Florian Meyer aka "Don't DJ" also part of the "Paradon't" and "The Durian Brothers" projects is a DJ and producer based in Berlin known in particular for his polyrhythmic approach to electronic music and his exoticism passion.

In his latter records "Authentic Exoticism" and "Musique Acephale" and on the new Paradon't on his label "DISK" he explores complex rhythms and metric generators and Ableton software such as Collision developing asymmetric rhythmic structures that evolve and get revealed in unpredictable facets.

Florian has been also conferencing at Unsound in Krakow Poland last year on relevant artifacts in exoticism and especially on a German perspective of exoticism. This article's interview happened during my stay in Berlin for the Ableton Loop in November after the festival. It exercises and dwells in exploring doors of music realities and individuality that exist in current times and contexts based on recent history facts and artifacts:

In "Ozeanische Affekte" Thomas Schwartz has been describing aspects of German colonialisms false flag operation through their "affection value", "a place in the sun" and "romanticizing the tropical islands" and the colonies: "using the libidinous effect of romanticizing fantasies in order to expand economically” (F.M.).

"With colonialism raping and shaping the global society for half a millennium, cultural exchange with its flexes and reflexes is something tricky to observe. First of all, there definitely is the phenomenon of a hypocritical interest of cultures other than one's own." (sleeve notes, Don't DJ "Authentic Exoticism" LP)

Biasing authors referenced in Florian's Unsound presentation on "authentic exoticism" are: Thomas Schwarz - a Assistant Professor at Japan's Tokyo "Rikkyo University" and researcher on "The Pacific as a Space of Hybridity and Resistance" - who touches on imperialism and culture of artefacts in his work '"Samoanische Gastfreundschaft" - Zum Narrativ der sexuellen Xenophilie im Pazifik', Victor Segalen - a naval doctor and ethnographer who lived the final years 19th century - with his deep philosophy and comprehension of exoticism and finally David Toop' s - Wire contributor and writer - sensible analysis of music and exoticism in "Exotica" and explorations on improvisation in "Into the Maelstrom: Music, Improvisation and the Dream of Freedom: Before 1970".

Florian's genuine passion for exploring and understanding of rhythm are inspired also by the work of Detlef B Linke on brain studies, patterns and freedom. He explains in earlier interviews that the link between exoticism and rhythm is probably expressed through the observations of Thomas Schwartz: “trance and ecstasy through repetition is one important aspect of exoticism” (Florian Meyer and Thomas Schwartz at the Hybridization Symposium by SEXES). Further exoticism, an immediate effect of imperialism or colonialism throughout the history and the phenomenon motivation is observed and critically reflected by Florian through its many facets on the "Authentic Exoticism" record sleeve essay:

"The urge to exhibit cosmopolitism, where it is considered fashionable; The use of one's own assumption about people and places for the sake of argument; The discovery of an alleged resonance to one's own singularity in a distant culture (because the culture's own peer group apparently isn't able to really appreciate it); The arousal caused by romanticising projection of one's cravings onto the supposedly alien surface; which means in the most cases: The free and wild sexuality of the so-called primitive cultures, which in case of one's own culture got lost somewhere in the process of becoming civilised."

And going further in observing exoticism he refers to the notes of Victor Segalen: it is " not an adaptation of something; it is not the perfect comprehension of something outside one's self that one has managed to embrace fully, but the keen and immediate perception of an eternal incomprehensibility" (Victor Segalen, "Essay on Exoticism: An Aesthetics of Diversity").

Neon Genesis Evangelon builds upon the scenario of elimination of human boundaries and creating an all humanity super-organism materializing the need to connect with other people. 

In "Ozeanische Affekte" Thomas Schwartz has been describing aspects of German colonialisms false flag operation through their "affection value", "a place in the sun" and "romanticizing the tropical islands" and the colonies: "using the libidinous effect of romanticizing fantasies in order to expand economically” (F.M.). The vehicles are "proto fascist racist texts" in "proto-porn foto books" that use a double moral, porn books legitimized by racist text alongside images of "frivolous women of darker skin" in a "togetherness of attraction by females of southern islands", in particular their "presumably frivolous sex life" and the "fear of blood mixing" or more general: hybridity.

