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Introduction (long)

 >There were so many people in their early to mid-'20s at the gig who were 
COMPLETELY into the show, and I can't imagine that many of them had a 
serious history of "out" >listening (though I could be wrong, certainly). 
Any thoughts on this?

This turned out longer than I thought it would. I will probably rewrite 
this for a bio on my web page! Sorry if this is off topic; I am just 
to find some context in an irrational world. You guys got the first 
draft.. ;)

Well, I just joined the list a week ago in time to catch the "out" thread 
which surprised me! I usually don't post quickly, but this list is on 
target to where I want to be going and how could I not with the "out" 
thread. I will give a detailed description of my background (only because 
think I might find context on this list; I am an alien to my peers). I 
explain my situation as being one of a new generation that grew up with a 
computer since day one. IE My family purchased a Tandy Model I in 1980 and 
since then I had access to computers.

I am 22 and have been a guitarist for 16 years. I mainly had a collection 
of instrumental artists (Satriani, Johnson, Vai, etc.) until I started 
seriously programming in C in '92 and got online around the same time 
(spent $400 of summer money on a used 14.4 USR Robotics HST; 2-3 years 
before v.32bis became cheap and affordable). By '94 I came in contact with 
electronic oriented genres and actually my first "out" purchase was the 
Swans -- Greed.. This was a shock for sure at 16 coming from a fundamental 
family/world view; I'm a fine and "well adjusted" now; sort of! ;) Joy 
Division, Coil, Death In June, Dead Can Dance. 80's/ early 90's EBM; 
Sound of London; IDM; all sorts of dance music whether it was trance or 
goa. I really had an industrial kick for a while; Skinny Puppy, 242, etc. 
later on all imported electro industrial. Electro industrial has really 
gone downhill in the last couple of years (IE most of it is like bad 
with a singer! Ack!). Funny thing is that although I was a closet guitar 
player; I never could afford a lot of equipment and had no means/knowledge 
to do any quality multitrack recording, so I was held up in that aspect. 
Lost many songs years ago! Mostly I created one continuos jamming 
experience. I guess I could explain.

Oh, yeah moved from the San Francisco area to San Luis Obispo to attend 
Poly for computer science in '96 (what a joke! Being that I was self 
for 4 years prior I hammered my first year here and completed my senior 
project the summer after my freshman year; 
http://www.egregious.net/~catharsis/spasm/; the rest has been formality 
it is dragging on too long! IE I can barely stand any of the classes! I 
hate Cal Poly due to the lack of interdisciplinary opportunities; the fun 
stuff really occurs when you combine say computers and music!).

I ran a monthly industrial club night from April '98 to April '99. Around 
mid 1998 I picked up turntables and put down the guitar (no resources to 
record!). No one DJ/mixed in this area at the time although there was a 
small rave scene that lasted for nine months in 1996/97 (one of the DJs; 
Morgan; is getting big in the SF area now; though he is all cheese and 
certainly not the "pioneer" that he claims to be). Amazingly SLOs record 
stores have remained untouched and not rummaged through like SF in the 
80's early 90's. I was absolutely shocked one day when I went up to the 
loft in one of the stores and where I uncovered approximately 300-400 
pristine copies (and double copies) of now obscure 80's EBM. Not only 
that.. stuff like Klaus Schulze, Jean Michel Jarr (all his records in 
pristine condition), I still need to go rummage around some more and see 
I can find anything crazy like Stockhausen, etc. I was never into Nine 
Nails, but for example the Pretty Hate Machine 12" and the single Sin were 
just sitting there factory sealed for $7 and $5 respectively (I would like 
to see what Ebay would fetch for those two!).

At this time the monthly club I was running was coming to a halt as my 
group of friends (the _other_ 3 or 4 old school goth/industrial folks in 
the area graduated and moved back to SF or LA). I met another 
programmer/student early in '99 that was into electronic music (the rave 
side of things). He was from Sacramento. We met at the college radio 
station and trained in the same quarter. So, I started DJing a lot of 
trance, tried out drum and bass, a little goa, tried to mix industrial 
gave up on it at the time), picked up on London acid techno (couldn't 
really get a grasp on DJing it). I always had a little techno (the real 
genre) on CD (mainly prototype 909/Jammin' Unit. I never got into mixing 
techno as I did not understand it. Sure I could mix trance like no other 
(song to song; clean mixes; a little overlap and melodic counterpoint), 
techno was so repetitive and confusing. We scored an electronic mix show 
over the summer and that continued for a year until the station cancelled 
it because they are blind conformist indie rockers (90% of Cal Poly is 
frat/sorority material; 72% of the county voted for Bush; need I say 
more?). We actually pulled off a rave with lasers and a 5000 watt sound 
system at Cal Poly fall of '99. That went marginally well; we lost $500 on 
it. A couple new faces showed up in SLO that liked electronic music so we 
formed a little group around the radio show. Also during the fall of '99 a 
record store in SLO liquidated their vinyl stock and I stumbled on the 
techno section... 200 techno records from '94 to '98; for $2 each; I 
them down to $1.50 and could afford 50 of them wished I could buy them 
all.. Man... Some cool stuff.. Still did not know how to DJ it.

