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 Forum index » Discussion » Diversity in electro-music
Minorities in electro
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Kassen
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 14, 2007 4:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

mosc wrote:

Back to the topic. I wish we had more racial diversity in electro-music,


I don't see much need for that, what I think is needed, if anything, (or basically wht I'd like) is more communication. Electronic music is being made nearly everywhere in the world, by people of all kinds of ancestry (still not sure what "race" means when applied to humans and I can't wrap my head around the US interpertation of the word at all). The problem is that many of these style are local to certain areas and often hard or impossible to find elsewhere.

I have, for example, been very interested to hear some "Feng Tau" which is supposedly a style of hardcore, described to me as "a sped up cross between Gabber and Aphex Twin" local to China and Malaisia.... Impossible to find but it's supposed to have (or have had?) a HUGE following to the point of becoming one of the dominant styles in the nightlife of some asian countries and areas.

A few years back I also wanted to hear the Brazilian style of cut-up tracks played at "Funk balls" (think nightclub + amphetamines+ plus fightclub). Can't find it, can't order it, you can't download it.

How one preceives the distribution of people within the world of electronic music depends entirley on who one speaks to and where one lives. Even in my own hometown you could meet people who hold that the only people even capable of apreceating electronic music are the ones who studied sonology as easily as (a few years ago) those from who's experience all composers shave their heads and wear black hoodies, both of which are of course about as sensible as the tying of a "black" musical identity to instruments made exclusively in Japan as hapened in House and various of it's offshoots at times.

I find this talk of "minorities" confusing as well as distastefull and to me it only realy expresses something about the frame of reference of the speaker. If one lives in a US suburb then women could conceivably be a "minority" and anybody who's not white definately will be but the frame of reference of this site shouldn't be "US suburbs", it should be the world and in that case white men are definately a minority. Actually, I would bet that on a worldwide scale there are far less "white men" then there are "people who experience atraction to the same sex".

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PostPosted: Sat Jul 14, 2007 8:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Kassen wrote:

the frame of reference of this site shouldn't be "US suburbs", it should be the world and in that case white men are definately a minority.


i agree. i think the problem is that a fair percent of the electro-music events take place in the US suburb of cheltenham, PA.

maybe we should just change the whole diversity forum to an anti-US-suburb forum aimed at eradicating the self-involved and commercialized white suburbs (originally fashioned for the almost-sole benefit of GM anyway).

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PostPosted: Sat Jul 14, 2007 10:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Hmm. Well "problem" of proximity to mosc and his family, who started and host the event? Or that few from the states venture to europe for the many events (more than the 3 electro-music events held in suburban PA)? I live in Denver, haven't had the chance to travel to any of the events in PA or Europe, but there are many "events" held almost weekly here, within the community that exists in Denver. They aren't advertised much, but nobody really feels the need to get the world involved, since there seemed to be plenty of people involved, and there are always new faces showing up anyway.

I don't think mosc is avert to advertise and "sponsor" events with the e-m name elsewhere, if someone volunteered to run it. In fact, there was one held in Seattle between a few folks from the northwest region that couldn't make the events out east or in Europe.
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 15, 2007 4:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

It's sometimes difficult to know if we're talking about electronic music in the whole wide world, these forums, or electro-music.com events in Philly. Amazing as this place is (and comparing to other english language forums and groups out there, a LOT less US-centric), I think e-m in the world is much, much larger and diverse.

There are a couple of Brazilian acts I like (DJ Dolores, Domenico + 2), and I sometimes try to look them up on MySpace or other internet sites to find references to other stuff I might like. I end up on portugese language sites that link to other portugese language sites and so on, and I feel lost and give up. To get the whole electro-music picture you'd need to learn a couple of extra languages, I think. Those multi-lingual Dutch have the edge on us there. Wink

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PostPosted: Sun Jul 15, 2007 5:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

bbinkovitz wrote:

i agree. i think the problem is that a fair percent of the electro-music events take place in the US suburb of cheltenham, PA.