A last pop culture artifact Florian makes reference to is “Neon Genesis Evangelion", a Christian-apocalypse inspired anime that explores via fiction and popular means on pantheism, humanity and unity, the "eschaton of the gnosis" as Florian names it, in which it explores the scenario of what would happen if the illusion of separation of all individual minds would disappear. The anime series explores on avatars, symbols and father-son relationship to build upon the scenario of elimination of human boundaries and create an all humanity super-organism materializing the need to connect with other people. Despite the unity, connectivity and happiness, the hero chooses individuality and sorrow over the hyperconnected super-organism.

Through the example of "Evangelion" Florian explores on relationship, unity and exoticism.

Don't DJ Berlin Interview - Transcript

IM: Your last record is on Berceuse Heroique which is a french label. Is it an independent small label? I believe I saw some of your stuff released at Honest Jon's Records which is a major one in London.

Don't DJ: No. I never released on Honest Jon's although they always do the distribution for DISK records which i’m co-running.
The guy who runs Berceuse Heroique lives in London, he's actually greek, but he lives in London and he works in Honest John's. So that's also the distribution for Berceuse Heroique. It is an underground label, mostly dedicated to I would say techno music.

IM: What would you mean by underground. I mean it gets odd to actually say underground, it is like speaking about "world" music?

Don't DJ: It's a good question. When I use the term I just mean it's not so big. That means they press like 500 records and also they don't have any distribution that that expects like 10 records a year or something like that. They press whenever they want and do whenever they got stuff. I think that's what I mean. It's not so predictable and it's on small scale. I think that's all there is to underground these days.

IM: Nice one. There's this thing that you spoke about before and it is related to your composition way. What is the thing with the Euclidian sequencer and randomness generator. How do you use it in your work, is it more highlighted in front or is it used more like in the hidden layers when you produce the sounds? Or most of your sounds are really engineered using this sequencer type?

Don't DJ: What do you mean when you say 'sounds'. It's mostly about rhythm if you talk Euclidean.

IM: No I'm talking about the actual sounds that you control through it. By this I mean do you use the MIDI's to control sounds that you push more to the front, or which are pretty much in the back and giving some sort of texture of the track sort of to say the feeling or style of the track?

Don't DJ: I'm really working mostly rhythm based and sometimes I have the feeling that it misses - like one guy once said in some review - soaring endowment. If I feel like it needs some soaring endowment I go to the turntable and produce some drones of different pitch or something. All the other stuff is actually rhythm and most of the rhythms are based on geometry stuff or Euclidian patterns. So is that in front?

IM: It is front definitely. Is kind of the main thing, the main control of your track really.

Don't DJ: It's kind of the main thing - definitely! It's my main interest. When I produce I am mainly interested into finding rhythms that work for me for really long time without getting me tired, without getting me bored.
If I go out dancing I'm always happy if I don't get tired by the rhythm. Interesting rhythm kind of keeps me awake. I mean some rhythms do work because they are very simple and very straight forward but most of the time that gets me bored and if there's something which seems to work which does get it round or does get a groove in there yet I can't exactly put my finger on how it really works - that keeps my mind really busy and I love that about rhythm. So what I try to do is produce some rhythm that I'm like really into and then I sort of display it in its facets, that's all that is to my tracks is really. There's not so much musical genius involved I would say it's just finding some rhythm which I really like and then showing how is built. That's all, building it up and tearing it down again.

IM: That's pretty awesome.

IM: Your techno feels really African, the rhythms: the sounds that you chose or you created or tweaked feel like the textures of the African drums, the complexity of the rhythms. Is there a connection to world sort to speak music, I don't know how to reference it, say traditional music or music that existed before electronic music took over and rock'n'roll.

Don't DJ: I guess that's a good way to put it. Yeah. The referencing is always a problem in our days and I think it is good that it's becoming a problem nowadays and You don't just say African without feeling a little bit strange about it, because the African musical heritage is extremely rich and there are other very complex musical traditions which are hard to rival like the Indian one or like the South-East Asian gamelan stuff, that is also hyper-complex and I wouldn't want to say which part of the world is really more complex in terms of rhythmic structures. Besides - i don't really care, it's all about the rhythms, listening them, let ‘em work.
I don't try to mimic them, though I'm definitely influenced by some of these because they fascinate me. But I would not dare to set out and try to do something like that because I know it involves such a huge time of learning: people who do that professionally have often been training since childhood and I haven't.

