Saturday, November 21, 2009

to the bone

just a quick post: i'd strongly suggest heading over to RA and reading the new interview with dj bone. admittedly it does start in a horribly banal fashion: 'Detroit has always held a certain currency in the techno community. After all, the genre did first emerge as an underground black movement in the city, with originators Juan Atkins, Derrick May and Kevin Saunderson acting as musical prophets to an entire generation of DJs and producers.' jeez... if you skip that terrible intro and cut to dj bone talking you'll get an insightful and thoughtprovoking set of observations. to be honest, these days his music and dj'ing doesn't really do much for me, but years ago his 'subject: detroit volume 2' had a very strong influence on me, and he was one of the few artists from detroit besides jeff mills i really connected with. and while i am not so interested in his music anymore, i greatly value his reflections on techno in this and other interviews. i really respect his attitude and approach.

one thing i'd disagree with him about is the lack of filters now with the digital market. this is true to some extent, there certainly aren't the same barriers with starting labels and publishing music. in that regard, the entry point is much much lower and there is definitely a flood. but i'd disagree in his suggestion that there is no equivalent to the people in the record store 'who are knowledgeable about the music—that's their job and they know this stuff—and when the customers come in they say, "hey, i got a hot one for you".' in this regard, i'd say the filters have changed. i strongly feel that blogs like this one, test, LWE etc. fulfill a similar function. indeed, i'd say they do so in a more democratic and open way. often you'd have to be in with the person behind the record counter for them to give you one of the few copies of the hot record had come in. with blogs and other sources on the net this is much more equalised. and i should say that a very explicit aim in setting up mnml ssgs was precisely to act as a filter. so in this regard, i think dj bone is a bit behind the times. besides that, most of what he says is pretty much bang on.

respect to bone and i'll finish with these wise words of his:

'What I really wanted to say was that it's a crucial time for underground electronic music and the underground community to take a stand, and basically take stock in what they they've grown to love; so they need to be really, really, careful and they need to be smart about how they spend their money, who they support, and that they can't fall for any old bullshit that's out there. Make a choice based on what you feel is good and not just what's popular.'


  1. Mr. Dulan always makes a finest & unique transition in sets as well as in his own music. That's why I respect dj Bone. Moreover, He release a true contemporary detroit sound (ABM 'AdvancedBlackMusic') an does it 100% independent. Subject Detroit is making history of detroit techno in XXI

  2. I have been waiting for someone on the net to talk about this man for years. He never seems to get the mention he deserves. So thanks for bringing this to us.

    subject: detroit volume 2, was and probably still is my favorite mix (even the CD case is ace).

    I saw him once in some crappy club in London, and that's when I saw close up what a DJ could do.

    Sorry about the gush, but I have nothing but respect for DJ Bone.

  3. @ oliver: i cant remember where, but there were a couple of other interviews this year with bone, and these were also very insightful and worthwhile. if anyone remembers where they were, please post the links. it seems like bone is getting a bit more recognition these days, good for him.

  4. Gosh, what a great interview... I feel 'nourished'.

    ...BUT (critique: interminable and terminal! : ) )

    ...the whole record stores thing... well, I dunno how it is in your town, but most of the DJ-oriented stores in places I've lived are extremely masculinist, geeky, unfriendly places that, for most people, were incredibly intimidating.

    ...if you weren't already MR Knowledgeable and didn't go in there with high fives and h core promo knowledge, you were mostly spurned... if anything most record stores were an impediment for curious people to dive in...

    ...vinyl did that for DJing, too, 'cos everyone over a certain age remembers their father telling them not to touch the record or dance near the player: 'you'll scratch it or make it jump.'

    ...I know this is what also creates something of the 'sacred aura' of vinyl... valuable, fragile, father-child relations and so on, but still....

    ...anyway, just sticking that caveat in there...

    ...actually to add in one more thing: I know from anecdotal evidence of the female friends of mine that what puts them off techno is the hyper male/geeky vibe of a lot of techno die hards... it's not as bad as drum'n'bass, but the geeking out can kill the party... .

    ...just enunciating the gender angle, in the same breath as I re-iterate that Bone has his daughter already moving on to CDs at 13...

  5. NB: I am also well aware I co-run a blog called mnml ssgs...

  6. This one is my favorite:
    And this is the latest, I suppose:

  7. Nice interview, saw him back home a couple of years ago before I really knew anything about detroit or who he was or anything and he rocked the place out. Seems like an intelligent guy with his own opinions and a good attitude, fair f*cks to him.

