Picking That Bone: Episode 1 of ∞

I know I normally write about music itself, and I promise I will get right back to it in the subsequent days, but at this particular point in time, I’m feeling extremely compelled to offer a word of advice (in my own humble opinion) in the first of a series I’m going to call Picking That Bone. Obviously, seeing as I am just one man, your angry disagreements are inevitable, and are thusly welcomed.

“Bangers”

bangers and mash

I beg of you, the fun-loving people of the world, please discontinue your use of the word “banger,” for it has grown to encompass all that is wrong in the world of disco. I suppose a little history might be required in order to explain. Let us jump back a couple years… to 2006.

You might remember this special little time in dance music history, for it is the year that two very important events took place. First, Daft Punk brought their music to the Coachella music festival, which prompted nearly half of the United States to reconsider their position on electronic music, and second, Justice broke into the now buzzing scene, and convinced everyone else (essentially the kids that used to hang out on street corners wearing combat boots and Misfits patches) that “Woah! You can distort a synthesizer!? That’s kinda like punk, so we should definitely not hate on electronic music anymore.” And thus the new wave of dance musicians and Ed Banger minions came to be.

So where did the term “banger” come from? Well that’s easy: It came from the ex-metal-heads who wanted to like dance music but could not yet bring themselves to admit that that’s what it was. And I don’t blame them. They were all fresh out of high school at the time. Their newfound freedom had not yet kicked in, and their desire to feel wild and out of control was still burning strong. They didn’t want to make “disco.” They wanted to make metal on a computer, but since a name for that hadn’t quite been coined, the word “banger” came to be. And hey, I’m fine with that. If the music is being made, it needs a name, and far be it for me to say whether a name can or can’t be used. That’s not what bugs me. This is what bugs me:

The word banger, since 2006, has essentially become a meaningless slur, and yet an onslaught of newcomers continually insist on ramming it through our heads, again and again. In running this blog, I get about 50 emails each day from artists looking to promote their tracks, and almost 50% of those emails starts out with something along the lines of “I just finished this new banger for you.” For all those people, please, heed this warning:

  1. Calling your track a banger, when really all it is is the result of a couple hours of you sitting in front of your computer trying and failing to imitate the Bloody Beetroots synth sound, is not going to get you anywhere. We know you like distortion and angry sounds, but please, be original.
  2. Calling your track a banger clues all us bloggers in to the fact that you’ve only just made the transition from your metal band into dance music, and that you are completely oblivious to the workings of the scene.
  3. Calling your track a banger gives us the impression that you’re making this music on a whim, and that there’s a good chance you only downloaded Reason yesterday. It also implies that you’re only making music with hopes that you’re going to somehow become massively famous without even trying.
  4. If you must use the word, learn to use the word right. You may not, under any circumstances, call your track a banger if it sucks. The word banger (at least back when it was a healthy word) is supposed to refer to a tune that’s filled with so much energy and excitement that it can make a crowd…well, bang. If you make music that doesn’t have any of those qualities, don’t tell people it does! It’s one thing to be an amateur producer, but it is absolutely not okay to lie about it.

So that’s my qualm with the word. If I could, I would seek to have it eradicated from the English language, but since that isn’t too feasible, let me leave you with this:

The word “banger” is dead, and if you want to be taken seriously, do not use it. Ever.

A Couple Tunes

As you likely didn’t come here just to read my pointless slobber, here’s a couple tunes that have really taken the scene by storm. The A-Trak remix is this year’s equivalent of what Pilotpriest‘s Love Lockdown remix was last year. Needless to say, it’ll have you on your knees. And if you’re the DJ, make sure you’re comfortable with being touched by strangers before you consider spinning it.

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The Yeah Yeah Yeah’s – Heads Will Roll (A-Trak Remix) (Club Edit)

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The Yeah Yeah Yeah’s – Soft Shock (Them Jeans Acoustic Remix)

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Fischerspooner – Supply Demand (AutoErotique Remix)

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Little Boots – Earthquake (Treasure Fingers’ Epicwave mix)

We’re All Moving, But I’m Not Sure Anyone Knows Where We’re Going

It’s strange seeing my so called electro world being split so readily in two like this. It seems the heavy electro sounds that brought the dance community so close together a few years back have progressed in such diverse ways that we’re no longer able to uniformly agree on what defines the most desirable new sound, and as such, we’ve been left with two entirely different genres of music that are both somehow still grasping to be considered electro. I suppose it is a bit strange, and almost a bit frustrating to think that there are going to be multiple tastes and preferences to satisfy along our future disco endeavors, but let me assure you, this can only be good: This may, in fact, require that a little effort be put back into the “job” that is Dj’ing, and as such, I feel there could be a massive drop in the number of freeloading blog abusers sometime in the very, very near future. The threat of required effort, my friends, is natural selection at its best. (That is, if natural selection were real, of course. But the earth is only 6000 years old, remember? Sarah Palin told us so.)

