"From the Concert Hall to the Dance Floor?" Kieran's 2013 honours thesis on the convergent evolution of minimal techno and American minimalist music
I graduated from a Bachelor of Music with first-class honours in 2013, with this thesis "From the Concert Hall to the Dance Floor?: the convergent evolution of minimal techno and American minimalist music". Despite many music critics drawing a line of influence from American minimalism to minimal techno, there has been very little scholarly literature concerning techno and minimal techno in the past, and as such no way to prove or disprove this assumption. However, this paper finds the evidence is strongly in favour of these shared features being a result of convergent evolution—that is, that the two fields developed similar traits independently of each other.
This paper began as a way for me to trace lines of influence from American minimalism to minimal techno in a scholarly way. However, that ended up not being possible. I found that there is no hard evidence to support this often perpetuated "line of influence". Furthermore, I found a large amount of evidence to support that minimal techno creators came up with any similar techniques (and many new and groundbreaking ones) of their own accord.
In many ways, writing this ended up kickstarting my whole musical career as it currently is. It opened my eyes to the false dichotomy of "high" and "low" art in a very visceral way, which is a theme I have since made a career on deconstructing and transcending.
However, it was written seven years ago now. There is no explicit mention of race throughout the paper, which was written largely through the prism of genre, musical techniques and classical musicology. I have since learned that race is a very important part of the discussion. House was invented by queer black people in Chicago. Techno was predominantly invented by black people in Detroit. Jungle was invented by black British communities, which leads to drum’n’bass, dubstep and so much more. Though it is not explicitly mentioned in this paper, by reading between the lines with this information in mind, this paper is a clear example not only of a false dichotomy between "high" and "low" art, but also of racism inherent in the western art music world, and the music industry at large. It's a rebuttal to a frequently perpetuated myth that black people couldn't come up with the same level of musical ingenuity that privileged white men did. Because they did. And it's the reason we have electronic dance music in any form—or jazz, or gospel, or funk...
I sign off in solidarity with black lives, black musicians, and oppressed people of colour around the world, and here in Australia.
Kieran brings in 2020 with a new studio mix from his DJ alter-ego Airport. A journey through hypnotic vocals and deep synth riffs, the 2020 Vision mix features tracks from Jacques Greene, Eli & Fur, Christine and the Queens and more. Have a listen now at mixcloud.com/kieranwelch/airport-2020-vision-mix, and for any booking enquiries head to Kieran's dedicated DJ page.
Today is the last day of the A Missing Moon Fund. If you haven’t joined with us yet, it’s now or never!
Thanks to 38 generous donors, we’re almost half-way to the $5000 target. As it’s not all-or-nothing on ACF, every cent donated will still go directly to the composers, regardless of whether we hit this target. But not hitting the target will mean we won’t be able to pay all five beautiful artists what they deserve. Some of them have incredibly generously offered to go ahead regardless of financial return, which means we’re now at the point where the project will still progress as planned. But every dollar donated from now until the end of the day is another we can pay these incredibly deserving composers. Every little bit counts.
Please join with us now at australianculturalfund.org.au/projects/kieran-welch-a-missing-moon, and support exciting, inclusive post-genre music, and the livelihood of adventurous young music makers.
Thank you from the bottom of our hearts, Anne Leilehua Lanzilotti, Chris Perren, Tilman Robinson, Ailie Robertson, Steph Lâlka and Kieran.
A thrilling classical performance, an enthralling electronic album, a DJ set...
A Missing Moon is all of these and more.
Exploring the spaces in between contemporary viola art music, experimental electronic music, and electronic dance music, A Missing Moon is a gripping and cohesive journey through musical genre and emotion, across new works by Anne Leilehua Lanzilotti, Chris Perren, Ailie Robertson, Tilman Robinson, and LÂLKA. A Missing Moon is a debut album and concert experience like no other: a unique, organic exploration of a post-genre approach to music at every step, combining compositional, production and performance aspects from a kaleidoscope of different musical worlds, then squeezing them through Kieran’s keen curatorial process. But we need your help to make it happen!
Funding the creation of adventurous new works is notoriously difficult in Australia. By donating to the A Missing Moon Australian Cultural Fund, not only will you be joining as an integral part of this unique artistic product, but you will be directly building a rich and diverse community of adventurous music creators. And every donation above $2 is tax deductible!
"Kieran [...] not only delivered a diverse and fascinating program, but throughout every piece demonstrated an artistic conviction that was a joy to witness. The highlight of Kieran’s playing was his expressive and engaging performance of Nico Muhly’s Keep in Touch for viola and electronics. He prefaced it with an explanation of what the work means to him through its celebration of the LGBTQIA+ community – and his interpretation was not only skilful, but beautifully vulnerable [...] Kieran's set was a pleasure to watch."
CutCommon's Lily Bryant was at Kieran's last solo show (supporting we are breathing on their debut Australian tour), and had only rave reviews for his performance. Read the full review at www.cutcommonmag.com/live-review-lily-goes-to-see-we-are-breathing/, and keep an eye on all his upcoming performances here!
A "musical utopia for innovative musicians", the Bang on a Can Summer Festival is regarded as one of the leading contemporary music mentorship programs in the world. Kieran will return for his second year as a fellow this July, where he'll work and perform alongside Grammy and Pulitzer prize-winning composers Steve Reich, David Lang, Julia Wolfe, and internationally acclaimed musicians such as cellist Nick Photinos and pianist Vicky Chow.
For more information on the festival and a daily schedule, head to bangonacan.org/summer_festival.