Up in Smoke: Drugs and the End of Music.
April 30, 2002 9:32 AM   Subscribe

Up in Smoke: Drugs and the End of Music. "It's extremely doubtful whether house would have achieved the dominance it has without E fuelling the nation's clubbers. With ecstasy dictating the musical content of many club nights, the demand for seamless, relentless grooves with little change in tempo has grown and grown ... Dance music is no longer a music that touches the head and heart as well as the feet, as it did with Northern Soul. Instead, it has become a soul-less metronome for the E generation to mark time to."
posted by moz (57 comments total)
I'm certainly not going to defend house music, but the argument is specious. You can't blame drugs for the music you don't like, while crediting drugs for the music you do like. The author likes Sgt. Pepper - fine, so do I, although I don't credit all of its sound to the Beatles' drug intake. But there were (and are) plenty of critics who didn't like the sound, and were making the same arguments against "acid rock" that this guy is making against house music.
posted by yhbc at 9:44 AM on April 30, 2002

Music whose enjoyment is enhanced by the use of controlled substances? Whoever heard of such a thing?

Actually, I've listened to some of the newer stuff straight, and had already concluded that I needed a decoding drug.
posted by groundhog at 9:50 AM on April 30, 2002

I'm wary of an anti-house piece by Jay Strongman - he was one of the London DJ's blown-away by the house revolution in the mid to late eighties.
He's also being disingenuous by using Northern Soul as a comparison:

"Dance music is no longer a music that touches the head and heart as well as the feet, as it did with Northern Soul."

Northern Soul was/is THE greatest underground music scene, much of it was about the music but just like house a huge part of it was the drugs.
posted by niceness at 9:53 AM on April 30, 2002

I was a bit disappointed with the article. I think he just had a semi-interesting thought and tried to develop it into a whole argument and article. For me, there's always been two types of "rap". Mainstream rap and hip-hop. Hip-hop has innovative beats, intelligent lyrics and has little influence from drugs. Now the stuff you hear on the radio is a whole different story.

And, as far as house. It's rather monotonus, but I think the general audience finds it easier to, drugs or not. And there's plenty of other genre's pushing the limits as far as dance music. Drum and bass, garage, sometimes even trance. So, to say that ecstacy has affected the whole whole dance music scene is a bit of a stretch
posted by tru at 9:58 AM on April 30, 2002

bored sad people will dance to a madman beating a stick on a rusty dumpster.

give that same fool two turntables, a box of bad records and a track suit and some ass will call him a musician.

add a wonderdrug like E and people will swear that he's godhead.

dance music should be kept where it belongs-- as the soundtrack to automobile commercials.

long live rock.
posted by tsarfan at 10:02 AM on April 30, 2002

Instead, it has become a soul-less metronome for the E generation to mark time to.

Depends on your perception of what you think music is, what it should do to you and what it's for. To me, in a lot of ways, styles like house, drum and bass, trance etc. are very roots and tribal [pagan?] in nature. Listen to the music of the Dervishes, the Master Musicians of Jajouka, traditional Native American music, Aboriginal music. It's meant to spin you up into a trance-like state. They're not meant to be 'songs' of high intellectual art. They're not meant to be tunes. The idea of the repetition is to work as a bit of a hypnotic effect.

Do I think that this style of music is really after something more along the lines of spiritual? No not really, but it's tapped into something that I see as being fundamentally roots oriented. I also think drugs have been part of enhancing the effect, in certain cultures, for ages.

