Mark Leckey’s famous 1999 video work, “Fiorucci Made Me Hardcore”, is an associative sprawl of found footage and sound samples that spans over three decades of British subculture from northern soul through 80s casuals to early 90s rave. Described by Boomkat sublabel The Death of Rave, who released the soundtrack of the video as a record in its own rights in 2012, as “an abstracted obituary to the rituals, passions, and utopian ideals of pre-internet, working class nightlife fantasias”, “Fiorucci Made Me Hardcore” marks the point of departure for the festival’s four-part “Rave Undead” audio and visual performance series, an investigation into 90s rave culture and its current re-appropriation that is also complemented by “The Death of Rave“ talks and panels within the Discourse series.
For “Rave Undead I”, Theo Burt of The Automatics Group takes festivalgoers through his own unique way of de- and re-constructing early 90s rave culture. Burt’s “Remixes” project uses simple automated processes to analyse, dissect, and reorder existing Eurotrance and rave anthems. These processes are oblivious to the hierarchical musical structures and functional patterns of build and climax within the original tracks. While much of the original content is destroyed in the “new” tracks, surprisingly audible microstructures remain, lending a strange familiarity to these “remakes”. Tracks in the project include Ian Van Dahl’s “Castles in the Sky”, which is divided into 3100 pieces of equal duration and reassembled in order of detected pitch (ascending), and Eric Prydz’s “Call on Me (Retarded Funk Mix)" divided into 3823 pieces of equal duration and reordered so that each piece is followed by the piece most similar to it from those remaining.
Joining Burt is multidisciplinary artist and composer Lorenzo Senni, who performs in support of his recent QuantumJelly LP, a record deeply influenced by his love of 90s trance/hard-trance music and interest in the musical structures and sound archetypes of these genres. Similar to other artists currently re-discovering the signatures of rave, Senni reverts the intentions and the irresistibly activating design of the originals. Corrupting the mechanics of the obligatory "build-up" found in original tracks of the era, Senni forges these once so deadly functional synth lines into spirals of repetitive and percussive arpeggiated melodies. The result is a non-uplifting music that implicitly preserves the piercing tension and drama of rave.
Theo Burt (b.1979, Falmouth, UK) works with computer sound and image. He makes extensive use of automatic systems, setting up tensions between the intelligibility of processes and the intuitive experiencing of their results.
Artist Mark Leckey won the Turner prize with his exhibition, Industrial Light & Magic, but is best loved for his eldritch collage of UK nightlife, entitled “Fiorucci Made Me Hardcore". Currently a member of the band, JackTooJack, Leckey was also a professor of film studies in Frankfurt.
Lorenzo Senni is a Milan-based composer and multidisciplinary artist devoted to investigating and abstracting the mechanisms of dance music. His releases deconstruct the sounds of trance, hardstyle, hard-trance 1990s rave culture. He heads the experimental music label Presto!?. Senni’s latest EP, Persona, appeared this past November on Warp.