IASPM International Conferences - Proceedings, Situating Popular Musics

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(Dis)placing musical memory: Trailing the acid in electronic dance music
Hillegonda C Rietveld

Last modified: 2013-01-22


The acid, a museme, is the unstable element in acid house. It is arguably both the spiritual and hedonistic apex of psychedelic music, enabling a shift in perception. In electronic dance music, the journey of the acid museme seems to have developed from Phuture’s “Acid tracks” during the mid-1980s in Chicago club the Muzic Box. The new sound of acid house, as well as acid’s implicit reference to the psychedelic drug LSD, inspired a moral panic in the UK during the late 1980s. By the early 1990s, acid house further influenced the development of trance music in Germany and elsewhere. Yet, a similar musical figure can be recognised in earlier electronic acid rock experiments of Tangerine Dream. The discussion first maps out the development of this museme by placing key-moments geographically. However, this paper concludes that musical memory seems to operate rhizomically, in a deterritorialised (displaced) manner.

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