What I do is utilize the computer and these algorithms and I just let them run, let them come up with something and if I'm not interested I toss it and say "Yeah, next please" and if I get interested I say "Okay, let's stick to this" and then we add complexity, then I just mess around with it. That's really all there is to that. It's more like an trial and error approach I’m having.

IM:  Obviously you subconsciously have all these rhythms or all these sounds that you're looking after in you. At some stage you may have been listening some of the, sorry for the tagging but it's world music stuff, diverse music that comes from any corner of the globe. Did you used to do this frequently at a certain time in your life? I know I did and thus encountered some collections which are really awesome such as the ones Yazoo Records did like the "The Secret Museum of Mankind" and then nowadays there some other labels such as Souljazz and so on. How is your listening experience relate to this?

Don't DJ: Also a very good question and I don't think I can really answer it in the end because it’s hard to say if culture is priming us and we did listen to that stuff at some point or if all the cultures kind of draw from the same source whatever that may be. It could as well be the body.

For example if you look at the functioning of the brain it also functions in rhythms and our hole biology is based on different rhythms. There has been good explanations for the 4 to the floor system. First people were saying "Yeah is probably the hart”, because the speed common in electronic dance music is a bit around the hart rate or similar to hart rate and it is true that the first thing you hear is your mothers pulse, probably also your own and her breath - but that doesn't explain the two snares on the two and the four of the four to the floor - but what does is that our legs are not the same and if we walk we produce at least a 1-2, 1-2 rhythm and 1-2-3-4 is just a little bit of complexity added to it.

IM: I have to be more careful at my walking sounds.

Don't DJ: Yes because we are not completely symmetrical so our walking is already a rhythm it's not a completely static thing - also it reflects the properties of the floor you are walking on.

I am especially serious about this when it comes to the functioning of the brain. I once discovered - actually not discovered but just learned - about functioning of the brain that the neurones are firing in different rhythms. So i thought: "ah ok but how about if they would all fire at the same rhythm, maybe the most minimal one like just a pulse: 1-1-1-1.. would we feel ..for example whole - cause we mostly don't; would we experience some kind of one-ness? like a satori? are these special moments in some persons biography related to the fact that the brain is in a certain state (and that means a certain rhythm)?". And then I learned it is completely opposite: if all the cells, all the neurones are firing at the same rhythm this phenomenon actually exists, it is called epileptic shock and that is precisely when nothing is working at all!

But that in turn means that we need this poly-rhythmic oscillation of our neurones activation in order to work properly as a brain! And there are some people like Detlef B Linke who wrote "Die Freiheit und das Gehirn: Eine neurophilosophische Ethik" - he's dead by now and I also came across him by chance, it's funny that the book is standing right here now just in arm length - he says that the brain is always in need of a harmonic state between the different rhythms, that there are always different rhythms of activation-circulation and what we always seek to find is some equilibrium or a harmonic state in the relations of all those different rhythms. And for me that already relates to my music experience so much better than most theories about music i came across.

That would explain a lot, I haven't heard of anyone really looking into that but it would actually explain why we are so into music, why music has such a big tradition and why music seems to prove relatively independent from individual cultures. It's hard to say what actually is the use of music. I mean yes there have been people saying "it brings people together" or it "strengthens identity" or stuff like that. But that's all very tough to prove and highly contingent. Yet it bares some evidence that the mathematic ratios of harmonic frequencies and rhythms could relate to basic properties of the organization of the matter our neural network is composed of.

IM: It's going to so many directions. I was telling yesterday to some friends that there is club music and there is performance music. And they said "No, You should see in Berlin that is used in all sorts of ways". And I said "But yes, although essentially is consume and auto-consume which is clubbing and so on and there is how you said a sort of equilibrium which comes from finding the right moment in the performance where by your hole being is having this experience energised by the performance, by the music. Now this obviously can happen in communities or can happen purely alone. It is a certain way of consume and most of the things that we do have an input and an output or outcome and it's some sort of a resonance.

Don't DJ: I think also is about resonance - exactly! Coming back to your initial question for a second: Is it kind of subconsciously that I - you asked in my direction - can relate to these rhythms? And then am not saying "Yes it is like that" but it certainly poses a possibility that with music we are actually having something that corresponds with the material workings and functioning of the brain on a very very basic level. And resonance could actually be the key!

