Academic, Ethnomusicology, Publications


01.20.12 | Permalink | Comment?

… is glorious.

The NPR piece about Detroit techno tracks is being shared around a lot lately, again. Thanks y’all. I like it too. Here’s the article:

Get Familiar with Detroit Techno:10 Essential Songs

Of course, when there is suddenly way more traffic to schoolcraftwax than normal, I have some weirdo post up about literature as the first thing readers see. Great.

Wills Glasspiegel and Marlon Bishop, the guys who compiled the NPR piece, also did a one hour special on Afropop Worldwide last summer about Chicago house and Detroit techno. I was proud to be involved as a consultant and tour guide when they came to Detroit. Here is my writeup about that project: Midwest Electric. The soundcloud link for that radio program is also available there.

It would please me greatly to announce to you the following book:

The Evolution of Electronic Dance Music 

It is a compilation of articles from Keyboard Magazine featuring notable producers, DJs, and music production equipment. It also features two more current articles done specifically for the book. One is a Q&A with Robert Henke of Monolake and the other is a Q&A with me about electronic dance music with a focus on Detroit.

The book is edited by Peter Kirn of the blog Create Digital Music .

Here is his writeup on CDM about the book.


Here is the Table of Contents:


1. Kraftwerk
“Electronic Minstrels of the Global Village”
By Jim Aikin, March 1982

2. Depeche Mode, Soft Cell, The Units, Wall of Voodoo, Japan, Our Daughters Wedding
“New Synthesizer Rock”
By Robert Doerschuk, June 1982

3. The Ethnomusicology of Dance Music
“Denise Dalphond Goes Inside EDM Culture’s Roots”
By Peter Kirn, June 2011

4. Frankie Knuckles, Jesse Saunders, Farley “Jackmaster” Funk
“The Fathers of Chicago House”
By Greg Rule, August 1997

5. Juan Atkins
“Juan Atkins: Techno Starts Here”
By Robert Doerschuk, July 1995

6. Electronic Body Music
“Front 242: The Aggressive Edge of Rhythm and the Power of Recycled Culture”
By Robert L. Doerschuk, September 1989

“The Art of Extreme Noise”
By Francis Preve, September 2003

7. Rise of the Machines
“Roland CR-78, TR-808 and TR-909: Classic Beat Boxes”
By Mark Vail, May 1994

“Akai MPC60”
By Freff, November 1988

“Propellerhead: Propelling Changes”
By Mark Vail, April 1999

8. Charlie Clouser on Techno
“Techno How To”
By Charlie Clouser, September 1993

9. The Orb
“Inside the Ambient Techno Ultraworld”
By Robert Doerschuk, June 1995

10. Orbital, Meat Beat Manifesto, Underworld
By Greg Rule and Caspar Melville, October 1996

11. Aphex Twin
“Still Hacking After All These Years”
By Greg Rule, April 1997

12. Chemical Brothers
“Water into Acid: The Chemical Brothers Blow Up”
By Greg Rule, June 1997

13. Daft Punk
“Robopop: Part Man, Part Machine, All Daft Punk.”
By Chris Gill, May 2001

14. Richie Hawtin and John Acquaviva
“The Sounds of Science: Richie Hawtin Puts the Tech in Techno”
By Chris Gill, December 2001

“Technical Itch: John Acquaviva gets his FinalScratch”
By Stacia Monteith, December 2001

15. BT
“The Mind of BT”
By Stephen Fortner, December 2005

16. Amon Tobin
“The Big Score”
By Bill Murphy, April 2007

17. Flying Lotus
“Flying Lotus: Darkness & Light”
By Noah Levine, August 2008

“Flying Lotus: On Splicing Bebop and Hip-Hop DNA”
By Drew Hinshaw, July 2010

18. Autechre
“Autechre: Easy to Be Hard”
By Ken Micallef, April 2008

“5 Questions with Rob Brown of Autechre”
By Greg Rule, June 1996

19. Crystal Method
“Crystal Method: United by Synths, Divided by Night”
By Peter Kirn, November 2009

20. Robert Henke (Monolake)
“The Composer, Artist, and Ableton Live Imagineer Looks to the Future”
By Peter Kirn, June 2011

Techno Boulevard, uh boulevard. I am so excited to have this book available and to have my words and ideas be a part of it. Also, it’s cheap! $11.55 on Amazon. You know me, I like information to be widely available FOR FREE or at least at a small small price. I feel like I’ve finally come to a point in my academic and writing life where I don’t cringe at what I wrote six months ago. I got my copy of this book in the mail and I thought I might look at it and wish that I had expressed something differently or that I might not really like it anymore. To my surprise, that did not happen!! I still like it. I stand behind it. Like so many words.

