I think that my concept can fit with every culture because it draws inspiration and direction from a time of humanity when, no matter where you went, people were in touch with the earth and the spirits of nature, the sun and the moon, and all of the elements… and so, we’re delving to the same place and trying to bring the same thing forth—but with the technology of the 21st century, and in a way to appeal to the youth of the 21st century.
Nothing is original. Steal from anywhere that resonates with inspiration or fuels your imagination. Devour old films, new films, music, books, paintings, photographs, poems, dreams, random conversations, architecture, bridges, street signs, trees, clouds, bodies of water, light and shadows. Select only things to steal from that speak directly to your soul. If you do this, your work (and theft) will be authentic. Authenticity is invaluable; originality is nonexistent. And don’t bother concealing your thievery—celebrate it if you feel like it. In any case, always remember what Jean-Luc Godard said: ‘It’s not where you take things from—it’s where you take them to.’
Rather than embracing the potential of the internet and taking the lead in developing convenient, affordable, easy-to-use methods of downloading music, the music industry has concentrated instead on protecting a business model whose core business revolves around the manufacture, sale, ownership, and possession of physical property.
Techno is the perfect travelling music, being all about speed: its repetitive rhythms, minimal melodies, and textural modulations are perfect for the constantly shifting perspectives offered by high-speed travel. Alternatively, the fizzing electronic sounds all too accurately reproduce the snap of synapses forced to process a relentless, swelling flood of electronic information. If there is one central idea in techno, it is of the harmony between man and machine. As Juan Atkins puts it: ‘You gotta look at it like, techno is technological. It’s an attitude to making music that sounds futuristic: something that hasn’t been done before.’
The job of a DJ is to take individual tunes out of the collective whirlpool, data flow, and create an information chain-reaction-statement out of it. And when the artists hear their music reinterpreted in a mix, their tunes take on a life of their own. One tune can have magnificent bearing and influence upon the direction of a collective movement. Then other tunes come which mirror that one back, which creates the evolution. It’s more than any one artist. It’s greater than one. All we really can be is a clear vehicle, or channel, to allow something much greater and universal to flow through, without attaching too much personality or ego identification to it.
The activity of making and listening to music involves in something that is never merely personal. In this sense, music is like a language; when we ‘speak’ or ‘listen’ in musical language, we participate in a signifying system that is communally shared and defined, something that is larger than our own use of it and that we enter whenever we involve ourselves with music.
The problem of making judgments about music is rooted here. Its collective, communal aspect suggests that its significance exceeds our purely individual responses, but at the same time we tend to experience music as significant in intensely personal and subjective ways. This seems to be an essential quality of music: it is collectively significant but speaks to the individual in a manner inaccessible to rational argument and dispute.
No culture so far discovered lacks music. Making music appears to be one of the fundamental activities of mankind; as characteristically human as drawing and painting. The survival of Paleolithic cave-paintings bears witness to the antiquity of this form of art; and some of these paintings depict people dancing. Flutes made of bone found in these caves suggest that they danced to some form of music. But, because music itself only survives when the invention of a system of notation has made a written record possible, or else when a living member of a culture recreates the sounds and rhythms which have been handed down to him by his forebears, we have no information about prehistoric music. We are therefore accustomed to regarding drawing and painting as integral parts of the life of early man, but less inclined to think of music in the same way. However, music, or musical sounds of some variety, are so interwoven with human life that they probably played a greater part in prehistory than can ever be determined.
A free culture supports and protects creators and innovators. It does this directly by granting intellectual property rights. But it does so indirectly by limiting the reach of those rights, to guarantee that follow-on creators and innovators remain as free as possible from the control of the past. A free culture is not a culture without property, just as a free market is not a market in which everything is free. The opposite of a free culture is a permission culture—a culture in which creators get to create only with the permission of the powerful, or of creators of the past.
For the first time in our tradition, the ordinary ways in which individuals create and share culture fall within the reach of the regulation of the law, which has expanded to draw within its control a vast amount of culture and creativity that it never reached before. The technology that preserved the balance of our history—between uses of our culture that were free and uses of our culture that were only upon permission—has been undone. The consequence is that we are less and less a free culture, more and more a permission culture.
The fact that digital content can be distributed for no additional cost does not explain the huge number of creative people who make their work available for free. After all, they are still investing their time without being paid back. Why?
The answer is simple: creators are not publishers, and putting the power to publish directly into their hands does not make them publishers. It makes them artists with printing presses. This matters because creative people crave attention in a way publishers do not. Prior to the internet, this didn’t make much difference. The expense of publishing and distributing printed material is too great for it to be given away freely and in unlimited quantities–even vanity press books come with a price tag. Now, however, a single individual can serve an audience in the hundreds of thousands, as a hobby, with nary a publisher in sight.
This disrupts the old equation of ‘fame and fortune’. For an author to be famous, many people had to have read, and therefore paid for, his or her books. Fortune was a side-effect of attaining fame. Now, with the power to publish directly in their hands, many creative people face a dilemma they’ve never had before: fame vs fortune.
The question of tradition interests me because Goa has become the site, both mythical and historical, for a sort of tantric hand-off between an earlier generation of Western trance dancers and today’s psychedelic ravers. Whether or not Goa is the core source of rave spirituality, the freak colony has grown into a spiritual origin, a source. But this does not make it simply another myth. In a roundabout way, the narrative surrounding Goa in itself affirms the spiritual aspirations and gnostic power of today’s global psy-trance scene. Because for all its rhizomatic multiplicities and cyberdelic futurism, the scene demands a backstory for its embodied illuminations, a context-building tale about initiation and transmission. For it is in telling such a tale that tonight’s body-without-organs grows to encompass the eternal return of its progenitors, and that something rather ancient can find its dancing feet again.