Dance music

Enveloping Insanity – Hard Hop Tricked Out

Posted on 29 January, 2009. Filed under: beats, Breakbeat, breakbeat hardcore, breaks, broken beat, Dance music, Electronic Music, Hardcore, Music, rave, rave music, Techno |

I was lieing in bed, listening to my iRiver, one of my favourite songs came on and I just HAD to get up and post about it.

I think I’ve written about this song/style before – if I haven’t, I’ve most certainly meant to!

If you like heavy, broken beats, the feeling of utterly absorbing insanity but with a driving rhythm, you NEED the Wizard of Oh’s mix of  Bronco by Tanith.

If you like Tipper (his old rave-ey stuff) you’ll LARV this.

I start listening to this song and the rhythm just gets me straight away. Then there’s a couple of synthy space sounds, the vocal sample and then… *shudder* the deep crumply whiney run and then… *holds breath* the drop in to the main body of the song.

The sound literally pours in to your ears, runs down the back of your throat, down your spine and makes the hair on your arms and legs stand on end.

I’m going to have to post about this style (and this specific album) again soon.
Though right now I’m going to get back in bed, let my eyes water and roll with it.

Track details: Tanith – Bronco (Wizard of Oh Mix)

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Dance the new Pop?

Posted on 26 January, 2009. Filed under: Dance music, DnB, Drum&Bass, Drum'n'Bass, Electro, Electronic Music, Electronic Music Artists / DJs, Electronic Music Genres, electropop, Music, Music Genre, synthpop |

Today I listened to Triple J’s Hottest 100 – basically an Australian radio show where they play the top 10 “alternative”  songs of the previous year as voted by the public.

Previously, the top 100 was predominately rock and alternative – it was the staple alternative to mainstream commercial radio.

This year, not only were a large number of songs in the top 100 pop, but a large portion of them were electropop or some variation of electro/hip-hop.

For examply, artists that featured (sometimes multiple times) in the top 25 included Cut Copy (electropop), The Presets (technopop), Pnau (electronic/pop), The Herd (electro/hip hop).

Why does there appear to be such an increase in the mainstream/commercial appearance of electronic artists? Have artists like Pendulum and Fat Boy Slim crossed a divide?

Or has the separation between the worlds of commercial and electronic music just been a figment of my imagination? Maybe I’m harboring some sort of elitist ideals when it comes to electronic music and the commercial tainting of it.

Hmmmm – maybe I need to work on that…

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Dance Music Streams

Posted on 17 August, 2008. Filed under: beats, Breakbeat, breaks, chillout, Dance music, Disco, DJ, DnB, Drum&Bass, Drum'n'Bass, Electro, Electro House, Electronic Music, Electronic Music Artists / DJs, Electronic Music Genres, eurodance, funky house, Goa, Goa trance, Hardcore, hardcore music, hardcore techno, Hardstyle, House, house music, lounge, minimal, minimal electronica, minimal house, Music, Music Genre, progressive, Progressive House, Psychedelic trance, psytrance, Trance, tribal house, Uncategorized, vocal trance |

Listening to radio streams of the latest music is a great way to discover new songs and artists. Unfortunately, it can sometimes be a little difficult to figure out the name of a song in a big stream, particularly when there is no compere involved.

Well, to solve that problem, I recently came across a site that streams radio stations from around the world AND provides a full listing of all the tracks – it’s called 3FL Radio.

The section I am most interested in at the moment is the list of Digitally Imported streams. Digitally Imported is a site that streams electronic dance radio music from around the world. It has different streams for different styles, which makes it great for both getting to know a style and for listening to what’s currently happening with a particular style. Some of their streams include:

  • Breaks
  • Chillout
  • DJ Mixes
  • Drum and Bass
  • Electro House
  • Eurodance
  • Funky House
  • Goa Psy Trance
  • Hardcore
  • Hard Dance
  • Hardstyle
  • House
  • Lounge
  • Minimal
  • Progressive
  • Trance
  • Tribal House
  • Vocal Trance
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Music in Movies not on the Soundtrack (or “gaaaaah!”)

Posted on 17 August, 2008. Filed under: Dance music, dark electro, Electro, Electronic Music, Electronic Music Artists / DJs, Music, rave, Techno |

Don’t you HATE it when you’re watching a movie, you hear this awesome piece of music in the background of a scene, you start hyperventalating (cause it’s just so awesome), you immediately go and find the soundtrack to the movie, only to find the pièce de résistance of the whole soundtrack isn’t there?! Well, all I can say is “THANK GOODNESS FOR THE INTERNET”!

