Metropolis (1999)

Metropolis (1999)


First released: 1999 (100 copies)
Second release: 1999 (150 copies)
60 minutes


At the end of a millenium, techno fell into a loop. It replayed itself. Over and over. Cut itself, bled itself. In 1999, techno fell into a loop.

Refrain from repeat.

Stop/start. DJing is the apparition of the flow: of stopping and starting the flow of sound. Techno-turntablism encompasses, alongside the cut, the recombination of silence, echo, noise with speed. To bend the floor with the loop, to disintegrate the mix. Burst/static.

Turntablism is not always of the scratch. Techno-turntablism can be speed. Sample Paul Virilio, speed is the index of war. Soundtrack battleground. But this battle is not 5 minutes of practice: this logistics is 90 minutes of improvisation.

No notation, no score, no preset order of records, no computer edits. Only one visual replay: Fritz Lang’s Metropolis, haunting the mind as the mix unwound and rewound.

One year later, Jeff Mills came out with his soundtrack.

“Polyrhythm” is subject to a catastrophic echo of interests—dance one way, or the other? Right or left? The machines of the metropolis only turn and turn, endless returns. Cut yourself, bleed yourself. Repeat from refrain.

There’s no stopping until burnout. 1999, invert: 666-1.

666-1: the year of the apocalypse—we just mismatched the pitch;


Techniques employed on two turntables and mixer: in-the-mix synchronization; 3/4 beat matchcutting; resonant hum generation; loop disintegration; line noise interference patterning; interruptive cutting; irruptive and blind vinyl selection; absence of resolving fade or mix cut; EQ slicing; volume stripping; mistiming; mix decontextualization; temporal alterations.

Recorded in one take beginning to end.

Metropolis—the city, the structure, the cement, the sound, closes the trilogy begun with Music For Buildings, subtracted in Claustrophobia.

tobias c. van Veen
March 2004


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