welcome to the turntables of revolution number three.
Foreword: In praise of youth.
1. DISINFECT, DECONTAMINATE YOURSELVES, INSIDE AND OUT – Before you approach this!
2.THE DIVESTMENT’S AND DISSEMINATION OF YOUTH CULTURE AND THE GLOBAL REVOLUTION FOR EVOLUTION!
The emergence of youth ‘culture’ in the last sixty or so years has been variously described as cybernetic evolution, socio-genetics, memetics for the dissemination and spread of new ideas and attitudes. Richard Dawkin coined the word ‘meme’ to describe these self replicating ideas, which sweep across human populations in new flows of information; cultural genetics, mutating together at the same time.
And also the cultural evolution of the last sixty years has created a post-political society of radical individuals, both in conflict with mainstream society and part of it -as capitalist commerce control both the music industry and the musicians, up to a point, and that is a battle that is ongoing.
But it is not a totally uncritical acceptance, while not exactly joining the status-quo and establishment it’s rebelling against, while benefitting from it and remaining critical of its flaws and resistance to change – a paradox that, on the surface often seems to contradict and compromise the often radical viewpoints of youthful rebellion and the counter-culture, exposing it to hypocrisy and ridicule, and suggesting an unconscious alliance.
Yet the music and lyrics are and remain subversive , combining social comment, political awareness, spiritual depth and meaning, and a quest for direction.
From the politics of resistance and civil unrest, to the discovery and quest of the inner world of man and the new frontiers of consciousness, youth culture has been in continuous revolt, linking the drug -culture, eastern ideas ,philosophy, music and dance psychdelics, shamanism pop , house music and Rave culture,new age wisdom, cyber -techno realities and the underground in all its many inter-related forms.
It was Theodore Roszak who pointed out sometime ago in his ground-breaking work ‘The Making of a Counter-Culture; that the global sweep of the youth movement is hard to understand and pin down because the old categories and definitions used by politicians, psychologists and sociologists alike to describe it are outmoded and belong to the past and are more or less redundant and obsolete.
‘It is hard to go against the prevailing wisdom of reason and science, something so deeply entrenched and endorsed by the prevailing majority’.
Indeed, it is hard to argue against material comfort and security and affluence and all the good things society employs and provides . And to deny its surplus benefits that trickle down from time to time to the people. It is hard to question all that, let me pause significantly here at the word , ‘progress’ ,and all that material abundance.
Progress, let me repeat that thorny red herring, and hardly has there been a more commonly misapplied notion as that of progress. As the bleak, black, blistering and bloody industrial revolution will testify to. And since, all manners of devastation has been perpetuated, heaped on and justified in the name of profit, and to this end have misapplied ourselves , while half destroying the planet
But Roszak’s main theme, in which he lucidly points out that all technocracies are basically the same,that is, they both have identical twin hierarchical structures – whether capitalism or communism- and both contain vast bureaucracies that strive for maximum control. Let me repeat that: all State run organisations -bureaucracies, almost without exception – with a military industrial complex have similar hierarchical structures and the same faceless, terrifying people the world over – churning out propaganda like milk, the same functions and the same experts who rule our lives. You can’t argue with science and, – here is my point – experts who shape our lives – and the billion dollar think tanks who already know, plan our future years ahead what you will see hear, eat, think drink etc and that stick to the bottom of men’s souls, bleeding it and dragging it down. And you can’t argue with soldiers with guns and weapons.
And it is in opposition to this state of the planet stranglehold of competing technocracies that youth is revolting!
But not just a revolt against wars and bombs and destruction -it is also a revolt of the spirit against alienation and our over mechanized, materialistic society -a revolt against feeling hopeless and isolated, meaningless, defeated and degraded .
A revolt driven by a moral imperative and a quest for sanity and a saner world.
Nor is it simply an escape from, a running away from, -though no one could blame anyone for wishing to escape, indeed you would be insane if you did not want to somehow escape! But it was also a fleeing to , a move towards something positive, and a longing for the fullfilment of our human potential, for what is bright, good, intelligent and alive and shines in us.
