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You don't need a drop in every track
January 18, 2013 12:45 AM   Subscribe

"Even drum and bass works best when it's a constant, steady assault, those subtle changes that mark one track from the next being the bits that make Bermondsey boys on bail take their shirts off and twist their own jaws into "Z" shapes". Tongue-in-cheek Vice article on the new rave culture in the US
posted by fatfrank (95 comments total) 14 users marked this as a favorite

 
The one thing that's annoyed me about Burner culture -- which otherwise has inspired some truly worthwhile art -- is how much of it is a rehash of the 90s rave scene. That's not to say that eating molly and dancing to anonymous electronica isn't fun. It's more like, "Wow, you just re-created 1993. Congratulations."
posted by Afroblanco at 1:12 AM on January 18, 2013 [4 favorites]


This is kind of weird, because this is at least the fourth wave of rave culture in the US.-- The proto-rave development of house and techno in the 80s, the east coast and west coast rave scenes of the early 90s (think Nasa parties, and Icey down in Orlando), the trance explosion of the very late 90s and early 2000s that first got really mainstream penetration of dance music into the US, and then now the dubstep (and I guess now trap) explosion that's currently cresting. This is not an "Americans not understanding rave" thing, this is a cranky old guy waving his fists at youngsters on his lawn. The 'old-school' ravers in the US feel exactly the same way about the current generation. And when I started going to raves 10 years ago, I heard the same shit about new kids not knowing how to party properly from the old school at the time.
posted by empath at 1:12 AM on January 18, 2013 [9 favorites]


is how much of it is a rehash of the 90s rave scene

Everything they're doing is an attempt to reboot the TAZ. Of course, DJ Worship killed that for good, and more DJ's ain't gonna fix *that* problem, so it's a futile effort. But the lights are pretty...


This is not an "Americans not understanding rave" thing, this is a cranky old guy waving his fists at youngsters on his lawn.


Harumph! And, YES... Get Off My Lawn!
posted by mikelieman at 1:14 AM on January 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


YOU DON'T NEED A DROP IN EVERY TRACK

Ah! So it's called a 'drop'. Wow, I had no idea there was a name for that shitty, annoying thing some djs do where they stop the music or fade out or some shit in order to show off their "mad dj skills" when all you want them to do IS KEEP THE BEATS GOING, FUCK DAMN YOU, THAT IS YOUR ONE JOB, AND YOU ARE REFUSING TO DO IT, JUST KEEP THE GODDAMN BEATS COMING AND QUIT TRYING TO SHOW OFF YOU BASTARD!
posted by Afroblanco at 1:21 AM on January 18, 2013 [2 favorites]


Drops are in the song, it's not the DJ doing it.
posted by empath at 1:23 AM on January 18, 2013 [5 favorites]


IT'S SUPPOSED TO MAKE YOU HAPPY

Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, this isn't nu-metal, guys. Bush is out of the White House, you're on the way to getting all sorts of European liberties, you don't need another Woodstock '99 and no one wants to see a bunch of gurning people getting trampled to death in a circle pit. I know getting pilled up and licking each other's ears doesn't fit in with that whole "rugged induvidualism" thing, but give it a try. The kinship you'll feel with your fellow man will come in handy when you're enjoying that socialist future you're all looking forward to so much.
hahahaha
posted by memebake at 1:30 AM on January 18, 2013


He's really talking about 'breakdowns' not drops, though. And the ridiculously extended breakdowns were a european innovation -- see Faithless - Insomnia for an early example. Usually when a genre makes a jump from small dance clubs to concert halls and stadiums, you see big anthemic breakdowns, builds and drops soon after.
posted by empath at 1:31 AM on January 18, 2013 [5 favorites]


Why is every Vice article so fucking antagonistic? Even when it's on a subject I'm interested in, I find myself forced to close the browser window to stop the anger brewing inside of me.
posted by mannequito at 1:39 AM on January 18, 2013 [4 favorites]


I loved when Skrillex listed his favorite song as Aphex Twin's "Flim" and all his fans got aggravated waiting for the drop:
posted by Greener Backyards at 1:42 AM on January 18, 2013 [4 favorites]


You pop a pill, because it is singular, and you take MDMA because it is a powder, making it plural.

As a linguist, reading this made me feel like a Euro-dude (apparently) does when someone says "pop a Molly".
posted by No-sword at 1:42 AM on January 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


empath : Hah! Yeah, that's exactly what I'm talking about. Man, I hate that shit. Cause it's like you're dancing, the beat is there, you're doing your thing, and then it's like, BAM! pulled out from under you like you're Wiley fucking Coyote walking off a cliff.

Only thing worse is when they're playing a track that uses the "female orgasm moan" sample. I don't know if djs still pull this crap or not, but it was the most awkward thing, especially if you're dancing with a girl. You know, you're there, you're dancing, you're getting your groove on, and then suddenly you hear a woman loudly orgasming over the music. And then you look at the girl you're dancing with and you know that pretty much anything you do at that point is going to be awkward. Why did anyone ever think that was a good idea?
posted by Afroblanco at 1:45 AM on January 18, 2013 [4 favorites]


disbelief at lack of drop
posted by Greener Backyards at 1:49 AM on January 18, 2013 [4 favorites]


Why did anyone ever think that was a good idea?

