cover of assembling a black counter culture

Assembling a Black Counter Culture is a general history of techno and adjacent electronic music with a focus on Black experiences in industrialized labor systems, and explores the development of on-the-ground culture in relation to a unique American art form.

Revisiting Detroit’s techno roots through the 1980s, writer and musician DeForrest Brown, Jr. follows the extended thinking and techniques behind key early players and places them in conversation with the African American working class in the historically emblematic Motor City. From The Belleville Three to today’s international club floor, Assembling a Black Counter Culture illuminates the mechanics of American mainstream cultural production and reinstates electronic music from a Black theoretical perspective.

A critical reconsideration emerges with references to Theodore Roszak’s Making of a Counter Culture, writings by African-American autoworker and political activist James Boggs, and the “techno rebels” of Alvin Toffler’s Third Wave, among others, tracing parallels between movements in Black electronic music and attempts to evade and subvert the race and class-essentialist status quo established by American technocratic distribution of labor and capital.