I took some time off of college to work and between the both of us we were 
able to buy a Cerwin Vega Intense sound system. We both already owned 
tables and I had a good DJ mixer (Pioneer DJM 500); he has a DJM 600 now; 
has a small sampler which is fun for looping (yeah I'm on topic now!) ;) I 
bought a Mackie 1642 and Mackie SRM 450 monitors along with splitting the 
rest of the system with him. This was my first experience at actually 
having some studio equipment. Unfortunately, the SRM 450s are great for 
live gigs, but not great for studio work at lower volumes! I also have to 
tear out my mixer and destroy my studio weekly and whenever else we use 
sound system due to needing the 1642 for the live rig. Grrr... This is 
frustrating! Once we pay off the system though the collective will buy the 
1642 and I will be able to upgrade to an Allen & Heath 14:4:2.

Anyway, we decided to take a risk (one of the biggest I have taken) and 
this sound system without even knowing if we could start a dance music 
scene (rave; or whatever you want to call it; I am involved with dance 
music because I can pay for equipment; and it is fun!). We started a 
club called Bad Monkey January 2000 and it was an astounding success as no 
one else (collective or otherwise) on the central coast was doing a weekly 
electronic event. Unlike the metropolitan area dance music scenes which 
turned into over blown for profit ventures around '95 we kept it more to 
the foundation of that movement. Bad Monkey is a non-profit community club 
where we charge $3 and $5 regardless of the size of the guest DJ (we had 
break this once with when hosting a really big DJ that would not work with 
our budget). We are the only club night in town that will pay local DJs a 
decent wage ($50/hour; anywhere else it is $10/hour); out of towners more 
of course depending on ability. We still are paying off the sound system 
after 70 events, but it should be paid off by May through artistic means 
alone; this feels good; though my back is broken from moving it around 
weekly! We do not promote drugs and we certainly do not look towards SF or 
LA to define our electronic music culture as it is blown out and 
commercial. SLO is weird...

Although things were great for the first 6 months average attendance has 
dropped to 150 (peak nights still get to 300, but that is rare as we are 
all students; except for me currently; and don't have time to constantly 
promote) and that does not give us a lot to work with after we cover 
operating/maintenance expenses. The club has been the best thing in my 
and the hardest since it is thrown together by a rag tag group of young 
adults (kids if you must) who come from all sorts of musical backgrounds 
(actually, mainly a lack thereof). We don't get along, but are forced to 
due to the area. My perspective on how to deal with people has grown 
tremendously with this experience. I am also the oldest along with my 
partner Greg who is 23 in this areas electronic music scene.

Musically it has been awesome and very rewarding. I have had the gear and 
venue to learn how to perform live (develop the ear). We got in contact 
(random email) with a Canadian booking agent/promoter on the third week of 
running the club and secured our first big performance from the 
international DJ/producer Chris Liberator (London acid techno) on the 
week (just happens he was in LA and needed a Wednesday night gig). We had 
300 people "off their tits" as they would say in the UK that night. Not on 
drugs, but the music. Liberator decimated all of us 
). He performed a set that technically blew us away. He did things that I 
just was beginning to conceive of yet had no guts or ability to try in 
regard to mixing. He was a techno DJ.. I studied the DAT religiously for 
the next month; now techno is my preferred genre and style to DJ actually 
there is no going back... IE there are no rules; the music is minimal; the 
DJ must make it interesting via mixing and abusing the mixer (looping 
anyone?). Liberator told all of his friends about the place and we hosted 
total of 5 UK producers in the first 6 months of last year.

Another UK producer we hosted was DDR. He performed a live PA with a 909, 
303, sampler (S3000), and Mackie 1604 mixing board. It astounded and 
fascinated me. He came back up the next month (was in LA for a while) for 
another UK performers date (Gizelle; first US appearance) and I was able 
question him on his live PA. I figured out that he was using the 909 as a 
sequencer and for a couple of its drum sounds. When I mentioned this a 
smile came over his face and we started to talk tech. Wow.. The UK guys 
really helped me get a foothold on electronic production as I can ask them 
questions and they will get back to me. They also helped me to gain a more 
global view of music and life in general (politics/society).

