You know what the best park about the music industry is? As counterintuitive as it may seem, the highlight of it all–the selling point that causes it to attract such wonderfully colorful people–is its failure to have become organized in any way at all. Make a comparison to the other (largely lamer) forms of media out there: You’ll notice that film, for example, looks like a prison compared to music, what with its organizations dedicated to delivering “official” ratings and awards and such. What gives a corporation the right to tell me how good my movie is on the one to ten scale. Hasn’t art always been subjective?
Now you’re likely itching to point out that I’ve failed to notice the giant corporations that surround the music industry as well, and you’re certainly not wrong in letting your mind wander so, however, you’re failing to factor in one important observation: the music industry is awful. Point and case: iTunes can give my favorite tracks whatever rating they want, and it’s not going to mean a thing to any of us. Danger’s 11h30, undoubtedly a stepping stone on the path to electro as we know it, was given 1.5 of 5 stars upon its iTunes release, and all this says is that Steve Jobs (and the loyal fan base of tone-deaf tools which he’s managed to create by means of the iPod) doesn’t care for electronic music, which (I can only assume) doesn’t play much of a role in choosing whether or not to buy a particular track. Naturally, this lack of agreed upon ratings keeps music, and the creation thereof a dynamic process: People (at least the ones who care enough to realize that songs that are played on the radio are not necessarily required listening) have never been restricted to the cut of tunes deemed “appropriate” by some hypothetical checklist. Needless to say, we’ve been quite lucky.
So He Just… Plays Records?
Chances are, if you’re reading this, you either are, have been interested in, or know someone that has decided to seek enlightenment through the art of dj’ing. That being the case, chance also says that at some point in recent history, one of your friends (likely one with less than half as many cool points as you) has made the foolish mistake of asking you the forbidden question: What exactly does a dj do, and why does he get so much credit for it?
Of course, the intolerant anger starts to well up in your stomach. How could someone even ask that question? Isn’t it obvious just how much of a phenomenon it is that a single man can capture the hearts and minds of musically ignorant crowds on a nightly basis, purely through his use of music? Does this ignorant inquisitor really think his record playe–ahem–iPod can give him that same experience that a DJ can? Unfortunately, the answers are no, and sadly, yes, respectively. And the worst part is, you’ve got nothing to say that’ll make him think any different; Or at least you didn’t, until now.
What does a dj do that makes him so special? How is spinning a record, (or to be more politically correct with these a-changing times, pressing play on a midi keyboard) such a respectable deed, and what exactly is is that keeps the creatures of the technicolored night so faithfully returning? It is the plain and simple fact that no matter how many DJ sets he’s studied, and no matter how many times he’s encountered success in the past, there simply is no correct and guaranteed-to-work method of DJing. In contrast with all other forms of media, a DJ cannot simply make a playlist out of fivestar-ed iTunes songs and rest assured knowing his audience will be satisfied. Rather, DJ’ing is the art of adapting to an audience, and convincing them that though their minds tell them that they aren’t particularly fond of a particular song, that their bodies perceive every minute of it as exactly what they want to hear.
The Bloody Beetroots & Steve Aoki
So how does all this relate to anything at all? It’s quite simple, really. See, in a scene where musical taste is so incredibly inconsistent, it becomes important to get a grasp on the general reception of each particular release, despite the enormous difficulty associated with doing so. For example, releases like the latest from Simian Mobile Disco are frequently propelled into a massive collection of opposing poles, comprised of those in love with, and those disgusted by the band’s new direction, which makes it difficult to assess a particular individual’s response. There are, however, exceptional cases, one of which happens to be the latest Dim Mak release entitled “Warp”. When a track has been featured in a mix tape by just about every major artist before its actual release, has been remixed by that same lot, as well as by quite a few lesser known producers, has seen the attention of more than one false music video, and (here’s the kicker) has an official music video that grants us the privilege of staring at Steve Aoki‘s screaming face for a solid 20 seconds, it becomes clear that there shall be no controversy over the response; A thousand sweating bodies is all the five star rating I need.
I’m wondering just how many regulars I’ve lost due to the drastic increase in the text to music ratio on this site. Perhaps I should step it up in the way of audio contributions…
Although, whether he even left in the first place, I’m not quite sure. The guy’s approach on music is certainly a strange one. While most prominent artists (granted most fail to withstand the test of time) make a conscious attempt to produce music similar to that which has already found celebrity within the disco scene, Oizo has chosen to cling to the sound he pioneered nearly a decade ago, and to allow it to drip through its hypothetical IV so as to maintain a constant presence within the club scene.
Brilliance, consistency, and a wicked beard. What more can you ask for?
One last thing. I feel the need to give my greatest respects to those who have somehow managed to actually read this highly nonsensical post. Seeing as much of my writing makes so little sense upon looking back, having done so seems a most notable accomplishment.