“The rave legacy no longer lives on, the corpse of rave bears no resemblance to those heady days in the late eighties and early nineties.”
V/Vm – The Death of Rave
Since V/VM's nineteen hour “The Death of Rave” project marked a nails-in-the coffin moment to the foregone UK-rave scene, as well as Burial's symbolic post-rave comedown and, more recently, Lee Gamble's dissection of old jungle tapes, a collective subliminal interest in excavating the sonic architecture of this period seems particularly rife. From the ebullient dissent of the outdoor hardcore and acid house raves, through the period post-1994's Criminal Justice Act which harboured darker variants of jungle, darkside, and drum'n'bass, the sonic potentialities which unfolded themselves then have undeniably flowed strongly in the bloodline of UK music ever since. Using the “then” and “now” as points of flight, a complex social and musical ecology emerges in which, over a period of more than twenty years, musical aesthetic as well as substantial socio-economic, materialistic, and structural changes have become apparent. Drawing on debates on the “hardcore continuum” and “hauntology” as detailed by Simon Reynolds and Mark Fisher among others, The Death Of Rave focuses on the sonic cycle of death and rebirth, using the notion of "The Golden Age" to reflect on the past, present, and future of music.
The accelerated vectors activated by rave and philosophy in the mid-1990s can be no-better represented than in the work of the CCRU (Cybernetic Cultural Research Unit). Although official word maintained, "CCRU does not, has not, and will never exist," the work of Nick Land, Sadie Plant, and their graduate students at University of Warwick, which covered the nexus of theory, fiction, cyberculture, technology, and rave, continues to resonate strongly today. The sonic “conceptual apparatus” of jungle, which informed their thought, and the extreme intellectual productivity of the CCRU, invites examination as more than mere coincidence.
Alex Williams is a theorist working on hegemony and complexity in politics. He is the co-author of Folk Politics, to be published by Zero Books in 2013, and is working on a PhD in political theory at the University of East London.
Former pirate radio DJ, computer musician, member of CYRK.
Lisa Blanning is a former editor at The Wire magazine in London, where she spent six years on staff, filed four cover stories and manned the Critical Beats column. She is newly arrived in Berlin, where she will be senior editor of Electronic Beats' web magazine.
Hyperdub label boss Kode 9 (Steve Goodman) has had a defining influence on UK bass music.
Mark Fischer is a writer, blogger (k-punk), lecturer, author of “Capitalist Realism”.