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Alt 16.11.2004, 10:40   #1
Hardcore Head
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Registriert seit: 15.01.2004
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bored of the dance - artikel im Guardian

leider erstmal nur auf englisch, ich übersetz den aber noch (wenn ich zeit hab, sprich: nach feierabend) für diejenigen, die dessen nich so mächtig sind...
was denkt ihr drüber, besonders im dnb-bereich? das soll jetzt nicht wieder die ewige "dnb ist tot"-diskussion lostreten...

Bored of the dance

For most of the 90s Alexis Petridis - and a whole generation - thought that dance music could change the world. But then came superclubs, superstar DJs and rampant commercialism. Now, as even the staid old Brit Awards turn their back on the genre, he laments the passing of the most exciting musical movement in decades

'In the early 90s, clubbing seemed like an entrance to a hip secret society... by the millennium it had become the realm of huge multinational corporations and sponsorship deals. It's hard to believe you are taking part in a countercultural happening when it is sponsored by Paco Rabanne and broadcast live on the BBC.' Photo: AP

It is hard to know precisely what is signified by yesterday's announcement from the British Phonographic Industry that the Brit Awards is to axe its gong for Best Dance Act, and replace it with a new Best Live Act category. "The Brits committee decided that dance music is no longer where it's happening in music," offered a spokesman. "That scene is returning to its underground roots. The award was no longer right for a mass television audience."
On the one hand, it is hard to get too worked up about the news. This is, after all, the Brit Awards we're talking about, a reliably dreary bit of early evening ITV light entertainment, naff enough to have employed a spokesman who speaks like a presenter from the Six-Five Special. Anyone truly interested in "where it's happening in music" will already be careful to give the Brits themselves a wide berth, in much the same way that anyone keen to explore the sociological intricacies of human sexuality is advised to steer clear of Davina McCall's Love on a Saturday Night.
But the Brits announcement has not come in isolation; it follows the collapse in the last two years of three dance music magazines (Muzik, Ministry and Jockey Slut), the news that London superclub Ministry of Sound's revenues have fallen by more than a third since 2001, and, most recently, the commercial failure of the latest albums from Britain's two biggest dance acts, Fatboy Slim and the Prodigy. Fatboy Slim's 1998 album You've Come a Long Way Baby, sold a total of 5m copies around the world; his latest, Palookaville, dropped out of the top 75 after only three weeks. Dance music has been sickly and twitching for some years; the fact that even an institution as terminally unhip as the Brits thinks it's over, however, sounds like the final nail being banged into the coffin of what was once the most important and exciting musical genre-cum-youth movement in the world.
It is easy to forget just how important and exciting dance music seemed during its heyday. These days, people write books and make films about how the mid-90s were the sole domain of guitar-fuelled Britpop. But during exactly the same period, clubs, drugs and house music were such big business that they were widely assumed to have changed British youth's leisure habits for ever. At a conservative estimate, in the mid-90s half a million people were taking ecstasy every weekend. Virtually every town, however small or provincial, could boast its own house or techno night. A 1996 copy of dance magazine Mixmag, selected at random, lists clubs in Stamford, Ilkeston, Todmorden. There is the irresistible promise of a "two rooms of frenzied action at a glamorous location in Yarm". There are rumours of a Gloucestershire-based house night called the Ministry of Stroud.
I know, because I went to most of them. I worked at Mixmag for five years, a die-hard indie fan who had a Damascene conversion at the age of 20 in the unlikely setting of a rave on Margate pier. I have subsequently wondered to what extent my conversion was influenced by the music played that night (the rave's headline act was the Ratpack, an unsurprisingly forgotten duo whose big number was a rave cover of a Suzanne Vega song, except with lyrics about dope), and how far it was influenced by a university acquaintance with slightly shady friends and access to a particularly potent form of ecstasy called Rhubarb and Custard. At the time, however, it didn't matter either way: I was sold. I left the Margate rave confident in the belief that I would not be going to see Suede live again. Dance music was the future.
The conviction lasted almost a decade. When I left university, I didn't want to write for the NME or Melody Maker. I wanted to write for Mixmag. The Blur and Oasis war may have been raging, but, like virtually everyone else who worked for the magazine, I was confident they were a passing fad. Who would want to listen to people copying the Beatles and the Kinks when there were electronic artists such as The Orb, Underworld, the Aphex Twin and the Chemical Brothers reaching the top 10 with albums that fearlessly pushed the sonic envelope? When I wasn't going to clubs in Coalville or Burnley, or telling people that the techno duo Orbital were the best live band in Britain, I was frequently to be found nodding with furrowed brow while the new "superstar DJs" defended their right to earn thousands of pounds a night playing records.
The most famous defence came from the most famous DJ, Paul Oakenfold. "Whether it's raising my hands or pointing to someone in the crowd and smiling, it means the world. I am an entertainer. I am a professional," he offered, with the sort of high seriousness that comes when raising your hands can earn you £750,000 a year. In 2004, it is hard to imagine anybody greeting Oakenfold's remarks - or indeed even the phrase "superstar DJ" - with a straight face. Most of the clubs have vanished, and the electronic artists who were supposed to be the future of music have either split up or vastly slimmed down their commercial reach. Whenever I talk about the 90s dance scene, I frequently feel as if I am discussing something impossibly arcane, unfathomable to the average 18-year-old music fan today.
The question of how things changed so swiftly and so dramatically is an intriguing one. Part of the problem, whatever anybody claims, was that the dance scene was entirely bound up with drugs. That meant that it had a short shelf-life for most participants: you simply can't keep taking ecstasy every weekend for more than a few years, and when the shine comes off the ecstasy experience, then the shine invariably comes off dance music as well. That wasn't a problem, as long as there was a high turnover of new initiates, all figuratively staggering out of Margate pier at six in the morning, convinced they had just discovered the future of music. But at some point around the millennium, that simply stopped happening.
At least one reason is straightforward: clubbing lost its all-important cachet of cool. In the early 90s, clubbing seemed like an entrance to a hip secret society. Britpop's musical retrospection gave it cross-generational appeal - dads liked Oasis too - but dance music had the parent-alienating folk-devil edge of punk or psychedelia: tabloid headlines about drug epidemics, the criminal justice bill, which famously legislated against "music primarily categorised by repetitive beats". It also boasted an appealingly mod-like attention to clothing: in the mid-90s, Mixmag even had its own fashion editor.
But both dance music's outlaw appeal and any sense of sartorial elegance had evaporated by the decade's close. As befitted a youth movement that had been born and flourished under Thatcherism, dance music had always been marked by a sharp entrepreneurial spirit: unlike punk or psychedelia, there was never much talk of "selling out" in clubland. The result was that by the millennium it had become the realm of huge multinational corporations and sponsorship deals. But it's hard to believe you are taking part in a countercultural happening when it is sponsored by Paco Rabanne and broadcast live on the BBC.
The "superclubs", meanwhile, which developed from dance nights into brand names, became trapped between the brazen pursuit of cash and the attempt to maintain some credibility, with predictably disastrous results. The Ministry of Sound club, for instance, launched a clothing range only to announce that anyone wearing it would not pass the dress code at the club itself. Most of the big 90s dance acts eventually reacted against such rampant commercialism, producing albums aimed not at mass audiences, but at a tiny clique of underground fans. Accordingly, they would not trouble the top 10 again.
If, like me, you had invested a vast amount of time and energy in the rather idealistic belief that dance music was going to change the world, this sort of thing was a crushing disappointment. It served to turn people who had loved dance music even further away from the culture.
The longest lingering big fashion movement in club culture was the cyber-kids, who congregated around Sheffield club Gatecrasher. Their look seemed to involve adopting every daft passing fad that had ever taken hold on a dancefloor at once: they wore fluorescent clothes and face paint, sprayed their hair with garish crazy colour, sucked children's dummies, carried cuddly toys. Gatecrasher's management eventually attempted to stop them coming to the club, but the damage was done. For your average 16-year-old, the choice was fairly stark: you could either dress like a rapper or one of the Strokes and be in with a chance with the opposite sex, or you could dress like an imbecile and go clubbing.
The Brits' organisers clearly have a point - two years ago, they were reduced to giving the Best Dance Act Brit to pop trio Sugababes - and yet it would be foolish to write dance music off entirely in 2004. The sense of it as an important youth movement has vanished, possibly for ever, but the music itself is not dead, merely polarised. Innovative dance music is still being made, but it exists almost entirely out of the realm of the charts: for all its ground-breaking brilliance, there have been few takers among the mainstream record-buyers for the new, deliberately abstruse, genre of "grime". Meanwhile, the dance music that sells in any quantity is just hopeless. A house track by Eric Prydz has just spent weeks at number one with the lowest ever sales, but the record's success is probably due to its implausibly embarrassing video, and was mocked as the naffest number one ever by no less an authority than the Sun.
Until dance music finds the middle ground, the point where innovation and excitement meets commercial appeal, the 90s dance scene is likely to remain an oddly arcane memory.

