Technodeleuze and Mille Plateaux. Achim Szepanski’s Interview (1994-1996)

Achim Szepanski has been one of the “heroes” of the ‘90s thanks to the creation and the visionary promotion of his Mille Plateaux (1994-2004), the famous record label based in Frankfurt. Due to his peculiar philosophical theory applied to the digital culture, Szepanski has totally changed the electronic music panorama from top to bottom. His talent to choose an unusual and original direction and to give a radical cut to his discographic productions testified by the many labels he created (Force Inc., Mille Plateaux, Riot Beats, etc), has been widely recognized by the whole music stage and critics. In the present we introduce two interviews done in the magic moment of the European mass explosion of the electronic music that coincided with the high quality level of Szepanski’s radical proposal. The first one Making Sound Streams Quake, conducted by the German philosopher Katja Diefenbach, was inserted in the anthological book Techno edited by Philipp Anz and Patrick Walder (Verlag Ricco Bilder, 1995), the second, conducted by the English journalist and music critic Simon Reynolds, was published with the title Low End Theory on the April issue of the English music magazine The Wire   in 1996.
 Why a «hero»? Achim Szepanski has proved a «heroic» pioneering ability to translate and apply Deleuze and Guattari’s philosophical theories to the first musical and cultural wave of the electronic revolution of the 90s, bending and folding the rhizospheric concepts to the core of the new sonic esperanto. In such way he has created a subversive pragmatics of musical productions, aware listenings and social alternative dancing practices in differentiated contests as raves. Not only «electronic politics» but a philosophy of sound which turned into a guerrilla against the aural mainstream. Through his mutinous audio-activism Szepanski has built a war-sonic machine that enables him to be inserted together with Nietzsche and Deleuze in the present series of books about an accelerated archeology of the «strong of the future». Such sonic-war machine has supported in a chaotic and amusing way Italian oblique underground experiences like Kom Fut Manifesto, Red’ko, Maffia Illicit Music Club and other entities able to raise the sound and the experimentation from the dance floor to a real political and artistic operation subtracting it from the «steel cage» of entertainment. To close the circle of the historical references and contaminations, we would like to remind that Low End Theory by Simon Reynolds was translated for the first time in Italian by the philosopher Massimiliano Guareschi for Ultratomato   maga-zine (n° 13/2002) – the house organ  of Maffia Illicit Music Club – in the Technodeleuze dossier.
The first reason for Szepanski’s importance is connected to the movement towards the outside of Deleuzian philosophy – a fitted abstract rostrum thought that hooks electro and cybernetics. In the ‘90s in fact it was necessary to connect such mo-vement to more urgent and popular requests of the electronic scene, building a short circuit between «inside» and «outside» of Deleuzian philosophy and maintaining a high level of artistic and philosophical proposal. The second reason is linked to the revolutionary intensity expressed by Mille Plateaux. Szepanski’s and Mille Plateaux artists’ work has made the Deleuzian-Guattarian rhizospheric accelerationist theories real in a  very peculiar way: testing in the heat of the night and in the schizophrenic stamina of the dancefloor the quality and the intensity of the revolutionary link among very heterogeneous elements. Hence we are here dealing with an «outside» – a native intensity – that violently enters an «inside» – an unexpected Return – of the Deleuzian thought: a populated noisy chaos jumping into a silent plane of immanence, framed by the philosopher. The concept of Deleuze’s musical thought – his refrain – won’t be the same after Szepanski’s intervention, due to the destruction made by his explosive electronic grimace to the araldic Mille Plateaux music offer which ranges from the classic intellectual avantgarde from Schumann to Berg, to Cage and Stockhausen.

The revolutionary link evoked in Anti-Oedipus  becomes for Szepanski an unexpected positive feedback which continuously absorbs input and output and subverts the wall between the entertainment and knowledge industry. The pragmatics built by Szepanski’s Mille Plateaux have become one of the moments – the most discordant, strident and noble – of the «machinic stratagem» which, once set free from the book page chain, avoids the bridles of the overall interpretation of the rising digital epoque.

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