Idealistic, young, reckless and daring, amateurish, rash, fearless and foolish, over optimistic, blind and naive to boot -yet they are the-seed carriers of new worlds -and they feel it, their new fresh power, their potential and its possibilities .
One of the major characteristics of these revolutionary youth movements are a demand for more personal freedom, independance and individual choice. They are generally anti-authoritarian ( but not anti-society) who share ‘A genetic revulsion for partisan politics, a species horror of too centralised governments and nuclear and chemical weapons’. *
Universally minded ,open and,in the broadest sense possible, nurturing a sense of compassion and co-operation, encompassing universal ideals , planetary awareness , Individual freedom and self worth, personal liberty and pro choice are at the core.
Above all, they share a sense of universal brotherhood and equality, where environment is primary; saving our endangered wildlife – emphasising where possible green peace solutions -decentralisation, social and personal responsibility, and a commitment from those who are politically and environmentally aware.
And at the core of these revolutions, is a pressing desire from the heart , from the spiritual core for more consciousness, more awareness of who we are.
The final Twist in the Spiral of three modern revolutions.
THE RAPID AND GALACTIC TAKE- OFF OF Cyberia and DR. DJ HOUSE.
Dr.D J House.
Many decades had passed and the sixties psychedelic revolution seemed just a faded blur in most minds, punk had come and gone and it was in the Thatcher/Reagan years that murmurings of optimism could be heard. The Berlin wall came down, Communism in Russia followed, Mandela was released, and around then, an acceleration, a faster tempo resounded on the dance floor that became known as ‘House ‘ music, out of which grew ‘Rave Culture’.
House, a term that originally referred to a type of music played by DJ’s at the ‘Warehouse’ , a gay nightclub in Chicago. Just as the term disco derived from discoteque, so house began as a disc jockey culture. And is a genre of electronic dance music.
It is generally accepted that ‘House’ music (now the dominant cultural strain ) began in Chicago*.
The term house is much debated as to exactly when and where and who tagged it , but most suggest it derived from warehouse parties. Warehouse shortened to ‘House’. It helped define a new electronic music and and provided a key term for dance music.
regarded as Godfather of house, remarks on the first time he heard the term was upon seeing ‘we play house music ‘ on a sign in the window of a bar in Chicago’s South-side. One of the people in the car joked with him ‘you know that’s the kind of music you play down at the warehouse ‘. And everybody laughed.
And Farley ‘Jackmaster’ funk was quoted as saying , ‘In 1982 I was DJing at a club called ‘The Playground’ and there was this kid named Leonard ‘Remix’ Roy, who was a DJ at a rival club ‘The Rink’. He came to my club one night , and into the DJ booth, and said to me, ‘Iv’e got the gimmick that’s gonna take all the people out of your club and into mine – it’s called House music. Now where he got that name from and what made him think of it, I don’t know, so the answer lies with him?
The overall answer is, I think, not so important in the causal chain of links, and perhaps, once again it’s the venerable old hundred monkey question repeating, all peeling the banana at the same time!
‘House is feeling: it’s dynamic percussion led rythmic beats are firmly driven by it’s African Roots. The music is best appreciated by people who love to dance. The 4/4 time – driven percussion with low frequency-heavy base shows it’s not just music to listen to but to feel – it can touch your soul, make you dance & lift your spirit*’.
Early house music was essentially dance based music characterized by repetitive 4/4 beats, rythm mainly provided by drum machine , off beat high hat cymbals and synthesiser base lines. It was more electronic and minimalist & the repetitive rythm of house music was more important than the song itself.
Before you had warehouse parties, there was New York Cities, Paradise Garage club, where the legendary Larry Levan was the resident DJ, and is cited for fusing disco with European electronic music, particularly Kraftwork. It had similar characteristics to Disco, but was much more electronic and minimalistic. Various disco songs influenced House music , plus mixing and editing techniques earlier explored by disco , garage music and post-disco DJ’s.