Can you say parts of it are "infantile and purely banal"? Sure. And when the the writer says "...people on ecstasy don't want to think, they just need the beat" that's absolutely true. But I don't see it being the end of anything, and I don't have any problem with it at all.
posted by mikhail at 10:04 AM on April 30, 2002

The Dylan Thomas justification (one needs to drugs or alcohol to create art) as applied to music is groundless when one considers that Frank Zappa avoided drugs throughout the entirety of his life.
posted by ed at 10:05 AM on April 30, 2002

As a big fan of Northern Soul (I get excited whenever I see it mentioned on non-soul sites), I wouldn't be so hard on contemporary dance music. While 99% of today's stuff simply doesn't do it for me, anything that gets people "out on the floor" can't be that bad. I'm not convinced that rare 6Ts soul tracks from urban America were "touching the heads and hearts" of that many blokes during the 70s in northern England, either. While I'd never question the faith of the oldtimers who have kept the torch burning for nearly 30 years, it was packing huge clubs all over the UK, and I'm sure a good many of the punters were just following a trend.
posted by Eamon at 10:05 AM on April 30, 2002

Three word article summary: Kids these days....

One sentance: Jay Strongman blames drugs and the evil shadow cabal of the music industry for his inability to access modern music.

Jay, if you can't make music the kids like, don't be angry at people who can. If you don't want to make music the kids like, why are you complaining?
posted by Leonard at 10:07 AM on April 30, 2002

the disclaimer here is that, being a chicago boy, i live and exist in an environment where house has a lot of history. as far as styles go, all one can say about house is that it is identifiable within a certain beats-per-minute range (130-150 sounds about right); from that point, i don't feel you can say much about "house" unless you address particular songs. since i am not the hyper hyper sort of person (techno: 160-180), house sits well with me.

it's tough to say if drugs are the cause of dance music faltering. certainly house has grown in popularity over the years, and perhaps drugs have influenced an interest in dance music in a broad sense, yet i feel that what's caused a great number of newer house records to drop off in quality is simply an approach to the mean. once a quality has been identified as palatable to the widest possible audience, people will tend to produce that and you shall henceforth be forced to search for the good stuff that is below or above the radar.
posted by moz at 10:08 AM on April 30, 2002

As for hip-hop not being influenced by drugs, tru, what are you smoking? I share your definition of hip-hop (all of the cool kids in my Chicago Public High School were hiphoppers), and I don't think I know a single hiphopper (well, maybe one) that doesn't smoke copious amounts of herb.
posted by Eamon at 10:10 AM on April 30, 2002

Rockers just don't get the idea of a groove do they? I'm not a house music fan per se, but I think a lot of good house music does have a lot of soul, sometime more than cruddy mass produced trite Northern Soul shite. There's amazing (and amazingly shite) music coming from all sources and genres, innit?
posted by boneybaloney at 10:10 AM on April 30, 2002


They're not meant to be 'songs' of high intellectual art. They're not meant to be tunes. The idea of the repetition is to work as a bit of a hypnotic effect.

i think you'd be right for some songs, but you certainly cannot judge all dance music by this meter. personally i believe art is possible with all things.
posted by moz at 10:12 AM on April 30, 2002

all forms of expression, i should say. (sigh.)
posted by moz at 10:14 AM on April 30, 2002

Congratulations, Mr. Strongman - you've rediscovered Sturgeon's Law. I'm sure most dance music these days is crap - but I'm equally sure it was always mostly crap, and time's rosy spectacles have just made that fact less obvious.

Dance music is constantly fragmenting. Musicians seem to be on a constant search for new variations, however tiny. If it is beginning to sound static, that's because you've been sitting in one of its infinitely varied micro-genres for too long. Find a new one.

I like to listen to dance music while working. It keeps me awake and active without occupying all of my attention or interrupting my stream-of-consciousness every three and a half minutes.

posted by Mars Saxman at 10:16 AM on April 30, 2002

Lumping virtually all current dance music as "house" certainly doesn't get this guy's argument off to a good start.

The drug intake is vastly different in various realms of the dance scene. Your pure house crowd (at least in the States) isn't likely to contain many e users. Your trance/progressive house will. Jungle crowds are mostly spliff smokers. And so forth...

