the Afro-American Roots of Kraftwerk

Slothrop

Tight but Polite
i have no idea if they felt ashamed or not, but they certainly didn't take the development and refinement of social dance music seriously as a worthy pursuit on which to spend a lot of time and energy, largely because of these all pervasive attitudes.
Eh?

I can't speak much about Eastern or Southern European traditions - so feel free to correct me if you happen to know that eg flamenco was considered to be a bit of an embarassing waste of time even by the musicians and dancers - but it's certainly been taken seriously as a worthy pursuit in Scotland and Ireland, by the people who were doing it if not by the people watching from the academies.

Lets not forget what we are talking about here: the origins of Techno. If you think Techno has just as much to do with ballroom music as it does various percussion traditions in Africa...
No, it has to do with your tendancy to make massive and incorrect generalizations that don't even have much to do with your point.

If you'd claimed that social dance is more central to African than European cultures, or that forms of social dance and dance rhythms are more developed and sophisticated in African than in European cultures then, well, there might have been the odd counterexample but I think most people would accept that they're counter to the general rule and that the basic point stood. So why come in swinging with the big generalization? The only thing it acheives is alienating people from your actual point!
 

zhao

there are no accidents
Flamenco is Andalusian, Romani, and Arabic in origin, and thus can not be categorized as exactly a European tradition.

Also, it is largely done in solo or couple setting, as spectacle, and not exactly communal or social in the ways which concern us here.
 
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zhao

there are no accidents
If you'd claimed that social dance is more central to African than European cultures, or that forms of social dance and dance rhythms are more developed and sophisticated in African than in European cultures then, well, there might have been the odd counterexample but I think most people would accept that they're counter to the general rule and that the basic point stood. So why come in swinging with the big generalization? The only thing it acheives is alienating people from your actual point!
Fair enough. Though i maintain that my generalizations remain largely accurate.
 

Slothrop

Tight but Polite
Somewhat back on topic, are there really large numbers of people (edit: I mean people who are actually in some way engaged with and knowledgeable about the music) that think that techno is a white, European thing? Do they think that it went straight from Kraftwerk to Sven Vath without passing through Detroit and Chicago? Or that Beltram and Bolland invented it from whole cloth? Depressing...

Also, to me, the part of the "Kraftwerk influenced Detroit therefore white people invented techno" narrative that seems most ripe for tearing a new one is the systematic playing down of all the other stuff that went into the first-wave techno. IE the primacy of Kraftwerk as an influence on techno, rather than the formal innovativeness of Kraftwerk themselves.
 

zhao

there are no accidents
Somewhat back on topic, are there really large numbers of people (edit: I mean people who are actually in some way engaged with and knowledgeable about the music) that think that techno is a white, European thing? Do they think that it went straight from Kraftwerk to Sven Vath without passing through Detroit and Chicago? Or that Beltram and Bolland invented it from whole cloth? Depressing...
Another anecdote... just last week i rode to Fusion Festival warm-up party (Fusion itself being one of the largest and most famous dance festivals in Germany) with a couple in their late 30s, who both work at the festival and had probably been part of the Berlin party scene for i would guess probably 20 years. They had intimate knowledge of all the clubs, and had bar tended or worked at many of them. So this tune comes on the Panorama Bar mix or whatever it was on the car stereo, with a tiny bit of bongos in between the tech-house kick and snare. And i said something like "ah finally a bit closer to Africa" -- and i swear this woman's head turned around 360º like in the exorcist and was like "whaaaaaaat?!?? what does this have to do with.... with... Afrika???" I was like "um, that bit of percussion right there? you hear it?" She was like "WHAT ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT?!?!?!" lolol
 

Slothrop

Tight but Polite
Kind of apropos of all this roots-of-techno stuff, I was thinking it'd be really interesting to hear some recordings of The Electrifying Mojo from the early eighties, and actually hear the context in which stuff was coming through to Detroit.