Deep house origins can be traced to Chicago producer Mr. Fingers’ relatively jazzy soulful recordings ‘Mystery of Love’ (1985), and ‘Can You Feel it’. (1986). And ‘Strings of Life ‘ stirred, elevated and touched the soul with optimism and accord. Many becoming Anthems in the hallowed halls of dance , where, arms uplifted, body trembling, heart pounding rythim moved you to grace and wonder, rejoicing on the dance floor.
House music today, while keeping several of the key elements, notable the prominent kick-drum on every beat, varies a lot in style and influence ranging from Soulful atmospheric deep house to the more minimalist micro-house . And there are several genres such as euro-house, techno, electro – house and jump-house. And it’s underground influence now spans the globe.
The Shock of he New.
Alvin Toffler, whose book,’ Future Shock‘ had a big impact on the philosophy of the musicians and the music, and is often quoted. For the first time in history, the Manchester Guardian wrote about the book, ‘scientists are marrying the insights of artists, and poets, dramatists, and novelists to statistical analyses and operational research . The two cultures have met and are being merged . Alvin Toffler is one of the exilerating, liberating results’*
My aim in restating that comment today is to highlight the philosphical background and intellectual content of the musicians and music . Not just its majestic sweep of the past. Also to point out that acceleration and change , the main theme of the book , is reflected in the music. The music reflecting the vast sweep of advancing technology and biological change and inter -change, dancing on the turntables of evolution.
Because in a broader cultural , technological and global sense ,that’s what was happening in the world, vis-a vis technological advance. And, let me repeat, these changes were reflected in House music.
Call it what you want – the reflection of the times by the times , a synchronistic loop , a cultural meme, the simultaneous bursting and spontaneous hundreth monkey repeating, Gaia ‘s intelligence percolating on the whirling turntables of revolution and change…
And whirling is the word. Dervish minds and hearts, co-habitating together, spinning on the dance floor, whirling with the cosmos. On the turn-tables of the world. That’s how they felt, spinning into wonder, into the future.
‘When I first heard synthesisers dropped on records it was great…like UFO’s landing on records’. Juan Atkins.
It was in the early seventies that Kreftwork , replacing guitars and drums with synthesizer pulses and programmed beats built their KlingKlang sound factory in Dusseldorf and began pioneering synth and drum tracks like ‘Autoban and Trans-Europe Express and ‘The Man-Machine. Kraftworks music had a an enormous impact on a new young upwarldy mobile black American youth. Especially in Detroit., where a new generation of urbane ,affluent middle class blacks with Europhile tastes, began experimenting with the new technology.
Juan Atkins, Derrick May and Kevin Saunderson first met at high school and later formed ‘The Bellville Three’, who, together brought an art rock seriousness to bear on what rock fans described as lowly ‘disco’.
‘For us it was always a dedication. We used to sit back and philosophise on what these people though about when they made their music, and how they felt the next phase of the music would go . And you know half the shit we thought about the artist never even fucking thought about !…because Bellville was a rural town , we perceived the music a little bit different than you would if you encountered it in nightclubs or through watching other people dance’.
We’d sit back with the lights off and listen to records by Kreftwork and Funkadelic and Parliament and Bootsy and Yellow Magic Orchestra and try to actually understand what they were thinking about when they made it. We never just took it as entertainent , we took it as a serious philosophy’.
Out of this grew an enormous subculture of clubs and dance music. These clubs would hire spaces and throw parties . The music was dubbed progressive because it stemmed Giorgio Moroder’s synth-and drum machine based Eurodisco, plus Italian disco. On dance party circuits you would also hear electro funk from New York, English New Romantics and European synth-pop atists like Visage, Ultravox and American New Wave.