People outside the dance community always seem to take a reductionist stance towards anything involved with it, and a result, simply come off as laughable to anyone with even the briefest firsthand experience.
posted by NoMoreLSAT at 10:24 AM on April 30, 2002

As someone who's watching the left coast dance community change and morph over the last seven years, I'm quite happy to report that it's trendiness seems to have passed its peak, and that it's now going the way of disco. This means that the hipsters are now coughing with embarrassment over the phat pants and fuzzy pacifyers of yore, explaining how they always knew something like Radiohead or The Strokes would come along and save them from their ecstasy-induced delusions of actually (cough) liking dance music.

I see evolution as a good thing, because, with the hipsters gone, there's more room on the dancefloor for those of us who really love the music and don't need pills to dance all night.

Er, sorry, did I start rambling? Apologies. As you were.
posted by arielmeadow at 10:26 AM on April 30, 2002

What Strong seems to be upset about is what my friends and I in the U.S. call "hard house" -- a boring thump-thump whose popularity is more related to the need for bars to keep selling alcohol than to E use. He's right that the worst elements of house seem to have taken hold in the mainstream, though; the funk and soulfulness has pretty much disappeared. There's so much crappy house out there that folks have forgotten that house used to be the heart of the dance scene for good reason (clubbers ingesting tons of drugs without thinking about why they take them is probably not helping on the soulful tip, either). Still, there's plenty of good, deep, soulful, intelligent house out there. Matthew Herbert is a good example: "I think house, particularly the groovy stuff is a really natural form of dance music. The tempo, the feel and structure can be traced back through disco, through jazz, through the popular music of the 30s..."
posted by mediareport at 10:27 AM on April 30, 2002

Anyone else see the horrifying HBO America Undercover about E on Sunday? The whole party scene looks pretty spooky from my vantage point (I'm 28.) I mean, when I was in college kids like this drank and drank but didn't touch psychedelics... now it seems like E has brought a whole lot of kids to a seriously painful spot. In college I was an avid eater of the Psilocybe Semilanceata and some lysergic you know what but it seemed like there were not a lot of casual users of these substances -- people were serious about it, looking to expand their minds and really respecting the drugs' power. I think that a lot can go wrong with a person's brain and worldview if you trip with such a casual intention so often. In the program the kids were taking E multiple times a week and in combination with LSD and freaking BIG joints. I can't imagine it. The antidrug lobby is always going on about the harm that this kind of drug use can cause in terms of brain chemistry, but I have experiences that tell me that this pattern really leads to a terrible form of depression and spiritual bankrupcy that was difficult enough for me to deal with as a deeply spiritual person who puts a lot of effort into dealing with reality. I don't know how prepared the party people are for the long haul mental/spiritual situation these drugs put you in.

And perhaps that is what this music is about. In the electronic music scene there have been some major changes. Where 5-10 years ago people were looking for "fat," "organic" analog sounds there is much more talk about "digital" "cold" "metallic" sounds these days... more alienated, more harsh and more meloncholic timbres. I think this music is expressive of the reality of people who are not able to be touched in the heart, who are not engaged in as human a reality as those that came before. The world is changing and the kids are different and they quite likely more f*cked and less human than we were and this is their music.
posted by n9 at 10:32 AM on April 30, 2002

"bored sad people will dance to a madman beating a stick on a rusty dumpster."

Hey, I love Tom Waits. Don't knock him.

Seriously though, while a lot of electronic music is soulless, you have to admit there is a sort of beauty to the archichturally inspired sounds of musicians like Richie Hawtin, or the cold, calming sounds of Photek. House never really did much for me, when it comes to dance music I live by the mantra "everything is better with a breakbeat" (can't stand a foor on the flour tempo.) But yea, who says something has to be soulfull to touch your heart? There is something just as inspiring in a roaring cacophonious baseline as there is to a smooth crooner.
posted by atom128 at 10:33 AM on April 30, 2002

moz: i believe art is possible with all things.

Absolutely true, and I'm not judging at all. The point I was trying to make is that for the most part this style of music is not meant to be compared to what we consider the traditional 'song' structure or format. This is not Diane Warren churning out another formulaic pop song (not to cast aspersions on her).

