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When the beats are outlawed -- take away the beats
August 3, 2005 3:15 PM   Subscribe

When the beats are outlawed -- take away the beats. (related)
posted by Rothko (44 comments total)

 
Two E2 links about a 1994 EP and a "related" MeFi? Why not just post these to that thread then?

Delete.
posted by klangklangston at 3:25 PM on August 3, 2005


I believed it interesting enough to merit its own post, about a subject few may know about. Thanks.
posted by Rothko at 3:32 PM on August 3, 2005


I don't know who put Klangklangston in charge, but I do wonder what prompted you to post this. It's plenty interesting, I just can't tell from the E2 links if there's been some new development, other than the Czech Republic incident.
posted by schoolgirl report at 3:43 PM on August 3, 2005


Good stuff. Only problem with Anti as an anti-CJA weapon is that it's not danceable in any traditional sense ... but who cares.

For those that can't be bothered to open the links: the UK actually outlawed parties featuring repetitive beats in order to fight raves. Check out the second link for Autechre's response.
posted by lbergstr at 3:43 PM on August 3, 2005


schoolgirl, it's interesting stuff on the web people haven't seen before. No one said it has to be topical/current.
posted by lbergstr at 3:44 PM on August 3, 2005


I'd be interested in hearing "Flutter." If Autechre really wanted to bring down The Man they'd have released it for free.
posted by Faint of Butt at 3:55 PM on August 3, 2005


No no, it is interesting. I was just wondering if I was missing context, that's all.
posted by schoolgirl report at 4:02 PM on August 3, 2005


schoolgirl, it's interesting stuff on the web people haven't seen before. No one said it has to be topical/current.

I don't think she ever said otherwise. She was just curious what brought Rothko to think about these (fairly old) items. And, I have to admit, so am I.
posted by voltairemodern at 4:03 PM on August 3, 2005


sorry, i'm just grumpy and over-sensitive about "is this FPP material" discussions. which apparently this wasn't even meant to be!
posted by lbergstr at 4:12 PM on August 3, 2005


Actually, voltairmodern, I'm a he, despite the (misleading) screenname. But thanks!
posted by schoolgirl report at 4:13 PM on August 3, 2005


It seems interesting to see mainstream culture respond to electronic music and its listeners with ridiculous, arbitrary laws and violent crackdowns. It also seemed interesting that two electronic musicians responded in a clever way over ten years ago to this sort of thing.
posted by Rothko at 4:15 PM on August 3, 2005


It's mostly interesting to me just because Autechre is generally so purposefully inscrutable and abstract, so any gesture from them that carries an explicit message is interesting.
posted by lbergstr at 4:31 PM on August 3, 2005


Didn't Autechre once release a 7" made out of sandpaper? CRRRRTHCCHHTHCHCHH!
posted by loquacious at 4:41 PM on August 3, 2005


Also, good job of linking to E2 from the main page. No wonder my pageloads over there are nosediving like a coke fiend in a disco. ;)
posted by loquacious at 4:42 PM on August 3, 2005


It seems interesting to see mainstream culture respond to electronic music and its listeners with ridiculous, arbitrary laws and violent crackdowns.

I have a feeling it'll be used against any music that the establishment dosen't like. They'll gladly break up a hip-hop or speed metal show, too (both feature 'heavy repetitive beats') I wouldn't feel too special. But I'm with you on the law being asinine.
posted by jonmc at 4:43 PM on August 3, 2005


I have a feeling it'll be used against any music that the establishment dosen't like.

Agreed. Still tho, electronic music fans, rightly or wrongly, have a sort of persecution complex - it seems like there's a special phobia that gets triggered in people by the word "rave".
posted by lbergstr at 4:59 PM on August 3, 2005


> It seems interesting to see mainstream culture respond
> to electronic music and its listeners with ridiculous,
> arbitrary laws and violent crackdowns.

To be honest, it had very little to do with the type of music, and everything to do with the fact that small villages and quiet locations all around the UK were being invaded by young people who would arrive on a Friday and Saturday night, set up generators and hold massive illegal parties.

Although there was something of a moral panic about the drugs being consumed (pretty well everyone was off their face on ecstasy), the real concern was the social nuisance of several thousands of cars turning up in villages with no infrastructure to support them (ie, no parking, no toilet facilities, etc) and then setting up generators that pumped out thousands of kilowatts of sound all night long -- or until the police were able to put together enough of a presence to break it up -- often impossible in small rural areas on a Saturday night when faced with thousands of drugged-out dancers.