To be honest; I don't think that's a real problem. That's a natural result of Mosc living there and him having the resources (mainly in the form of contacts) and inclination to organise them. I believe most of the NM event have been held in The Hague and I believe that happed because it turned out that a weighted average of of NM users lived relatively close to The Hague. Unlike websites events need a geographical location.

While the events certainly bring people to the community and hence to the website they are hardly the only things. People from all over the world sign up to take part in our site which is of cource wonderfull. These people in turn will perhaps be interested in organising their own get-togethers in their own area.

Quote:

maybe we should just change the whole diversity forum to an anti-US-suburb forum aimed at eradicating the self-involved and commercialized white suburbs (originally fashioned for the almost-sole benefit of GM anyway).


He he he. I have to say I don't think there is anything wrong with living in US suburbs if that's how you want to live. People who like that and have the chance to should by all means do so but there is a danger in suburbs as I see them in that there seems to be a aspect of closing yourself off from society at large, except as it comes to you in controled dosages through mass media and that this seems to lead to a scewed perspective.

Just because you've never heard of raves in India (these were huge, at least untill that tsunami, since they were mostly around the beaches), Polish disco (very nice, a lot more melancholic then other branches) or heard Iranian mc-ing over house made by a Jewsih guy (good fun but I didn't get a word, likely it was quite abusive) doesn't mean these things don't happen. Correct me if I'm wrong here but I think people living in US suburbs seem to hold the belief that US suburb are the norm and that things not noticed from there either aren't that relevant or else are dangerous in some ill defined way. I find that both strange and scary, in this context particularly since as far as I know US suburbs have yet to spawn a single musical style.

I wonder wether there realy *is* a issue with "diversity" here and if so what role "race" plays in this. I'd also still like to know exctly what "race" is in this context. I don't get the US perspective on "race" at all. I don't understand how you can call people from South America "Hispanic", I don't see how the difference between "Arab" and "Jewish" is anything else then religous (as you might know, Palestinians and Jews are genetically inseperable) and I can only look bewildered when I hear African people living in Africa refered to as "African-American" (I actually heard that on a mainstream US news broadcast). I also don't understand why -when talking about people of mixed ancestry- it's always the non-European elements that get named. I simply don't understand any of it and I don't see it's relevance.

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PostPosted: Sun Jul 15, 2007 5:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Antimon wrote:
It's sometimes difficult to know if we're talking about electronic music in the whole wide world, these forums, or electro-music.com events in Philly.


That's a good question. These are seperate questions. For starters I think it would be silly beyond comprehension to talk about a lack of diversity in the world. I'm realy not that concerend with diversity at the Philly events. The events in Philly will be atended by people from that area as well as those who have the oportunity and inclination to travel there.

Quote:
Amazing as this place is (and comparing to other english language forums and groups out there, a LOT less US-centric), I think e-m in the world is much, much larger and diverse.


True to some extent, but there definately is room for improvement. I still think that of the English-language groups about music that I read it's the most US centric.

Quote:
There are a couple of Brazilian acts I like (DJ Dolores, Domenico + 2), and I sometimes try to look them up on MySpace or other internet sites to find references to other stuff I might like. I end up on portugese language sites that link to other portugese language sites and so on, and I feel lost and give up. To get the whole electro-music picture you'd need to learn a couple of extra languages, I think. Those multi-lingual Dutch have the edge on us there. Wink


Very few Dutch speak Portugese though, to say nothing about Asian languages. I see a big future for online automated translation services. Sadly at the moment those are only good enough to slowly decypher simple pages and notwhere close to allowing serious debate.

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PostPosted: Sun Jul 15, 2007 10:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Antimon wrote:
It's sometimes difficult to know if we're talking about electronic music in the whole wide world, these forums, or electro-music.com events in Philly. Amazing as this place is (and comparing to other English language forums and groups out there, a LOT less US-centric), I think e-m in the world is much, much larger and diverse.


I was thinking mainly of the site and this community. I think it would be stronger and healthier if it included the many diverse elements you describe.

