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The Month in Miserable

First of all, I'm thrilled that this week's Month in Techno column has generated so much discussion; that's just what I was hoping for. A few quick points that I wanted to clarify:

* Don't worry, I'm not such a sad sack as I may seem. (Though reading Michael Pollan's An Omnivore's Dilemma might have something to do with it; it's hard not to worry about the state of the world after reading Pollan's account of capitalist agribusiness. That being said, the book is essential reading, as is his excellent The Botany of Desire, and possibly [hopefully!] life-changing.)

* Despite the tone of the first half of the column, I'm not actually burned out on techno; 2008 has provided a bounty of fantastic releases, and spending three months in Portland gave me the opportunity to dig through my old records, which turned out to be an exceptionally invigorating experience. One of my personal manifesto points is to play more "old" records, something that's been hard to do over the last couple of years, given the geographical constraints of living in Europe but having the bulk of one's records in a basement in the US.

* I haven't been clubbing much this year, aside from MUTEK, which might have something to do with my reflective phase; then again, my experiences clubbing in Berlin in February had a lot to do with what I see as the problems with "the scene" right now. I don't mean for these to be empty complaints, but rather starting points for a discussion (an ongoing discussion, really, so I guess I'm not starting anything) about the quality of club life and what everyone -- artists, clubbers, promoters -- might do to make it better.

I'm happy to see that the column has sparked conversations in a number of places. You can read responses, and chime in on comments sections, in the following places:

* BURNLAB Lab Report

* mnml.nl forum

* Ronan Fitzgerald's blog

* Resident Advisor

* Bruce Sterlin's Beyond the Beyond (Wired)

Please feel to leave comments here, and if you have your own manifesto points, I'd love to hear them.


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hm, yeah, i read that column...and since you asked for comments, i liked your half of the column, but the rest was pretty annoying. i know you were asking for "manifestos", so pretentiousness is probably to be expected. on the other hand, the contradictions amongst people's points got on my nerves. i take it your point was to show individual thoughts, not try and create some cohesive whole...?

i found your article to be quite enlightening. my friends here, at reflective.net, a locally based electronic music forum, had a lot to say...

food for thought, bruce mau's manifesto...

Philip, you wrote a really interesting and rather funny review! Did you see that Clement Meyer put "Salt & Vinegar" in the last podcast on Get the Curse.(#31 @the social club)? It is a mix with the good tracks of the moment.Listen.http://www.getthecurse.com/2008/07/15/clement-meyer-get-the-curse-social-club-2008-07-12-gtc31/
I am sure that you will guess and find the rest of the playlist.

"Maybe it's just the internet that makes people irritable."

In my opinion, that sentence sums up what you sense is going on. As you've said yourself, there's tonnes of excellent music coming out now, and as a dj and producer, I'm more inspired by what I'm hearing than I've been in years. Diminishing sales aside (which isn't a recent development in any case), from my perspective electronic music is quite healthy; what doesn't seem healthy are the online communities surrounding it, which I often find elitist and more concerned with image than actual music. Witness the controversies that surrounded dubfire's ribcage, or the minus contakt cube thing; so much drama about things that are ultimately unimportant, especially in the grand scheme of things.

nice piece, phil! i just posted some thoughts on it on my blog.

I for one found both your article and the manifestos inspiring and ultimately it gave me hope in dance music's future, despite the background of gloom and doom. Thanks Philip!

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