FUCK THE SHOCK AND AWE featuring STACEY PULLEN with KENNY GLASGOW, ADDY, DJ GRYPHON and BONSPIEL (live) at Klinik (360 Adelaide, back entrance), Saturday (May 10). $15 before 1 am, $20 after, $12 advance. STACEY PULLEN with ADDY and colette at the Comfort Zone (480 Spadina), Sunday (May 11). $20. 416-763-9139.
Highly rated Detroit techno producer and DJ Stacey Pullen is excited to be involved in Fuck The Shock And Awe, an anti-war party raising money for the Toronto Committee Against Sanctions and War in Iraq. The techno culture isn't really known for its politics, but the past few months have seen a few pro-peace parties in Toronto. This particular one may be happening after the official war has ended, but organizers should still be lauded. While the scene's often accused of vapidity and selfish hedonism, you can be sure lots of partiers want to show their anti-globalizing stripes.
"I'm a strong believer in people expressing themselves and trying to make a difference," Pullen explains from his Detroit home.
One reason dance music for the most part stays away from issues is that it's primarily instrumental. That gives it a certain abstract quality and a cultural neutrality, letting it take on new forms wherever it sprouts seeds.
"That's the evolution of music. People take the influences from where they are and put that in their music. It's created this global dance scene that you have to recognize now. The fact that emotions can be put in music without vocals has taken the world by storm. That's what our music does - you sit back and project your own thoughts onto it."
Techno's grounding in the modernist ideals of progress and original thought and its fascination with the unfamiliar have made it a form that references itself more than any other music. People might draw comparisons between some of Pullen's work and the feel of jazz, but musically only very tenuous lines connect them. Pullen explains that his work is often inspired by ideas about music rather than by music itself.
"When I recorded Today Is The Future You Were Promised Yesterday, I was really into reading a lot of books and biographies on old jazz musicians. With electronic music, where you don't have to have a band, you can take inspiration from things other than music. My first album was influenced by a movie I saw about African culture and music. My inspiration right now is travelling, going to different clubs, seeing what different people like. Basically, my inspiration right now is the dance floor."