Thoughts on music #12 (Simon Reynolds)

Simon Reynolds
"A final, emotionally ambivalent thought about the difference between rock and its post-. Let's consider the Stones' "Gimme Shelter", described by Greil Marcus as the greatest piece of recorded rock'n' roll ever (I agree). Consider specifically the all-too-brief instrumental prequel, the way Keith Richard's soliloquy of a solo conjures a shattering pitch of ecstatic anguish and longing. For a multitude of reasons, the historical conditions that made "Gimme Shelter" not just possible, but of oracular significance, are gone; not only has rock's grand narrative petered out into a delta of microcultures, but the possibility of writing a redemptive narrative itself seems to be fading. A post-rock band would take that intro's appalling poignancy, loop it, stretch it out to six minutes or more, turn it into an environment. Because that limbo-land between bliss-scape and paranoia-scape, narcosis and nightmare is where we who live under the sign of the post- find ourselves."
-Simon Reynolds, "Post-Rock", Audio Culture (2006) Edited by Cristoph Cox & Daniel Warner (the article originally appeared in Village Voice in 1995 and is seen as the first instance where the term "post-rock" is defined).

This is not a stretched out post-rock reworking but an extended mix nevertheless and those often have their charms:


RoboCop and techno

Movie poster
Quite awesome to see RoboCop last night in Imperial, the biggest cinema screen in Scandinavia. My girlfriend and I went with friends. Great night.

Since I was a kid I've seen this movie countless times on VHS and DVD but this was something special. It's definitely a Hollywood flick with plenty of violence etc. but it's also a really entertaining and intelligent movie. Good on you, Paul Verhoeven.

It's fascinating that the movie is set in a future dystopian Detroit. Detroit was the birthplace of techno in the early 80's when the city was a post-autoindustrial ghost town. Many of the movie's key scenes are played out in what could be abandoned car factories.

The movie doesn't contain many references to techno but there's one nightclub scene which is very relevant. One of the major themes of techno is the relationship between man and machine, and the Murphy/RoboCop cyborg could be said to be a spelled out Hollywood embodiment of exactly that relationship. Also, the way the movie frames themes of mortality and displacement is just brilliant.

Alas, let's bring out a few techno gems. Here's one from 1983. Cybotron were formed in 1980 by Juan Atkins and Richard Davis. Along with Derrick May and Kevin Saunderson, Juan Atkins is seen as one of the founders of Detroit techno. This track is probably electro as much techno but you get the picture. This is early stuff:

Inner City is Kevin Saunderson and vocalist Paris Grey. Kevin is from Detroit and Paris is from Chicago. Interesting, since Inner City's music is a blend of techno and house, and while Detroit is a techno town, Chigaco is most definitely a house town.

The 90's saw the minimal techno come to the forefront and Plastikman is among the genre's progenitors. Richie Hawtin is the guy behind the Plastikman moniker. He was actually raised in Canada right across the border from Detroit. He became a part of the second wave of Detroit techno. Plastikman makes amazing music with drum machines, "acid" bass lines and reverb! Here's "Plasticine" from his 1993 full length debut:

To round things up, here's an interesting little documentary on Detroit and it's music:

Real Scenes: Detroit from Resident Advisor on Vimeo.