Ask Lil Louis, he did it first.
posted by empath at 1:55 AM on January 18, 2013 [2 favorites]


Funnay! Forgetting Madonna, because really who cares about zombie Madonna and whatever bandwagon she's trying to drive off the road at the moment, Deadmau5 railing against ecstasy is like Cadillac coming out with a policy paper criticizing the availability of cheap gasoline in the 1970s. I like lots of his stuff, but really? Dude?

Also, psytrance parties can, in fact, be fun. I had my doubts too, but nope, they can be fun. True fact, even though you come to your senses at 4am and realize that the music is fucking awful.

In this country at every dance party there will be a selection of guys who, if they were in the USA, would be "bros." Too much time in the gym, not enough time in elocution class. They consume nothing but beer, dance around in big muscle-bound circles screaming their heads off, and then hit on whatever women are unfortunate enough to be nearby. And there are always people who go to parties looking for a fight, or to do nothing but creep up on women. So it's not as though everyone here "gets it" either.
posted by 1adam12 at 2:22 AM on January 18, 2013


I've been writing an article about the nominees for Best Latin Alternative/Urban at the Grammys. One of the acts who's up for an award is for the most part a pretty decent son jarocho band with dancey production.

I was on board until they started throwing drops randomly into the songs.

Not kidding. They'd have a great groove going and then BAM! a drop.
posted by pxe2000 at 3:31 AM on January 18, 2013


Yes rehashing old culture, or to paraphrase it more positively; Hi, please enjoy my lawn.
posted by vicx at 3:32 AM on January 18, 2013 [3 favorites]


Afroblanco: "Hah! Yeah, that's exactly what I'm talking about. Man, I hate that shit. Cause it's like you're dancing, the beat is there, you're doing your thing, and then it's like, BAM! pulled out from under you like you're Wiley fucking Coyote walking off a cliff."

You're still misunderstanding the drop. It's not where music is pulled out, or the rhythm drops off or anything like that (correctly defined above as a "breakdown") - if a drop is done right, you're Wiley Coyote FLYING OFF THE FUCKING CLIFF!

For a pop-dubstep example (which is hopefully easily accessible to most tastes here) try the drop into the chorus of Ellie Goulding's "Figure 8" - first such drop occurs at 1:03 - if that stops you dancing, it's because you just came...
posted by benzo8 at 3:33 AM on January 18, 2013 [2 favorites]


"Wait for the drop."
posted by grabbingsand at 3:46 AM on January 18, 2013 [5 favorites]


Isn't the whole point of US EDM is that it is, in format, not British/European rave culture or its niche transplant in the 1990s Bay Area? That the format is derived from the hard-rock spectacle—visually and sonically overwhelming, high-tech and equally high impact, like a Michael Bay film in musical form—rather than the communal rave, which didn't have legs in the US mainstream because of either the collective solidarity of the shared MDMA experience in a darkened room being alien to ruggedly individualistic Americans or US drug laws making it hard and/or dangerous to put on raves of any significant size? I.e., when you go to see Skrillex or someone, you're not going to drop pills and commune with fellow ravers on the dance floor but to be entertained with some high-tech shock and awe; you're part of an audience, in a way that people dancing in a Berlin club to a DJ out of sight in a booth aren't. Thus criticising EDM for doing rave culture wrong is somewhat of a category error.
posted by acb at 4:41 AM on January 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


acb, based on what I've seen of his live set videos, if half of the people in the audience at a Skrillex show aren't rolling then my name is Jehoshaphat Twinkletoes.
posted by 1adam12 at 4:48 AM on January 18, 2013 [2 favorites]


I'm 27, but I consider pretty much every form of rave/EDM/dance/techno culture to be some form of invader, an assault on everything I hold dear. I know, intellectually, that DJs are human like me (and I'm channeling the Killers most mocked line: "Are you human or are you dancer?"). Deadmau5 named a track after Cthulhu, after all. But I find the actual music (with a few exceptions) so alienating and disturbing that I'm a bit shocked every time I read MeFites treat electronic and dance music like a normal, sane interest.
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants at 4:54 AM on January 18, 2013 [2 favorites]


In this country at every dance party there will be a selection of guys who, if they were in the USA, would be "bros." Too much time in the gym, not enough time in elocution class. They consume nothing but beer, dance around in big muscle-bound circles screaming their heads off, and then hit on whatever women are unfortunate enough to be nearby. And there are always people who go to parties looking for a fight, or to do nothing but creep up on women. So it's not as though everyone here "gets it" either.

Australians call them 'bogans', and I'm stuck on a train with them on the way home from a festival. There are thousands of them at every festival - as the meme goes, 'Australians are the only people who take steroids to go to a dance festival'. I think the physical nature of the music encourages them.
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants at 5:00 AM on January 18, 2013


acb, can you elaborate on this?

US drug laws making it hard and/or dangerous to put on raves of any significant size
posted by forgetful snow at 5:03 AM on January 18, 2013


The Rave Act.
posted by empath at 5:49 AM on January 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


Eezer Goode, Eezer Goode, he's Ebeneezer Goode.
posted by Damienmce at 6:24 AM on January 18, 2013 [2 favorites]


So basically the drop is just a synthesizer slide downward? Or is it the entire dubstep synth screeching?

