Topic: Electronic music and black identity

Hey robots,
a friend of mine shared this article and it got me thinking a lot in the light of the current political climate. Curious what you think?

https://dwellerforever.blog/2020/06/24/ … preserved/

I'm a bit divided on the article. On some notes I agree with the authors about bunch a white folks trying to play african like those twats radio noet noet, who'd been playing at commercial festivals by putting on african outfits and playing music from the continent.

More critical I am when it comes to their view on independent labels like awesome tapes from africa. Of course this whole world-music hype with labels operating outta europe like habibi funk, sonic vibes? (? or whatever is called that had lotsa stuff from Thailand) and the latter has a slightly neo-colonial touch to it. Then again with labels like ATFA, the african artists get 50% of the revenue and they would probably be unheard of here without that label. And yes there is a lot exoticism happening about it's origins, but that pretty much happens with all music coming from abroad and rarely there is a good original depiction. And a locally run label might not have the same reach towards Europe.

Also the part about the white-washing of techno. Of course it's lame that people these days don't seem to know where the music came from. and that it was black folks who invented it in the first place. Then again, specifically when it comes to techno we all know that the influence and direct contribution from "white" european electronic music is so huge that it may not have developed without. Jeff Mills also started making music imitating drum patterns from Klein & MBO. Also on early hiphop the influence is hard to deny, with kraftwerk being sampled so often that you can fill hours of youtube-videos with it.
In the end I think the reason techno became "white-washed" is because it never found truly popular appeal in the US. In Europe it became hugely popular where there is just less of a black audience and follow-up musicians to be gained (in the EU including uk around 3% are afro-europeans). So with the majority of the crowd + dj's being it until today the thought that techno is more popular among whites easily became the image.

Last but not least what this article shows to have been 100% completed is the superiority of images and packaging over music. I'm wondering if the writers are aware that when electronic music became big the image of the dj was an anonymous one. You would most likely not even know how he even looks due to being tucked away behind some desk at a party. Many artists chose deliberately not to have images of them anywhere like our beloved Drexciya (which are now seen as prolific black artists, but back in the day you might as well have thought they're two Inuit in a hut near the chinese wall so little was known about them..).
Now, in this instagram picture-obsessed age images seem to have become everything. Skin-color of the dj, name he has, probly his latest tweet. Maybe also whom he last had sex with it, just like in the f*ckin tabloid press.

Last edited by score100 (2020-07-18 15:11:47)

Re: Electronic music and black identity

So i just scrolled through the text/ if i missed a point please enlighten me!!!

I think that a lot of politics these days are set by the emotions of teenagers, and right now it's cool and trendy to try to come up with some kvasi racist theory/ alternative some genus theory. If you manage to come up with one of these mumbo jumbo ideas you are teenage hero "philosopher" and those that question this theory, the set agenda are evil. Knowledge and historical context doesn't matter. The intentions are probably good but the carte blanche trend right now is a bit scary https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Khmer_Rouge.

I think the question it's pure nonsense, a non-issue. If anything it shows that the cool trendy kids live good and safe life and have time to think up those kind of non-dilemmas. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Princess_and_the_Pea. If the reality was that big evil white colonial record-industry moguls went to Africa to exploit and to steal the music to make big buck it would of course be bad, but that's just a fantasy (good luck playing something from ATFA to regular folks/ to the masses). In reality it is a handful of music lovers that does what music lovers does - find music that they love and share it, some even pick up the torch. Sorry but there's no dilemma there. No "goodness-points" to be made. Who listens to ATFA? Cool trendy hipster kids and music lovers (me included), in other words an unimportant piss in the ocean. Cant even see the problem with those dudes in the colorful clothes. The alternative would be an separation/ apartheid - white people cant be inspired by music made by blacks and vice versa black cant play let's say rock.

Is it sad that the shallow instagram-kids these days listen to Daft Punk or Avicii and have never heard about Jeff Mills? Yes. Is it sad that Europeans tune in to Eurovision song contest thinking that its the creme de la creme of music? Of course. But in the big picture its unimportant.

What Leopold II did was horror.
That Eminem make rap music doesn't matter.

Last edited by coae (2020-07-21 09:44:20)

Re: Electronic music and black identity

I think what you point out well coae, is that there's a major difference between people presenting music from the african content to a european niche audience and someone like Armin van Buuren making profit of stealing the logo of UR.

