FreeNRG: Notes From the Edge of the Dance Floor
Edited by Graham St John (Common Ground, Melbourne 2001).
In memory of Colin Hood.
Published in 2001, FreeNRG is a classic collection of frontline communiques on technotribes, contemporary musical practices and events flourishing on the fringes of Australian dance culture throughout the nineties. The anthology's 13 essays were written by specialists of a spectrum of phenomena thriving at the edge of the dance floor.
Edited by Graham St John, the anthology introduced DiY culture, a networked movement committed to voluntarism, ecological sustainability, social justice and human rights. FreeNRG people participate in an economy of mutual-aid and co-operation, are committed to the non-commodification of art and embrace freedoms of experience and expression. Artists and activists, their cultural output combines pleasure and politics. Technicians and esotericists, they pirate technologies in the pursuit of re-enchantment and liberated space.
Foreword by Ken Gelder
Introduction by Graham St John: Techno Inferno
Part I Post Rave Australia
Doof! Australian Post Rave Culture, Graham St John.
Propagating Abominable Knowledge: Tekno Zine Culture, Kathleen Williamson.
Part II Sound Systems and Systems Sound
Sound Systems and Australian DiY Culture: Folk Music for the Dot Com Generation, Enda Murray. Doofstory: Sydney Park to the Desert, Peter Strong
Tuning Technology to Ecology: Labrats Sola Powered Sound System, Monkey Marc and Izzy Brown.
Techno Terra-ism: Feral Systems and Sound Futures, Graham St John.
Part III Techno-Ascension
Mutoid Waste Recycledelia and Earthdream, Robin Cooke.
Psychic Sonics: Tribadelic Dance Trance-formation, Eugene ENRG (DJ Krusty) interviews Ray Castle.
Chaos Engines: Doofs, Psychedelics and Religious Experience, Des Tramacchi.
Directions to the Game: Barrelfull of Monkeys, Rak Razam.
Part IV Reclaiming Space
Practice Random Acts: Reclaiming the Streets of Australia, Susan Luckman.
Carnival at Crown Casino: S11as Party and Protest, Kurt Iveson and Sean Scalmer.
Appropriating the Means of Production: Dance Music Industries and Contested Digital Space, Chris Gibson.
Praise for FreeNRG
"Culture and critique, utopia and hedonism, secret history and public protest: all are dancing between--across--bursting out of!--the pages of FreeNRG." George McKay, Dept of Cultural Studies, University of Central Lancashire.
"Finally, the electronica underground is getting the attention it deserves as a genuine and articulate cultural movement. Extending from the dance floor and into politics, economics, environmentalism and spirituality, the rave movement deserves the multi-dimensional analysis only possible in an anthology like FreeNRG." Douglas Rushkoff, author of Ecstasy Club, Cyberia, Playing the Future, Bull.
"Dance cultures are a fundamentally important area for people working on popular culture from a range of disciplinary locations — cultural studies, media studies, sociology, and popular music studies. FreeNRG is the first local book to analyse and document these practices and their cultural politics.It is written by a group of exciting young writers, well-informed about their subject and in many cases, closely connected with the various industries which make it work. This will be an extremely valuable book, eagerly sought by students and academics working in these disciplinary areas and addressing a major gap in the Australian literature of popular and media cultures." Graeme Turner, Director, Centre for Critical and Cultural Studies, University of Queensland.
"FreeNRG is both a selfless and ... a self-indulgent counter culture, fusing social critique with abandonment and escape (to the dance beat, to pleasure). FreeNRG commentators are emergent public intellectuals, articulate technicians, producers of treatises and manifestos as well as CDs and other electronic paraphernalia. Their work and activity is a source of renewal and hope for a youth so often imagined as "without politics" ... This is a wonderful archive of counter cultural ideas and activities in Australia in recent times." From the Foreword by Ken Gelder, Head, English with Cultural Studies, University of Melbourne