IM: There's two things that come from here obviously: one of the components that you brought was symmetry and the other component was unity. There would be a third component the exercised skill, you mentioned the amount of time needed to play Indian music the likes of Indian drums or African, Gamelean in Indonesia or music from South-America.
You're living in Berlin. You're an Electronic music producer. You mentioned some similarities in resonance and rhythms that are not necessarily yours. How would you imagine yourself as someone that lives in another culture? For example if you would be living in some region of Africa, an ex German West Africa colony.

Don't DJ: That narrows it down. That would be South-West or Namibia. Today it's called Namibia.

IM: How would you imagine yourself going through this exercise of this avatar character of yours in terms of cultural means, musical means? Living in Namibia.
Don't DJ: I cannot really imagine. There is no symmetry between the global North or what is called the West or the free world (*giggles) and the global South.

IM: The meaning of the exercise is actually to get into that cultural exchange that you were mentioning in your talk and the fact that there is a basis in economics. You could also speculate as it is an interesting way to perceive both of the change components.

Don't DJ: I feel that it would be totally arrogant for me to assume I could put myself in the position of knowing how a person that grew up in whatever part of the global South because I didn't. I was born in Berlin, I'm white, I'm male, I live in the so-called West and I've been raised here. I'm deeply in these structures that permit me to release records and stuff like that. In Namibia I would probably not even be able to play a record. Or I would maybe because they had a record industry like until the 90s until the majors stopped producing records there but now record players are hard to find. Some people from Paris I was told a few days ago, go there and dig up very rare records and sell them for huge prices in Europe to people who can afford it and there's people who actually make a living on this. With this kind of power structure that has been put into place throughout the last thousand years and especially since 500 years ago I cannot dare to assume a kind of a mirror game.

IM: Fair enough. But through this exercise you actually mentioned one of the components that are part of the exchange in music and may be part of this "cultural imperialism" that you were speaking about: digging records and this is about information really. There is also the case of people going in ex colonies recording amazing voices for a small amount of money. I've seen this recently in a documentary about some Israel dub producers going to Jamaica. All this raises an insight of the amazing production power that comes from the West. I've experienced this personally in India coming from a small country in Europe while I was earning per day the average monthly salary of a normal Indian person. It was a cultural shock really on how much power does West have. The exercise wanted to point on the infrastructure created by the classical empires (e.g. like psychedelic punk stories in "Psych Funk Sa-Re-Ga" or at "Psych Funk 101" sleeve stories): French, English, German..
Don't DJ: Belgian…

IM: How do you see the fluxes of musical information exchange here?
Obviously at Unsound we spoke about this and the discussion remained at a stage where we conceptualized the possibility of the total being, a total state of consciousness, we spoke about individualities. You mentioned symmetry or asymmetry, the differences and differences in our rhythms that make our individualities leading to our daily actions, and further living the culture.
How do you see in music that we can identify the fluxes of information exchange be it fair exchange or abusive exchange, or a grey interpretation area?

Don't DJ: I only mentioned symmetry to reject it. I said I would feel presumptuous to say I could symmetrically meet myself to the other side of the world. I cannot. In that case we're talking asymmetry. Coming back ..

IM: Isn't the same concept maybe? Difference can be made only through comparison. Symmetry and asymmetry are two components that don't exist one without the other.

Don't DJ: That's true. Maybe the example of the guys from Paris going to some places in Africa, digging records, is not such a bad example if I got your question right. Because it has for me two aspects: one is they definitely are using a certain power structure that is in place which enables them, because they have the knowledge and the means of distribution, this enables them to go there, they can pay the plane tickets to go there, they have the knowledge where to search for records, they have the knowledge which records will sell and where to sell them for huge prices. They will take advantage of a certain asymmetry that is in place that enables them to buy a record very cheap somewhere in

Africa and sell it somewhere in Europe for a huge huge price and a huge difference.
There is some exploitation involved in this you could say. You have the person in Africa owning the record and it is sold in Europe and the money made within this process is only made by the person that uses this structure in place. The benefactor is not a person from Africa it is a person from Europe.