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Academic, Meta Writing

I Love To Tell Stories.

01.19.12 | Permalink | 1 Comment

Did you know?

I would like to do more story telling here in the land of schoolcraftwax. My dissertation is coming to a close and I feel like temporarily or maybe just occasionally taking a step away from strictly Detroit and strictly electronic music to write about other things. I remain infinitely passionate about Detroit and about electronic music, but I also like other things and enjoy writing about what I’m experiencing, observing, thinking, or liking. LOTS has changed since I started this blog a year ago. One year ago?!?!? Happy Birthday Bitch! January 29 is schoolcraftwax’s birthday. Feel free to celebrate. I know I’m excited.

You may know me as Laura Ingalls Wilder. I love the woods. I love being outside. I love mud on my boots and waltzing through the forest. Quiet waltzing! I also have always loved the Little House on the Prairie books, not the show, just the books. I watched my share of TV as a kid, but for some reason, I never got into the show. I devoured the books and still love them. I would totally build a house into a grassy hill. INTO IT.

I have wanted to read Octavia Butler since I learned about her in college. This summer, I finally popped that cherry. She’s fantastic. I want more.

I love to tell stories. Always have. I love to read stories, too. I used to write letters and I used to get a lot of letters, too. I kept up regular written correspondence with friends, boys, family throughout my youth. Email and other electronic communication has replaced that for the most part. I say that matter-of-factly, not in a lamenting or remorseful way. I recently spent some days sorting through boxes in the basement, dresser drawers, closets, and my beloved, big, old, wooden desk. To my surprise, I found a tremendous amount of things that my children and I no longer need. My desk feels wonderful, like a proper work space where shit can actually get done. It’s no longer the place where I put stuff that doesn’t have anywhere else to go. But even more exciting, I found lots of old letters from people: love letters from boys, letters from friends who lived a few blocks down, letters from friends in other states and in other countries, and letters from my aunt and my great-grandmother. My great-grandmother, who died about five years ago, was such a sweet, cool woman. She was feisty, had the best laugh, and said things like “Don’t tell me!” when faced with some information that was mildly unbelievable. Her name is Alice. She had the softest wrinkled skin imaginable. It was better than silk. Better than kitten fur. I inherited her pen after she died. I lost it for at least three years, then found it again in November between the lining and the leather of a bag after coming home from a conference in Philadelphia. It’s a slender, delicate, silver pen that twists to write. I love and cherish it and hollered loudly when I found it!

I used to want to be Anne of Green Gables and got all dreamy about the idea of Gilbert Blythe. I read the books as a young girl. When I found out that there were movies, I totally freaked out and fell even more in love with the story. They had Canadian accents … you know, because it takes place on Prince Edward Island. I’m Canadian. Oh my god. I loved it.

So, storytelling. That’s kind of my thing. I almost took down schoolcraftwax this month because I didn’t feel like I had a whole lot to say publicly about Detroit music other than what I post on facebook. But I decided that I love writing and I love blogging and I want to continue to have this forum to write, announce, discuss, and share, even if it’s not consistently Detroit related. Schoolcraft IS a road in Detroit. That’s why I chose it for the title of this blog. But, I’m schooly in other ways, too. I like wax. I like lots of different kinds of music, and I like all kinds of other “shit that I love” and shit that maybe some of you love, too. I will have my Ph.D. in May. Dissertation on Detroit electronic music will be done. I’ll let you know where and how you can access it to read it online. I’ve got a publisher for my book, which will be similar to my dissertation, but it will not be the same. I’m on the search for research and teaching jobs. I’m applying for some great ones that I’m totally qualified for, which feels so great, none of which are in the state of Michigan. A move is in my future, and while I love southeast Michigan, love Detroit, and have an incredible community of friends here, I genuinely feel that it’s time to move and start new things – like my academic career! And maybe even a new, but related, research project. I already have plans for book number two, and it better not take so damn long!!

