Jul 7, 2010

Chosen Words: P is for Personality (Lack Thereof)

Fat Roland's A-Z guide to the most important words or phrases in electronica and their associated "facts"

Personalities are an anathema to quality electronic music.

Faceless nobodies are what keeps techno and electronica going. Many artists use multiple recording names and minimal artwork to ensure anonymity.

Throughout musical history, artists have hidden behind many things: face masks (Altern8), cars (KLF), lack of lighting (Autechre), guest MCs (LTJ Bukem), industrial dystopia (Front 242), headlamps (Orbital) and virgin sacrifice (Royksopp (probably)).

Electronic music producers know personality can get in the way. Just look at Moby. No, seriously, look at him. He's there in the corner eating the boiled potatoes he's had in his pockets for the last six weeks. Tragedy, really.

You wouldn't recognise Luke Slater from Luke Vibert even if you bumped into them in a sauna and they showed you their tattoos with their names on. This is good. Anonymity lends techno, IDM and electronic experimentalism an aura of mystery and exclusivity.

When in fact, there's no enigma at all. It's just a musical land populated by nobodies who don't have the social dexterity to become "personalities" because they've spent far too much of their life sweating over a bassline for fourteen hours at a time in cluttered, dust-filled bedroom studios.

And thank goodness for that because from lonely obsession, great bleeps are made.

For more Chosen Words, click the tag at the bottom of this post.

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