Pittsburgh Scene Report July 1993

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Pittsburgh Scene Report

written by Deadly Buda of Turbo Zen

(July 1993) (USA)

I’m beginning to wonder about this word “scene”. When I hear the word “scene” in a social context (like, say, a large gathering of people) it brings to mind a bunch of people dressed alike and their mostly contrived patterns of social interaction. When I think about the word “scene” in a larger context, I think about visions- horizons, skylines, rivers, playgrounds, schools, highways, actions taking place within settings.

Pittsburgh is a fairly scenic place. three rivers, lots of cool bridges and highways, and hills so you can look all around you. The skyline is pleasant and there’ are many trees all over town. It is very inexpensive to live here and for the artistically inclined, lots of raw materials to work with. As far as raw rave potential goes, this town is sweet. Because the city is divided by many hills, each it’s own distinct community, the populace has an overall rural mentality House music was never big in Pittsburgh. Led Zeppelin is (and probably will be forever). Pink Floyd, Black Sabbath, Steve Miller, Lynrd Skynrd and AC/DC rule the airwaves, generally mystical dreamy rock stuff. Any dance music on the radio is of the sickest most commercial variety.

Here lies an interesting roadblock. The radio programmers monopolize their formats, never changing their rotations. When they do it is for BIG payola (provided by record companies, who have totally lost touch with what is happening musically) “The Electric Slide’ is still in heavy rotation for God’ sake! Because no one hears new songs, record stores can’t sell new music. Most “alternative” record stores in town are successful at selling what WAS alternative 5 years ago. Consequently, the “underground” is just discovering Industrial Music. The punks hate the hippies, the artists complain, shitty bands get booked, no one makes any money at what they want to do blah, blah, blah...

This makes the town a unique challenge for inspired airwave shakers - How do you get new dope sounds pumped out to people who are drummed into submission by the same stupid 100 songs almost 2 hours a day? Or, how do you get bombastically blasting bad-assest beats bounced in the ‘Burgh? It appears as if the strategy of playing “safe” trax like the mostly domestic commercial crud (like some labels I won’t name) because, ‘that’s what the crowd likes’ (says who? - a mistimed advertising campaign that cost thousands of dollars?) is a road to nowhere. Trying to explain this to people is - a road to nowhere also You are just required to constantly reassert the fact that the underground music will always move the crowd to more alarming degrees.

Much as 59 cent facsimiles of hamburgers are designed and produced to maximize profit, so are many facsimiles of something called techno-rave-house-tribal-trance. That is all many of these records do - maximize profit. It is truly disheartening to see d.j.s careers zapped into oblivion by playing this Shit. Another roadblock is that many of the people who say they are “ravers” in Pittsburgh (and many other places) are always attempting to imitate other people and other “scenes’. Rather than looking to harness their own energy and come face to face with their own potential, they subconsciously sabotage themselves by telling themselves the grass is greener elsewhere.

Turbo-Zen was accused of going “commercial” recently. Supposedly. there were too many big-hair chicks and jocks at our last event. Well, I guess this person thinks that intella-beams grow on trees, and that the only people who deserve to be unified in this unity movement are the ones just like him. This person was also espousing the values of “club” techno. Yes-music made for places that people get paid to pretend they are having fun to trick people out of their money Perhaps there is some kind of vitamin deficiency going on here. someone get a 9.000,000 liter recyclable bottle of choline shake shit! Ouick!

Our last rave “Hiqh-Voltage” was designed to bring together a totally mixed crowd, every prevalent style was integrated into a sonic 8 hour wave of ascending and descending BPM’s drawing on as much local talent as possible. Passing out flyers in places untouched by flyers before drawing a really diverse crowd, much of whom were exposed for the first time to the more extreme side of the music. Most people totally dug it! Noticeably absent were ‘the ‘scenesters” Who I guess were at home seperating themselves from the riff -raff. Rumor has it they were jamming to proressive house so that they could be more progressive than everybody else.

Everybody knows that homogenizing fat grooves and re-packaging them for people who truly emulate Crest and Tide advertising aesthetic is progressive. But alas, I’m getting testy here. “Zoom” and “Babylon” have opened and have techno or rave nights. I have to admit, Zoom plays some good trax but no one has been coming. Yet. Babylon plays awful music, and no one comes. People are coming to the Underground Raves.

The mixing styles of D.J.s like Side 2, Finger. +FX. Digital Jesus and myself have been getting wilder and more individual. Personal style on the turntables is tantamount. playing the grooves of the records as if some weird twisted ghost of an ancient blues musician has become trapped inside the mixer. For some reason Pittsburgh has always bred strange D.J.s like Porky Chadwick - this guy from the 50’s who still throws massive sock-hops today + soaks the labels off of his records so other local 50’s jocks can’t find out what he s playing! He’s still breaking “new’ tunes from the 50’s! Pittsburgh has always just secretly loved bizarre offshoots of musical movements and hoarded these vinyl treasures as it they were powerful magic spells.

So, all in all, Pittsburgh is going through interesting growing phases, and I truly think that something very special will blossom from this area. I want to encourage everybody, wherever they are to stay true to what they believe in. Do not listen to what other people say other people said. Cherish your deepest thoughts’ Schmegda-Magnus!

P.S. Does anyone out there know where I can get a copy of *P.S.K. What does it mean?”

Next Issue. Deadly Buda comes back with MORE

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