Yet that is only one aspect of this phenomenon. The other aspect for me is: the person from Africa had the record laying around for at least the last 20-25 years and it was getting dusty. Maybe they were about to throw it out the next day because they didn't know anything to do with it. There's not even turntables around anymore. It might even be the last existing copy of this record and the masters lost. So in this scenario the person who now used this asymmetry to make some money might have saved the record from extinction might have brought it back into culture..

IM: Back to life archiving it.

Don't DJ: Exactly, archiving it. ..brought it back into the culture of humankind. Maybe the guy who buys it will put it on the Internet a few weeks later and then it's kind of saved. While otherwise it would be like lost.

So there are these two aspects to this. I don't say this to justify anything and I am not saying the other thing to demonize it, I just say it is a really complex phenomenon we're dealing with nowadays and we're not outside history! We're living in a certain history and this history is namely colonialism and we have to account for that. But that doesn't mean either. It doesn't mean everything is bad about it and it doesn't mean everything is fair. It is really hard to make statements in that kind of area.

I personally don't trust cultures just handing down identities. It is not a good idea to just hope for the culture to deliver you a nice identity. It's maybe easy for me to say that because like I said being white, male, western it is more easy to reject your identity because if you're from the Global South black and female the identities you get provided by nowadays global culture are mostly on the looser side compare to the white, male, western. On the other side some people out here may also reject the winner side for the white male western.

So that is a very complex phenomenon and some people are in desperate need for some identity because it comforts them through the tough times of the day or the life and culture can provide that. But I don't think this is what gets us moving on. Everyone would do well in re-thinking her or his identity, the more often the better and try to come up with new ones.

IM: Here's another one less hard, maybe more interesting. Let's do it this cultural exchange somewhere in Berlin. Is the same city but different histories. We had a wall. There was a West Berlin, there was an East Berlin. Living in Ku'damm is pretty different from living in Friederichsain. How would you see the musical differences between East Berlin and West Berlin and the cultural exchange within the city?

It is still segregated, someone said and is pretty odd way to describe it that West Berlin is pretty "white" and East Berlin is not that "white".

Don't DJ: I think that one of the biggest problems is people not accounting for complexity and that is exactly the problem in that case. Take the Eastern side of Berlin namely Prenzlauer Berg it was the cheapest neighborhood in the 90s and has become a wealthy young professional neighborhood where many of my friends cannot afford the rents anymore and are moving out. You have this area in West Berlin: Kreuzberg or Neukölln where the rents are also rising but which still have huge communities of Arabic or Turkish descent which also show their cultural identities in the streets. The east was the poorest neighbourhood in the early 90s but went on to become unaffordable in just a few years whereas the already established clientele in the poorer western districts - like Keuzberg and Neuköln significantly slowed down this process.

IM: How do you see this in music? You are obviously speaking about a hybridization. How do you see this musically happening? Can you possibly see any patterns of musical exchange based on area, between areas maybe?

Don't DJ:  Within Berlin I really don't know because I don't know so much about the real Eastern music culture. All that I've been aware of is that East kind of looked towards a West more than the other way round and they had some kind of state sanctioned pop culture which was some of the most boring stuff. I mean I'm now talking of East Germany notEastern Europe in general. There is more exciting stuff going on if you go further in East because they were also drawing influences from the South. But that's again only what I know.

What I also know is that there was a small punk movement. But it was really small. It seems comparable to provincial West-German cities. They got books written about that but not about the provincial West-German cities which might have been more interesting but not as sexy because it was normal for German provincial cities to have punk movements, but it was not normal for Eastern Germany because it was maybe more dangerous for the individual. But I'm really not an expert on East-West Berlin.

IM: Researching the subject of cultural imperialism in music I saw many examples where by the Western music was heavily influencing the Eastern music: the instruments, the rhythm, the genders, the timbre. By West I mean really the classical empires and when referring to East I mean actually colonies. Say the British Empire, the States and Jamaica. The evolution of music in Jamaica is related to rock'n'roll inheritance. Other examples are Thai surf rock ( Sound of Siam from Soundway Records for example is a good sample) or psychedelic Indian music as a reminiscence from British Empire leaving India to a certain extent because obviously economical infrastructures remained.

What's your view on how classical empires influence weaker economies and maybe weaker cultures of the colonies or ex-colonies? What do you think that the colonies get from the so called West and what could be the influences really? And how these cultures give it back to the West?

