amw (amw) wrote,

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let me school you young'uns

While i am drunk, again, let me tell you a story about how i got to learn about the Kosmik Kommando. When i was a little teenage hacker brat, my mom bought a modem. She bought it so she could dial into her work, and i guess perhaps there was some educational value in having us dial into the internet at home!? I am not entirely sure how it happened, but (of course) i ended up spending a lot more time on BBSes than i did on the internet. Because, you know, BBSes had techno music and people who spoke Dutch. The internet only had a bunch of Americans on newsgroups talking about Nine Inch Nails and Mortal Kombat. (Cc: jenndolari)

Anywho, i got deep into the BBS scene. The first month my mom was shocked because i had been dialing BBSes all over Europe and had racked up a phone bill in the three digits. I pretended i had no idea how it got so high, that perhaps it was just (local) internet dial-up. I started to learn how long i could do a long distance phonecall and not have my mom notice the epic phone bills. I am not sure she ever realized that i hardly used the internet and mostly spent time on BBSes.

One of the BBSes i dialed into was ironically in the town where my mom grew up, albeit the other side of Holland. I made friends with a sysop there, who was an exceptional marketing personality. He was also head of a fairly well-distributed music group. If you know what demo groups there, then music groups were the same, except they only did mods. If you don't know what demo groups or mods are, then imagine an online record label that only shared music with teenagers, run by a teenage A&R person, who amassed a crew of teenage hackers who weren't smart enough to hack like the big boys but could write music better than any of 'em. Yeah, we were the anti-establishment underground punx of techno music who were too young to buy synthesizers but too nerdy to run away from home and steal them.

Some of us became legit electronic music superstars, yanno.

Anyway, most of us just sat around being white, pimply, techno-loving nerds typing messages to each other over the phone lines. I mean, that sounds entirely normal in 2016, but in 1996 (in Europe) i can assure you it was only the nerdiest of the nerds doing this stuff.

The point is. My exposure to this nerdgasm that was the BBS scene, and the demo scene, and the mod (music) scene... it changed everything for me. I was already getting into techno in my personal life - that had started in 1993 when i bought the soundtrack to Dune, the computer game - but through the local BBS scene my tastes developed significantly. My third CD (after the Dune soundtrack and a Deep Purple compilation (hi dad!)) was the deep trance-y eurodance of Captain Hollywood Project, and it got more and more electronic and underground from there. Usenet brought a few international recommendations like NIN and Orbital and all the IDM artists that the English and Aussies raved about, but the European BBS scene gave me happy hardcore and techno and acid and trance that the rest of the world was still years behind on.

Did I mention the first raves I went to were with BBS people? They were durty, durty, underground, ear-bleedingly hardcore acid techno bunker raves that the kids today idolize.

One day, the aforementioned mom-town sysop sent me a CD in the mail. Because back then we freely published our home addresses all over usenet, FTP and the BBS networks. It was a tight-knit community of nerds. We trusted one another. The CD was Kosmik Kommando - Freaquenseize. He said that he didn't really like it - he was more of a happy hardcore fan - and that i, having established my name as an acid musician, would probably appreciate it more. I did. I really did. I mean, it's a double CD, and there are a lot of awful tracks on there. In one of my "purge the world" moments i sold it. But i bought it back very quickly, because i realized how important certain songs were. Quondam. Photogenic. Milieu. Lost Horizon. Those very melodic and musical takes on acid music had a massive impact on how i wrote my music, for years and years afterwards. And now they are some of my most favorite tunes of all time.

And what was the trigger? My mom bringing home a 28k8 modem from work? Listening to Scooter - Move Your Ass on MTV and realizing i needed to find out what that synthesizer was? The Dutch mod scene of the mid-90s? The usenet mod scene where i met a handful of other friends, one of whom i still have today? The specific sysop who sent me that fateful album? Something much earlier in the 80s that perhaps trained my brain to love synthesizers über alles? Tadao Kikumoto, who created the synthesizer that speaks to my soul? Mike Dred for being a god of acid line programming? I don't know. All i know is that i am thankful for this aligning of the stars, for this perfect sequence of events that caused me to realize just how beautiful the x0x series is, how sexy subtractive synthesis sounds and how much i love, love, love the TB-303.
Tags: i am durnk, looking back, making music, music, teh internets

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