Close to 30 years on, Stakker’s ‘Eurotechno’ remains 26 minutes of pure sensory overload…
Approaching its 30th birthday next year, Eurotechno, a 26-minute video by art collective Stakker, is arguably the most intense audio visual experience ever committed to the Laserdisc format (remember that..?).
Stakker was comprised of video artists Colin Scott and Mark McLean (alongside sometime collaborator Marek Pytel), who met at Sheffield Hallam University in the mid-80s.
The duo would go on to create several visual art pieces for MTV and various recording artists – their biggest ‘hit’, Stakker Humanoid, was recorded alongside Brian Dougans of Future Sound of London, and released in 1988.
But Eurotechno, which would follow a year later (again with Dougans on board as producer), was Stakker’s most ambitious work, combining proto acid beats with mind-altering computer graphics and cut up TV snippets – a style fantastically described as ‘brutal confrontational’ by author Philip Hayward in Culture, Technology and Creativity in the Late Twentieth Century.
As Hayward explains, Stakker’s Eurotechno ‘took the brutal confrontational approach to a high extreme, with strobe-like rapid editing produced by the duo generating basic shapes and patterns on a Fairlight 6000 computer, and subsequently doing more complex visual mixes and processing on Encore or Mirage video effect computer systems’.
Just a year or two on from Max Headroom, this was a step into the unknown both sonically and visually, and would set the tone for rave visuals well into the 1990s.
It also provided a benchmark for other AV artists such as Hexstatic and the aforementioned FSOL, to explore the merging of audio, video and technology.
In 1995, Stakker would go on to produce the evocative Westworld, a Koyaanisqatsi-style compilation of clips showcasing man’s inhumanity to man, which featured music by Aphex Twin.
Eurotechno, meanwhile, would be re-released on Aphex Twin’s Rephlex label in 2003.