The question is in the same paradigm that you drew at Unsound on the cultural exchange. There's different aspects to this: at instrument level because maybe say the is a question of money and people don't afford a certain drum machine or a certain instrument, a piano or guitar, or just a drum. There's many examples of videos on the Internet with people manufacturing their drums. Another aspect is the rhythm in itself.

One really exploratory simulation case is the film music in India. Hollywood influenced a lot of the music and film culture in India however obviously filtered through the local cultures.

Don't DJ: These are different examples and I think judging as a hole this reveals a tragically destructive and simplifying aspect of the Western imperialism. This history is mostly written in blood but musically is not blood but oblivion. For example in terms of rhythms and sounds from strange instruments or something that just got lost. Yet some of the examples you named are very interesting especially Jamaica. I am again not an expert on this really!! For example I don't know really where is the heritage line or how to draw the heritage lines. It's always lines: I mean how many of the ancestors of people living in Jamaica came from the area? how many were forced to live there and brought from Africa by slavery culture? who came for different reasons?

Then it's the music culture that developed, especially reggae, dancehall and dub. It definitely had Western influences namely in terms of technology (production, distribution, and so on) but that also caused a huge "reflux":  I mean the hole club culture as far as I know it seems a kind of Jamaican phenomenon! I thought: the meeting in a club scenario and going dancing all night and building huge sound systems where you would have a proper bass and stuff is now a part of a culture that is swashing the hole world and that might have formed in Jamaica..?
I think the dance-hall prototype is what later became the club. It's hyper-complex stuff and we should not cut short on those. And it is mainly up to certain different powers colliding at one point in time and space and clashing in the right way to kind of explode from there. In this view maybe the rivers of people forced there from Africa, together with the forced new situation they would be brought in, plus new technology emerging, plus maybe certain drugs, certain traditions.. all that forming a culturally explosive mixture that went "bang" and we can still listen the echo in long dub-delays. It was just the right time and space to create something new and then there was also the people and means in place to push it outwards again - like a record industry which was at a point it wasn't before.

IM: Studio One and so on.

Don't DJ: Yes and Virgin forming Frontline to access new markets. Maybe you wouldn't have done this with wax ('cause in Jamaica it was too hot?) but with vinyl it was possible. It could blow up in this way.

Now we are still feeling the resonances of this kind of explosion. So I would say that is mostly up to chance that certain powers kind of meet and intertwine somewhere and there's always some kind of tension involved in order for this to blow up and spark a new development in cultural production.

 

IM: There is obviously an inheritance from old African rhythms. Actually this is even sampled on some of the records: "it began in Africa".
It is about the new mystique of nowadays and where is the religion happening. Do you think that spirituality is happening now, is it in the club perhaps? Is it happening somewhere else? Is this only in the West but maybe in the other countries is happening in the old conservatory ways..

Don't DJ: In churches.

IM: How do you see the story of music and spirituality nowadays?

Don't DJ: That's a really good question. It is kind of for me personally the next step from what we were talking about and it's also an even more complex one. It is really hard to say where we are at that point: what is spirituality, what was it through history in its different forms, how was it used or abused, how did it change its face? Could Christianity still be considered a thing of spirituality or did it just transform into an institution and a power structure? How are these intertwined? What is the need for spirituality? These are now really important questions.

All I know is that we have left (“we” as maybe now Western prone global youth culture), we have left this kind of as a blind spot. Some people went into it and gone kind of nuts with it by this I mean the psychedelic trance scene. But that is also for a reason:  because they were going for the right drugs. All I know is I think that after people grew weary of the Christian God and threw him over board they did not know what to make of spirituality as such. Because before it was the domain of the Christian church so now it was left to them. Now this bears a new need, at least a need to look into the phenomenon as such and look after our needs: what was this, what was spirituality? Why did we come up with it? What is it good for?

There have been culture techniques in place for this - like the elaborate ones in India - which we didn't value much in the Western culture yet in the last fifty years - after a bit ofdeprivation from christian spirituality - people head over heels got back into this kind of stuff.

IM: Like Yoga and so on.

Don't DJ: There certainly is something that's kind of obvious to many people. Yet we don't know how to approach it because we lost our culture of dealing with this kind of stuff when we threw over board the Christian God - which was, in my opinion, a good and necessary step.