Kind of reminds me of 1980s heavy metal bands for whom every fast section had to start with the pick slide up the strings. Then again, when I first heard Skrillex I thought it was basically metal done with synths anyway.
posted by Pyrogenesis at 7:03 AM on January 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


Australians call them 'bogans', and I'm stuck on a train with them on the way home from a festival. There are thousands of them at every festival - as the meme goes, 'Australians are the only people who take steroids to go to a dance festival'. I think the physical nature of the music encourages them.

Before brostep was even a twinkle of the eye of the emo musician who would become Skrillex, Australian bogans adopted hipster electro of the sort favoured by angular haircuts in Shoreditch and turned it into bogan party music, or “fluoro” as it was colloquially known, due to the fluorescent sunglasses/T-shirts worn at such parties. There even was a word for the subculture: “mogans”, or “Modular bogans”.
posted by acb at 7:08 AM on January 18, 2013 [3 favorites]


So basically the drop is just a synthesizer slide downward? Or is it the entire dubstep synth screeching?

From what I understand, the “drop” is the bit where the drums/bass get brutal and mental, i.e., the DJ drops a whole lot of mayhem on the crowd.
posted by acb at 7:09 AM on January 18, 2013


Greener Backyards: "I loved when Skrillex listed his favorite song as Aphex Twin's "Flim" and all his fans got aggravated waiting for the drop: "

Actually, his new EP is quite good. Only one of the three songs has a "drop" in it, and the other two definitely show Aphex Twin's influence on his sound. (On his previous EP, Summit is another departure from his usual style, and also a fun little tune)

It's long been suspected that, beneath all that hair and distorted bass, Skrillex was actually a rather talented producer, DJ, and musician. A number of "respectable" music critics (from Pitchfork, the AV Club, and the like) sheepishly admitted that he was easily among the better performers at SXSW last year. Hopefully he gains the maturity and confidence to continue releasing interesting music that might not necessarily fit the mold of what's playing in clubs or on the charts.

That said, I'm still waiting for the lazyweb to make a "Skrillex Dropping Things" tumblr.
posted by schmod at 7:15 AM on January 18, 2013


Okay.

A brief and easily accessible tutorial on "the drop" ...

This is a video for Taylor Swift's "I Knew You Were Trouble." (Seriously.)

Skip the monologue, as the song starts here.

Here is the bridge.

And here is the drop.

See?
posted by grabbingsand at 7:56 AM on January 18, 2013 [2 favorites]


(And yes, sometimes the most ludicrous example is the easiest to comprehend.)
posted by grabbingsand at 7:58 AM on January 18, 2013


apropos of nothing but a little mean-spirtedness on my part, here is Skrillex (aka "Sonny?!") trying to blow out his birthday candles, but lighting his hair on fire instead.
posted by sparklemotion at 8:03 AM on January 18, 2013


Allright, I get what the drop is now - it is precisely what made me, old metalhead fart going 25+ years, send links to Skrillex's First of the Year to all my friends and getting weird looks in return about my "new... err... "taste"".
posted by Pyrogenesis at 8:12 AM on January 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


I love brostep.
posted by laconic skeuomorph at 8:20 AM on January 18, 2013


This grumpy old man's understanding of american culture seems to come exclusively from watching reruns of Jerry Springer on Channel 5. Now he's all upset about dem young sconies.

In 1996, you could find warehouses full of outrageously decked and candy-plastic bejeweled youth off their faces on quality "rolls" (Molly was not born yet) and acid. Granted it was a bit more underground but it was a huge scene. Uncool places like Pittsburgh and Cleveland had parties almost every weekend. I can remember watching the sun come up over the US Capitol from the patio of BUZZ.

Also, if he has such beef with saxophones then he doesn't get house music.

This ignorant writer needs to stop letting his dog poop in my yard.
posted by mr.ersatz at 8:29 AM on January 18, 2013 [2 favorites]


Why is every Vice article so fucking antagonistic?

'cos it's a Vice article.
posted by Artw at 8:45 AM on January 18, 2013


Why is every Vice article so fucking antagonistic?

'cos it's a Vice article.


The vicethropic principle?
posted by sparklemotion at 8:59 AM on January 18, 2013


tl;dr
go back to england, then.
stay there.
posted by sexyrobot at 9:15 AM on January 18, 2013


Only thing worse is when they're playing a track that uses the "female orgasm moan" sample. I don't know if djs still pull this crap or not, but it was the most awkward thing, especially if you're dancing with a girl.

I will take a song with that sample over one with police sirens any goddamn day.
posted by rifflesby at 9:24 AM on January 18, 2013 [3 favorites]


From the first time I ever heard Skrillex he has sounded like what Aphex Twin would sound like if Richard D. James craved acceptance.
posted by TheRedArmy at 9:32 AM on January 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


In 1996, you could find warehouses full of outrageously decked and candy-plastic bejeweled youth off their faces on quality "rolls" (Molly was not born yet) and acid. Granted it was a bit more underground but it was a huge scene. Uncool places like Pittsburgh and Cleveland had parties almost every weekend. I can remember watching the sun come up over the US Capitol from the patio of BUZZ.

Thought it was still an underground subculture, not mainstream in the way rock shows (and, indeed, “alternative rock” shows) were. To be a raver, you belonged to a select community. Perhaps you were the future, but not yet the present. EDM, however, is a mass-market, mainstream phenomenon, and appears to have achieved this by appealing to a more testosterone-pumped jock/bro/dude demographic.