My dilligent research (ie a few minutes of googling) failed to turn up the uncut product, but I did find these, which seemed worth sharing:
http://www.mixesdb.com/db/index.php/Special:Search?search=mills+wjlb&go=Go
 

john eden

male pale and stale
Could you expand on the implications of this line of thought for an anti-racist politics?
What would be good would be if we could essentialise every single bit of human behaviour and then create a huge global competition based solely on ethnicity.
 

zhao

there are no accidents
Could you expand on the implications of this line of thought for an anti-racist politics?
What would be good would be if we could essentialise every single bit of human behaviour and then create a huge global competition based solely on ethnicity.
Volumes have been written on this of course, but it would be an obvious mistake to not recognize differences between the development of cultures under different conditions: different food, different dress, different customs, different rhythms. What is important is that we do not pre-judge people or pre-sume their characteristics or abilities based on the color of their skin or place of origin.

It is quite silly that my characterization of European cultures as generally focusing less on the development of rhythm based music for social dancing, preferring harmonics driven compositions performed in spectacular setting, as compared to various African cultures, should cause an uproar.

I doubt anyone would have a problem if i had said the same thing about Chinese culture: the very early establishment of centralized states both marginalized the cultures of ethnic minorities (which have much more interesting and danceable rhythms than the dominant Han) as well as discouraged communal, clandestine social gatherings. These and other factors such as buddhism, lead to Chinese music developing in ways which emphasized poetic and lyrical qualities, rather than any focus on even-tempo rhythms for ritualistic ecstatic trance.

Anyone wants to take issue with this?

Of course it is in a nut shell, of course it is short hand, of course it is a generalization ---
or do you think cultural differences should be banned as subject of conversation unless a much longer length of time is devoted to give detailed, nuanced accounts?
 
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zhao

there are no accidents
Why afro-american roots instead of just african roots?
Only because those African roots are experienced by us via the Americas, due to the history of colonialism and trans atlantic slave trade.

Thanks for the question: lets not lose track of the point here due to rather silly arguments about cultural differences: modern popular and especially dance music being primarily derived from African musical cultures, more than European ones, and the fact that this truth is often buried by Eurocentric attitudes.

It is important to point this stuff out because white washing.

in German record shops there is a section called "Black Music", which includes R'n'B and hiphop. While Rock, Techno, etc, are somewhere else. The process of white washing has so thoroughly taken place that in popular consciousness Rock or Techno have nothing to do with Africa. And from where i stand this is simply unacceptable.
 
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Yeah, most record shops should only be allowed to have two sections, one for 'White European Classical and Ephemera' & the other for 'African Music, and it's derivative forms'. And all labels should be writen in either Latin, or comunicated via talking drum. Shoppers should be forced to exhibit a rudimentary display of paradiddles before being allowed access to listening booths with their James Blake CDs.
 

rubberdingyrapids

Active member
Was funny listening to 6music the other day where the dj before playing peter tosh’s youre an african (wondered how exactly the majority of its listeners related to this), introduced it saying something like all music is african.

Thats all fine if you want to say we all come from the same place, we are all human, and that is what links us together, etc etc, but even if you can accept we are all african, and that all music is african, i doubt even every african artist is going to be happy to just have their music broadly described as merely ‘african’. (nigerian music isnt the same as congolese for example, afrobeat as in fela isnt the same as afrobeats as in dbanj, etc etc).

Anyway, my point is that this all just seems a little too absolute, and worryingly extreme and sort of the type of radical militancy im not really that fond of anymore (though i know that hey, when people downplay black influence to make themselves feel comfortable, maybe you need to counter it with something as extreme at the opposite end). And shops categorising music as ‘black music’ is something thats a problem even for black artists making ‘black music’ (eg - dangelo likes to say with pride that what he makes is black music, but many black artists have also argued that if they werent black, their music wouldnt be ghettoised in that way either)
 
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