As for the US suburbs, I live in one. I have a love hate with it. You get a relatively huge house and a large garden (yard) at low cost (relatively). For what we pay for our house, we'd have a walk-up studio apartment in NYC. It's great is you have a dog, or like birds, or have kids, like gardening, low crime and peace and quite. But it's a drag in that to go to any store or restaurant, I have to get in my car or ride my motorcycle. So, it's pretty much like Kassen says, you can easily get isolated from the society. I guess why that's one reason I felt compelled to start this web site. I wanted to be part of a community of artists and the only way was to move of use the internet.

Someone said the views expressed in a discussion like this represent more about the writer than the real situation. Maybe so. I grew up in the segregated south. I never had any kind of a friendship relationship with non-white people until I went to college. Even today, I cherish my friendships with non-white southerners in an extra special way.

Here's a strange factoid. At my 20th high school reunion, I found out that a very good friend is an Arab. None of us ever knew. I asked him how come that was a secret. He said it was just better to keep it undercover so he could fit in. Turns out that there were several Christian Arabs from Lebanon in our school. This speaks of the repressive atmosphere in the South of the 1950s and 60s.

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PostPosted: Sun Jul 15, 2007 11:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Just want to say (I think my earlier post seemed to say otherwise) that this actually is an incredibly diverse forum. There are people posting from all around the globe. There are discussions about electro-acoustic stuff as well as drum n bass, synth pioneers as well as the latest ChucK trick, and lots of stuff inbetween.

Maybe we shouldn't be satisfied (one should always aim higher), but the fact that this place has gotten so big without suffering communication breakdown (which often results in conflicts) is amazing. Smile

/Stefan

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PostPosted: Sun Jul 15, 2007 11:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

It's interesting, the world of electronic music is really huge. In fact, there is hardly any form of music these days that doesn't use electronic instruments or equipment. So, a forum that matched that level of diversity would be probably not that valuable to us (those already involved in the electro-music.com forum and activities).

Maybe, we should spend as much time thinking about what makes this community unique as we do in diversity.

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PostPosted: Sun Jul 15, 2007 12:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

i think those of us in different countries and societies have different ideas about what diversity is and should be, as is only natural.

A lot of EM board members live in the netherlands, where from my observations, female news anchors look like gym teachers (that is, they look like actual human women, rather than the barbie dolls we have reporting our news here in the american midwest) comedians refer to amsterdam-west as "a small moroccan village where i grew up", and where my friend pia, an average 22-year-old university student, recognizes people she knows on tv regularly (this is all in amsterdam -- i have very little experience with the rest of NL and i know it's totally different). it is understandable that to them, a bunch of americans who live under a custom-constructed rock getting together is just another thing going on contemporaneously with iranian and indian and russian and japanese parties and jam sessions around the world.

to people like bernat and me, who live in the type of place where people call black africans "african americans" (we've gotten used to it as the p.c. synonym for "black" but it is rather silly), a dearth of gender/ethnic/national/whatever diversity reflects and reinforces disturbing trends within our everyday lives. naturally we are much more sensitive to and worried about it.

this is another kind of diversity, and probably a lot more meaningful in some ways than diversity of skin color or what have you. i'm always glad to be reminded of the larger world outside the godforsaken world of my uninspiring little condo development. sometimes i forget that there are other people who care more about what people think and feel and express than whether their patio railing conforms to the proper measurements.

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PostPosted: Sun Jul 15, 2007 7:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Tangent:

I was the president of my condo association, back when I was about 27 years old. Nobody else really wanted the job, and at the meeting I said I'd take it on, since nobody else was showing interest.

It wasn't really a fun job. There was a set of bylaws we had to adhere to, which when we got our condos we all agreed to abide by. When condo association members wanted to make changes, we had to talk about it at the monthly meetings. The bylaws were strict, and we didn't allow a lot of things. I ended up moving my studio (which wasn't insubstantial) out of our condo to a commecial let, basically there was no way to run a studio in the basement of a townhouse. I think that the people aren't plastic in a condo, they are individuals, but as one of my Russian friends told me, neighbors are the strangers you live next to. I was happy to resign the job on account of selling the condo and buying my own four walls.

