Alien UndergroundArticles

The Morphing Culture

from Alien Underground 0.0 (London 1994)

-signals received by Deadly Buda-

Well, you thought you were at just any old rave, when all of a sudden that sound you were listening to did something like thissssssss
s sssss…and sort of then turned into so
ss m
. .. ..tnereffid yllatot
. . .
…………… …
………………..It was like, one second there was just this standard house beat, but then all of a sudden you were in the middleof a 70’s style high-octane-movie-

Coming from the left speaker is a random Ping-pong ball, dropping in the middle of the dance floor on a 40K sound system, followed by this ambient drone of pure-bass benevolence. Creeping up in the distance, a shuffling flanged breakbeat richochets into prominence, blending into a hard-acid stomper to create a hybrid much more than the sum of its parts, and then Bam! A fire and brimstone preacher speaks of apocalyptic visions, heavy breathing is riding underneath in the mix, flowinkg into a 20 minute hypnotic trance session blending into…
…The beat is changing. Going up, down, away, forward, changing, you can practically see the sounds, that is the Morph Beat. As far as I know, there are no records that are knowingly “Morph Beat”. It is up to the DJ to find them. By combining a number of different sounds, structures, polyrhythms, and genres, an audio tapestry is created with the desired effect to make the listener/dancer FEEL.
I believe this approach to the music at a rave, or the quickly evolving “nuclear parties” (an event that is every conceivable artistic endeavor roled up into one-on-the-spot) will gain a lot of popularity for one important reason – the “rave culture” has become so fragmented and specialized that its original impetus – unity – has somehow gotten way lost in the shuffle of its growth.
Think about it, every DJ or raver is always saying, I like/play this or that style, and then quickly follows up with, “but of course I like and play this, that, the other thing” in order to cover all the musical territory represented in underground/overground music. It just doesn’t make sense that everyone is pigeon-holing their tastes, when they are, in fact, evolving and changing every second. Think about all the genres we are always confronted with in a way to describe something totally fluid, and ever-changing: House, Techno, HipHop, Rave, Progressive House, Trance, Progressive Trance, Breakbeat, Dark Breaks, Hardcore Techno, Breakcore, Acid, AcidTrance, Intelligent Techno, Ambient, Hardhouse, GabberHouse, Tribal, Tribal-Trance etc… It’s enough to give any sane person an information overload headache.
Thus comes the Morph Beat, throw it all together, and let it fly! Who says you can’t play an ambient piece at 1:00AM? Do it! The Morph approach requires a whole different way mixing and thinking about the music. Time shifts, wild sounds, cutting, pasting, blending, anything to make two things that never seemed like they should go together work!
Skeptics would say, “but wait, isn’t this just another classification? Pretty soon you’ll have Hard Morph, Ambient Morph, Progressive Morph etc.” They might be right. But then again, the very nature of Morph is CHANGE. The definition of “Morph Beat” is a little hard to pin down. It’s like grabbing water, it just flows out of you hands.
By championing the creative approach in not just the music, but the whole concept of what a “rave” is, we can get the whole thing more eclectic, inspiring, basically invigorated. The by-the-numbers speaker-laser-flyer thing is all well and good, but a bit trite after a while. I mean, “scenes” are cool, but there should be something more to it. So, you know, Morph it.
6-23-94. Deadly Buda.

see also his musical realisation of the Morph Beat idea on Praxis 14

Related Posts

  • (The Morphing Culture Pt. 2) TINFOIL LINED FOOTBALL HELMET ALIEN RADIO SIGNAL RECEIVER WORN: by DEADLY BUDA from Alien Underground 0.1 (1995) In Morphing Culture 1, we addressed the need for more interesting soundscapes within the rave format. After a re-summary of the ideas, I will present some morph-gems that…
  • “A book is made up of signs that speak of other signs” Umberto Eco “Disinformation” records clearly aspire, like Dr Who’s Tardis, to be bigger on the inside than they are on the outside, loaded with hints, clues and allusions designed to tempt listeners to investigate interesting ideas. The “Al-Jabr”…
  • TechNET was, as the review in the same issue of Alien Underground (self-ironically) stated, "Some kind of glorified techno flyer passing itself off as a bulletin of the digital underground, argueing for techno as the locus of a new counter culture. Has too much bass gone to their heads? or…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.