The Two Branches of Electro

That title made me feel like I’m writing a history book. Maybe I should make an outline due at the end of the quarter.

Anyhow, it seems the first half of the split electro genre has not only skimmed the fat, but it’s actually dumped a good 75% of its musical meal right out the window without losing a single bit of integrity. It’s like this: Rather than being served a burrito with everything that makes your taste buds get freaky, all crammed into one delicious dish, you’re now receiving a single bomb ass steak, and a baked potato. In the end you’ve only got about 10% of what you had before, but somehow it’s just way better. And steering away from this failed food analogy, I’d go so far as to say this musical sect could more easily be defined under minimal than under electro, although my opinion is likely to beg a rebuttal.

Bass Kleph

I suppose artists like DeadMau5 and his latest BSOD, The Royal Rumble, and even Herve (especially alongside Sinden), have all veered more toward this side of the argument more than the other, however, the audio craftsmanship of Australia’s Bass Kleph brings it all home. Presenting to you: The epitome of blip-tastic bounce.

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Twocker – Stitch (Bass Kleph Remix)

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Stupid Fresh – Get The Fuck Up (Bass Kleph Remix)

Part Two

As for the other side of our post apocalyptic electro world, well, that’s where I think all the Treasure Fingers, Twelves, Dangers, Van She Tech‘s and DatA‘s of our time fit in. They’re the guys who’ve taken the exact opposite approach to their furthering of electro, and have chosen to cram every last bit of harmonic Daft Punk influence into an already brimming sound, in order to create tunes that are nearly impossible to fully comprehend. In fact, I’d go so far as to say I don’t think I’ve ever heard the same song twice. (Figuratively speaking of course).

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Big Gipp – Hot (Treasure Fingers Remix)

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Rapture – House Of Jealous Lovers (Tenderlions Remix)

I Knew Him before He Was Popular

In case I’ve failed to make it apparent enough through my many needlessly extended rants among my previous posts, I truly believe that, with the power that music blogs have gathered throughout the last several years, the internet’s ability to promote and support music is fully capable of replacing the corporate music industry altogether. Naturally, I don’t think anyone’s going to argue the fact that they could, but seeing as I’m likely going to get a hefty number of people disagreeing with the fact that they should, I’ve decided to use this post as the quintessential justification for the cause.

There are no doubt a huge chunk of reasons why blogs are capable of the getting the job done, most of which I’ve explained hitherto (instant exchange of ideas and influence, balance of opinions and views, and the lack of the presence of greed and money as a driving force being just a few), but I think that the most respectable and revolutionary quality associated with blogs is their unique ability to promote incredible music that, due to lack of labels and names, would never have otherwise made it far past scribbled sharpie on a burned cd. To put it simply, discovering great music that’s been processed and prescribed by Hollywood is a bit of a thrill, but to unearth the gems from the far reach depths of Myspace (especially the ones who’s friend counts haven’t yet struck the thousands) is to experience an indescribable feeling. Example:

Bit Rate

I don’t think I’ve done a post of this calibre since I covered I Am Elektronik way back in the beginning, and boy, does it feel good to get back in touch with the underground. Steering clear of mainstream electro for even a short period of time has allowed me to see through the hype to the magical things that become of clashing influences, and artists who don’t quite fit into a single genre, and I must say that among all the classy no-name’s, Bit Rate really stands out. The Baltimore producer (another win for the states) has managed to capture a sound that clearly strips bits and pieces of style from his cited influences (Justice, Boys Noize — all the standard heavy hitters), and though the resulting sounds are nothing unheard of, their structure is unusually original. Specifically, I feel his remix of Empire of the Sun‘s “Walking on a Dream” deserves a considerable amount of credit. It’s almost as if he’s taken the idea behind Treasure Fingers‘ “Cross the Dance Floor” (an incredibly catchy, yet not so dj friendly track), and made it thoroughly danceable, without ever having to sacrifice the the melodic lightheartedness that made it so memorable in the first place.

I suppose I could have made this post a little more concise and simply advised you kids not to overlook the unknown, but you’re likely only reading to kill your free time anyway.

Enjoy this funky little remix, and pride yourself in knowing that you’re likely one of the very first to ever have heard it. How cool do you feel right now?

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Empire of the Sun – Walking On a Dream (Bit Rate remix)