20 Years of Listening to Techno Music


I went to my first techno party, or rave, back in the spring of 1993. I consider that event the start of my serious engagement with electronic dance music. I was 16 and before that the only electronic music I listened to was that of industrial bands like Ministry and Skinny Puppy. Since then I have something of aficionado and have been to literally thousands of dance parties in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom. At the twentieth anniversary event for ele_mental in New York Charles Noel suggested that I share some of my reflections and poetry from the early days. Over the next several months I plan to do that. Here’s poem I wrote when I first heard Robert Hood’s “Minimal Nation” in 1996. It is called “Metamorphism.” Perhaps it captures something of the time.


Steel gray light pours into my head,
a word whispered in imagined silences.

A sudden image
white, black, urban desolate, crimson

thought: I don’t know me, anymore
as if… I ever… did

what was lost?
Sleep sound
the connection point
the textual, the real

Am I (we all, perhaps, in this case) just a piled jumble of words
detroit, fission, spaghetti, printer, moog…
spun together in some seemingly coherent pattern

wanting, needing, finding? more I watch something else occur…
a new sort of synthesis

still it (I?) strives to be concrete
wet, moist, firm, tender, rough, gray

whatever it is
it takes me and shoves

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