Monday, March 8, 2010

High Tech Soul

An excellent documentary on Detroit Techno, the originators, and a bit about those carrying on the music now. I am going to show some clips in seminar, but definitely check it out to learn a bit more about the music and the people.

Scratch is not related to Techno, but more to hip-hop and turntablism. Another interesting documentary related to the use of turntables, breaks, and scratching.


  1. I like the idea of using techno music as a lense to talk about the city of Detroit. Right before I left Shanghai an expat photographer had published a book documenting the emerging alternative rock and electronica scene there. Some of the writing was able to connect the music with the atmosphere of the city.

    "While during the day it (Shanghai) incessantly remodels its features to the sound of mechanical grinding and scraping, at night it continues to refurbish itself, but now it is to the electronic pulsations of the city's notorious bars; through, along with everything else, these bars seem to have been routinely sacrificed to appease the city's obsession with its appearance. Yet, during their brief existence they have always offered the city's camp entertainment to her wandering residents."

    It would be nice to see the images take on more of the conceptual work. I'd be interested in thinking about the conditions that allowed techno to emerge as it did in Detroit. Like I said in class, I think the parallel between light trail images and Frank Gilbreth's efficient working studies would be interesting. You could go a lot of different directions with this.

    I'll bring that book tonight, and I'll post a few images on here. I just can't do it in a comment.

  2. When I arrived in MI this summer, my first impression of Michigan/Ann Arbor/ Detroit was failing economy, house foreclosure, and unemployment rates- this is all anyone talked about on the radio. HOWEVER, there was always a reaction - a person who would call in and talk about what makes this area survive, what makes Detroit unique- People are really proud of the musical movements that come out of the city. More often than not, I would hear about Motown, Alice Cooper, The White Stripes, Bob Seger, Kid Rock, Eminem, etc; the musical movements that originate and generate steam in the motor city- then go national and international and put Detroit back on the map as a creative ground zero.
    I didn't know that techno had such a strong foundation in Detroit; your presentation inspired me to learn more about the intense musical/creative culture next door-

  3. Hey James-

    I was wondering if you knew about this conference?

    Seems like a great venue for your work and you can propose a panel. It also might be an interesting place to take pictures.