A couple of weeks ago I went and saw the new Batman movie – The Dark Knight. About half way through is a scene in a nightclub with some awesome dark electronic song in the background (total goosebump moment). Anyway, having learnt from my mistakes, I went straight to the internet and did a search for “club scene song Dark Knight Batman” and voila! Some gorgeous person had already discovered what it was and posted about it!

Finding a song you’ve been searching for for ages can be one of the most rewarding experiences – the moment the download clicks over to 100% and the sound of the song you’ve dedicated hours to searching for starts flowing through your speakers can be quite a tear-jerker (for this girl, anyway).

Fortunately, with the internet, we can start to benefit from other peoples tireless searches, and reap the benefits more quickly. Next time you get stuck on a song you’ve heard randomly in the background of a movie, have a quick squiz at ReelSoundtrack.com or google-it.

Track details: Boom Boom Satellites – Scatterin’ Monkey
Boom Boom Satellites – A Moment of Silence

If you like that, try: Crystal Method – Trip Like I Do

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Educational Remix

Posted on 13 May, 2008. Filed under: chillout, Dance music, dub, Dubstep, Electro, Electronic Music, Electronic Music Genres, hard trance, house music, Music, Music Genre, rave, remix, Techno, Trance, Uncategorized |

Understanding the unique components of a style of electronic or dance music can be pretty hard, especially if you aren’t familiar with many (or any) other styles of electronic music.

For me, one of the easiest ways to figure out what makes a particular style is by comparison. I listen to a song I know well (particularly something not electronic or dancey) then listen to a remixed version of it.

For example, one non-dance song I was really into in the mid-90’s was a song by Arkarna, called ‘The Future’s Overrated’. Due to my lack of fundage at the time, all I could afford was the single. A few singles of this song came out, each with a few different remixes – my favourite being Amethyst’s Past, Present and Future Mix.

Around this time, I wasn’t particularly familiar with many styles of electronic music. I knew basic tech and listened to the more commercial stuff like Snap, C&C Music Factory, The Prodigy etc etc. I hadn’t come across much progressive electro trance stuff. This remix was a great intro. It helped pique my interest in those styles and was the start of my journey in to chill-out and trance.

Knowing the original version helped highlight the slower, more atmospheric sound of trance, as well as the synthetic beat/tune sounds and resonating, floatey vocals. *sigh* Beeeeyaddaful…

Track details: Arkarna – The Future’s Overrated (Amethyst’s Past, Present and Future Mix)

Also have a listen to:
Justin Timberlake – My Love (RYF Dubstep Remix)
Beverly Hills Cop – Axel F (Hard Trance Remix)

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Conversion through Remix

Posted on 13 May, 2008. Filed under: beats, Dance music, Disco, disco house, Electronic Music, Garage, House, house music, Music, remix, speed garage, UK Garage, Uncategorized |

One way alot of people seem to get in to electronic music is through hearing dance remixes of songs they already like. I remember aaaages ago when Shanks and Bigfoot brought out their infamous ‘Sweet Like Chocolate’. One of my friends had bought the single and had it at a party.

Ofcourse, Track 1 got played over and over (insanity of youth, I know), but at one stage someone let the CD keep playing and all the remix versions started up. It was great. At this stage in life, not alot of my friends were familiar with dance music, and some found it a little intimidating. As far as they were aware, dance music was just loud doof-doof, whistles and disconcerting chipmunk-sounding vocals. 

It was this sort of remix that moved dance music in to their (and my) domain, and allowed them to get to know (and in most cases, love) the different styles of it. Remixes gave them the music they already loved, recognised and felt comfortable with. They didn’t have to move completely out of their comfort zone to get a little taste.

So next time you come across someone who would really benefit from getting to know a particular style, but they’re having trouble seeing the light, maybe work them around with a couple of remixes. It’s worked for me.

Track details: Shanks & Bigfoot– Sweet Like Chocolate (Ruff Driverz Vocal)

If you like that, have a listen to: Ruff Driverz – Shame

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What is dubstep?

Posted on 20 February, 2008. Filed under: ambient dub, chillout, Dance music, dub, dub techno, Dubstep, Electronic Music, Music, Music Genre, sub dub, UK Garage | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , |

Last year I came across some music that quite caught my fancy. I’m not sure if it was the smooth hypnotic feel it gave me or the waves of bass, but I LIKED IT! It had the smooth, sustained feeling of dub-ey reggae but with bass lines that couldn’t help but evoke  a little movement of the hips.  The sound was Dubstep… makes sense really.