I’ll conclude with my very favorite Emily Dickenson poem:


I’m nobody! Who are you?
Are you nobody, too?
Then there’s a pair of us–don’t tell!
They’d banish us, you know.

How dreary to be somebody!
How public, like a frog
To tell your name the livelong day
To an admiring bog!

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Occupy, Social Awareness

Occupy Apple

01.14.12 | Permalink | 1 Comment

I had this other post in the works about telling stories and some developments on my academic front, but that is now on the sidelines until I have another chunk of time to finish it. What is urgent right now is information about the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and the Senate’s sister bill, Protect IP Act (PIPA).

PROTECT IP / SOPA Breaks The Internet from Fight for the Future on Vimeo.

Taken from Fight For the Future’s Vimeo page:

“PROTECT-IP is a bill that has been introduced in the Senate and the House and is moving quickly through Congress. It gives the government and corporations the ability to censor the net, in the name of protecting “creativity”. The law would let the government or corporations censor entire sites– they just have to convince a judge that the site is “dedicated to copyright infringement.”

“The government has already wrongly shut down sites without any recourse to the site owner. Under this bill, sharing a video with anything copyrighted in it, or what sites like Youtube and Twitter do, would be considered illegal behavior according to this bill.

“According to the Congressional Budget Office, this bill would cost us $47 million tax dollars a year — that’s for a fix that won’t work, disrupts the internet, stifles innovation, shuts out diverse voices, and censors the internet. This bill is bad for creativity and does not protect your rights.”

Here are some informative links about the act and ways that it affects our lives as internet users:

WordPress: Help Stop SOPA/PIPA

Wiki about SOPA

Fight for the Future letter asking members of Congress to oppose internet censorship.

Apple is one of the major corporations in support of SOPA via their membership with the Business Software Alliance (BSA). Here is a call to protest and boycott Apple:

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Social Awareness

#OWS “Sí se puede.”

11.20.11 | Permalink | 4 Comments

Academic, Ethnomusicology, Events

Phila., PA

11.15.11 | Permalink | 1 Comment

Apparently my online presence is now limited to short facebook chunks of nerdovision. And that’s about it. Seriously. Ask anybody. Check me out on twitter, all I do is repost other shit. LAME.

I’m still writing, it’s just not public right now.

I’m going to Philadelphia! I’m going to just start calling it Phila., PA, with the period and coma, of course. I’m going there! This year’s Society for Ethnomusicology conference is in Phila., PA. You know I get busy online this time of year. I will be tweeting away. Hashtag #SEM2011. I didn’t even have schoolcraft wax this time last year. Woah. Here’s my DDD post about SEM in Los Angeles: DDD SEM 2010.

EDIT: I present Thursday afternoon. My paper is titled “Genre Ownership and Boundary Negotiation in Detroit Electronic Music.”

Moving on: The following was part of my soundtrack this past weekend. Totally relevant because it’s music that I like. I’ve been schooled on it. (schoolcraft wax) And it’s totally influential to Motown music.

Big Mama Thornton “Hound Dog” is the first thing I want you to listen to, my dear readers. I love it. Maureen Mahon, Ph.D. gave the Popular Music Section lecture last year at SEM on this fascinating woman. This is Mahon’s new research project and I’m really excited about it. Mahon wrote Right to Rock, a fantastic book about the Black Rock Coalition and race. Listen to Big Mama Thornton sing “Hound Dog.” Before Elvis. Her voice is amazing. The way she begins the song knocks me down.

Next up, Ruth Brown. She is awesome. Awesome. Look at that tambourine action. I mean what the fuck. How often do you get to see and hear somebody play and sing and move like that. I love it. Yes, I am a scholar. “What the fuck” is a commonly used evaluative phrase in academic circles. It means “shit yes.”

Chuck Berry kills me with this song. Look at his skinny legs stomp. Total shoulder shimmy song and hip hop bounce song.

Sam Cooke.

And Harvey Fuqua, married Gwen Gordy, wrote Motown songs, did other cool stuff.

I love these songs. Enjoy. In my mind, I’m already in Phila., PA.

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