Jun 032009

Hard techno is for dancing rather than for listening alone. But some unmerciful tracks of that late industrial funk music do have that repetitive, meditative quality that makes them work just as well in your headphones as on the dance floor. They win in both situations because, as I see it, the track itself emulates the slow and subtle shifts of the uncompromising techno DJ.

Ben Sims – Jenkins Lane

Monotonous music opens your head. This concept goes back to Erik Satie.

“Vexations is a noted musical work by Erik Satie. It consists of a short chordal passage and a bass line which is repeated twice in each repetition of the piece. Satie recommends on the score that ‘To play this motif 840 times in succession, it would be advisable to prepare oneself beforehand, in the deepest silence, by serious immobilities.’ While the 840 repetitions aren’t obligatory, many artists have followed the enigmatic suggestion and played the piece with many repetitions.”

“The work was first played in public the requisite 840 times, by a team of pianists: John Cage, David Tudor, Christian Wolff, Philip Corner, Viola Farber, Robert Wood, MacRae Cook, John Cale, David Del Tredici, James Tenney, Howard Klein (the New York Times reviewer, who coincidentally was asked to play in the course of the event) and Joshua Rifkin, with two reserves, on September 9, 1963, from 6 p.m. to 12:40 p.m. the following day.”

If you loop something it changes. The sounds grow. Repetition is difference. “You can’t step into the same river twice“, as Heraclitus put it, to which Chuck D responded, “You Can’t Stop The Bum Rush“. What a brother know?

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