[1] BRING the NOIZE again

The Second International Workshop NOIZE promotes the theoretical and empirical exploration of contemporary electronic music and its subgenres, as well as its material and symbolic universe. In the last two decades, artistic and cultural production has been influenced by social, professional, artistic, economic and technological changes, while many actors have been responsible for reconfiguring these areas around the world - and without exception, in Portugal. This reconfiguration begins right from the DJs, along with other musicians, producers, promoters and editors and their new ways of producing, presenting, disseminating and incorporating music, extending also to the specific spaces and contexts of music consumption, such as nightclubs, parties, after parties and festivals, which have decisively reconfigured the artistic, cultural and entertainment practices of this contemporary and post-digital society.

Regardless of the associated mediatism, the scientific visibility of the universe of electronic music is still small, given its dimension and social implications. There is a whole set of characteristics that have been settling around EDM and experimental electronics in an attempt to embody, delimit and legitimately conceptualize these contemporary musical productions.

Although the obsession with technology is not unique to electronic music, but also present in the field of rock and others, the first genre tends to define itself as machine music, especially evident in techno and created in the reverence given to synthesizers and modulators. Making a difference from more conventional ways of making and looking at music and musicality, electronic music explores processes in which musical construction is more important than the performances themselves and where textures prevail more than notes.

In fact, here we have the clearest and strongest inspiration for NOIZE: the work developed by Simon Reynolds in his book Bring the Noise first published in 2007. Speaking of electronic music is also to speak of an eminently physical music, in which the centrality assumed by rhythm constantly challenges the body and its psycho-motor reflexes: you’re so physical.

Electronic music appeals and stimulates the mind and intellectual dimension in a very particular way, not in the sense of activating an interpretive mechanism - as with rock where music is seen as storytelling - but rather stimulating understanding of the complexity that music contains, namely from its rhythmic aspect, its textures and spatial depth. In general, is attributed to eletronic music a certain empty and superficial characters, especially from those who watch it from the outside without being part of it, who tend to see it as a mere escape from reality: One of the most radical aspects of music, then, is the way electronic music suppresses the depth model used in much of the critique (where some art is deep and some is superficial) because all its pleasures are on the surface. Music is a “superfície plana de felicidade sensível” (Reynolds, 2007: 316), the dance music subverts traditional classification hierarchies, revising and rebalancing the very notion of “música superficial ou ligeira e música profunda ou verdadeira”.

In essence, EDM stands as a demonstration against celebrity culture and the cult of stars, even seeking anonymity. In this context, the public performances of Daft Punk and Kraftwerk are paradigmatic, as the two elements of the band are hiden behind robotic artefacts. However, this trend has been undermined by the increasing status of rock stars attributed to DJs and their increasingly dominant role in the hierarchy of the dance music field. In the dance music, “Music genres and scenes take the place of stars and artists and this is the level at which it is most productive to talk about music”.

In the EDMC, a great deal of energy goes into cultural taxonomy: identifying genres and subgenres as species (Reynolds, 2007: 322). In this framework of interaction there is a constant drive for change, a kind of foreshadowing of the future in trend terms. In this context, a profusion of genres and subgenres are associated with electronic music, and the following terms are a prove of it: trip hop, drum’n’bass, downtempo, trance, garage, hardbag, jungle music, IDM (Inteligent Dance Music), modern soul, abstract hip hop, dark roller, funky, space music, drill’n’bass, ambient house, artcore, jazzstep, hypno trance, proto techno, cyber space, Detroit techno, Latin house, tech house, funky breaks, dark jungle, chill in/out, progressive electronic, garage, Chicago house, darkside, acid techno, minimal, tribal, indie dance, Euro house, sexcore, intelligent techno, cyberdelia, ambience, nu house, raggamuffin, new step, logical progression, speed techno, mokum style, earth dnb, twostep, darkcore, jump up, jazzy, full on, chillgressive, psychedelic trance, goa trance, progressive, hardtech, ambient, experimental, post-industrial, abstract, exploratory, deep techno,…