Dub is a form of Jamaican music, which evolved out of reggae in 1960s Jamaica. The dub sound is usually accomplished by removing the vocals from an existing music piece, and adding extensive echo and reverb effects, and occasional snippets of lyrics from the original version.

Dubstep is a genre of electronic music which has its roots in London’s early 2000s UK garage scene. The genre’s name was coined by Ammunition Promotions. Musically, dubstep is distinguished by its dark mood, sparse rhythms, and emphasis on bass. In late 2005 and early 2006, dubstep steadily became more popular, expanding beyond small, local scenes thanks to coverage in music magazines such as The Wire, as well as the internet. Interest in dubstep grew after BBC Radio 1 DJ Mary Anne Hobbs began championing the genre, devoting a show to it, entitled “Dubstep Warz”, in January 2006. By October 2006, the genre was being covered by the Daily Telegraph, which wrote of “the latest development in British dance music… yet another sound stemming from London’s garage scene, a bass-heavy instrumental form rather confusingly known as Dubstep.”

Big thanks must go to radio program RTR FM, Underground Solution. Without shows like this we wouldn’t have exposure to so many awesome and ear-opening sounds. It’s programs and radio stations like these that make for a richer, more rounded community.

In general, these ‘alternative’ radio DJ jobs can probably seem a little thankless, so THANK YOU to all those guys who sit behind a mic, in often cold and empty radio studios, at excessively random hours of the night, talking to no-one yet sharing their fantastic love with so many people.

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My ‘Simian Mobile Disco’ flashback

Posted on 22 May, 2007. Filed under: Dance music, Disco, DJ, Electro, electro funk, Electronic Music, electropop, Music | Tags: , , |

Has anyone else born in the late ’70s-early 80s experienced random flashback feelings while listening to any of the new stuff by Simian Mobile Disco? Particularly stuff from their “Attack Decay Sustain Release” album?

A few days ago I heard “I Believe” on the radio. I felt like I was listening to Heaven 17 mixed with Kajagoogoo, with a slightly more dancey feel. I suddenly had flashbacks of sitting in the back of my parent’s car with my white Sony walkman (I was so freakin’ cool), clicking STOP, REWIND, PLAY over and over again just so I could listen to my favourite song at the time repeatedly (this was before I learnt how to record the same song over and over again on to one tape).

Yesterday I was driving along, had the radio going (forgot to put CDs back in after cleaning it out) and next thing I know… “down down baby down down the rollercoaster sweet sweet baby I’ll never let you go…!” I remember playing that game in primary school! It was so cool.

Anyway, talk about retro revival! It was like this group was playing out my childhood. This album definately had their target audience in mind. I’d be interested to see the demographics of people who buy this album.

Grandma grandma, sick in bed! Called the doctor and the doctor said!
Let’s get the rhythm of the head Ding-Dong! Let’s get the rhythm of the head Ding-Dong!
Let’s get the rhythm of the hands Clap-Clap! Let’s get the rhythm of the hands Clap-Clap!
Let’s get the rhythm of the feet Stamp-Stamp! Let’s get the rhythm of the feet Stamp-Stamp!
Let’s get the rhythm of the Hoootdog! Let’s get the rhythm of the Hoootdog!
Put ’em all together and what do you get?!?!

DING-DONG CLAP-CLAP STAMP-STAMP HOOOT-DOG!

Track details: Simian Mobile Disco – I Believe
Simian Mobile Disco – Hotdog

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The GodMOTHER of drum & bass?

Posted on 22 May, 2007. Filed under: beats, Breakbeat, breaks, Dance music, DJ, DnB, Drum'n'Bass, Electronic Music, Electronic Music Artists / DJs, Electronic Music Genres, Electronica, Hardcore, jungle, Music, Techno | Tags: , , , , , , , , , |

You know, the more you delve in to the history of different electronic genres, the more suprises you’re likely to find. I love it!

As with most things, electronic music genres are dominated by male artists. I can think of only 4 female’s right off the top of my head, and only 1 of those is probably known throughout the majority of dance music circles (excluding hip hop, rap etc, not that I’d class those as dance).

But I would just like to make special mention here of one. One that has had much more of an impact on electronic music (particularly jungle, drum’n’bass, breaks) than most realise.