Later calling themselves Deep Space Soundworks , Atkins and May
‘We built a philosophy behind spinning records . We’d sit and think about what the guy who made the record was thinking about, and how a record would fit with that , so that people on the dance -floor would comprehend the concept . When I think of all the brain power that went into it! We’d sit up the whole night before the party, think about what we’d play the following night, the people who’d be at the party , the concept of clientele! It was insane!’
In the early eighties , Detroit had a huge circuit of parties, and the competition amongst the forty or fifty DJ’s in town was fierce. Everywhere you went you had to be on your shit, because Detroit crowds were so particular ,and if you really weren’t throwing down or you had a fucked up mix , people would look at you and just walk off the dance floor . And that’s how we developed our skills, cos we had no room for error!’
This was a post rock, proto-techno sound which had a huge impact on Black American youth, especially in New York and Detroit ,where the music suited the new affluent middle -class blacks .
It was this was upwardly mobile subculture that pioneerd clubs and dance music . These clubs would hire spaces and throw parties , and were style obsessed . There you would hear electro-funk, Italian disco, English new romantics and european synth pop like Visage, Ultravox
Flowing in the warm lush current of a new black American musical tradition , if a tradition can be established in a hundred or so years as, for example, with the blues, it is in Chicago that House music had its origins, standing at a musical cross roads, and the demise of disco
‘Chicago was one of a couple of cities in America where disco never died’ Juan Atkins.
It was the middled class gay and black youth, who took the detrius of pop culture, mixed with english synthpop and morodores Eurodisco and is a synthesis of Euro synthesiser/Kraftwork, spliced with detorit techno’. So House began as disc Jockey culture
So wrote Simon Reynolds’ in his brilliant book ‘Flashpoint’, which Iv’e burgled from tremendously. ‘Chicago DJ’s,he wrote, had to rework their existing materials into new shapes’.
Just as the jazz men of another century did , bumper to bumper, grinding down the streets of New Orleans and Chicago , each one outdoing the other in a hot exchange of musical rivalries…a battle of triumphant dance music.
And he goes on to point out, summing up the the evolution and development of the music
‘House didn’t just resurrect disco, it mutated the form, intensified the very aspects of the music that offended white rockers and black funkateers :the machine repetition, the synthetic and electronic textures , the rootlessness , the depraved hyper-sexuality and ‘decadent druggy hedonism .
He goes on to write, in conclusion.
By the late eighties Black America had generated four distinct and fully formed genres of electronic dance music: Detroit techno; the deep house, garage sound of Chicago and New York ; acid house and minimal jack tracks ; break-beat-and -sample based hip house. Transplanted to the other side of the Atlantic , each of these sounds would mutate – beyond all recognition, and through a kind of misrecogniton on the part of the British and Europeans’?
the ravalution of house.
If the sixties revolution had sudden, instant global impact, this ravalution was more diffuse, stealthily advancing in the underground. But it was also to be a more incisive break with the past. And it was in Britain that the energy of House music mutated into what became known as Rave Culture, and formed into a definite shape.
Ever since the mid-late fifties onwards and the beginning of Rock and Roll music, British youth culture and its musicians have proved to be innovative, pioneering, creative , and mind expanding from the Beatles through Punk and onto House music. And it’s produced a stellar wave of underground ,counter cultural activists, idealists and icons,and spawned a whole new generation that became widely known as ‘Ravers’.
And in Britain, as crowds began to move towards the dance floor, it’s impact was enormous. By 1987, house music was taking off in The UK, and tracks like Steve ‘ Silk’ Hurley’s Jack your body’, had climbed to the top of the charts .
Acid house hadn’t as yet made a big impact, until a group of four DJ’s (Paul Oakenfield, Danny Rampling, Nicky Holloway and Johnny Walker) took a trip to Ibiza to visit the legendary club Amnesia. They heard the resident DJ Alfredo blending records in the Balearic style, which fused together Funk, Soul, dance, disco and a few Chicago tracks.