Alexis Petridis
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Alt 16.11.2004, 12:33   #2
Hardcore Head
Registriert seit: 20.01.2002
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Zitat von soundsurfer
Whenever I talk about the 90s dance scene, I frequently feel as if I am discussing something impossibly arcane, unfathomable to the average 18-year-old music fan today.
Oh ja, HipHop/R&B und dieses lustige Retrorocknewwave Schrottigen Garagenband sind ja auch sooooooooooooo unglaublich neu in dem was sie machen.

Die Leute wollen lieber was einfaches hören als immer nur BoomBoomtschakboomboom.
"Ich distanzier mich von allem, was JVXP jemals geschrieben hat. :)"
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Alt 16.11.2004, 12:42   #3
Man on a Mission
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Hmm, das meiste darin stimmt schon. Wenn aber jmd. von den "Superstarts" ein schlechtes Album abliefert dann ist doch klar dass das keiner kauft oder ?
Und das mit dem E's nehmen ist doch auch klar. Allerdings finde ich Tanzmusik noch immer gut. Naja, Mainstreampresse halt ohne in den Hintergrund zu gucken.
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Alt 16.11.2004, 13:14   #4
Hardcore Head
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naja, was heisst mainstreampresse, der mann hat ja für mixmag geschrieben...obwohl, man könnte das ja auch als dance-mainstream zählen, zumindest in mancherlei hinsicht (scooter mögen sie auch nich).
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Alt 16.11.2004, 14:16   #5
Silver Head
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"mainstreampresse" is meistens immer noch besser als "undergroundpresse" - da arbeiten auch die besseren leute!
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