It's also not meant to be compared to what is traditionally looked at as high art or intellectual music. This is not Gershwin, or Coltrane or Duke Ellington.

It's it's own thing, and I don't think it really has it's roots in contemporary music and shouldn't be looked at in that framework.
posted by mikhail at 10:37 AM on April 30, 2002

Give or take the odd vocal nuance, most rap output of the last few years has become more or less interchangeable. You hear the same funereal beats, pick up the same bitter, doom-laden vibes and, at some point in the lyrics, the all too common references to herb.

Now that's just an ignorant comment. It's akin to saying that most rock music output has been the same backwards pants wearing rap metal crap. Of course, legions of independant music fanatics know that simply isn't the case.

The same holds true for rap, and I hate to hear music journalists confidently parading their ignorance of such a vital indie music scene.
posted by Pinwheel at 10:37 AM on April 30, 2002

I wonder what you all think of (to pick an extreme) the sounds of Autechre on their albums like Confield and their new single (which, while highly abrassive to a lot of people, is a stunningly produced bit of work.)
posted by atom128 at 10:41 AM on April 30, 2002

There's an old joke that goes:
Question: What did the Grateful Dead fan say when he ran out of LSD?
Answer: This band sucks!
posted by Faze at 10:43 AM on April 30, 2002

As someone who's watching the left coast dance community change and morph over the last seven years, I'm quite happy to report that it's trendiness seems to have passed its peak, and that it's now going the way of disco. This means that the hipsters are now coughing with embarrassment over the phat pants and fuzzy pacifyers of yore, explaining how they always knew something like Radiohead or The Strokes would come along and save them from their ecstasy-induced delusions of actually (cough) liking dance music.

Please. It's just ridiculous to paint any scene with a broad brush. As for the declining 'left coast dance scene' tell that to the 500 people who (along with me) attended the unadvertised (save email lists) evening with DJ Baby Anne at Ten15 in SF two weeks ago. A diverse, no-attitude crowd that was into the music and, yes, obviously liked dancing . . . and in my case also listen to Radiohead and lots and lots of other artists that don't neatly fit into anyone box.
posted by donovan at 10:46 AM on April 30, 2002

i have a few hard house LPs, bought (accidentally i tell people) when i first was into buying records. a variant of hard house is also called "booty house" which sounds great for 5 seconds. good house people: paul hunter (probably not the music video guy); glenn underground; synthique. among many, many others.
posted by moz at 10:47 AM on April 30, 2002

Dance music is too huge and diverse to generalize about. At anyone one time two micro-genres are turning stale and declining, while another three are experiencing explosive creative growth. Not to mention the creation of an entirely new style in some Brazilian teenager's bedroom, right now, which will be ruling the dancefloors in Frankfurt in six months. Fifteen-year-old candy ravers in Providence are eating three pills and having seizures to happy hardcore; simultaneously, a bunch of pretentious art-school grads in Barcelona are creating rhythmless sound sculptures inspired by Russolo's Art of Noises.

Dance music is the monotous, drug-fueled soundtrack to modern nightclubbing. Yeah, right.
posted by lbergstr at 10:54 AM on April 30, 2002 [1 favorite]

His comparisons to 'rap' are rather specious. I mean, sure, the stuff that passes for rap on the charts these days is by and large uninspired tripe (IMHO!) but there are still some fantastic underground artists who aren't afraid of subverting the genre.

That said, while I can't stand house music at all, I do find fault with his trying to pass off his quantifying of a rather intangible quality (how, exactly, do you measure soulfulness?) as incontrovertible fact. What some may find soulful, I might find trite and canned. OTOH, what I might find sublime and inspiring could just as easily be passed off as cookie-cutter.

