Public Knowledge: Assembling a Black Counter Culture

A two-part podcast series that reappraises the origins of techno music and its subsequent migration from North America to Europe.

Techno at the End of the Future
Episode 1: London

Arriving 6 pm, 22 September (BST)

This podcast will be led by DeForrest Brown Jr, author of Assembling a Black Counter Culture, in conversation with Steve Goodman (aka Kode9 and founder of Hyperdub) and Nkisi (co-founder of NON Worldwide). Collectively they will discuss the migration of techno music from North America to Europe with an initial focus on the situated contexts of the dance music scene in London and across the U.K. during the early 1990s. With reference to techno’s spiritual and technological origins, evolution, and relationship with the Hardcore Continuum movement.

Techno at the End of the Future – Episode 1: London was produced by Zakia Sewell

Techno at the End of the Future
Episode 2: Berlin

Arriving 6 pm, 29 September (BST)

Episode 2 will focus on past, present and future of the Detroit-Berlin axis. By means of an interview collage, writer and Make Techno Black Again activist DeForrest Brown, Jr., Lerato Khathi aka Lakuti (founder of Uzuri Recordings and the Bring Down the Walls initiative), Boris Dolinski (resident DJ at Berghain) and Mark Ernestus (musician and founder of the Hard Wax record store) explore how the rapid growth of techno and club culture in Germany after 1989 relates to the music’s origins in the Black neighbourhoods of the post-industrialised city of Detroit.

Techno at the End of the Future – Episode 2: Berlin was produced by Julia Vorkefeld, script and concept by Arno Raffeiner

Organised in collaboration with HKW and Primary Information.

Artwork © Abu Qadim Haqq


Biographies

DeForrest Brown, Jr. is an Alabama-born, Ex-American rhythmanalyst, writer and representative of the Make Techno Black Again campaign. He produces digital audio and extended media as Speaker Music. His work explores the links between the Black experience in industrialized labour systems and Black innovation in electronic music. He has lectured at Spotify for Artists: Co.Lab, Brown University, Yale University, and has written for Artforum, NPR, Mixmag, and Afropunk. He is currently teaching a studio course titled (alt) reality at Parsons School of Design | The New School with Jazsalyn Nachelle of black beyond. He was also the inaugural Suzanne Fiol Curatorial Fellow at Issue Project Room, and a resident at the Rauschenberg Residency. On Juneteenth of 2020, he released the album Black Nationalist Sonic Weaponry on Planet Mu, and Primary Information will publish his first book Assembling a Black Counter-Culture in 2021.

Kode9 aka Steve Goodman is a DJ/Producer, artist and writer. He set up the record label Hyperdub in 2004, and in 2019 the sub label Flatlines to focus on audio essays and sonic fiction. From 2017, he co-curated Hyperdub’s monthly event series Ø. His book ‘Sonic Warfare’ was published on MIT Press in 2010 and with AUDINT he co-edited the book Unsound: Undead for Urbanomic Press in 2019. He has produced numerous installations, and his sound designs have also been presented as part of the Hyundai commission at the Tate Modern (2018) and the Barbican AI: More than Human in London (2019).  He has recorded 3 albums, 2 with the late vocalist The Spaceape; Memories of Future (2006) and Black Sun (2010), and a solo album, Nothing (2015). He has compiled 4 DJ mix compilations, Dubstep Allstars vol.3 (Tempa 2006), DJ Kicks (K7 2011) and Rinse 22 (Rinse 2013), and in 2018, Fabric 100 with Burial. In addition to his record label Hyperdub, he has also released tracks on Aphex Twin’s Rephlex label, Soul Jazz and Rinse and remixed Mr. Fingers, Lee Scratch Perry, the Junior Boys, Battles and Dabrye/MF Doom among others.

Nkisi produces intense, powerful sonics influenced by Ancient Kongo rhythms, rhythmic noise, and experimental improvisation. The creative musician and visual artist is one of the co-founders of NON Worldwide, a collective of experimental artists from Africa and across the African diaspora. She recently launched her label INITIATION and research platform The Secret Institute, exploring the secrets and mysteries of vibrational rhythm and strategies of Trance. Nkisi works and lives in London and Berlin.

Lerato Khathi a.k.a. Lakuti is a DJ and label owner born in Johannesburg, South Africa, living in Berlin. In the late 90s, Khathi relocated to London where she co-founded the Süd Electronic label and her own Uzuri Recordings, accompanied by a booking and management agency in order to mainly nurture Black artists in an industry that sees limited opportunity for them. Residing in Berlin since 2014, Khathi has launched Bring Down the Walls, a community-based project aiming at giving more context to club culture and spotlight the Black and LGBTIQ communities that have birthed it.

Mark Ernestus is a musician and producer from Berlin, Germany. In 1989, he founded the Hard Wax record store, which soon became a hotbed for Berlin’s burgeoning electronic club music scene. Ernestus played a key role in establishing the Berlin-Detroit nexus, and started creating music as one half of Basic Channel and later on as Rhythm & Sound. In the mid-90s, Basic Channel set up Dubplates & Mastering as Berlin’s first mastering and vinyl cutting studio specialized in club music. In 2011, Ernestus began working with some of Senegal’s top percussionists and formed the group Mark Ernestus’ Ndagga Rhythm Force.

Boris Dolinski is a DJ and record collector from Berlin, Germany. In the mid-80s, he moved to New York to absorb the unique spirit of the seminal club Paradise Garage weekend after weekend. A good four years later, he returned to Berlin shortly after the wall had come down and started working at Hard Wax record store. There, he was instrumental in establishing direct connections to independent, artist-run record labels in Detroit and other US cities. Dolinksi was a resident DJ at the first incarnation of Panorama Bar and continues to DJ regularly at Berghain club in Berlin.