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.
According to singer-songwriter Lana Del Rey, establishing her artistic identity has meant moving to Europe to get away from the American media’s criticism of her supposed “inauthenticity” (whatever that means in the context of pop music), as Lisa Blanning found out for this issue’s cover story. Of course, the move hasn’t really helped Del Rey escape the blogosphere, but you can’t blame her for trying.
For techno innoventors Moritz von Oswald and Juan Atkins, transatlantic travels have both shed light on and directly helped intertwine their histories, as they discuss in this issue their contribution to the famous Berlin–Detroit axis. In an equally rare interview, Moritz von Oswald’s former partner Mark Ernestus also tells Max Dax how his epiphanic discovery of West African mbalax and his recent recording session with Jeri Jeri in the Senegalese capital of Dakar affected his sense of rhythm and sound.
In contrast, Tricky seems to feel comfortable conducting trip-hop business as usual wherever he lays his hat, be it Los Angeles, New Jersey, or Paris. He’s also keen on discussing the end of pop star decadence—both his own and everybody else’s. In seething streams of consciousness, the Bristol-born badboi hates on everyone from Lenny Kravitz to Prince. Very, very entertaining.
Also featured in this issue are Kai Campos of Mount Kimbie in conversation with Austra’s Katie Stelmanis, discussing the myths surrounding the existence of a post-dubstep “scene” in the city of London and the supposed difficulties recording second albums. Things then get big and important when famed curator Hans Ulrich Obrist talks to Whole Earth Catalog founder Stewart Brand. Brand’s famous instruction manual for how to live, learn and levitate outside of society has been called visionary by everyone from Steve Jobs to Abbie Hoffman. However, as Heatsick points out in his review of Diedrich Diederichsen and Anselm Franke’s recent Whole Earth exhibition and catalogue, Brand’s LSD-inspired one-earth universalism also happens to be an important piece of the puzzle of digital age neo-liberalism.
Also: The alphabet according to Hank Shocklee, 7 Days in Montenegro, street gangs and social media, and more . . .
Stories told, retold and tarnished. Documented in Berlin, Silicon Valley London, Dakar, Podgorica and Detroit.
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Published June 07, 2013.