To each their own, with drugs or without.
posted by sigma7 at 11:00 AM on April 30, 2002

metafilter is so much better with a good tab.
posted by ggggarret at 11:05 AM on April 30, 2002

As an example of how diverse electronic music is, I gotta recommend Ishkur's guide. While it's not as complete as I'd like it to be (EBM only gets a small passing nod and where the heck is an entry on industrial/powernoise? HUH???) it's a good example of electronic music != just house. Besides, it did introduce me to I-F, Delta 9, Venetian Snares, and uh... DJ Assault. *grin*

(note: Flash required)
posted by sigma7 at 11:08 AM on April 30, 2002

Dance music is no longer a music that touches the head and heart as well as the feet, as it did with Northern Soul.

Well obviously he's listening to the wrong sort of dance music. That and reflecting on a 'golden age' that itself was fuelled by amphetemines.

There's some amazing stuff coming out at the moment, and it's not mainstream house, and trance.
posted by inpHilltr8r at 11:18 AM on April 30, 2002

This guys argument is full of shit for one main reason: He chooses a cause for what he sees as a problem, and then forces the evidence to fit into his hypothesis. Lets take for a moment almost any form of popular music. Whe it first starts out it is performed by artists outside the mainstream who are trying to prove themselves and who create really great, groundbreaking music. Finally, as more and more people catch on, people try to cash in on the new thing, people who are only looking to make a fast buck, they have no creativity. They try and copy what was done befor ethem without having any of the original creative spark. The music sufferes and becomes a boring charicature of itself. This happened to Dixieland Jazz, Swing, Bebop, Doo-Wop, Rockabilly, Garage Rock, Acid Rock, Prog Rock, Punk, Hip Hop, Heavy Metal, House, etc... To say that it happened to hip hop and house because of drugs is really baloney because i t happened to all these other kinds of music. The really source of boredom in music is money!
posted by bob bisquick at 11:20 AM on April 30, 2002

It's also not meant to be compared to what is traditionally looked at as high art or intellectual music. This is not Gershwin, or Coltrane or Duke Ellington.

...jazz did not start out as a 'high art'. Rooted in the seedy 'dance' clubs of Harlem, it held many of the same stigma's for the time that some clubbing does for today. It's only been in the latter half of it's existence that it was thought of as a 'high art'.

I personally think it is unfortunate the association between drugs like esctasy and house music. It all depends on your experience. In certain places like Chicago and NY, there are entire generations of people who have grown up on house music. Or the DJ's and producers who have been making (and still continue to make) incredible house music for over 20 years now. Names like Glenn Underground, Larry Heard, Ron Hardy and Tony Humphries spring to mind.

Of course, jazz was associated with the 'speakeasys' of it's time during prohibition. And now it's not uncommon to hear jazz in an elevator. Or house music for that matter. Interesting, the parallels.
posted by jazzkat11 at 11:56 AM on April 30, 2002

...and in the 20's jazz was danced to by flappers fuelled by cocaine in illegal underground clubs. What goes around, comes around...
posted by inpHilltr8r at 12:06 PM on April 30, 2002

a variant of hard house is also called "booty house" which sounds great for 5 seconds

you must be kidding!

you simply must hear this mixed, particularly by the aforementioned DJ Assault (who is simply a mixing virtuoso -- which is required for booty house to be any good). Booty house is a ton of fun.

yes: misogynist, vulgar, minimal -- but a ton of fun.

also, see: old raver irony.

nearly everyone i know who once spun hardcore or techno in all earnestness has at least a little booty house in their box.

i've got to somewhat agree with the author of the piece here, however -- maybe i'm just getting cranky and old, but all-ages one offs seem to be more and more opuim dens for the youth rather than gatherings of any sort. at least here in bay area.

maybe part of it is that is was pretty difficult to hear any of that music in the mainstream seven years ago -- no-one really played house on the radio, except late late late at night; the advertising world had, for the most part, yet to pick up on what was to become ideal commercial soundtracks, and mix-tapes weren't the easiest to find at mainstream record stores (mixed cds? what -- are you kidding?). perhaps, at the time, folks put the music first because it was more important to them, because *they* were the ones playing, making, and dancing to it -- no-one was feeding it to them.

of course, maybe we were all just really loaded, and it was all about the e -- i suppose we'll never know.

