The conversation around dance music often takes a vaguely mystical tone, but Chris Liebing has drawn much clearer parallels between techno and one particular spiritual practice. In a recent interview, the German DJ and producer likened the genre to the Zen school of Buddhism.
During a conversation with Mixmag, Liebing discussed how the musical aesthetic of techno lends itself to a mindlessness similar to what Zen Buddhists try to achieve through meditation. He explained:
The more commercial type of music basically wants to distract your mind on the dancefloor. I believe that techno is more there to lose your mind. You don’t want to entertain or distract your mind like you do with watching a movie or watching television, you want to totally get rid of your mind, like, completely stop thinking [and] just be in that present moment . . . It’s not supposed to get you somewhere, it’s supposed to get you lost in that moment and there is something Zen about it.
As perceptive as Liebing’s analogy is, it bears mentioning that it applies more directly to minimal techno than the full spectrum of styles under the techno umbrella. What is often referred to as “first wave Detroit techno” incorporates a great deal more melody than contemporary iterations of the style, whose largely percussive arrangements call for for more negative sonic space.
Chris Liebing will wrap up the North American leg of his summer tour with performances at EDC Las Vegas tonight, June 16th, and tomorrow, June 17th at Sound Nightclub in Los Angeles.