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  • Bougaïeff, Nicolas (2013) An Approach to Composition Based on a Minimal Techno Case Study. Doctoral thesis, University of Huddersfield.


    This dissertation examines key issues relating to minimal techno, a sub-genre of electronic dance music (EDM) that emerged in the early 1990s. These key issues are the aesthetics, composition, performance, and technology of minimal techno, as well as the economics of EDM production. The study aims to answer the following question. What is the musical and social significance of minimal techno production and performance?

    The study is conducted in two parts. The history of minimal music is traced from Satie in the 1890s to Plastikman in the 1990s, a central contribution to minimal techno. Plastikman is a stage name for the subject of the first part, a case study of minimal techno artist Richie Hawtin. A chapter on Liine, a company I founded with partners including Richie Hawtin, describes the performance software we developed for his 2010-2011 Plastikman Live tour. A chapter on minimal techno performance methods examines the structure of the Ableton Live set created for Plastikman Live. A theory chapter, based on Jacques Attali’s Bruits (2001), studies the relationship between technology, money, power and techno music production on both an individual and
    collective scale. The second part provides a detailed commentary on music I composed during the project in response to the theoretical issues raised. A final chapter discusses the overall thesis, and draws conclusions.

    Minimal techno, as it is practiced through Liine software, the Plastikman Live show, or through my own productions, is revealed to be a deeply improvisatory form of music. The relationship between body, mind and sound emerges as one of the major themes. Minimal techno production and performance can be seen as a reflection of the profoundly changing relationship between man and digital technology.

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