(yeah, i'm a cranky bastard. but i still listen to dance music, ok?)
posted by fishfucker at 12:06 PM on April 30, 2002

fish- dj assault isn't booty house, he's ghetto tech. But thats me just being knitpicky.
posted by atom128 at 12:12 PM on April 30, 2002

Brit journalist Simon Reynolds, author of Generation Ecstasy, has things to say on the subject.
posted by liam at 12:55 PM on April 30, 2002

In my limited experience, most people have their favorite genre of electronic music, which they ardently defend, sometimes thereby inadvertantly dismissing "lesser" genres (especially junglists).

But, baby, everybody loves booty house.
posted by brittney at 12:58 PM on April 30, 2002

Good comment bob bisquick, 'cept there is one big misconception there IMO and it is this.

There are no quick buck in music. NONE. Even is you go out with the expressed goal of making the lowest common demoniator pop music you can, you'd have better odds of breaking even in Vegas.

Ergo, everybody working in the music biz for a living is doing it for the love. Believe it or not.
posted by Leonard at 1:04 PM on April 30, 2002

i got bored of booty house. i mean, sure, it's funny and all that. after two (fuck, just one) red bull and vodkas i'm sure i'd get out there and shake ass or whatever. but from the standpoint where i am sitting around listening to records and thinking about what i should play to listen (and not necessarily dance) to, booty house never leaves the sleeves anymore. maybe that's me being a prude, or pretending to have some sort of cultivation; i dunno. i'd much rather pop in stereolab's "allures". (yes, sadly, i troll the indie stacks too. i'm beyond saviour.)
posted by moz at 1:38 PM on April 30, 2002

sorry, tangential booty house subject matter:

fish- dj assault isn't booty house, he's ghetto tech. But thats me just being knitpicky.

you know, i've seen people use the word interchangeably, and never really understood the difference -- except that a lot of people were calling it ghetto tech 3 years ago (presumedly because a bunch of people from detroit -- arguably the birthplace of techno -- were spinning it) and now booty house (presumedly because the word booty = LAFF RIOT.)


dj assault booty house i get 1180 results,
dj assault ghetto tech i get 951

i like both words, and am eagerly looking forward to the GHETTO BOOTY TECH-HOUSE revolution that is no doubt just around the corner.

also, on preview: moz; you cannot listen to booty house unless it is mixed. it's a law, honestly.

if a booty house track is played for more than 2 minutes, you hit the "ASS N TITTY" locktrack and everyone in the audience boos you. Booty house is meant for turntablists alone, i'm convinced -- or at least someone who doesn't mind slamming the fader.

not really anything i'd sit around and listen to though, no.
posted by fishfucker at 1:51 PM on April 30, 2002

well, if you're going the way of ghetto booty tech-house, may i bring up an old house classic with this chorus:

ghet th ho
ghet th ho
ghet th ho
posted by moz at 1:56 PM on April 30, 2002

I used to work security at a club here in Seattle, and house music was kind of a joke to all of us on the staff. It's basically a form of calisthenics, not that there aren't a few talented house DJs who take chances, but most house DJs stick to the script.

One should make distinction between DJs and turntablists: DJs are human jukeboxes, turntablists are musicians in every sense of the word. There aren't a lot of house turntablists, at least in my experience.
posted by Ty Webb at 2:04 PM on April 30, 2002


i'd disagree. there's a lot of non-turntablist djs, to be sure, that are little more than selectors, but, man, there's quite a few that can mix very well without resorting to turntablist tricks -- it's just a lot harder to hear. people tend to be very impressed by turntablists because you can easily see and hear the results of their skills -- evaluating the skill of a good mix dj isn't always such an easy task, as you usually have to be familar with what a good mix sounds like, *and* typically, be able to hear the next record coming in (meaning, most times, you have to know both records -- or listen closely).

