scrapes and capers through dance music history

i really splashed out last week – i’ve been commenting of late on the fact that i don’t spend money on cds like i used to. a) because the price has generally come down, and b) because i’m always keen to find a bargain. one collection jumped out at me however, and i was more than happy to shell out €20 for it.


this compilation brings together a host of tracks from the famed junior boy’s own stable. it’s a really british label, and so it’s a really british compilation. i don’t mean that in a bad way whatsoever. some of (if not) the best people in british dance music history feature on this comp – underworld, the chemical brothers, pete heller, and of course, the granddaddy of british techno, andrew weatherall. you’ve also got acts like the happy mondays and primal scream, proving that the whole dance/rock crossover is nothing new, and it was far better before the days of ironic indie boys and pointy haircuts.

i was but a nipper when most of these tracks came out, and a lot of them are completely new to me. i know the whole nostalgia thing is completely clichéd and this release could well be seen as just a cash-in for the label big-wigs, but for me it’s a delight to get a chance to listen to this collection right now, at a time when the electronic spectrum seems completely caught between two generations, neither of which is keen to budge.

this is reflected by the recent appearance of an article on resident advisor article titled “the esoteric art of the opening dj” – an article which has provoked discussion on all of the major dance forums i frequent. everyone seems to agree that warming up is an essential part of a given night and that lashing out anthems as soon as the door is open just doesn’t work – so why do people still do it? one theory i have is that a lot of people who are trying to get into the dj world right now just don’t know their history, or, if they do, they don’t respect it. dance music hasn’t been around that long, and at the moment everyone seems far too concerned with having something brand new and fresh, rather than just playing good music, irrespective of age. this is compounded by the fact that, in today’s climate, something from way back in 2007 will sound ugly and dated, while something from the mid to late 90s will still fit into any set with relative ease.

as in my last post, i seem to be coming off all cantankerous, which is silly. i’m 24. i just see a whole load of problems in this scene, and even thinking about trying to reconcile urgency with respect and reverence with excitement clearly causes a major headache. to return to what started this whole tgv of thought, releases like this seem to serve two distinct purposes: to remind people of the so-called classics, or to introduce young’uns like myself to tracks they should really know already. if there was any justice in the world it’d fly off the shelves and onto the ipods of every budding dj out there. i guess you can’t have everything.

Happy Mondays – Hallelujah (Club Mix)
Sunscreem – Perfect Motion (Boys Own Mix)
Pete Heller – Big Love (Eat Me Edit)


5 responses to “scrapes and capers through dance music history

  1. masonic boom

    Why the crap opening DJs? Because of stupid young men who care more about gratifying their own egos than actually LOVING music, researching it, exploring it, sharing it.

    Ah, this is a v. thought-provoking and good post and there’s a lot I would like to say, but I’m trying to concentrate only on positivity this week. 😉

    • you’re absolutely right – if i’d been allowed play out when i was even a few years younger who’s to say i wouldn’t have been the same. and i don’t want to come across like i’m the perfect warmup dj or anything!

      but as someone said on RA, maybe it’s not ego but massive insecurity – if i don’t play bangers people won’t like me – either way it certainly questions your “djing is easy” argument – if it was easy people wouldn’t be making this complaint 😉

  2. masonic boom

    But my “DJing is easy” assertion is about the technical motor skills required to put a record on followed by another one.

    Which is what people seem to make all the fuss about – totally disregarding what *actually* makes DJing complex – which is (to quote my blog) a fairly deep level of knowledge about (and just plain love of & curiosity about) music, a passing understanding of crowd dynamics, a sense of timing and mood – and – depending on the type of music you play – technical skills to transition smoothly between songs.

    The whole thrust of my “DJing is easy” challops is that people pay attention to completely the wrong things, and disregard exactly what it is that makes it special.

  3. now that i cannot disagree with at all. a passing glance shows that our hymn sheets are indeed quite similar.


  4. Pingback: tuesday tunes « haido

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