Ah, but those were the days. We'd start out at Quadrant Park in Liverpool, Shelly's in Stoke or Legends in Warrington (but not the Hacienda -- never the Hacienda), and then by three a.m., we'd make our way to the motorway service station at Charnock Richard where there'd be thousands of cars, all waiting for someone to show up and lead us to the venue. The cars would all have their stereo's on, and there would be hundreds of people, dancing in the car park as the service station staff cowed in terror behind the glass doors.

Then someone would come and lead this enormous convoy, miles and miles long, to some shady warehouse or field that had been comandeered for the night.

Of course, it all ended when 200 riot police showed up with billy clubs and kicked the shit out of us, and then after that they started with the road blocks and the illegal blocks on our freedom of movement and assembly, eventually leading to this change in the law.

At the time, it was absolute bliss -- most fun I ever had with my clothes on or off -- but I don't think I'd want it happening at the end of my street.

Here's a flyer from those events:
posted by PeterMcDermott at 5:16 PM on August 3, 2005


loquacious, that was Aphex Twin DJing.

I have the Anti EP. It's okay. I'm much more into their recent Gescom/Dual Purpose stuff.
posted by hyperizer at 5:30 PM on August 3, 2005


Even as a kid I found that to be a most maudlin and morbid song.
posted by RodgerJ at 5:59 PM on August 3, 2005


Poor post. Even aside from the fact that this is 10 years old, there are so many things to say about the Criminal Justice Bill, so many things to say about the public and music industry response to it, and so many things to say about non-repetitive beats in musicological terms (and Autechre's use of generative music), that two links to E2 is really lazy and half-arsed.
posted by nylon at 5:59 PM on August 3, 2005


posted by klangklangston at 5:29 PM PST on August 3 [!]
awwww, somebody needs a hug! here, have another, i think you're coming off the peak.
posted by lbergstr at 6:02 PM on August 3, 2005


Peter, awesome story. I am very, very jealous, that must have been amazing to be a part of.

but I don't think I'd want it happening at the end of my street

I literally never thought about that. I always pictured deserted cow pastures and the like and figured it shouldnt'a bothered anyone. Guess I was wrong.
posted by lbergstr at 6:08 PM on August 3, 2005


Completely offtopic: am I alone in simply not getting what the hell E2 is all about? I've seen links to it many times, and every time it's to a page of one or more blocks of odd, out-of-context information, followed by a collection of links to still more odd, out-of-context information which bears little or no recognizable relationship to the thing they're linked from. What the devil is it? Am I just too old and stupid?
posted by ook at 7:38 PM on August 3, 2005


well, i guess you can still have them during the day ... they didn't outlaw that, did they?
posted by pyramid termite at 8:27 PM on August 3, 2005


I've always thought that Flutter was a fantastic song, even before I knew the story behind it. If you're curious to hear it you can step through the preview on Bleep (just the other day I finally got around to buying it, in FLAC format, no less).
posted by nev at 8:34 PM on August 3, 2005


Ook> Everything 2 is a sort of proto-wiki that's been around for years now. It's like Wikipedia, if instead of articles on politics, science, and art, you had articles on random catchphrases, the perfect way to wipe your ass, and why [insert group] suck.
posted by Pseudoephedrine at 8:59 PM on August 3, 2005


hyperizer: Yeah, I know that, but I actually remember seeing a sandpaper 7", but I can't remember if it was Autechere or Aphex Twin or what. I think it was "on" Warp.

Ook: E2 is a hyperspatial relational database. Those links at the bottom are called "softlinks" and they're left when a logged in user manually visits one "node" from another. So, if they're on "bread" and they search "yeast" it leaves (heh) a bidirectional link between the two nodes. The softlink table only displays 64 items, but stores all of them. The more often a softlink is entered or visited, the closer to the top of the table it rises. The links inside the body of the text are "hardlinks", and are created by the author of that "writeup" by simply surrounding any unicode string with [ ] brackets. There are a few other editor-level ways of connecting nodes, but hard and soft links are the userspace methods. (For more information, visit E2 and search "Everything FAQ" and "Everything University".)

I've been there off and on for almost 5 years now. Email me if you want a tour, or visit my "homenode" there and check out my bookmarks or writeups. (Search "loquacious" click on the "loquacious is also a user" link, and scroll down for bookmarks.) There's a ton of really amazing writers on E2. And a lot of mostly entertaining random noise and information. I find that the subjectiveness of the informational writeups at E2 is oftentimes much more useful, descriptive and telling than something sterile like wikipedia.
posted by loquacious at 10:30 PM on August 3, 2005 [1 favorite]


hyperizer & loquacious: Project Dark
posted by nylon at 10:38 PM on August 3, 2005


There is no sandpaper release on Warp from Autechre or Aphex Twin, but Aphex did play a London club gig years ago where he spun discs of sandpaper.
posted by Rothko at 11:29 PM on August 3, 2005


It wasn't Project Dark, either.