The thing with DJs is that they can be hard to keep track of. Particularly in jungle and drum’n’bass, few DJs use their real names. And if they happen to partner up with someone else or enter a new genre, they’ll use a new name (check out the AKA’s for Roni Size and Dillinja, for example).

ANYWAY! The person I want to mention is none other than DJ Rap (aka. Charissa Saverio). If I could be anyone, this is who I’d pick.DJ Rap
Not only is she beautiful (so much so she was approached by CK), but she’s also a fantastic muso, is quite intelligent (almost became a lawyer) AND can sing!

Under her own name (well, the DJ Rap name) she’s produced lots of fantastic music. But under OTHER names, she has produced some tunes that have come to represent a genre and an era.

Anyone who’s had any contact with jungle or oldskool will recognise the tune ‘Spiritual Aura’ (if the name doesn’t ring a bell, the tune certainly will). Remember ‘Tibetan Jungle’? ‘Digable Bass’?

All of these songs are seminal works within their genre, all produced under DJ Rap or the artist name of Engineers Without Fears, of which DJ Rap was half of.

Who was the other half? Well, it was another top talent in their field, Aston Harvey (half of what is otherwise known as The Freestylers).

So next time you’re listening to a track, and something about it reminds you of some other artist, take a squiz at who actually wrote it, and you might just discover yet another alter ego for your hero.

Track Details: Engineers without Fears – Spiritual Aura

If you like that, have a listen to: DJ Rap – Tibetan Jungle
Also try: DJ Rap – Good to be Alive

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Intelligent Dance Music?

Posted on 17 May, 2007. Filed under: braindance, Dance music, DJ, Electro, Electronic art music, Electronic Music, Electronic Music Artists / DJs, Electronic Music Genres, Electronica, experimental, glitch, IDM, intelligent dance music, minimal, Music, Music Genre, Techno | Tags: , , , , , |

Who coined the term “Intelligent Dance Music”?
(sidenote: and what do coins have to do with words?!)

Personally, I think it’s a bit of a misrepresentation of the style.

“Intelligent dance music (commonly known as IDM) is a genre of electronic music derived from dance music of the 1980s and early 1990s which puts an emphasis on novel processing and sequencing. Music referred to as IDM is generally abstract, and may range from soft ambient textures to more abrasive noise.”

What is the “intelligent” part referring to? I’ve seen one definition of it saying that it’s music that moves not only the body, but the mind too. I’ve also read within a sentence of that quote that IDM is “typically, very difficult to dance to”. So it doesn’t move the body, but it does the mind?

This style of music is often very difficult to process by mainstream listeners. I know the first time I heard Aphex Twin, I was kinda freaked out. And Bjork (both of whom were once or are placed within the genre of IDM).

Actually, I think I just answered my own question.
If we look back over the artists who were placed within the IDM genre, you see that alot of them pioneered new styles and/or techniques in the electronic field.

Also, the term ‘mainstream’ usually refers to something that appeals to the lowest common social denominator, so it makes sense that ‘mainstream’ listeners would find it difficult to listen to.

I liked this quote…

“A loaded term meant to distinguish electronic music of the ’90s and later that’s equally comfortable on the dancefloor as in the living room, IDM (Intelligent Dance Music) eventually acquired a good deal of negative publicity, not least among the legion of dance producers and fans whose exclusion from the community prompted the question of whether they produced stupid dance music.” — All Music Guide

Alot of the IDM I’ve heard over time has been quite ‘avant-garde’ – something new and a little… out there? Maybe the original IDM-ers used the term IDM as a protection when first releasing their music to the electronic massive.

“Man, that’s some warped, mixed up sheet right there.”
“Nah man, that’s Intelligent Dance Music.”
“Oh, then that was well wikkid brah!”

“As the idiom developed, the music became more and more about the novelty of certain sounds and treatments, ridiculously trivial aspects like tempo and choice of samples, and the public personae of the makers. It became a race to novelty. I find that kind of evolution beneath triviality. It is a decorative, not substantive, evolution.” — Journalist and Electrical Audio recording engineer Steve Albini

IDM has also been referred to as “Braindance”, and I think that kind of fits the style more. Or maybe “Brainseizure”.

But then again, it could just all be down to marketing.

“I hate IDM and its elitist champions. It makes the music sound so much more than it actually is. It’s a label invented by PR companies who need catchphrases. I like sounds, but hate what people attach to sounds.” — Kid 606

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