Condo living is not a lot of fun if you are "other". I was the president of the association, and my wife and I were "other". Maybe I am better at blending in. The didn't mind my being the letter writer for Bad Tidings To Condo Owners, but it was all about Procedure. Not thinking.

And if you want to know how this relates to diversity (in any form, not just art), I live in a neighborhood now in North London, that is the first suburb ever done in England, and has tons of little rules, in order to keep the atmosphere of a 1907 vintage garden suburb. Worse than my little condo in Vermont with the leaky pool. The issue is we have 10,300 people who live in this Garden Suburb, and at least they are somewhat diverse. What they are not, is united, or cohesive. They abide by the rules, mostly. We can't do much with our properties. Art installations, ironically, because the Suburb was founded on Art and God, we can't do any art installations without approval from the Council and the Residents Association.

Anyway, food for thought. White bread like me can be other, given the right circumstances, and this does translate to musical circles. Condo associations are a small town/village thing, but so is the local music scene.
When I was doing music in Vermont in the 1980s, we had a pretty diverse club scene, but we did have friction. I was in a band that did "world music" around 1987 or so, we were doing what gigs we could get in Burlington, and we were playing in this "female oasis" club, it was a good draw but we got kicked out because one of the owners got pissed off at us for something, I don't exactly remember what it was but I remember I had the temerity to try to explain to her that clubs didn't work the way she was explaining, and she was going to have problems past us. We got fired on the spot. I think we did a short 3rd set and left. Oh I remember it now. We got kicked out for being white males, basically. I think the words used was we were not following the club's direction. They didn't get any more bands in there after they kicked us out, and went out of business within 6 months of our last gig. I don't think that was our fault, hardly, I think it was a trend, but when I met other bands on the circuit we'd talk about Noonies and we'd share stories and shake our heads.

What's the point? I think 20somethings get shit on by older people, and it's usually the older people have something foul up their butts making them foul to most everyone. I don't have an apology or explanation for it. I just observe.

Your discussion of Condo Monster strikes a chord, so to speak, and I am remembering it all as, well, one of those lives I had in the stream of experiences that make up my life. Like Noonies. Which is the other point, diversity isn't an institution. Condo people don't want diversity. They want homogeniousness. They hate "other", even socially, even down to the car you drive. Follow the rules, you can live anonymously in a condo.

Anyway I mixed two different images, but I was the same person. I tried to reconcile (as did our band at the time) trying to do world music with some club owner's idea of who was qualified to do such things. In White Bread Worldly Vermont, that was kind of odd.

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PostPosted: Mon Jul 16, 2007 2:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

EdisonRex wrote:
Art installations, ironically, because the Suburb was founded on Art and God, we can't do any art installations without approval from the Council and the Residents Association.


Wow. Does religion need to be aproved as well? that would seem only fair, in that case.....

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PostPosted: Mon Jul 16, 2007 2:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

hehe, as I read that, my mind read ahead and anticipated "we can't do any art installations without approval from God".
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 16, 2007 6:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Kassen wrote:
EdisonRex wrote:
Art installations, ironically, because the Suburb was founded on Art and God, we can't do any art installations without approval from the Council and the Residents Association.


Wow. Does religion need to be aproved as well? that would seem only fair, in that case.....

Well, that is implied, But there is a lot of various and sundry religion here.
I expect 75 years ago, it was somewhat less tolerant of religion.
It purports to be pro-art, but in reality is pro-established art.

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PostPosted: Sat Jul 21, 2007 10:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

[quote="EdisonRex"][quote="Kassen"]
EdisonRex wrote:

It purports to be pro-art, but in reality is pro-established art.


ah, so it's one of those cases where "art" actually means "decoration".

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PostPosted: Sat Jul 21, 2007 1:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

bbinkovitz wrote:


ah, so it's one of those cases where "art" actually means "decoration".