This might not be an offically listed or cataloged release. It might have just been a promo toy.

Granted, all of this is all apocryphal at best. It's been years and years since this memory. YMMV.

This took place at a fairly well known RPM-reporting college station I was volunteering at called KUCI that was fairly influential in the Southern California electronic music scene. (First and longest running live techno DJ show in SoCal, for example. I think that show passed their 15 year anniversary a while ago. First live Robert Rich performance in a decade was there, as well. I only mention this to attempt to explain why we would have recieved something like this in the mail, not to be a hipster. I'm not really a fan of Aphex Twin or Autechre.)

Anyway. I distinctly remember someone at this college station holding a 7" or 10" sandpaper record, with a few of us nerds standing around it going "oooh. daaamn."

It came in a nicely and professionally done purple or green sleeve/case that looked Designer's Republic-ish. (Which is why I'm thinking it was a Warp Records thing.) I remember thinking "That silly thing is probably going to be worth a lot of money some day" and thinking that we probably shouldn't attempt to play it for that reason, and besides the obvious reasons.

And the person that I think I remember holding it is currently offline, so I can't ask him about it just yet. I'll email him and update tommorow.

It's entirely possible I may just be misremembering, but I doubt it. This memory is pretty distinct.

Meanwhile, here's a random locked groove creation tip: Take a record and lightly sprinkle it with small droplets of water. Microwave it briefly. The water will heat up and fuse together segments of groove. It may take some experimentation to fuse the grooves together without warping the record. For better results and more reliable locked grooves, carefuly drip water only along one radius-axis, to leave most of the surface unmolested. Note, this will of course permanently "damage" the record.
posted by loquacious at 12:24 AM on August 4, 2005


e2 is a rediculous waste of time. Brought to you by the creators of Slashdot, so what can you expect?
posted by delmoi at 12:24 AM on August 4, 2005


Anyway. I distinctly remember someone at this college station holding a 7" or 10" sandpaper record, with a few of us nerds standing around it going "oooh. daaamn."

It came in a nicely and professionally done purple or green sleeve/case that looked Designer's Republic-ish. (Which is why I'm thinking it was a Warp Records thing.) I remember thinking "That silly thing is probably going to be worth a lot of money some day" and thinking that we probably shouldn't attempt to play it for that reason, and besides the obvious reasons.

And the person that I think I remember holding it is currently offline, so I can't ask him about it just yet. I'll email him and update tommorow.


I'd be very interested to hear more about this. I used to run a Designers Republic site before they set up their own, and I followed their album, art and typeface work pretty closely. I also follow Warp closely and don't recall any sandpaper promo or one-off. They do assign IDs to their promos and put the information into their discography, so I'd be pleasantly surprised if it was an Autechre or Aphex release on Warp. Let us know if you find anything.
posted by Rothko at 12:49 AM on August 4, 2005


"e2 is a rediculous waste of time."

Compared to what? The internet? Snarky comments on MeFi? WTF... are you trolling me? At least they can spell. Sheesh.

I've learned a lot there. It's an awesome place. It felt like home to me the first time I found it. It felt like it was the way the internet should have been, how the internet used to be. Bursting at the seams with information and interesting crenulations and dripping in humanity.
posted by loquacious at 3:10 AM on August 4, 2005


For their own good, if for no other reason, I'm surprised the police don't find nonviolent methods of breaking up such things. Maybe confiscating the sound equipment and generators? Or do the crowds forcibly prevent the police from doing such things and thus perhaps encourage the police to forcibly separate people from equipment?
posted by pracowity at 5:56 AM on August 4, 2005


Personally, I've enjoyed the weirdness of being out on the dancefloor at the peak of a forest party at 3-4am banging away and having the whole thing shutdown all of a sudden. The craziest shift in atmosphere and mood. Scarey part: then having all these trollied people hop in cars to drive home. :o
posted by Onanist at 6:43 AM on August 4, 2005


Onanist: Yeah, down some dangerous dirt road in the dark no less. I never quite understood the logic of that. "Ok. These people dancing and gyrating in the club/warehouse/forest clearing/desert are probably intoxicated on who knows what. Let's make 'em drive home! WOOO!"

