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Electronic Beats
Magazine No° - 40

Fall 2015

Electronic Beats Magazine has been around for 11 years. I’ve had the pleasure of working on it for the last five, while serving as editor-in-chief for the past 12 months. In 2011, art director Johannes Beck and myself helped former editor-in-chief Max Dax realize his vision of transforming Electronic Beats from a theme-based quarterly into a magazine focused on interviews and oral history. Artists’ perspectives became the nucleus of the publication’s identity. The idea wasn’t only to create a magazine that stood as a model for the future of print, but also as a vehicle for a metadiscourse about the the future of print—and the role of corporate publishing in that future. We won awards. Corporate publishing awards. Lots of them. It’s with great regret that I inform you that this will be the final issue of Electronic Beats Magazine.

A.J. Samuels

About the magazine

Telekom Electronic Beats Magazine was a quarterly-published print magazine reflecting the cultural self-image of those seeing electronic music and culture as the foundation of both the digital revolution and, in turn, analog evolution. It did not just focus on cultural icons, but rather the fact that these icons appear as protagonists within a single artistic framework. With the artists as authors, the magazine became a sophisticated platform for the most important voices in music and other media. It was discontinued at the end of 2015.

Previous Issues

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Electronic Beats Magazine No° - 42

Since this magazine’s shift in focus towards the voices of the artists themselves, we have attempted to broaden the scope of what’s important to thinking about electronic music. What’s relevant to the artists from their perspectives—in monologues, interviews and conversations—is relevant to us, which is why looking beyond the conventional framework of dance music towards literature, film, art and philosophy has become central to Electronic Beats. In our cover story on Róisín Murphy, our lengthy interview with novelist Richard Price, our tinnitus special and elsewhere, we ask: How does framing information change its value? What’s a frame? Is it the thing that tells you where art ends and walls begin? Is it the conceptual packaging that simplifies complex things?

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Electronic Beats Magazine No° - 41

When does limitation breed new inventions? When does it stymie them? Insular cultural environments have given rise to astoundingly unique forms of music, as we see in this issue’s second investigation into African-American roller skating communities. Historically however, dance music is often compared to a virus, with different but related strains infecting populations and mutating in the process.

In other contexts, political strategies actively isolate artistic development, such as the boycott against Israel, where—as we learned from our conversations with musicians, curators and bookers in Tel Aviv—all forms of cultural production have become political. In this issue of Electronic Beats, we take a look at how cultural constraints both facilitate and obstruct creative freedom.

Here, author and magazine editor Sven von Thülen helps connect the dots.

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Electronic Beats Magazine No° - 40

In this issue of Electronic Beats, we have decided to take a closer look at how the world outside of music shapes so much of what we listen to — that is, beyond narratives of new technology guiding various electronic subgenres.

In the first part of our new series “Sound in Motion”, we survey how African American roller skating communities have changed dance music’s groove. We also traveled to avant-garde breeding ground Antwerp to learn about the importance of good highways in the development of Belgian new beat.

Everywhere we looked, art seemed to imitate, and then innovate, life—from Arca’s LP namesake Xen, a character created from secret online personas, to Michael Gira’s time spent in an Israeli jail. Here we present our thoughts on music made outside the vacuum, with guest previewer Roman Flügel.

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Electronic Beats Magazine No° - 39

Here, risk-taking—be it in the form of harmonic and rhythmic deconstructions of pop music or fighting for gay rights in less than hospitable surroundings—was a central topic of conversation amongst those artists, musicians and curators whose work is more than just a way to make a living. But what is artistic risk? Is it being unafraid to embrace improvisation and play wrong notes? Is it channeling a unique musical voice that teeters between brilliant and embarrassing?

Is it simply making a commitment to being a musician amidst the industry’s economic downturn? ACHTUNG: The German issue is identical to the English issue in every way except for language, and proudly flies the flag of corporate publishing dedicated to the ideal of collectable and sustainable print media.

