about autechre fans as productive 'technogeeks' and how idm is about the creative music-making process itself; Mark Fell describes idm as 'post-techno' or, exhaustively, 'unusual electronic music typically without academic affiliation', essentially describing idm as incongruous with normative music-making practices; Ben Ramsay offers a fantastic history of idm, especially in from an American perspective, and traces idm from its roots in uk rave culture/chillout scenes. I really like this article; and Mimi Haddon gets some great interviews with Warp in the context of idm as a technogeek culture, also love that article

also, Simon Reynolds has three chapters dedicated to idm/braindance/drill in his book Energy Flash, and Joanna Demers briefly describes idm in her book Listening Through the Noise, I recommend both of those books to any and all electronic music fans tbh

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5 hours ago, headplastic said:

thanks so much -- my contribution is significant to the scholarship on idm, particularly in regard to subcultural capital theory and online social formation, yet several others have written about idm to explore critical social theory and popular music

if you're interested, Ramzy Alwakeel writes about idm as a cultural text, discussing how afx and autechre perform their identities as popular electronic musicians; Thomas Brett writes about autechre fans as productive 'technogeeks' and how idm is about the creative music-making process itself; Mark Fell describes idm as 'post-techno' or, exhaustively, 'unusual electronic music typically without academic affiliation', essentially describing idm as incongruous with normative music-making practices; Ben Ramsay offers a fantastic history of idm, especially in from an American perspective, and traces idm from its roots in uk rave culture/chillout scenes. I really like this article; and Mimi Haddon gets some great interviews with Warp in the context of idm as a technogeek culture, also love that article

also, Simon Reynolds has three chapters dedicated to idm/braindance/drill in his book Energy Flash, and Joanna Demers briefly describes idm in her book Listening Through the Noise, I recommend both of those books to any and all electronic music fans tbh

This makes me wish there was an IDM/Braindance/etc Historian and/or historian website that showcases the music in both a historical and analytical context.

I think you are in a unique position (with a few other people) to where you could write an all encompassing "pop-sci" type book at some point on all these aspects, the history, context, online culture, them feedbacking into each other, etc etc. How Artists shaped and changed both the online culture as time goes on. etc etc. And you have a nice explanatory and clear writing style that is easy to understand... well I think I understood most of what I have read. I have only read half of it so far on my kindle.

Not that you need to write a book as your thesis already feels like a book, but that you definitely could write one if you so wish. I'd buy it. I feel like there is enough "there, there" now for that kind of book that looks at IDM/Braindance as a whole and provides context.

Edited by Brisbot
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TL;DR I've always wanted to read a book on IDM/Braindance as the genre is older than I am and have always wondered what it was like to have just discovered the artists in the early to mid 90s. What was the transformation of these talented artists from "he/she makes great original music" to "he/she is an icon that everyone else is required to at least listen to within their genre ".

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lol we live in the same city (or at least I live in the same city as the university you graduated from - not far from there actually).

Congrats on finishing during the pandemic, it must have been fucking tough.

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1 hour ago, Brisbot said:

TL;DR I've always wanted to read a book on IDM/Braindance as the genre is older than I am and have always wondered what it was like to have just discovered the artists in the early to mid 90s. What was the transformation of these talented artists from "he/she makes great original music" to "he/she is an icon that everyone else just steals from now, and claiming said icon is bad is non-sensical gibberish ".

Relate 100

Really tho I wish I copped on to Autechre circa 95 so I could send in a postcard from tri-repetae plus 10 quid for a vinlys of YR We R Y r we, except I was a kid in the american suburbs and had absolutely no way of knowing such things exaisted.

Plus my foray into electronix/technos was also delayed by the fact that the ppl I knew in college into late-stage rave cvlture were total d'bags.

AeneWAE haere's to overaenalyzing shaet :beer:

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3 hours ago, Brisbot said:

This makes me wish there was an IDM/Braindance/etc Historian and/or historian website that showcases the music in both a historical and analytical context.

This may lack the analytical context you're seeking, but DJ Food's collection of some of his mixes on mixcloud is fucking brilliant and spans a huge range of IDM, electronic, and weirdness. You have to subscribe to access it all, but it's 2.99 a month - you can definitely listen to everything in a month 😉

He also produced this excellent piece on cut-ups which has some analytical context:

He also did this mix in the immediate aftermath of the first wave of the aphex soundcloud dump, and mixed in a bunch of old aphex interviews (where RDJ does some excellent trolling):

 

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15 hours ago, Brisbot said:

ain't that the truth

@chenGOD
thanks so much, that sentiment means a lot. it was difficult to stay motivated most of the time as so many have realized - things are harder now that I'm looking for work. had to move out of the city bc of the pandemic circumstances

also, @Brisbot really cool that you are reading through it, very much appreciated. an idm book would be sick, especially in a collaborative style (chapters from multiple authors, also a chapter 'from the fans'/community would be exceptional imo). you might find Ishkur's guide to electronic music amusing, or this active fan website which lists nearly 300 idm artists. oh and the musicmap, pretty cool

an artists iconography and how they are sensationalized seems to influence their role/genre in popular culture, and it's especially interesting when those artists blatantly reject the mainstream way of doing things. anyways, I am working on publishing portions of my thesis, motivation is just a bit low these days. that being said, your responses have been inspiring

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4 hours ago, headplastic said:

also, @Brisbot really cool that you are reading through it, very much appreciated. an idm book would be sick, especially in a collaborative style (chapters from multiple authors, also a chapter 'from the fans'/community would be exceptional imo). you might find Ishkur's guide to electronic music amusing, or this active fan website which lists nearly 300 idm artists. oh and the musicmap, pretty cool

It's  one of those things that I didn't know I'd want till I saw it. It's about unique perspective on something I like. That you don't see until someone shows it to you. So it's like seeing it from a new angle. Even if it's a niche angle. When then makes me feel I really want to look into it more (as a layperson). Therefore the "you should write a book" comment. 

And you are right. A collaborative book would probably be the best way to go about it.

Edited by Brisbot
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