Pracowity: Not that I've ever personally seen, and I've seen plenty of LEO vs. Raver action. It always seems like when they want to bust our chops they show up just when the party is getting its legs and it's really starting to move around.

Confiscating a generator and sound system is not a task most US officers are interested in doing. Even small systems aren't going to easily fit in a van or a pickup truck, much less a squad car. And it'll only fit into a pickup or van if you play a lot of Tetris and know where everything is going, and it's still a lot of hard work. It's more likely you get a ticket for "unpermitted amplified sound" or "unpermitted festival" and you get told to break it up, pack up and ship out.

Here's a solution: Have a dialog with us. Consider the whole thing a valid expression of art, entertainment, and even spirituality. Consider it as valid as any art show, sporting event, offroad race, church social, or whatever. Don't drive us out of the clubs, into warehouses, and then out of the warehouses into the forests and deserts. Don't alienate us. It's not going to go away. This isn't disco, tight pants, bright lights and cocaine snorts in the bathroom. It's DIY culture and expression. It is a direct result of the pervasive disenfranchisement with the music industry, with the political system, with the vapidness of mainstream arts and entertainment, with the untruthfulness of mainstream media. The experiences that the mainstream offers us are unsatisfying and empty. And it's our fault that we want to create our own?

I've seen plenty of cases of LEOs being totally unmitigated assholes just because they could - because as a fringe element and/or controlled substance using segment of society, we're second class citizens. I've seen riot cops descend on an unsuspecting crowd of thousands, boxing them in to an alley and without any provocation letting loose with pepper spray and rubber bullets on what was up until that point an entirely peaceful gathering. (Example: Nocturnal Wonderland by Insomnia in LA on New Year's Eve in 1997. That sucked.) I've seen intimidation tactics, LEOs aggresively photographing face shots and license plates of everyone they could at a free, peaceful assembly. I've seen outright beatings. In LA around 1994 or 1995 an active, peaceful and intelligent underground promoter was shot to death at a large warehouse party. The cops told us it was a gang member. The rest of us were pretty sure it was an LAPD hit. (This was just a year or couple of years before the "Rampart police corruption scandal" broke out in LA. We were in the Rampart district.)

One tactic I have actually seen used by party-goers/ravers is indescribable outpourings of love for and outright pleading with LEOs. Imagine being one officer or one of only a small handful of officers rolling into some far-flung forbidden desert canyon only to find several hundreds or thousands of brightly colored and sometimes only partially clothed weirdo hippies dancing to inexplicable music on a huge sound system, hundreds of miles from nowhere. As you roll in and make your presence known the weirdos start pouring in from all over the place, appearing from behind bushes, atop piles of rocks and canyon walls, completely surrounding you - but non-threateningly, at a distance. Many of them are chanting "We looooove you! COME DANCE WITH US! Just let us be! Would you like a hug? We love you!"

Some of the LEOs loved it, and many times the tactic has worked. How do you arrest 300 to 1000 smilingly giddy people with just two squad cars out in the middle of nowhere? Others it made visibily nervous. Some it just seemed to piss off.

Another tactic is skilled and tactful negotiations and openess with the LEOs concerned. I've seen some people talk their way out of some pretty tight situations to keep the party going. But you can't talk to riot police, which is their own failure and complete lack of empathy and understanding.

That being said, I've also seen plenty of cases of law enforcement officers or BLM rangers being remarkably understanding and mellow, and just coming through to make sure we were being responsible and not having open fires in fire season or littering or anything. Sometimes they would just move us a few hundred feet or a few miles to make sure we were actually on BLM land. In the United States, at least, there's hopefully still a lot to be said for visibly and actively taking care of your shit and taking care of your fellow party goers and the environment you're in.

However, my experiences shouldn't be considered typical. I don't go to commercial megaraves, and haven't for almost a decade. The parties I go to are smaller and filled with extremely intelligent, peaceful, and ethical people.

Ironically, in most of these outdoor party scenarios on BLM land that I speak of there will often be large encampments of people in RVs within a few miles or less that are there simply to drink huge quantities of beer, shoot stuff up with guns, burn things they shouldn't, litter beer cans and spent shell cases with abandon and offroad over every living thing they can find.

Sure, that's a generalization. But compare the aftermath of the outdoor gatherings I go to and the aftermath of an offroader/shooter encampment with a fraction of the people. At mine you'll find footprints. At theirs you'll find shot up beer cans, TVs, burnt furniture, burnt plastcs, mounds of shell casings, piles of broken glass and ATV tire tracks for miles around.

