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The story that inspired us

Lara Lee has turned her focus to the world of the digital underground after her previous film investigated the brave new worlds of artificial creation. PARK CITY, Utah (KSL) – Luigi Russolo, an Italian Futurist, advocated for a musical revolution with the publishing of "The Art of Noises" in 1913. "We must conquer the infinite variety of noise-sounds by breaking out of this narrow circle of sounds," he wrote. Russolo would be enthralled by the evolution of electronic music over the last three decades.

  • Karlheinz Stockhausen
  • Brian Eno
  • Afrika Bambaataa

among others, have exploited cutting-edge technologies to map new aural regions. Modulations, a new documentary by Lara Lee (creator of Synthetic Pleasures) that opened this week at the Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah, looks at their work. Modulations travels through 1970s disco, Kraftwerk's all-synth music, and the development of house music, using Russolo's writings and John Cage's sounds as starting points, presenting a case for electronic music as a key 20th century art form. The role of electronic music in young culture has received a lot of attention. The popularity of electronica may be seen in footage from packed parties and clubs in New York City, London, Osaka, and Berlin (where the annual Love Parade attracts 1.5 million visitors).

Techno, acid house, and rave are just a few of the genres

The Roland TB-303 bass line synthesizer was popular in acid house. Ibiza, a small Balearic Island off the coast of Spain, was a hotbed of house music in the mid-1980s. The ethos of the music emerging from Ibiza at the time was the Balearic sound; a blend of vintage vinyl rock, pop, reggae, and disco songs paired with a "anything goes" mentality made Ibiza a hotbed of drug-induced musical experimentation.

The scene was centered around a club named Amnesia, whose regular DJ was Alfredo Fiorito Balearic house. Amnesia became well-known throughout Europe, and by the mid-to-late 1980s, it had attracted visitors from all corners of the continent. House music had become Europe's most popular style of club music by 1988, with acid house becoming a prominent trend in the United Kingdom and Germany the same year.

Some more historical background

According to Mark Moore, a British DJ, "Because most people despised house music and it was all rare groove and hip hop," I'd clear the floor at the Mudd Club by playing 'Strings of Life'".

In the United Kingdom, a thriving warehouse party scene centered on the British African-Caribbean sound system scene supported underground dance music after-parties.

Underground Britain

The Dance Sound of Detroit in 1988, the term "techno" became popular.

Danny Rampling and Paul Oakenfold founded Shoom and Spectrum, respectively, in 1988, bringing the Balearic party style associated with Ibiza's DJ Alfredo to London.

Shoom and Spectrum

The founders of the Balearic party style

Both areas became associated with acid house, and MDMA rose to prominence as a party drug during this time. Back to Basics in Leeds, Sheffield's Leadmill and Music Factory, and Manchester's The Haçienda, where Mike Pickering and Graeme Park's Nude location was a crucial proving ground for American underground.

Party drug

Providing ground for American underground