I imagine it'll cross back over the Atlantic at some point. Here, clubbing is still partly outside of the mainstream, with heritage-styled guitar rock (typically made by bands identified by the last word of their names: the Stones, the Pistols, the Roses, and their skinny-jeaned imitators) being king. At some point there'll undoubtedly be a British Skrillex who out-Oasises Oasis using only a MacBook running Ableton Live and NI Massive, and a lot of soul-searching on the covers of NME and Mojo about whether Heritage Rock is dead, and on the covers of dance-music magazines whether the new sound really is proper dubstep/house/whatever or some ungodly perversion thereof.
posted by acb at 9:54 AM on January 18, 2013


Everything they're doing is an attempt to reboot the TAZ. Of course, DJ Worship killed that for good

I opened another tab and was about to do a search to find out who this DJ Worship was that managed to kill the TAZ. Then I started to type DJ Worship into the box and I was like "oh, yeah, that". Then I got curious about whether anyone had gone so far as to actual use the phrase as their DJ name and I found this and started getting sad and quiet. His DJ name is trademarked, he's apparently a "religious" DJ, and somehow the "have no idols before me" part must have gotten overlooked. Just...man.
posted by nTeleKy at 10:53 AM on January 18, 2013 [3 favorites]


I imagine it'll cross back over the Atlantic at some point. Here, clubbing is still partly outside of the mainstream, with heritage-styled guitar rock (typically made by bands identified by the last word of their names: the Stones, the Pistols, the Roses, and their skinny-jeaned imitators) being king.

I don't think that's an accurate picture of the popularity of various types of music in the UK. I tried to quickly Google club capacities versus gig venue capacities as a rough benchmark (probably not very useful, since most small-to-medium-sized venues serve as both) but didn't turn anything useful up; however, a quick look at the top singles for last year seems to indicate a lot more interest in dance than rock.
posted by Dim Siawns at 11:01 AM on January 18, 2013


grumblecore.
posted by Theta States at 11:10 AM on January 18, 2013


From the first time I ever heard Skrillex he has sounded like what Aphex Twin would sound like if Richard D. James craved acceptance.

Richard D. James craves not these things. Richard D. James craves !!!!!?????????#%*#**#}!!!!
posted by Artw at 11:15 AM on January 18, 2013


Wow, you just re-created 1993. Congratulations.

how is this a problem? Burner parties are great. Raves are great. My nineteen-year-old kid sister goes to raves now. Good for her, and I'm glad people are still making them happen, and not just getting hung up on whether or not the style corresponds to some mythical historic instant.

True fact, even though you come to your senses at 4am and realize that the music is fucking awful.

Nah, that just means the drugs wore off. Time to head for the chill room, find a comfy pile of pillows, borrow your friend's ketamine bullet, and settle in with a box of nitrous.
posted by Mars Saxman at 11:25 AM on January 18, 2013 [3 favorites]


I'm a fairly active house DJ, and I hate the DJ worship crap. I hate big elaborate stages that encourage everyone to just face the DJ.

You're supposed to be dancing; the crowd, the speakers, the music, that's what you ought to be worshipping.

Not the guy playing the music. He or she doesn't matter. What he or she is playing matters.

As to the term "EDM", I find it... very frustrating. The article is dead wrong about one thing- there's plenty of dance music that's not electronic. That's why some of us started using EDM as a blanket term years ago. "Dance Music" is insufficiently precise, "techno" means a particular subset, and not all electronic music is for dancing.

But this trend lately of using is to refer to the skrillex/deadmau5/etc axis of awful is even worse. I assume that it got that way by the huge influx of newbs hearing the term, only knowing about one kind of music, and thinking they knew about it all and therefor the term must apply to that. Or something.

There are still lots of people who Get It. We're just not going to insomniac parties.
posted by flaterik at 11:26 AM on January 18, 2013


I'm 27, but I consider pretty much every form of rave/EDM/dance/techno culture to be some form of invader, an assault on everything I hold dear.

It's older than you are, so that is kind of an odd approach to take.
posted by flaterik at 11:29 AM on January 18, 2013 [2 favorites]


Time to head for the chill room, find a comfy pile of pillows, borrow your friend's ketamine bullet, and settle in with a box of nitrous.

I'll bring the rotating fibre-optic lamp. And a blanket.
posted by Theta States at 11:34 AM on January 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


Burner parties are great.

I wish the music was better though. Every once in a while they remember that house is awesome - witness Lee Burridge's surprising popularity, while being pretty much the deepest motherfucker out there - but most of the time at most events lately it's HOW ELECTRO CAN WE BE TODAY.
posted by flaterik at 11:42 AM on January 18, 2013


It's more like, "Wow, you just re-created 1993. Congratulations.

I just found this on YouTube a couple of days ago. I'd forgotten all about it. (Self link, sorta.)

I will take a song with that sample over one with police sirens any goddamn day.

Get outta here. Can You Party is the best record ever recorded.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 11:43 AM on January 18, 2013


One of the amazing things about the series of tubes is that anyone can watch footage of raves from 24 years ago if they want to recreate them.

