Repeating Ourselves: American Minimal Music as Cultural Practice

By Robert Fink | Go to book overview

INTRODUCTION
The Culture of Repetition

Is a sacrifice necessary? Hurry up with it, because—if we
are still within earshot—the World, by repeating itself, is
dissolving into Noise and Violence.

Jacques Attali, Noise: The Political Economy of Music
(1977
)

I woke up this morning thinking that I might not want to
listen to repetitive music ever again—the endless looping
of images yesterday was enough for me for quite some time.

Message posted to the microsound e-list on
September 12, 2001

It is late on a Friday night in the industrial consumer society at the turn of the twenty-first century. The culture of repetition is in full swing.

In a converted warehouse near the urban core, hundreds of dancers are moving in rhythm to highly repetitive electronic music; many of them are under the influence of controlled substances, most notably 3,4methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA), known to them as E, X, or Ecstasy. The DJ, who has been building erotic tension for 45 minutes by carefully interweaving current hard trance with classic disco tracks from the 1970s, pulls a prized 12-inch record from his crate: the 17-minute dance remix of Donna Summer and Giorgio Moroder’s “Love to Love You Baby.” He spins the record to the halfway point and begins to inter-

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