Yes. I can do an afternoon jazz concert for old ladies, or even an evening concert of Madame Dussek's pieces, but they're not into modern experimental installations. Too bad, they could stand to be educated...

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PostPosted: Fri Aug 03, 2007 7:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

i think that, far from being unrelated, the race thing and the communication thing are connected. and the gender thing, too.

what i mean is, communication is far more important than the specific race or gender distribution of a given event or community, it's true. but! a skewed ratio of races or genders indicates an underlying problem in communication. it's not that electro really can't survive without more black people or women or whatever. but you have to wonder, if there are so few women and fewer racial minorities at the events, is something besides personal free will preventing members of those groups from showing up? that's the real issue throughout this whole forum.

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PostPosted: Sun Aug 05, 2007 5:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

bbinkovitz wrote:
it's not that electro really can't survive without more black people or women or whatever.


Kindly look at this;
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electro_music

In general I don't mind the rather confusing name of this site but in sentences like this it becomes bothersome. "Electro" as a genre has a HUGE percentage of black artists, maybe not as much as Hiphop but still.

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 13, 2007 7:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Funny, electro-music.com doesn't seem to attract too many "electro" artists.

Maybe because we seem to discuss topics like sound design, patching, synth hardware and software, experimental music composition, circuit design, etc.

That wikipedia article seems a bit myopic, IMHO.

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PostPosted: Tue Aug 14, 2007 5:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Kassen wrote:

Kindly look at this;
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electro_music


Woah, I never thought of it this way.

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PostPosted: Tue Aug 14, 2007 6:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

mosc wrote:

Maybe because we seem to discuss topics like sound design, patching, synth hardware and software, experimental music composition, circuit design, etc.


Maybe posting sentences like that isn't too conductive if you'd like to change this?

Remember the rather messy presentation where we first met?

Well, Ruud (the tall guy with the dreads) is building his own analogue modular, for a long time he was one of the driving forces behind the dutch "Centre for Electronic Music" where he started a label that released records of modern dance acts that made music using the ancient CEM equipment, has by far the largest collection of bend instruments that I've ever seen and writes reviews of electronioc instruments for a living, being the only Dutch reviewer who routinely opens up the gear under review to see how it's build. Oh, and he released a HUGE list of "electro" records over a huge span of time. Nearly all of it is very good indeed.

Danny (the smaller guy with the glasses) used to routinely re-tune his synths out of a dis-satisfaction with the equaltempered tuning, he has a home-build softsynth for download on his web-page, build a analogue modular out of bend pedals (with me) and used his spot at a presegious international event about music production to talk about his usage of the G2 (he has both a engine and a G2X). Oh, and he's one of the most influential underground "electro" producers of the past years.

You'd do well to hope you'll have the chance to talk about sound design, patching, synth hardware and software, experimental music composition, circuit design, etc with some of those "electro" artists.

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PostPosted: Tue Aug 14, 2007 7:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Yep, I'm sure they have a great deal to offer. What do you think it would take to attract them to our community? I remember them very well. Danny is a member here already but doesn't contribute much anymore. Some people will not participate on a forum no matter how good it is.
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Kassen
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 14, 2007 7:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

All true. My point was just that I don't find it wise or productive to look down on entire groups of people just because of (some of) the music that they write.
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Kassen
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 14, 2007 7:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Kassen wrote:
All true. My point was just that I don't find it wise or productive to look down on entire groups of people just because of (some of) the music that they write.


Quite right. I apologize. A temporary violation of my own values. Embarassed

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PostPosted: Tue Aug 14, 2007 8:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Accepted. :¬)

More general; it's often good to keep in mind that many of the most uniform and monotonous styles harbour some of the most talleneted and knowledgable producers because on a purely musical basis there often isn't that much space to set yourself in those. Oh, and nearly everybody who has made styles that "require" old analogues for any length of time will become knowledgable on how synths are build since otherwise they'll go bankrupt because of the repair charges :¬)

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