I've heard some incredible things done by mix djs that are despite their sophistication, pretty damn subtle, and often have to be pointed out -- like perfectly timed call and response between two tracks, seamless meshing of two melodies, etc -- usually one thinks it's part of the track. I don't think this is an easy skill to master, and i think it's surely one that deserves some lauding.

of course, it's pretty easy to be a terrible at beat matching and still land a residency (let's say from great selection, which is at least as important as beat matching, if not more) -- and vice versa (be a beat-matching god and play booooooooooring tracks all night long.)

you've got to do *both* well, to be good, and that's why i believe there's certainly an art to being a mix dj (or at least more than being a jukebox) -- whether we want to call them musicians or not.

posted by fishfucker at 2:48 PM on April 30, 2002

What Ty said, as perfectly captured by the afore-mentioned brilliantly bitter Ishkur:

posted by arielmeadow at 2:55 PM on April 30, 2002

Fishsauce - ill take xlr8r's article on ghetto tech as my authority. If you ever get the chance to see DJ Assault live, go for it, he's a really good turntablist, with (as one might expect) a great sense of humor. He's got a mix online here at groovetech (labeled hard house, so I guess maybe we're both wrong) and also check GTI Recordings for some ghettotech mixes by disco d. I dont know why I know these thigns, I don't even particullarly care for the music :)
posted by atom128 at 3:47 PM on April 30, 2002

fishfucker, rather. i knew someone on a different messageboard who went by FishSauce. whoops.
posted by atom128 at 3:51 PM on April 30, 2002

I think we just disagree on definitions. A lot of what you write about, such as

I've heard some incredible things done by mix djs that are despite their sophistication, pretty damn subtle, and often have to be pointed out -- like perfectly timed call and response between two tracks, seamless meshing of two melodies, etc -- usually one thinks it's part of the track.

I'm totally with you on that. Working at a dance club as I did, I got to be a pretty good judge of DJs, and was grateful, so so grateful, whenever I got to hear someone creative. It's a relatively new form, so the terminology gets confusing, but DJ, turntablist, whatever, I know art when I hear it.
posted by Ty Webb at 3:59 PM on April 30, 2002

addendum: my original point being, I didn't notice that much creativity or originality in house DJs particularly. In my experience, house DJ's tend to draw crowds in inverse proportion to their originality.
posted by Ty Webb at 4:12 PM on April 30, 2002

ty: agreed. it's just when i think turntablist, i automatically (along with many people, i'm assuming) think "scratch dj", so maybe that's where i'm misunderstood your point.

atom128: well, let's split the difference and use the assault-approved term "accelerated funk." ("It has been termed "Ghetto-Tech" which Assault rejects, preferring the descriptively accurate "Accelerated Funk".)

yes. now i feel like a big geek (as i should, i suppose). thanks a lot.

i managed to see disco d play awhile ago (it was alright -- i mostly stuck in the other room and listened the other people on the trashamerica lineup play), and although i've missed most of the shows assault has done in the bay area (on account of 1) being in the east bay, and 2) too lazy to give the love to the booty) i plan on trying a little harder to catch the next one.

that gti site was rather fun. also: that inline photo very nearly displaced my current desktop (a pink heart candy with PUNKASS written on it), but maybe i'll put it on the desktop of our server or something as a nice surprise to, uh, well, someone.
posted by fishfucker at 4:22 PM on April 30, 2002

fish - works for me. geeks unite.
posted by atom128 at 5:22 PM on April 30, 2002

Maybe I'm just an old rock and roll fossill (or maybe not _I love R&B and hip-hop, so it's not an antipathy to dancing) but 99% of techno and house just leaves me cold somehow.
When it first started to hit big, I went to a couple "rave" type parties and tried to see what the fuss was about. First of all looking the way I do, I stuck out like a cockroach on a wedding cake among the neon-colored shiny-pantsed throng. The music also seemed to have this almost neo-fascist "dance or die!" quality to it and all the monotonous beats and strobe lights just made me feel ...oppressed somehow.
I've never gotten that feeling at any other musical event, no matter what the genre, it always felt energized and choatic or warm and freindly instead, so maybe it is the drugs that gives ravers that warm, fuzzy feeling I dunno.
Moby and Fatboy Slim always seemed okay on record, possibly cos the blues, gospel and rock samples create a more human counterpoint to the electronic beat perhaps.
Sadly though, much of the new crop of rock and roll isn't much better, but I'm still hoping. In the meantime I'll just dust off my Bobby Fuller Four records and wait...
posted by jonmc at 5:50 PM on April 30, 2002