So, I basically have taken the whole last year off of college to run the 
club night (attending school minimally to not have to file for a leave of 
absence; I pulled some strings that is for sure; that is another story 
though)! I did some computer contracting last spring that allowed me to 
an Akai S6000 around April. I was able to borrow a Novation Supernova 
(don't have this guy anymore) and also an Alpha Juno 2 w/ pg300. I had 
enough money to not work all summer (took a couple of classes during the 
fall; heh heh). I also bought Curtis Roads Computer Music Tutorial along 
with a couple of other academic books last April; this was my first 
introduction to computer music/producing/recording. I quickly got up to 
speed on some of the latest electronic music once I figured out the 
of microsound (www.microsound.org).  I'm just pissed that I can't afford a 
Mac to have access to Max/MSP (Make the damn port Kit!) and Supercollider. 
All of this combined with the Internet (been culture jamming for years) 
allowed me to "drop out"... I have been able to contract off an on for 
short periods of time and spend the rest of my time working with my studio 
and DJing. I am spending a large part of my time with the up front logical 
side of building a studio and learning the ropes/tools before digging too 
deep into the creative aspect (my process has drastically changed in the 
last month let alone the next month!). Recent acquisitions are a Pod Pro, 
RNC 1773, Nuendo w/Waves plugins, ADAT board for my sampler, RME 
Hammerfall, Emagic Logic.  I hope to get a Fernandez Sustainer (guitar), 
the new Sherman filter, Aardvark Q10, Mackie 824s in the next month. I am 
picking back up the guitar as I now have the means to record myself!

Recently I have become aware of the very small microtonal community via 
book Harmonic Experience by WA Mathieu and the alternate tuning list. I 
have not formally studied any music theory and I am having a rough time, 
but I am approaching it from a unique angle (for me); just intonation. So 
much of it is over my head by miles not feet.. :(  IE non 12 TET.

I am currently having a good time reading African Rhythm and African 
Sensibility by John Miller Chernoff.

I also subscribe to Computer Music Journal and I received the latest issue 
last week. It came with a sample CD and when I flipped it over I was 
at the content I saw. There were tracks from Coil, Taylor Deupree (ex 
Prototype 909), Thomas Brinkmann, Kim Cascone; among many other familiar 
commercial microsound artists. The forward from Joel Chadabe is great and 
first article from Kim Cascone amazed me as well.

Kim Cascone, 'The Aesthetics of Failure: 'Post-Digital' Tendencies in 
Contemporary Computer Music', Computer Music Journal, 24:4 (2000), pp. 

I contacted MIT Press to reprint it, but instead they put it online as a 

It closely matches and complements what I will call my aesthetic of 
imperfection. techno DJing and live performance is wacky after all.. Of 
course none of my ideas are new; just recycled due to isolation. I'm sure 
lot of the looping community thrives on an aesthetic of imperfection.

Anyway, this article sums up why I started with electronic music; it is 
common knowledge to me, but maybe not to most. I am amazed that the 
academic community is recognizing the commercial sector (actually it is 
about time)! Who knows maybe the commercial sector will pull ahead of 
academic circles for computer music. It has happened in practically every 
other computer related industry. One just has to look at CSound and 
that it will be quite an arduous task to modernize it with a majority of 
that communities consent.

Oh yeah, I'm going to finish my undergrad in this upcoming year and get on 
with it. Actually I just enrolled in one of the only music courses I am 
interested in at Poly --  synthesis (there used to be a class called 
acoustic communication which covered non 12 tet tunings among other 
but it was cancelled because the students could grasp it; duh! I guess). I 
probably have already covered the ground that this class will focus on, 
I'll keep an open mind. I'm just taking it to get as much time as possible 
on the fully loaded Kyma system Poly has in order to do some massive sound 
design. Heh heh... ;)

All this has really given me an interesting perspective on life in America 
(economics/culture/politics/foreign policy/philosophy).

My eyes are wide open.... Regardless of what I know I realize how little I 
really do truly understand. I bet I could learn some amazing things from 
participants of this list.

So, I am crazy, right? ;) My peer group thinks so... When I open my mouth 
their eyes glaze over.. It sucks; really!

I won't keep yabbering though. This list is about looping; can't wait for 
the repeater group buy!

Glad to meet all of you!

--Mike (Catharsis)
PS: my web site has some DJ sets up online; I hope to finish some music 
soon, but I am taking my time as the exploration is just beginning!

"Spiritual renewal through music for those outside the heard."