Re: (amb) African American Art

From Isaac Trogdon
Sent Thu, May 13th 1999, 15:46

> > > Jaun Atkins
> > > has
> > > always been quite understandably bitter on this point - I mean he
> > > practically invented techno 15 years ago
> When were Kraftwerk doing their work? Longer than 15 years I thought?
> Depends if you think that they're techno, of course. Never heard Atkins
> stuff so can't judge.

kraftwerk were putting out records of the techno variety in the early to
mid 70's, out of which the early detroit scene evolved and was seriously
influenced by.  i don't think this is a debatable point, but it's also not
a definitive or even very important one.  ralph and florian's kraftwerk
evolved out of classical avant-gardist ideas [white/european] as well as
experimental rhythm and jazz composition [going back to american jazz,
early folk music, street corner quartets, gospel - obviously we've already
reached some african american influence].  but were early african
americans not influenced by the european folk music they heard around
them as well?, and was that not influenced by their ancestors, going back
to the crusades where they were influenced by middle eastern culture, and
on and back it goes.  it's an interesting and really complex question, and
i'm sure i might be generalizing and stretching on some of those points,
but what i really wanted to get to was that the barrage of influences is
thick and convuluted.  i don't dispute juan atkins, derrick may, or carl
craig as the first american techno producers/djs, but i don't believe they
came up w/ the idea of techno.  but then of course we've agreed that
african american influence already had a hand in techno/funk/popular music
in general, so that's not the point anymore.  what's really the sad truth,
and excuse me if i'm repeating anyone by now, is that the early detroit
producers truly were inovators taking the music, changing the music, and
doing something new - but there's the sad fact that white america has
difficulty acknowledging african american's as the first real american
inovators in this style [and many others].  what furthered the problem
though, and why it's taken so long for any of these fellows to recieve any
cred at home is that techno/electronic dance music has never been widely
accepted as popular music in america, and argueably still isn't.  that's
why 'electronica' came about, as an avenue to nab the inovative ideas of
this fringe culture, and cook them down w/ a heaping helping of easy to
swallow pop music for boring americans.  but even further, besides the
fact that techno has never really made it on its own in america, it hardly
made it at all as african american popular music.  not to pigeonhole or
generalize again, but i'd say 90% of african american youth are as totally
hiphop as the 90% white american youth are totally rawk and roll.  w/ such
sadly teritorialistic segragated racial lines drawn, it's makes it easy
for the vast majority on either side to polarize, and the music developes
largely independent of the other, and has been steady and stagnant for a
while.  this isn't of course so clear cut, but if we were to
actually trace all the meeting points and qualifications, we'd have a
situation like trying to trace all the influences of techno.  i guess it
really boils down to a very ignorant and limiting de facto segregation in
american society, and an even dafter popular consiousness as the result,
letting almost all the inovators, artists, and anything else interesting
fall through the cracks, only to be picked up and analyzed to death much
too late.  .ist

> > > and should by rights be a
> > > rich and
> > > respected figure in his own country yet still lives in relative
> > > poverty and
> > > obscurity.
> Sadly, a common syndrome amongst innovators.
> Also, I have never heard of any of the people you mention (as you say,
> obscurity). Maybe I'll visit CD Now later and take a listen.