The precursor to datacide is the magazine titled Alien Underground, which appeared with two issues in 1994/95. In the first issue of Alien Underground, there is a manifesto-like text signed “praxis nov. 1994” titled “Nothing Essential Happens in the Absence of Noise”. It describes “Techno” as a subversive agent that shook up cultural production, whether corporate or independent. “The industry then got the fear (…) because the principle of its organisation > the top to bottom one way transmission > got short circuited, & there was no transmitter or receiver, only a mixer & rooms full of people + noise. (…) a zone populated by savages seeking forbidden pleasures in a wasteland (…) uncontrollable and incomprehensible for teacher, cops, parents, the industry & media.” The backlash was not long to follow: “Formula were created & market research employed, documentaries were made, and laws drafted. It all needed to be brought back into the world of the spectacle, made safe for mass consumption; faces appeared, and like in a demonstration of power, talentless DJ’s were made superstars.” What we saw as raw and subversive was “streamlined for mass-brainwashing & pacification” in the form of “Nazi-Trance and Audio-Valium”. Still there was optimism: “But techno is always mutating, (…) always moving into different directions, & the time is now that transformations are under way that will lead to new places, eruptions, excess… In a situation where most of the supposedly underground parties are playing the same shit as everywhere else, where sponsorship deals + big money have moved in, a new resistance is emerging slowly>>>”.
This was also the moment when TechNET appeared. TechNET was a “glorified flyer” that appeared in 1994-96 only in a handful of editions. It was written as a collective effort by Howard Slater (who went on to do Break/Flow, and is still a datacide contributor) and Jason Skeet (who went on to do the Ambush label alongside DJ Scud, and then Junk Records). Both were at the time also involved in the Dead by Dawn party series, and we decided to document the TechNET material in this issue of Datacide for a couple of reasons. Most importantly we think that TechNET formulated a lot of ideas in the sharpest and most creative and concise manner that were at the heart of the radical “techno” underground scene at the time. “Techno” was still seen then as a radical possibility and a subversive potential that was in flux, but as the Praxis text shows, it was already solidifying as a genre with commercial possibilities, and in the process of being absorbed by the culture industry.
What the quoted texts still called “techno” was already mutating into something else. The word also means something else in these texts than the meanings it took on later.
Musically an “escape velocity” was being created – tracks were getting ever faster and harder, and we tried to establish distribution networks which would be able to bypass the established structures, in tune with the ideas that were in place with free party networks in the 90’s. Later these ideas were common in breakcore, until that too was “spectacularised”. In the 00’s these ideas seem to have been gradually forgotten. It is not out of nostalgia that we re-publish these interventions now, rather, it is our desire to document subterranean histories of subversive movements and unearth ideas that might still be relevant now.
Something that “techno” in the sense of the word as we used it then, also challenged was the role of the bourgeois concept of the “artist-genius” which serves to justify inequality in society. This is something that was being challenged with certain strategies at the time, and different times need different strategies.
If we look at the particular historical setting, it’s worth mentioning that it is a part of the (pre-)history of datacide. datacide is now 15 years old – and the record label it is connected with, Praxis, will turn 20 at the end of November 2012. We will celebrate this with a series of parties in London, Lyon, Milano, Berlin, Vienna, Bratislava, Bruxelles, Basel and elsewhere between the beginning of November and Xmas. Please check praxis.c8.com for details! We also hope to release in the next month or two a publication and an audio intervention that document the history of Praxis.
Back to this issue:
datacide 12 opens with a comic by Darkam – a tribute to Luigi Russolo’s noise machines (p. 2-4), then delves into the “news” section, summing up developments in Surveillance, Control and Repression, as well as giving an update on the American Radical Right and the Tea Party Movement since last issue’s in depth article (p. 5). Then, the Neo-Nazi terror of the “National Socialist Underground” and the failure of the police and state security apparatus to even recognize it for years – if not being complicit in it – is investigated (p. 7).
“Communisation theory and the question of fascism” challenges the idea that an anti-capitalist revolution would automatically lead to communism, and warns that there are regressive and reactionary forms of anti-capitalism, namely fascism. The historic Ultra-left has correctly rejected support for social democracy, Stalinism and national liberation movements, but there is a danger to see all forms of capitalist domination as identical, and thus play down the specific horrors of National Socialism, and neglect the danger that there could well be a reactionary form of “communisation” in the future (p. 10). The following article picks up on some aspects of last issue’s “Hedonism and Revolution”, elaborating on the decomposition of the 60’s protest movement into Leninist micro-parties in the form of an extended book review (p. 14). In “Control and Freedom in Geographic Information Systems”, Split Horizon describes the potential for highly detailed monitoring, but also stresses that GIS and GPS cartography has also become a crucial new media for expression and critique (p. 17). Riccardo Balli’s “Bolognoise” is a detailed forray into an experimental kind of audio-psychogeography (p. 20). Some of Polaris International’s interventions, mainly against Berlin Biennale 7, are documented on (p. 28). The TechNET insert section (p. 31), is followed by the fiction section with a text by Dan Hekate (p. 39) and poems by Howard Slater (p. 40). John Eden documents his interview with Jordi Valls of Vagina Dentata Organ (p. 43). Neil Transpontine talks with Bert Random about his book Spannered (p. 46), followed by LFO Demon’s review of Simon Reynold’s book “Retromania” (p.50). Christoph Fringeli looks at the writings of the Fight for Freedom group in the 40’s (p. 52), and Nemeton looks at “West of Eden” a book on communes and utopia in Northern California (p. 54). Next are press reviews of Black Flag, The Commune, and the press of the various ICP’s. (p. 54). As an interruption to the literature reviews we find “2023 – A SPOR remembers ‘reclaim the streets’, followed by more book and zine reviews by John Eden. On p. 57 the music review section starts with two gig reviews by terra audio, one on Jeff Mills, and one on the Sun Ra Arkestra. This is followed by the record review section (starting p. 60) with reviews by John Eden, Zombieflesheater, Kovert, Blackmass Plastics, Nemeton and Aura Blue. Bloor Schleppy makes another mysterious appearance on p. 65, charts are on p. 66 and a comic by sansculotte on p. 67.
That’s it: Your most voluminous datacide issue yet!
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