Electronic dance music

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


This chapter addresses an assemblage of spiritual technologies implicit to ‘electronic dance music’ (EDM) movements, with a specific focus on psytrance, in which the author has extensive field experience. It explores technologies of the senses – spiritechnics – that are harnessed to optimize liminal conditions within EDM cultures, an exploration that assists understanding of ‘trance’ as it is identified within these cultures. In the optimal dance event-centred cultures of EDM (e.g. raves, clubs, festivals), with the assistance of an assemblage of sensory technologies, DJs, sound engineers, visual artists, event enablers and dance floor inhabitants themselves typically collaborate in the dissolution of normative modes of consciousness. The phrase ‘technoshaman’ is often deployed by commentators in efforts to draw favourable comparison with universal shamanic ritual practice. But while EDM producers can and do act as intentional agents for transformational – e.g. therapeutic – outcomes, assemblages appear more commonly committed to the cause of liminality itself. As discussed in this chapter, EDM productions are often devised not so much to orchestrate the transformation-of-being and status that is the common objective of rites of passage and shamanism, but a superliminal state of being in transit – an experimental field of experience optimized by technicians and event-habitués with the aid of an assemblage of sensory technologies....
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Bloomsbury Handbook of Religion and Popular Music
EditorsChristopher Partridge, Marcus Moberg
PublisherBloomsbury Academic
Number of pages8
ISBN (Electronic)9781350286986, 9781350286993
ISBN (Print)9781350286979
Publication statusPublished - 13 Jul 2023

Publication series

NameBloomsbury Handbooks

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