Also, regarding breakdowns, there was a time in the early nineties when Sasha was known for playing tracks that were almost completely comprised of breakdowns with a couple of minutes of beats every now and then. All night. You need a lot of people on a lot of drugs who want to do a bit of clapping, whooping and atmosphere raising to get something out of a protracted breakdown. It really can work, but it's little use to drunk people who are only on the dancefloor for twenty minutes before they wander off to the bar or toilet.
posted by asok at 12:29 PM on January 18, 2013


me : Wow, you just re-created 1993. Congratulations.

Mars Saxman : how is this a problem?


Because it's not terribly original? It just took me by surprise, is all. There's a lot that's original about the Burner scene : the fusion of technology and tribalism, some really great artwork, the whole community aspect.... so I was really disappointed that the Burner idea of "entertainment" basically boiled down to "take a bunch of molly and go dance to electronica". I mean, that aspect really isn't all that different than mainstream club culture, except fewer douchebags, I guess.

However, I do prefer the most recent iteration of rave culture to the 90s version. To a Midwestern teenager on acid, a lot of rave culture was absolutely confounding : the enormous pants, the fuzzy clothing, the pacifiers, the candy necklaces, getting fucked up and watching Teletubbies, the quasi-Jonestown spiel about 'love'. It's basically the whole reason I didn't try any form of MDMA until I was in my 30s. So far as I can tell, Burners just like to dress in mismatched Halloween costumes, which is pretty much what San Franciscans wear to any sort of big public spectacle. Also, I dig the fire performers.

me : Only thing worse is when they're playing a track that uses the "female orgasm moan" sample. I don't know if djs still pull this crap or not, but it was the most awkward thing, especially if you're dancing with a girl.

rifflesby : I will take a song with that sample over one with police sirens any goddamn day.


Hahahaha, no shit. I know exactly what you're talking about. Police sirens are the last fucking thing you wanted to hear at a rave, especially in 1990s St. Louis, where most raves were shut down by the cops anyway. And then you were in some scary-ass godforsaken part of the city, tripping your face off with nowhere to go... ugh.

But people really do like to sample some weird shit, don't they? I got really into downtempo for a while, and that seems to be where all the really weird voice samples went. I remember one track where it sounded like someone just left a police scanner on. And then there was what appeared to be an entire subgenre I referred to as "British Girl Talking" music : some kind of mellow, downtempo beat, with a girl talking over it, usually British, telling some kind of story or spoken word piece. Never quite figured that one out.

Really though, I'm just kinda sad there's no party scene that revolves around rock music. You know, the kind with guitars? Not that I dislike electronica, but it always seemed pretty anonymous to me. I could power through a three-day concert festival like it's nobody's business, but I can really only stand a dance party for like 2 or 3 hours, especially if I'm enjoying some kind of psychedelic enhancement. There's just a whole world out there to explore...
posted by Afroblanco at 12:41 PM on January 18, 2013 [2 favorites]


I'm just kinda sad there's no party scene that revolves around rock music.

It drives me nuts how no one dances at any of the rock shows I go to any more. I dunno what happened.
posted by flaterik at 1:04 PM on January 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


I do! You shoulda seen me at Tame Impala. However, most of the rock shows I go to these days -- Godspeed, Mogwai, Explosions in the Sky, etc -- are more "stand there in an amazed stupor and then try to pick your jaw up off the floor" music and less "get down and boogie" music.

But last year's Outside Lands was epic. Tame Impala, Dr. Dog, Explosions in the Sky, and Sigur Ros all on the same day! A good day for psychedelic music, it was.
posted by Afroblanco at 1:09 PM on January 18, 2013


some kind of mellow, downtempo beat, with a girl talking over it, usually British, telling some kind of story or spoken word piece

That was via Little Fluffy Clouds, and those British women moved in to proper clubbing Deep House for a few years.
posted by Theta States at 1:12 PM on January 18, 2013


Why is my lawn covered in empty water bottles and glowsticks? And what the HELL happened to my azaleas? Is that undewear?
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 1:13 PM on January 18, 2013


Also, another reason I prefer Burner parties to the 90's rave scene : how (at least in the Midwest) the whole rave scene turned into this big methstravaganza shitshow by, oh, about '97 or so. Someone on MeFi actually posted a pretty good writeup about that, except I think she was in Texas somewhere.

I feel like meth has found its place now, and that place does not seem to be at a Burner party.

Good riddance.
posted by Afroblanco at 1:18 PM on January 18, 2013


Meth is always poking its head up here and there, but while it's more present in the underground house scene than it is in the burner scene, it's ACCEPTED in neither. There's an awful lot of various imbibings going on that is tolerated or more, but in my experience meth is one thing that is never out in the open. In the sub-scenes where it's being used anyway, there are active efforts at discouragement, for which I am glad.
posted by flaterik at 2:57 PM on January 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


The Vice article actually made sense to me, since it explained aspects of dance/EDM culture I find alienating.

LIVE DRUMS ARE COMPLETELY UNACCEPTABLE - Why not? Nothing matches the spontaneousity of live performance. He's advocating literal robot music.

DJS ARE NOT ROCK STARS - This is the big sticking point for me. The 'rock star' is the focus of a crowd's emotions, creating them and then amplifying them back. He creates catharsis and unites thr group. Without that you get zombies hopping around to some best they emanates from everywhere.

IT'S SUPPOSED TO MAKE YOU HAPPY - But only if you're already so happy and secure that you can get into those beats. If you're not, it won't transform you like live music will.
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants at 3:32 PM on January 18, 2013


He creates catharsis and unites thr group

This is incredibly important. A good DJ is reading the crowd and playing to them.