But now we have to like find our own ways to go into that direction or to experience in that direction or maybe find new techniques.

And the means are in place because we now have the Internet, we have a market in place namely the Dark Net that provides us with all the formally sacret substances that were in the hands of mankind ever and they are now at your fingertips. There is obviously a need to look into this realm of our existence like now and we are still very much at the beginning.

IM:  At Unsound you finished your talk with an image from this movie related to AI..

Don't DJ: Ex Machina.

IM: Nowadays a philosophical current is trans-humanism which essentially means altering our bodies willingly with the goal of amplifying ourselves. How do you think that the cultures will evolve considering this, information and musical information? What would you see that are the prospects of the next cultural exchange in music?

Are the new technologies really amplifying or music can loose its nature or naturalness if one exists and how they would be shaping music say in the next 10 years?

Don't DJ: There are also two aspects to it. One is now we see a lot of experimentation with all the new technologies in place. There's very much exciting stuff going on in terms of concepts yet it is very often disappointing in terms of result in my opinion. Also if you look into what's actually happening it often seems quite arbitrary or random. I would say that there is a sonification problem. It was a big thing like a few years ago. Now that we produce huge amounts of data, you can take the data and make somehow music with it. The person who would do the music would realise that just what comes out is kind of whatever strange and then will try to "sonificate" another way, try it another way and another way and then something comes up that kinda sounds more "culturally acceptable" and can be published as contemporary music. But it does not tell you much about the data you gathered in the first place - it might even tell you more about the musical culture it is targeted for. I mean this could be a huge process that is in place maybe just to randomly try and seek...

As I said something will come out of it either way and maybe you take something from it yet compared to, (and coming back to) the Indian tabla masters or similar it is always disappointing! I mean I listen to tabla or gamelan music and I'm simply blown away and maybe even touch the realm of the spiritual and here we're already at a completely different level.

Yet I do see that the development is quite fast. The whole field is very promising: Computers and machines come with new ways to excite us and they come up with more and more complex algorithms and now we start to leave the production of algorithms to the machines themselves. Especially in terms of neural networks which kind of do something that we don't understand cause we left them to figure it out themselves: we just gave them input and said "no we want different output", "different output", "different output" and then suddenly they come up with some specific output and we're like "Oh! wow, how did you do that?". Plus they are operating at an entirely different speed!

So there is a lot to expect - we just don't know when it's gonna happen. I mean there is this point we touched after the discussion at Unsound: we were talking about the singularity which actually has different meanings in different sciences. In Computer Science the singularity is the moment when we as humans produce an intelligence or a form of intelligence that is more intelligent than us. - Whatever "intelligence" means in the end - this is just a thought experiment. - Anyway operating at computer speed that means that this artificial intelligence can in turn very fast produce an intelligence that is more intelligent than itself and so on and so on. Then at computer speed this means that you suddenly have an intelligence that is way more intelligent than humans are. This is just a thought experiment but it could prove very valid. It would be a very sudden acceleration in computer intelligence whatever that may mean and it could mean that there is different prospects to it. I mean we already left control over wast parts of our infrastructure to computers: For example parts of the stock exchange, the electricity and water distribution and so on. So the occurrence of the singularity could mean that this machine or this intelligence would take control and deliver peace or get rid of humankind or whatever, it could mean that there may be exciting stuff or not so exciting (*laughs) it depends.

However, music could be a very good field of experimentation because is not as biased as other fields. It's a very free field. When we deal with music our associations are quite free for example compared to the visual field. Maybe in the future the interaction between humans and machines will be musical, that would be a nice possibility and not so far fetched if you consider how good googles wavenet seem to understand music..

IM: Analog or digital?
Don't DJ: In the end maybe analog because I also see the future of computer in analog like for example parallel processing systems that run on quantum technology. I also don't really care cause as long as you get enough speed you can go digital and simulate the analog.

 

References:

"Exotica: Fabricated Soundscapes in a Real World", David Toop

"Essay on Exoticism: An Aesthetics of Diversity", Victor Segalen

"Die Freiheit und das Gehirn: Eine neurophilosophische Ethik", Linke Detlef B

"Authentic Exoticism", sleeve notes, Florian Meyer

https://soundcloud.com/dont-dj-1

http://dontdj.tumblr.com/

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