And yet we're the problem. These people go around with kitty litter scoops to pick up any stray cigarette butts, they pack out their trash, they stay in one spot dancing in a clearing and taking nature walks on existing trails, and we're the problem.

(sandpaper record update forthcoming.)
posted by loquacious at 9:08 AM on August 4, 2005


There's nothing wrong in principle with E2. It's a better concept than Wikipedia IMO because there's no opportunity for defacement when people control their own articles. In practice there's predictably a little too much bad poetry and other low-quality content, but the majority is actually pretty good.
posted by abcde at 9:19 AM on August 4, 2005


(sandpaper record update forthcoming.)

Thanks!
posted by Rothko at 9:25 AM on August 4, 2005


But compare the aftermath of the outdoor gatherings I go to and the aftermath of an offroader/shooter encampment with a fraction of the people.

Well for them, assuming they're breaking the law (I don't know anything about "offroader/shooter encampments" except that I don't like off-road vehicles or guns), I'd expect the police to confiscate the guns and vehicles and to sell them back to the owners (after some time, perhaps) in the form of heavy fines.

And a force that can dig up big tow trucks and flatbeds for parking violations and accidents (or a squad of riot police for crowd control) can sit on the sound equipment until the morning, then bring in some commercial movers to take and store the equipment until the owners come up with their fines. They could even give the owners the option of dismantling and transporting the stuff to police storage themselves if the owners were worried about their equipment. The noise would stop (then and for some time, assuming the equipment is held until the court decides on the fine), most of the people would go home or to sleep, and no one would get hurt unless, I guess, someone tried to stop the confiscation. Keeping it peaceful would be up to the ravers.
posted by pracowity at 12:26 PM on August 4, 2005


Many of them are chanting "We looooove you! COME DANCE WITH US! Just let us be! Would you like a hug? We love you!"

Some of the LEOs loved it


I'd be way too tempted to say "You wanna dance? Dance muthafucka!" and start firing at their feet.

/sick bastard
posted by jonmc at 1:13 PM on August 4, 2005


Pracowity: I guess that brings up the question of whether or not they're actually breaking the law.

They are not. Not the parties I go to. We're free to peacefully assemble on public land. Out here in the Southwest BLM land is everywhere. It's a sort of unprotected no-man's land in the desert.

These aren't parties were money is demanded as admission. You can attend without buying a ticket. Donations are often accepted and encouraged, but they don't usually even help the person organizing the party break even. We've had whole families on ATVs come check us out, and then even stay and pull up a folding chair, crack a few beers and just shoot the shit.

As far as noise complaints are concerned, there's no one out there. They're usually so far out in the boonies that they aren't even close to any incorporated township or city for their to be any jurisdiction except for county or BLM jurisdiction. I've been to parties so far deep into the desert on BLM land that the only visible man made objects is the dirt road we came in on.

Check out some photos. These people make me happy.

jonmc: There would probably people that would consent to that kind of assgrabbery if they trusted the shooter, and would probably want to dance naked and twirl fire poi while you did it.
posted by loquacious at 3:38 PM on August 4, 2005


I guess that brings up the question of whether or not they're actually breaking the law.

They are not.


That may be true about a specific group in a specific place, but the discussion here is not, I think, about organized concerts with regular permits, it is about hordes showing up in fields where the local government and local residents do not expect or want them. (From a comment above: "small villages and quiet locations all around the UK were being invaded by young people who would arrive on a Friday and Saturday night, set up generators and hold massive illegal parties.")

It's cases like that that I'm wondering about: if the sound system is the key to the party, why don't the cops take the sound system and let the rest take care of itself? Who would brings thousands of dollars worth of equipment to a place if they thought the local cops might take it and hold it ransom?
posted by pracowity at 12:20 AM on August 5, 2005


Who would brings thousands of dollars worth of equipment to a place if they thought the local cops might take it and hold it ransom?

Because it's still worth it? Why would people bust so much ass for free and so little thanks and so much hassle?

Why do people trek huge distances for religious reasons, or sail across oceans to unknown and wild lands to escape religious prosecution?

I'm totally serious. These parties have always been spiritual to me in a tangible Humanist sense that is overwhelming.


And finally RE: Sandpaper record. My friend doesn't remember for sure, but he's thinking it was probably an Aphex Twin release. Sorry for the buildup. It'll have to remain a mystery or rumor for now.
posted by loquacious at 2:23 AM on August 5, 2005


It'll have to remain a mystery or rumor for now.

Thanks for checking anyway. This would have been a real unique piece of electronic music history!
posted by Rothko at 4:30 AM on August 5, 2005


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