the CCRU are influenced by the theory-driven leading edge of music journalism. One of their associate members is Kodwo Eshun, contributor to iD and The Wire, and author of the More Brilliant Than The Sun: Adventures In Sonic Fiction (Quartet), a study of Afro-futurist music from Sun Ra to 4 Hero. Eshun describes himself and the CCRU as "concept-engineers". "Most theory contextualises, historicizes and cautions; the concept-engineer uses theory to speculate, excite and ignite," Eshun proclaims. Like a DJ/producer, the concept-engineer is "a sample-finder", free to suspend belief in the ultimate truth-value of a theory and simply use the bits that work (in the spirit of Deleuze & Guattari's offering up of A Thousand Plateaus as tool-kit rather than gospel).

"Concept-engineer" is a good tag for the outerzone of "independent researchers" to which CCRU is connected. Renegade autodidacts like Howard Slater, a Deleuze-freak whose techno-zine break/flow brilliantly analyses rave culture in terms of "surges of intensity" and "impulsional exchanges". And like Matthew Fuller, a media theorist/activist with a background in anarchist politics and links to the hacker underground. Fuller's CV of cultural dissidence includes flypostering, a non-Internet bulletin board called Fast Breeder, the scabrous freesheet Underground, and a series of anarcho-seminars dedicated to the praxis of media terrorism. Fuller also put out the anthology Unnatural: Techno-Theory For A Contaminated Culture, which included Plant/Land's "Cyberpositive"... A true concept-engineer, he believes in ransacking theory texts for task-specific ideas. "I mix up different linguistic registers and narrative strategies so that the text writhes in the hands of the reader. In that respect, there's a lot more to be learned from fiction than theory." Here Fuller chimes in with Sadie Plant, whose Writing On Drugs includes a fictional component, and who hopes her future books will become "pure fiction".