so you basically think that electronic music panders to its audience. which is fine to me; i agree with you that a lot of the music does. but i do think a lot of other music does the same; certainly the next pop sensation created through the sheer marketing of a label is an example of pandering to the audience.

the scenesters come in all forms. they may be the alternakids; the clubbers; the ravers; the indie kids. it seems to me that is what the "dance or die" style of electronic music mostly caters to.

i've seen both moby and fatboy slim in concert, and they are both excellent. moby's selection goes well beyond his gospel- and blues-inspired tracks, which are recent. i thought fatboy slim was a really good dj, and not only that, he had with him darren emerson (recently of underworld) at the concert. and they played new order's blue monday. the heart flutters.

jon, i think you should take your mefi handle, instead become jon mc and spin off some phat lyrics.
posted by moz at 6:53 PM on April 30, 2002

i like in when the music is real loud and people start shotting into the ground.
posted by clavdivs at 7:06 PM on April 30, 2002

The music also seemed to have this almost neo-fascist "dance or die!" quality to it

Do you want to touch my monkey?
posted by yhbc at 8:29 PM on April 30, 2002

"House music has dominated the UK's dancefloors for years, with a musical formula that has scarcely changed at all."

Uh, that means it's mainstream, and it's been so for the past decade. Let's wake up, everybody - the summer of love was back in 1988.
posted by Stumpy McGee at 11:28 PM on April 30, 2002

As a House DJ, I was laughing the entire time I read this article. Anyone who is remotely involved in dance music knows that this guys is simply talking out of his ass and has no concept between the difference of House and other forms of electronic music, let alone the difference between Hip Hop and rap.

Mr. Jay Strongbone - House music is one of the grooviest, soulful styles of music around. It can encompass soul, funk, jazz, hip-hop, and everything in between. To clump all forms of dance music into one genre and call it 'house' is not only careless and irresponsible, but it's just an illustration of how ignorant you really are.

"It's extremely doubtful whether house would have achieved the dominance it has without E fuelling the nation's clubbers."

The fact is - House Music originated from disco in the early 80s when MDMA was just a flash in the pan. There are major differences between House and Hard House or techno, trance, jungle, garage, and drum and bass. If you spent half an hour in a dance club in the U.S. today you'll quickly realize that there is a HUGE difference between a House Crowd vs. a trance crowd vs. a drum and bass crowd, and the types and amounts of drugs used by each genre.

Don't think house music is funky, soulful, or groovy enough? Check out DJs like Miguel Migs, Mark Farina, Richie Hawtin, Gene Farris, Ian Pooley, and scores of others. Go to your local record store and ask for anything on the Naked Music label and tell me it's not soulful.

Don't think that DJs are artists? You think we just 'play' other people's records huh? Obviously you've never even attempted to beatmatch 2 records, because then you might know just how hard it is and how much skill, talent, and creativity it takes to make a good mix.

As far as the whole drug issue goes, I'll admit that the high amounts of ecstacy consumed these days does pollute as well as dilute the music and puts its integrity in danger. But anyone who knows dance music understands that House Music is not associated with E as much as many of the other genres. This author obviously has no clue.

As far as gangsta rap goes, that has pretty much died out and is completely different than hip-hop. When I see articles like this on the web, it makes me puke...this guy is an uneducated jackass....besides...what's wrong with a little toke here and there?
posted by GrooveJedi at 2:47 AM on May 1, 2002

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