The Legendary Shoom,
a name that suggested psychedelic magic mushrooms trips ,was held in Dec 5th 1987 . The party went on all night. Acid house blared from a sound system provided by Carl Cox, and the crowds raved on the dance floor , took excstacy and hugged all night long. The third Shoom flyer featured the smiley face that became the defining symbol of Acid house. And this period became known as the second summer love, similar to the first summer of love in San Francisco in the sixties.
The 80’s and 90’s were a golden era for DJ’s , and the rave scene helped electronic music emerge and grow and enter the mainstream.
With synchronistic timing it seemed, a unique phenomenon, unheard and unnoticed by the public began to appear in the clubs and on dance floors, warehouses and fields of Britain.
Techno -Flyers passed by hand, by word of mouth, distributed outside clubs, on the streets, directing you to a telephone booth and a call instructing you to secret locations in the country side at night. And adding an air of mystery, innovation and adventure ,on the exciting journey to an unknown destination, that was both extraordinary and mysterious.
Like the pied piper, leading an orphic quoir mushrooming in synchronistic timing around the whole country, leading to huge gatherings of youth in clubs and warehouses and vast open fields of the countryside, dancing all night long and watching the dawn rise…
It was truly enormous and liberating and energising. And so underground! Growing in the dark, like the roots of plants, buried in mother earth’s ear. Nurtured in the dark until it naturally breaks to the surface and sprouts open …
And it caught fire, or the country did, when it got wind of it spreading, in what became a tidal wave and the major cultural landmark of the nineties and catalyst for the emerging cyber generation chrysalis of mutant post, post world protagonists.
As once more fresh faced and idealistic and disruptive youth tried to grab hold of the turn-table- reigns of the rapidly accelerating present, and direct their future!
E with everything, e-machines, -email. The E-generation of the nineties, electronic media -flash drives, cybernetic future and e for ecstasy, the new chemical catalyst on the dance floor.And ecstasy –( and as seen throughout all three major cultural revolutions, drugs play an important and historic role as catalysts).
Arthur Shulgun is widely regarded as the Godfather of ecstasy. A west Coast luminary and pioneer , who along with others like John Lilly, who were experimenting with ecstasy. Known as an empathogen in the seventies and eighties and used in phsycho-therapy and given to estranged couples ,it proved successful as a healing tool. Then from the labs and tabs of LA, to the underground of Britain.
But we we will return to the important question of drugs, more fully further on.
This was a cultural flash-point where historical vertical time meets horizontal time in a merging of metaphysics, science, and technology that transcends the personal into the universal.
And since the nineties names like cultural genetics, memes ,cybernetic evolution -internet, digital domain, the web, are today almost common place.
Like a prism shedding light, it spread in all directions at once. Here are some of the fragments from the dazzling shock.
The butterfly effect and the growth of nineties Chaos culture and the spread of Cybernetics, the internet and the world wide web, the Music and the Muse of philosophy, blending a synthesis of Chaos theory, Techno shamanism, dance culture and the harmonic mystic sixties.
Rupert Shelldrake with his beautiful morphic resonance theories, and his great book, ‘The Presence of The Past -a brilliant insight into the memory of Earth and the ear of nature . ( and will read for aons to come).
And most wonderful of all perhaps, the advent and discovery of Chaos theory and the mysterious and perfect Mandlebrot set. A mandala of the universe for the present . The cause and effect of the butterfly wing , resounding in all the songs of all the ancient ancestors of the inter-connectedness of everything living .
Nature replicating its intelligence in technology, thus a drop of water, a passing cloud, a flapping butterflies wing has an indescribable harmony, beauty and order and is infinitely connected to the wh, and everything effects everything else. Similitudes of the present appeared in timeless cause and effect synchronicty, cultural mutations self replicating like a fractal of infinity , merging on the dance floor! How awesome, amazing is that! How perfect and on time , it seemed thus , to them ravers then at the time, mutating together on the dance floor, where it seemed emerging like a chrysalis from incubation, from warm underground layers, the wild flapping butterfly wings of free dancing people !