You don't have to be the center of attention to do that. The MUSIC should be the center of attention. Or the people you are dancing with. The DJ should be paying more attention to you than you are to him or her.
posted by flaterik at 3:46 PM on January 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


LIVE DRUMS ARE COMPLETELY UNACCEPTABLE - Why not? Nothing matches the spontaneousity of live performance. He's advocating literal robot music.

I'm sure you've heard explanations ad-naseum before, but I can try a tiny bit again. There really is something to a perfect rhythm; one with an undercurrent that just repeats and repeats and repeats that is unlike anything live. Live has its place. They do not compete. But when you're trying to find that kind of groove, it's really rare for a live drummer to be able to pull it off.

But only if you're already so happy and secure that you can get into those beats. If you're not, it won't transform you like live music will.

Good house music with the right dancefloor is, above all else, the most mood transformative thing in my life. (That's due to my own tastes and likes - other music works for different people in similar ways.)

A lot of it, when there ARE lyrics, are about unhappiness, pain, heartbreak... and getting through it. It's about the only "uplifting" music I can handle when I'm in a shit-ass mood, because it manages to speak to me and not feel forced.

I love live music. I love rock and roll. I have had amazing experiences at shows with guitars (Sigur Ros at the Avalon? Fuck yes that was amazing. All of the punk shows in make-shift skate parks when I growing up? A fundamental part of my appreciation of music and shows.).

But you certainly don't have to be happy to start with to be transformed by dance. And I can dance to deep house for houuursssss (yes, while sober) in a way that I've never found in live music.
posted by flaterik at 3:53 PM on January 18, 2013 [3 favorites]


I'm 27, but I consider pretty much every form of rave/EDM/dance/techno culture to be some form of invader, an assault on everything I hold dear. I know, intellectually, that DJs are human like me (and I'm channeling the Killers most mocked line: "Are you human or are you dancer?"). Deadmau5 named a track after Cthulhu, after all. But I find the actual music (with a few exceptions) so alienating and disturbing that I'm a bit shocked every time I read MeFites treat electronic and dance music like a normal, sane interest.

You are TOO FUCKING YOUNG to own a Disco Sucks T-shirt, sorry.
posted by Pope Guilty at 3:55 PM on January 18, 2013 [5 favorites]


Only because I assumed disco had been utterly destroyed before I was born. It was a shock to find it still survived. I should have warned the people back home about the coming EDM plague, but how could I have known?

A lot of it, when there ARE lyrics, are about unhappiness, pain, heartbreak... and getting through it. It's about the only "uplifting" music I can handle when I'm in a shit-ass mood, because it manages to speak to me and not feel forced.

Can you give some examples? These are my favorite kind of lyrics.
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants at 4:18 PM on January 18, 2013


Only because I assumed disco had been utterly destroyed before I was born. It was a shock to find it still survived. I should have warned the people back home about the coming EDM plague, but how could I have known?

More seriously, there's non-electronic dance music, like rockabilly and swing. Play 'Runaround Sue' and I will MOVE.
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants at 4:20 PM on January 18, 2013


I don't get the hostility toward electronic music. What gives?
posted by Pope Guilty at 4:26 PM on January 18, 2013 [2 favorites]


Disco is awesome, and you're missing out.

And I much prefer being in a place where I can say "rockabilly and swing and punk and ska and rock and so much else of the expression of music is also awesome". There's no need for sides.
posted by flaterik at 4:27 PM on January 18, 2013


Can you give some examples? These are my favorite kind of lyrics.

Well, this only gets to the "working through it" part in that it's about the "lying to yourself" stage of missing someone who isn't coming back, but I love the hell out of it:

Jan Blomqvist - I Don't Think About You
posted by flaterik at 4:30 PM on January 18, 2013


Maya Jane Coles - Over

I'm pretty sure the only lyric in that track is "I said I wait until it's all over"; but with this kind of music the lyrics and words are just another instrument, and they work with the music to evoke, rather than explain. To me just that one line repeated with the music that it's over evokes a hell of a lot.
posted by flaterik at 4:37 PM on January 18, 2013


Charlemagne in Sweatpants - why do you find this so aggravating? What's the problem? Raves aren't your scene, so what? Don't go.

LIVE DRUMS ARE COMPLETELY UNACCEPTABLE - Why not? Nothing matches the spontaneousity of live performance. He's advocating literal robot music.

Robots are the right tool for the job. Humans are not precise enough and do not have enough stamina. Show me a drummer who can pound out a 140 bpm kickdrum beat for 8 hours straight and I'll show you..... a robot. Spontaneity is not really a virtue in dance music drumbeats.

He creates catharsis and unites thr group. Without that you get zombies hopping around to some best they emanates from everywhere.

The catharsis comes from the music and the dancing. The point is to dance to music. The DJ is just a facilitator. You don't need some dude on stage to tell you how to feel, you just listen to the music and move. A good DJ will take you on a trip but the trip is not about the DJ, it's about the music and all of you together dancing to it.

IT'S SUPPOSED TO MAKE YOU HAPPY - But only if you're already so happy and secure that you can get into those beats. If you're not, it won't transform you like live music will.

