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“I like things to happen when I go out.” When partygoers recount, plan, remember, imagine, idealize, and nostalgically recall a night out partying, they often articulate a desire for something to happen, a yearning for moments of intensity and rupture that make a night out feel special. This chapter investigates how “rough” experience forms a part of nightlife cultures, as well as how partygoers manage its pains and pleasures. A dualism emerges between smooth flow and rough thrills, one that can be found not only in interviews with partygoers but also in the music reviews, recordings, and popular discourses on the minimal-house-techno spectrum. In contrast to psychoanalytic theories of ecstatic self-shattering and radical transformation (such as jouissance and limit-experience), partygoers seeking rough experiences strive for the more modest pleasures of “coming undone”: stretching, unspooling, and snapping back together again.

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