    On the whole record shop vs blog thing, I completely agree with whichever SSG it was (sorry cant remmeber who) on the front page who said that blogs like this one fulfil that function in the community. If it wasnt for you guys I would probably not have had access to anywhere near the amount of great techno I do, when I browse around other sites Im constantly finding stuff that I first learned about on here and I really wanna thank you guys for making that happen. Keep up the great work.

    Its actually through filters such as this that a knowledgable base of descriminating music listeners like the one he describes will be formed and servce as the ones who support the good stuff.


    I've got a friend in Shanghai who I told about this, and he said that there was lots of buzz around his show. He asked me if I could forgive him for not going, and I said no.

    Thank you to the ssgs for being such great "filters"--as a shy girl, I'd never be able to get anything like this from a record shop.

  9. @ mia: "He asked me if I could forgive him for not going, and I said no."

    that's the kind of person i like!

  10. I'm sorry you think the opening was trite, Chris. If you actually read past that you'll see that it was more of a mechanism to set up the following sentence. My style of writing may not exactly be the pseudo-intellectualism that you're looking for (I jest!), but I'm sure that many RA readers will not have heard of Bone, and the intro was more of a primer for them, with some interesting facts that even ardent Bone fans may not have been aware of. Anyway, I'm glad you liked the actual interview part! Keep up the good work over here.

  11. ...and regarding your whole filter argument, I see where you're coming from, but we were specifically talking about filters within the distribution chain rather than external filter mechanisms such as yourselves. In the vinyl industry, it costs the label to put something out, the distributor will have to pay to ship the record around and will have to make the decision whether they think it's worth doing so, and the record shops will have to make the same decision based on whether the record will sell to the fans who enter the shop.

    With digital, none of these filters exist WITHIN the distribution chain, meaning that there is a flood of poor quality music out there. Your point is that the non-distribution filters (ie. yourselves) have now taken the place of the record store employees, and while I certainly respect this site, do you not think that a centralisation of filters in this sense leads to a greater homogeneity, even within the "high brow techno" community? Would you say that this would be a good thing?

    Bone's point was that this interpersonal exchange that is specific to the record buyer is now threatened by the digital market, and due to punters getting their tips from the same places, people are playing the same records.

    Sure, blogs are great for finding out about artists and tracks, but many people (like Dor in his recent RA podcast interview, for example) still long for that human touch when purchasing their records.

    Personally, I only buy vinyl records, and while I love buying from record shops when I can, shopping from large internet retailers (ie. Juno) means that I can select from a large amount of music without having the distributor->record shop filter in place. Especially nowadays, the majority of physical stores have to try and turnover their stock as quickly as possible, they won't be able to buy as wide a selection as they'd like in. However, the barriers to entry in the vinyl industry are still there, and this is something that makes my life a hell of a lot easier as far as record shopping is concerned. I can check out a wide variety of releases without having to wade through all that digital shit that was just put out because they could do it for free without any risk.

    Therein lies the two sides of the digital argument. No barriers to entry means that if you want to actually make your mind up about records yourself, you've got to go through god knows how many crap digital bits to find something good (I have to go through enough rubbish when I'm buying vinyl), but no distribution filters means that no-one is second guessing what you'll like and what you won't - you can make your own decisions without having to submit to someone else's taste.

  12. @ richard: if it aint pseudo-intellectual, i'm not interested...

    in regards to your larger point about filters, i wouldnt really disagree with anything you said. i guess my point is that yes, a lot of these filters have disappeared - and agree with you totally that raises a lot of serious problems - but you now have new kinds of filters appearing, such as RA, blogs etc. these dont necessarily do exactly the same thing, but they can help play a filtering role given the realities of digital distribution (which i cant exactly see being rolled back now). and what's more, these new filters may have some positive benefits compared to old ones - i.e. potentially more democratic. at the same stage, this is not to deny their problems - i.e. lack of human contact, potential for homogeneity etc.

    realistically those filters that previously existed are gone. i cant see them coming back any time soon. so the question is how can new filters be created that helps deal with the neverending digital flood. i'm not saying blogs are *the* answer, but perhaps they are part of it.

    and thanks for your reply. really got me thinking.


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