I have no idea what you mean by this. Some of the happiest moments of my life have been the ones where I was out in the clear cold desert air under the stars, head full of acid, riding waves of rhythm for hour after hour until the sun slowly rolls up the eastern sky. It's not just happy, it's goddamn transcendent. I've never heard any live music that could do the same thing.

Sorry you don't like it. Why are you complaining about it?
posted by Mars Saxman at 4:54 PM on January 18, 2013 [4 favorites]


I want to go to a party with Mars and Afro now.

Also Sweatpants. But we could go to a rock show. Those are fun too.
posted by flaterik at 5:07 PM on January 18, 2013 [2 favorites]


Here we go : Unicorn on the Cob's excellent account of the birth, life, and death of the 90s rave scene.

Also, flaterik : hit me up next time you're in SF :)
posted by Afroblanco at 5:25 PM on January 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


Watch out for those sequencer and beats boys. You know they speak in clicks and hisses. When they kiss they spit white noise.
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants at 5:27 PM on January 18, 2013


I'd like to somehow bridge the gap between the drums/no-drums crowd.

For some background : I play a Middle Eastern drum called the doumbek. Been playing about 17 years now; I'm pretty good! Sadly, there's not much place in American music for the doumbek. So pretty much any band or venue I've ever been involved with has been some kind of experimental.

Burners, however, LOVE my playing. There's a semi-regular firespinning party in the city that I drum at. Definitely more of a dj party than a drum party, but the fire spinners LOVE it when I play. I think the tribal aspect really appeals to them.

When I first started drumming at the parties, I got the hairy eyeball from some of the djs. Apparently there's some history there. Drummers would show up at events like this and totally ignore what the dj was playing and just do their own thing. If I were a dj, that would piss me off, too! But one of my talents as a musician is that, even though I have no formal training, I have an excellent ear, and can play along with anything -- even weird time signatures. So now it's gotten to the point where the djs welcome me, and are glad when I show up. The djs are happy because I'm enhancing their set, and the fire performers are happy because they get a nice tribal flavor to their performance. Everybody wins.
posted by Afroblanco at 5:35 PM on January 18, 2013 [3 favorites]


I don't get the hostility toward electronic music. What gives

Probably the effect of the same time machine that allowed 1993 to be discovered. Hey! Flat earthers! We had this discussion, you lost. Comprehensively.
posted by Artw at 5:38 PM on January 18, 2013


Except the people who don't like how half the modern indie bands have tribal drumming instead of songs. That's the other thing - dance music has invaded and mutated so much modern music. The country music station is the only safe place.

And 1993? That was when grunge was ruining rock too.

I raised myself on a diet of classic rock and oldies. Cousin Brucie playing doo-wop all night. Dylan, the Beatles, the Stones. And bad VH1 modern rock. I read Lester Bangs and Greil Marcus. When I got back into new music it was just in time for the garage rock revival. So yes, I do exist in a time capsule. I've tried hard- I've been to big dance parties and huge festivals. I took E at one and then got dumped the next day by the girl who gave it to me, and then I had a nervous breakdown. I wasn't a fan before that though.
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants at 5:44 PM on January 18, 2013


Burners, however, LOVE my playing. There's a semi-regular firespinning party in the city that I like to drum at. Definitely more of a dj party than a drum party, but the fire spinners LOVE it when I play. I think the tribal aspect of it really appeals to them.

One of my favorite activities at BM was bungee-cording my djembe to the handlebars of my bike and going for a ride around 4-5am, just as the sky starts to lighten. All out on the open playa, there were the remnants of spontaneous mini-raves going on around parked art cars, so I'd hone in on one that was sounding especially nice and just do laps around the perimeter playing along. Never got a single ugly look, just nods and cheers of appreciation. Burners are special like that, cause I agree, any other type of party I brought a drum to, I was scorned for trying to join in.
posted by mannequito at 5:53 PM on January 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


This is hella fantastic, and totally overdue.
posted by Twang at 6:01 PM on January 18, 2013


any other type of party I brought a drum to, I was scorned for trying to join in.

As Afro said, it's not that we don't want you to join in... it's that most people who bring drums to an event and play don't blend in - they make it about themselves. They may not even be meaning to - they might not know that their drumming is so loud that it's actually interfering with my ability to beatmatch. Or not going with the ebb and flow of what I'm trying to do, and keeping to one flat energy level that I no longer have input into.

When drummers play with, instead of just playing, they're great! Sadly that is the exception rather than the rule.
posted by flaterik at 9:10 PM on January 18, 2013 [2 favorites]


I'm 27, but I consider pretty much every form of rave/EDM/dance/techno culture to be some form of invader, an assault on everything I hold dear. I know, intellectually, that DJs are human like me (and I'm channeling the Killers most mocked line: "Are you human or are you dancer?"). Deadmau5 named a track after Cthulhu, after all. But I find the actual music (with a few exceptions) so alienating and disturbing that I'm a bit shocked every time I read MeFites treat electronic and dance music like a normal, sane interest.

I'm 38 and have been producing, remixing, and generally creating dance music of one stripe or another since I was, no jokes, 14. (I'm not a DJ, but rather a keyboardist and synth/sampling guy.)

That's more than half my life.

I find it both funny AND disheartening that, more than 20 years later, people are still trotting out the same ill-informed, rockist, straw man arguments against house, techno, DJs, synths, sampling and raves/clubs.

I've been hearing variations on the above rant since I was in high school!