Gravity defying dance music people , deeply digitally dizzily orbiting in Chill out, ambient spaces. This was the butterfly awakening from the chrysalis.
Dancing mad , hip-hopping house people. Thriving , thrashing in a massive galactic TRANCE dance spinning mass – wave massing. Such as Sign of The Times. Sunrisie – Tony Coulston Haiter, Freedom to Party, Biology. Happy Mondays . Smiley badges and the Hacienda and the collective wave of 90’s hardcore rave and the birth of jungle, trance, trip-hop, big beat, gabba , speed garage, through to the festi-rave. The morphing of punk, hippi, new age traveller raver into cyber suited neuromancers of virtual reality.
Ambient, Chill out, wicked , mental hemispheres of the brain, right brain, left brain, body brain mind. Subversive, idealistic and innovative. And spinning a new wave of intelligent softwar, reflecting the interior fractal reflections on the internet frontier.
DIY (do our own thing, man!) And this new individual electronic software empowerment began to rise more distinctly. . Technology now in the hands of the people.
We meet the prime movers in electronica., Paul Oakenfield, Derrick May Primal Scream, Orbital, Goldie, Spiral Tribe to name just a few.
This new democratic individual empowerment …D.I.Y. spread and widened and deepened and diffused , and purifying the present and purging the past. And as many have pointed out before, this great leap of personal freedom is comparable to the Guttenberg press evolution, revolution of another age. The mass equivalent whose ripples and effects we still can’t determine.
Songs, music, life upon life, time upon time.
Language changes, punctuation, style and grammar shifts, old expressions become redundant, obsolete, and new evolutionary skills appear in the interface and exchange with the times. Lower case use is a typical example, the letters now seem less pompos , more democratic and equal, revolutionary, purifying even. But not in all cases, haha! Sorry, couldn’t resist that!
There are volumes now being written, and many heads bowed in study, many papers busy busying, studying, in colleges and universities, dizzyingly analyzing, computerizing digitalizing the history of this mega- ton revolution of House/acid house music, Rave Culture. And it is ongoing. And what’s more it’s just still only at the start., the first flap of the dancing butterflies wings of the future, sailing into the present, and like a butterfly it’s a rare and beautiful thing. Like hope. Hope, yes because at the core of these techno music – melodious revolutions is a pressing desire from the heart , from the spiritual core for more consciousness, more awareness of who we are…..
And here we must stop for the present, this eulogising and philosophising on the times & what not, – something which I’m often prone to do! And end this brief glance at what has passed, more or less over the last one hundred years or so. Amazing!
What a bountiful, vertical leap! What a noble and majestic sweep from the sea and the sand, and down from the tree to stand, erect and proud upon the land! Golden Monkee, man!
As Compared to the past, 50, 000 or so ago from tribal societies on ,communicating by word of mouth, sign and symbol to around 3500 BC to 1500 and the wheel , horse locomotion and hand written communications , steam boats and telegraph and engines trains and planes to extra-terrestrial habitats etc. This rapid spread of technology and transportation from say, the tipping points of the 1960 mass accelerating through the – 1990 -due in part to technology and mass availability of chemical and electronic information and transportation .
All it seems in two generations, in the span of one lifetime…it’s astonishing even, and it seems to me, almost breathtaking, when you consider what has occurred ,and all in a mere one hundred years , more rapid change than that has occurred than all the previous fifty thousand years of recorded history!
Wonderous even, to be able to stand here in the present, to look up at the stars and glimpse and view the vast trajectory we have travelled in so short a time span ,and to be able to look both ways at once, backwards and forwards , and feel a part of it now -what an adventure,what an experience, – wonder and awe indeed!
‘There is something evergreen and vital in the human heart and soul that leaps and bounds joyful and free, a radiant spark forever kindling…’
End of volume 1 of the GoldenMonkee!
P.S., oh no, this is not the end folks, there is more, many riches to follow in part two of this ravalution!