It’s almost obscene just how long it’s taken for the electronic music scene as a whole (and I do, indeed, mean “as a whole” in the most enveloping of senses) to develop a universal umbrella under which all forms of dance (as extraordinarily different as they often time are) can feel at home. And while there was most certainly a point in time (namely the early 80’s) where the amalgamation of the considerably smaller number of existing electronic acts might have provided for some rather unsettling results (NWA meets Dj Pierre?), the speed with which our modern day hip hop and disco producers are adopting each other’s styles seems to emphasize the fact that times are indeed, a changin’, and that there remains no excuse for the separation of the many growing worlds within our collective parent universe. To put things a little more concisely (and to satisfy those of you who are probably at this very moment considering informing me of my ridiculous tendency toward needlessly long sentences): We all belong in this scene for the same reason, no matter the genre. We all like to party, and we all like to dance.
That’s not to say that we should feel the need to make an attempt to enjoy music that our ears have already warned us not to listen to, but rather that though there’s more than a subtle difference between the those out to see MSTRKRFT and those more inclined to watch RJD2 juggle his beats, there’s very little difference between our bodies’ natural desire to dance (regardless of what to), and the undefinable high that comes from being a part of the music that moves you. (Except in the case of those glow stick kids. That’s a scene I’ll never quite understand.) Truth? Truth.
Once this point has been addressed, the ridiculousness of it all becomes blatantly apparent; Why should we form cliques? Why should record labels, most of which are designed to represent a small group of similar artists rather than a larger, more encompassing motif, be the sole deciders in the formation and representation of musical groups? They shouldn’t; We should be united over the aspects of music that al genres share.
I recently had the pleasure of speaking with Jonathan Cham, the man in charge of the Los Angeles based electronic music (and yes, that includes everything from the dirtiest electro to the chillest hip hop) apparel company, DBM Labs, and having been a fan of his mission statement for quite some time (one that is aimed largely at stitching together the above mentioned severance), I felt compelled to seek an interview. When asked to explain his company, Jon had a lot to say:
“When i first got into music, I liked everything dance, from, house to hip hop to trance,
so to me, there never really was a “genre” that I tried to be part of.
Whereas lot of clothing companies try to hit on a particular genre, DBM Labs is focused on the artist themselves, whether it’s hip hop, house, dance, electro, or whatever.
We take elements of art from different genres in our designs, sort of like how a producer might incorporate different genres of music into their productions, and in doing so, we’re hoping to build a community that really doesn’t exist right now.”
We had a long talk, but it basically all boiled down to us agreeing upon the fact that as long as these collections of sub cultures remain divided (and a lot of the time, strongly disliking each other), we’re missing out on a world of potential that could be derived from the unification of differing ideas and approaches. Considering DBM could vary well be teaching you lessons in dance floor methodology at some point in the near future (as well as the fact that a good 60% of the world we know revolves around who has the cool t-shirts first), you might want to check out DBM’s site, and get yourself straightened out.
Though I can type out a thousand words (and probably have) in an effort to convince you, the disco fanatics, of my obnoxious perspective, I can be fairly confident that anyone motivated enough to reach this blog is a firm believer in the fact that a simple mp3 speaks considerably better English than I. I shall therefor, abstain from boring you any further…
Here’s a weird phenomenon: Some particularly talented artist takes the initiative to pioneer his own, innovative and original sound, and ends up producing a track that’s exciting in a fashion that most producers had never before imagined. As a result, The Hype Machine becomes littered with strange artists with names like Telephone Sally, or some other contradictory and punny phrase, who seem to take pride in the fact that they are quite good at making exact replicas of that song. Are they original? No. Are they boring? Yes. What can we do? We can listen to Classixx instead.
While there are, indeed, more than a few producers who break away from this obnoxious pattern, it’s a rare occasion that one manages to do it with the style and grace (and not to mention with the inclusion of a multitude of exotic influences that avoid the exclusion of any single genre) as Classixx. Their sweeping reverb (which is in no way trancy) accompanied with heavy, yet appropriate, beats and almost jazzy synth melodies embody a part of music that really, has not been enveloped before. In fact, it almost begs the question, “Do you like bass?”
Classixx – I’ll Get You feat. Jeppe (Royal Rumble edit) (Removed by request)