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Electronic Beats Magazine No° - 38

In this issue, risk-taking—be it in the form of harmonic and rhythmic deconstructions of pop music or fighting for gay rights in less than hospitable surroundings—was a central topic of conversation amongst those artists, musicians and curators whose work is more than just a way to make a living. But what is artistic risk? For saxophone legend Wayne Shorter, risk is an integral part of the definition of jazz itself. As he tells editor-in-chief Max Dax in a rare extended conversation, “Jazz means: I dare you.” While Shorter isn’t known conventionally as a major influence on electronic music, his involvement in Miles Davis’s second great quintet and fusion pioneers Weather Report helped usher in jazz’s electric turn—itself of central importance for eventual electronic developments in krautrock, funk, disco and beyond. Naturally, this also extends to sample-based music, a point made clear in this issue by none other than RZA, who, while beating said editor in a game of chess, explained how the Wu-Tang Clan’s size and ego battles are calculated into his risk assessment for recording new material.

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Electronic Beats Magazine No° - 37

Despite Berlin’s mild winter 2013/14, the Nordic sun was not enough for Electronic Beats Magazine to stay put. So we packed our bags and flew to Rio de Janeiro to see how the city was coping with protests surrounding the preparation for this year’s World Cup. In South America’s largest economy, various cultural protagonists, from Paulo Cézar and Caetano Veloso to artist Renata Lucas and leftist watchdogs Mídia Ninja, were eager to voice their opinions about gentrification in the country’s various favelas and the bigger picture of Brazil’s supposed social and political progress.

In another hemisphere which might as well have been another planet, the Sun Ra Arkestra’s band leader Marshall Allan spoke to editor-in-chief Max Dax and saxophonist André Vida about futurism and how their Philadelphia commune—formerly run by Sun Ra himself—encouraged a stringent but far-out approach to sound. However, as Allen explains, free jazz was never about doing whatever you want, but rather following cosmic rules—if for no other reason than to avoid Sun Ra’s famous punishments.

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Electronic Beats Magazine No° - 36

Holly Johnson, the legendary singer of Frankie Goes To Hollywood, once said: “I get buzzed off the fact that Andy Warhol’s heard of us, because he gets buzzed off the fact that Picasso had heard of him.” A few months ago, Electronic Beats editor-in-chief Max Dax wondered if H.P. Baxxter gets buzzed off the fact that renowned German painter Albert Oehlen had not only heard of him, but also uses the Scooter frontman’s chants and slogans in his paintings. This led to gathering the two pillars of high and low art for our cover story. Hopefully, the other interviews and conversations in this issue will be as edifying.Appropriately, they focus on artistic balance—not only the aforementioned high with the low, but also the hallucinogenic with the sober, the functional with the academic, and the self-aggrandizing with the painfully shy.

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Electronic Beats Magazine No° - 35

It’s always a bit sad to watch the blue skies and warm nights of summer fade into the crispy chill of fall, but there’s still plenty to be thankful for. There’s the promise of warm new clothes, the thrill of Halloween, and of course the newest edition of Electronic Beats Magazine to keep you warm. Not just any edition, either, as this  marks the tenth edition since we revamped EB Magazine in 2011. To celebrate, we’ve lowered our annual subscriber prices down to 6 euros in Germany and 12 for the rest of the world. Pretty darn cheap, considering that each issue is packed front to back with all of the conversations and articles on essential issues that you’ve come to expect in the last years.

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Electronic Beats Magazine No° - 34

Historical narratives, especially ones with clearly defined oppositions and results, are the hardest to rewrite. They remain anchored in our imagination and eventually calcify into bedrocks of unchallenged truth. In this Summer issue of Electronic Beats Magazine, we take a look at the writing and rewriting of these and other stories, from the anti-capitalist legacy of American sixties counterculture to the complex and ambivalent relationship of female pop stardom to feminism. Perhaps unsurprisingly, this has led us straight to the artists whose work both challenges and reinforces these narratives—and whose perspectives have been especially impacted by travel and geographical context.

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Electronic Beats Magazine No° - 33

With the exception of certain sociopolitical strands of hip hop, electronic music, particularly dance music, is not something most people associate with protest song. But the times they are a-changin’, and so are musical focuses. While this issue of Electronic Beats Magazine features continued conversations with artists such as Depeche Mode, Kraftwerk and Cluster, whose music has served as the basis of so much of today’s house, techno and synthpop, we’ll also be scrutinizing lesser known corners of the sonic jungle, from the low-end innovations of car audio bass and Holly Herndon’s interest in Bell Labs to contributions to queer discourse by the likes of Terre Thaemlitz, The Knife and Planningtorock. It’s this combination of under- and overground stories that we hope will provide insight into the fluid tendencies of artistic influence, as well as help describe the ever-shifting musical points of reference of artists today and tomorrow.

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