Same as it ever was, I guess.
posted by tantrumthecat at 2:08 AM on January 19, 2013 [4 favorites]


I raised myself on a diet of classic rock and oldies. Cousin Brucie playing doo-wop all night. Dylan, the Beatles, the Stones. And bad VH1 modern rock. I read Lester Bangs and Greil Marcus. When I got back into new music it was just in time for the garage rock revival. So yes, I do exist in a time capsule.

Existing in a time capsule is silly!

I LOVE classic rock and oldies. I was raised on the Beatles, Zeppelin, Warren Zevon, and CSNY. On my own I got into Motown, the blues, swing, and bluegrass.

But I also love house, techno, trance, Eurodance, jungle/d'n'b, dancehall, and hip-hop, and I see absolutely no contradictions inherent to my doing so. Music ain't professional sports. Thank God.
posted by tantrumthecat at 2:16 AM on January 19, 2013 [4 favorites]


Live drums can work fantastically in the right context - there is (was?) an Australian d'n'b trio which had two guys on drum/percussion and one with a couple of keyboards. Can't remember their name sadly but caught them a few times at festivals and while the occasional beat was a bit loose the energy was amazing.
posted by Hello, I'm David McGahan at 3:52 AM on January 19, 2013


Pendulum?

And music isn't sports. It's religion.
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants at 5:06 AM on January 19, 2013


Rockist! That's the word I was looking for. Totally rockist.
posted by Pope Guilty at 8:16 AM on January 19, 2013


PeterMcDermott: "I just found this on YouTube a couple of days ago. I'd forgotten all about it. (Self link, sorta.)"

Excellent. Is this where we post old Acid House and Rave vids? I'm in!

Dramatisation - Loved Up.
Demonisation - The Cook Report
Promotionisation - Flowered Up
Mythisation - Summer of Rave
Gurnisation - Early Rave (This is your jaw on Molly)

I personally don't like drops because, like power chords in rock, they're just an easy way to manipulate the crowd for a quick rush and avoid having to lead them more elegantly and carefully through a more complex musical succession. They encourage laziness in the performers.
posted by meehawl at 3:44 PM on January 19, 2013


And live drums? I saw Leftfield use a double set of live drummers at one of their gigs and they were phenomenal, and meshed well with the emcee's theremin.
posted by meehawl at 3:45 PM on January 19, 2013


Also, this applies:
The Trancecracker
*Origin
posted by meehawl at 5:59 PM on January 19, 2013


Watch out for those sequencer and beats boys. You know they speak in clicks and hisses. When they kiss they spit white noise.

Was this supposed to be derogatory? Because it actually sounds kind of hot.
posted by en forme de poire at 11:47 PM on January 19, 2013


Was this supposed to be derogatory? Because it actually sounds kind of hot.

You'll have to ask Craig Finn, since I didn't write it.

And 'rockist' is the right word. That's meant to be derogatory too. What happened to the old resident rockist Jonmc?
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants at 11:59 PM on January 19, 2013


A colleague of mine told me that, at his high school, listening to house music was once akin to listening to Judy Garland live albums.

Hahaha, this is so fucking true.

The funny thing for me was when I first realized the disparity between, say, the hard-dude camo-and-hoodie culture around something like jungle in the UK, and the "only queers and weirdos listen to techno" bullshido you would get if you ever played the exact same fucking music in the US. One of gender-policing's many little absurdities.

Sadly, for a good while I feel like EDM was even too gay for the gays here - when I was in college around 90% of my LGBT friends were always complaining about having to hear house music in gay clubs because they just wanted to jam out to the 80s or Britney's early work. Nothing against either of those time-honored forms of camp, but when I finally found another queer person who was actually into EDM it was a friggin revelation. (It turns out most of the ravers I was looking for in Boston were actually at MIT. Go figure.)

Anyway, great article, thanks for posting.
posted by en forme de poire at 12:58 AM on January 20, 2013


Was this supposed to be derogatory? Because it actually sounds kind of hot.

You'll have to ask Craig Finn, since I didn't write it.

And 'rockist' is the right word. That's meant to be derogatory too. What happened to the old resident rockist Jonmc?
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants at 11:59 PM on January 19 [+] [!]


Ah, so this is the 2013 equivalent of trolling alt.music.techno with the lyrics to "Panic" by The Smiths, then.
posted by tantrumthecat at 6:12 AM on January 20, 2013 [1 favorite]


I was going to post those and they really do make my point. The music they play says nothing to me about my life, and that's the worst part.
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants at 12:06 PM on January 20, 2013


[Charlemagne In Sweatpants, this thread is not all about you. Please dial it back. ]
posted by restless_nomad at 12:27 PM on January 20, 2013 [1 favorite]


The music they play says nothing to me about my life, and that's the worst part.

That's how I feel about pretty much all rock music prior to about 1977 or so.
posted by Pope Guilty at 12:33 PM on January 20, 2013


I was going to post those and they really do make my point. The music they play says nothing to me about my life, and that's the worst part.
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants at 12:06 PM on


If you had done so, and prefaced it by admonishing me to listen to some "real", "human-produced" music, then I could've followed up by telling you how The Smiths are
(seriously) one of my favourite bands ever. And then my bingo card, and the recreation of being online in 1995, would be complete.
posted by tantrumthecat at 4:54 PM on January 20, 2013 [2 favorites]


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