For further interest also check out the codeswitch podcast referred to in the article. It criticizes Perseus Traxx for attaining the identity of Ellis de Haveland, a fictional character from Gary, Indiana.  https://www.npr.org/2017/05/31/52881613 … 5003967000

Has a hilarious and well presented appearance of Guy Taveres from Bunker as well. I wonder if the makers are aware that creating narratives of being someone else than you are have been overwhelmingly present in electronic music. The idea that it's about whites trying to attain a 'black identity' is a bunch of hogwash. It is in all respects a homage and often ironic one. It's just like saying Heinrich Mueller from Detroit (A black dude named Gerard Donald oh no!) tried to attain white German identity when using that alias and having records that would credit other non-existent Germans.

Re: Electronic music and black identity

@score I've read the article and I find so many things they claim untruths that I can't see any good point in it.
It's obviously written by people that strongly believe in the fundamentals of the political view of those behind the current identity war, that just recently expanded big time into Europe after the death of George Floyd.
Personally I think this whole identity war and woke stuff is not getting people united and closer at all. Quite the opposite actually. I hope it will turn into something positive for mankind (i'm still allowed to use the word mankind right?) eventually. But as long as virtue signaling is getting all the retweets, likes and shares, I doubt it.

Re: Electronic music and black identity

Note to self i shouldn't be so harsh in my comments. It's just a bit tiresome to be marinated with this kind of (in my humble opinion) made up non-issues. Fully agree with S.T.E.N.T.E.C.

Right now there's probably some bootleg Metallica CD's floating around in Nigeria, and maybe even some kids are practicing Death Metal-riffs in some basement in Lagos wearing jeans and black Metallica t-shirts. Is this "black-dyeing" of white music, an exploitation by all blacks on all whites? If you turn the questing it becomes pretty silly. No idea what Armin van Buuren is up to but if he's stealing UR-logo it's probably just bad behavior (maybe even criminal?) and not an attack by all whites on all blacks. Neither do i think there's any correlation between Armin van Buuren's music and the horrors that occurred i Kongo under Leopold II. As long as things is done with a bit of love and respect i cant see any problem. Then you can be inspired by "black music"(?) or play the white(?) Accordion, no problemo...

Last edited by coae (2020-07-21 09:46:41)

Re: Electronic music and black identity

Virtue Signaling is precisely what this is, seems to be a past time looking to be offended by proxy its just tiresome and any true message of equality get lost amongst the noise.

I seem to recall a few years ago people were getting all arsey about white male producers using female pseudonyms and cultural appropriation isn;t anything new...hell didnt us white folks steal rock & roll.

Those that want to look further than the smoke and mirrors of main stream media easily can to find out the truth, if they really want to.

Let's get Dumb

Re: Electronic music and black identity

Agree with all the above. It's a topic that seems to get a serious amount of oxygen these days.

Coae is dead right. This politics of "feeling" is a fucking useless self-centred way of looking at the world around you. Within this only positive feelings are seen as valid, argument is censored away as being either negative or even inflammatory. I always end up thinking, how long has the war being going on in Yemen and this shite is important?

Thanks score100 for sharing the npr podcast. I had seen it doin the rounds before but hadn't bothered with it, I'm glad I did as it's a really good example of one narrative overriding another. The US is obsessed with this idea of the "first" as in the "founder" or the "original." This constant attempt to explain electronic music out of the US is just one narrative and it is very very simple one i.e. house and techno exported to Europe. It misses all the real honest messiness of the process. Having Ron Trent on the podcast as a voice of authenticity, leaning towards being the voice, is such an easy claim to make and reduces everything to such a simple story that fits the narrative of being a "founder."
Guy is correct, music is a text or a story as he puts it. You can interpret it any way you like; be offended, laugh a it, mock it, whatever.
The issue arises when certain stories begin to clash and the overarching narrative, "founding figures of house", is either adapted or adopted and the claim of authenticity with it. If you choose to believe that his overarching narrative it the gospel truth, that this story is not malleable, like all stories are, you're going to find yourself having problems. This is just a tiny sub example of so many of these narratives that are spouted day in day out, the constant use of WWII imagery in British politics is an easy example.
I do like npr and they do good stuff. This podcast is a great example of beginning with the wrong end of the stick for me. It also is a far bit of kudos for Guy, he must be pretty good a writing to make the tale so believable. The interviewer would also have done well to ask Ron Trent about the whole aliases thing in electronic music, he's got like thirty of em.

I'm never to sure where cultural appropriation starts and cultural appreciation stops. When this topic starts up with folk I always think of Irish history, me being from Ireland, and then kinda heave a sigh.

"Hey Sweden."
"They're Norwegian Mac."
http://weforfeit.blogspot.com.es/