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letter to the editors: spool member corrects the record
(march 6th, 1997)

First of all, let me thank you for your encouraging review of the february Toneburst at Mass Art (appearing on the Boston Low-End Theory website). it's great to see support and coverage of the event, particularly considering how little coverage Toneburst has gotten in boston and how much work has been put into it.

as a "founding member" :-] of spool, however, i have to take issue with your characterization of the live electronics room as an "ambient room" where "beatless technicians" were "diffusing chill atmospherics and synthetic acoustic washes". the first hour of our combined set with embryo consisted entirely of tracks with beats - in particular i'd draw your attention to embryo's jungle rendition of bob marley's "war" which was chock-full of the same amen breaks you could hear across the hall, and portions of spool's set which consisted _only_ of distorted beats - though there really were beats (by any description) throughout the hour. we took a short break later on for a few "ambient washes," but the second hour contained an extended live dub-inflected track with distorted beats and another largely beat-driven track - in short, there were many beats to be found in our sets, which were certainly not limited to "atmospherics." in addition, i managed to see quite a few people moving around on the dance floor in the "ambient room" during our sets.

i'm letting you know this not because i want to be some sort of obnoxious nit-picker, but rather because i've found that too often electronica scenes and events seem to be divided between dj-driven sections which "have beats" and are for dancing, and "live electronics" which is for spacing out and listening to, and couldn't move anyone to dance. this division is and should be considered incorrect and unnecessary - one of the goals of our work as spool and embryo has been to move people not unlike a stereotypical dj, only with even more control over particular elements of our tracks than a dj might have (or at least a different type of control) due to the equipment we're using. my point is just that when someone comes to an event like toneburst, it would be nice if he or she didn't feel like the room with the turntables is for dancing and the room with the wacky keyboards is the chill room. this works both ways too - djs aren't and shouldn't be limited to providing danceable music. the nyc illbient/soundlab scene has helped to blur this division and i would hope that toneburst could as well.

i have a feeling you might have caught bionaut's set (1-3) instead of ours (which was 11-1) - it was noticeably beatless and sounded much like your description. if you'd like to hear more of spool/embryo i'd encourage you to check out our sets at the next toneburst and at the middle east on tuesday march 18th, which should be full of beats and hopefully might inspire some people to dance, though you can't ever be sure if you don't have two turntables and a mixer ;-]..........

thanks for your consideration and above all, thanks again for the review. i was surprised and happy to see it on the web and fully appreciate your efforts to help publicize the currently tiny boston electronica scene. i'm sending you this email only in the hope that i might clarify the nature of our portion of the event and clear up some of the misconceptions that can exist even within such a tiny scene. i'm fully aware that most media coverage of electronica, both the music and scenes, isn't even worth responding to because clearing up the misconceptions could take a very long time - in light of this fact, your form of coverage is _definitely_ much appreciated.

thanks again,
mike esposito