Thursday, December 15, 2005

Is Dance Music going back to the Underground?


A recent article in Urb Magazine quoted North American House DJ Kaskade as saying "It seems everything related with dance music is becoming not cool. Let it go underground again. That's fine, that's why we got into it in the first place."

It is sad to think with unbelievable proliferation of dance and electronic music on the Internet and large cities that the music form is going back underground. But in a way, it could be a blessing for the music format that once fueled a generation of youth looking for a counterculture other than punk.

Logging onto the Internet, music is now an on-demand business. Everyone from Yahoo! to Apple offer a plethora of cheap music for download or for Internet radio listening. Can it be that with a world glutted with too much music, that somewhere the essence of dance music is being lost to corporate cut rate music hocking?

Dvorak once said in an interview that he wants people to listen to less music. Music, he thought, became paltry and meaningless when people gorged themselves on it. He would gasp to think the absolute flood of music that constantly bombards our ears in contemporary society. From malls to cars, cell phone ring tones to MP3 players touting thousand-song capacity. There is no time when we can escape the cacophony of sound that plagues us.

So fine I say. If dance music wants to tuck itself back into a world of back-alley warehouse raves and grassroots DJ's, I welcome it also. There was a period where one could not escape dance music in commercials for cell phones, beer, and clothing. Now the time of dance-music related exploitation is subsiding. Kylie Manogue is busy recovering from cancer. Moby's hasn't licensed every single track from his new album to advertisers, yet.

The question is what form will dance and electronic music evolve into if it recoils from the trend-consuming voraciousness of mainstream music? Will it further develop as a form of urban expression, the way hip-hop used to before they became as mainstream as McDonald's? Will the music form flourish in an inter-continental sense- given its world-wide appeal, and barrier breaking beats and melodies? Will it return to its origins of raves, psychedelics and social rebellion?

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