Every Revolution Needs Its Minstrels
May 05, 2001, 16:22 (17 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Michael Hall)
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By Michael Hall, Editor
There are a few things The Unit Geek can do when stationed to a
paratrooping signal unit in Ft. Bragg:
You can hang out with all the other paratroopers, indulging in
the curious mix of sentimentality and Viking physicality they seem
to enjoy. There's nothing quite like watching a room full of people
with buzz cuts and the ever-popular "When it Absolutely, Positively
Has to Be Destroyed Overnight" t-shirts reduced to tears over a
video of the song "Proud to Be an American" that features Patriot
batteries firing in the night and field artillery burning the
distant horizon to the ground.
You can also go hide in your room and work on the unit
I did a little of both, and it was during the time I hid in my
room that I got exposed to my roommate, who had an affinity for
techno music of all sorts.
During the weekdays, a stern sentinel of the American Way, on
Friday and Saturday nights, a baggy-pants wearing rave-boy who
turned our room into a pre-club motivational chamber.
It was courtesy of this gentleman that I was first really
exposed to techno: not as a curiosity in a Pontiac commercial, but
as something experienced in the confines of a concrete-walled, 20'
x 12' blast chamber. He was always polite about holding my Esquivel
discs by the edges when he gave them back to me.
Oddly enough, it started growing on me. What better way to make
the connections you've got to make to back out of a database
structure you've inadvertently spat upon E.F. Codd's memory with
than to have deafening, rhythmic trance music driving you from
connection to connection? My roommate would leave, returning at 4
with phone numbers written all over his forearms.
It was nothing I ever pursued, though. I still have the "Deep
Forest" tape he made for me, which features the sampled ululations
of Pygmies set to drum machines and synthesizers, but I quietly
went back to my Combustible Edison, Esquivel and Big Black (for
So along comes this sampling of Linux-oriented techno which
takes me back to my days at Fort Bragg, huddled in my concrete
barracks room, hunched over a keyboard while my room-mate whips
himself into a pre-club frenzy.
For people who really, really, like techno, there may be some
nits to pick with the execution (a lot of it is reminiscent of
music from the late, lamented demo scene), but it's a pleasant
enough mix of the trance-inducing and motivational. MP3.com will
want you to give up some information about yourself to get at the
music, but if you're looking for a Saturday afternoon "thing to
listen to," these tracks aren't too bad. Pocket reviews from others
are welcome here in the talkbacks.