Taking a break from my regular ‘news scrapbook’ approach to blogging, this month I’ve set up my own Soundcloud page, had a long and hard think about the state of the music industry and decided that someone needs to invent a new sub-genre of dance music!
Minimal got boring a long time ago although DJ’s like Richie Hawtin have made techno a lot more creative and exciting with the use of Serato Scratch and Abelton Live. I also like his new Traktor/Twitter app…although I’m sure it’ll only be used (and abused!) by the hardcore tune train spotters amongst us. I’m all for making the clubbing experience a lot more interactive and always welcome new technological advancements but for me, the best club nights have always been those that have taken it back to basics – the warehouse experience with real underground grooves and real people! A minimal approach with maximal music if you know what I mean? I just hope to god this new app doesn’t make techno-heads even nerdier by prompting them to check their iPhone every ten seconds….
Nevertheless, no matter what the general clubbing public might think, from an artist’s point of view, the real potential with this app comes to light when thinking about the benefits for performing rights societies – a recent quote highlighting this:
“By providing the necessary information to track what is really being played in clubs, the Twitter DJ application would not only drag the likes of GEMA, PRS and SOCAN kicking and screaming into the 21st century, but make sure the real artists get paid instead of performance payments simply being carved up between the Madonnas and U2s of the world. If record sales are slowing down and performance is now the key area where artists can achieve financial stability, better solutions need to be found and a workable structure put in place as soon as possible. We hope that our Twitter DJ application is a step forward in the development of these types of systems.“
But is this just another example of Richie Hawtin taking things too far? This is an amusing read:
Anyway, I divert..where was I?
Drum and Bass is way too over-produced these days and House hasn’t really changed that much since the late nineties! Have a listen to this old school house mix by Alison Marks:
And this new-school tech-house mix from Layo & Bushwacka:
Both good mixes but I personally prefer the production of the older house and techno records made from 1995-2005 in Alison’s mix. Horses for courses…
It’s all about Dubstep for me at the moment and the continuation of fusion principles in dance music. I’d personally love to see a comeback for live dance music in taking the old trip hop formula started by bands like Massive Attack, Tricky, Underworld and Gus Gus one step further into the dubstep field – but I’m not sure it’ll happen that soon. One band doing that really well at the moment is Little Dragon from Sweden, and producers like Matthew Dear… now all somebody needs to do is start using dubstep rhythms and basslines with vocals and live instruments and they’re onto a winner! A gap in the market I hear you say?
Here are some of my favourite dubstep producers and labels at the moment:
Sub FM Dubstep Radio Station
Which leads me onto the state of the music industry in general..
It’s all in a bit of mess really isn’t it? It’s actually a very strange and dis-illusioning time to be an artist right now. While on the one hand, there are some truly talented acts producing some ground breaking music, because of the global recession and the steady incline in online music piracy, record companies have restricted budgets to take risks on these acts for fear of bankruptcy, leaving the mass public tortured by the majority of unimaginative over-marketed shite coming out on ‘the big four.’ It really is a depressing state of affairs…to be honest, I can only see it getting worse but we are right in the middle of a transitional period in ‘industry workings’ so I’m sure it’ll soon get exciting for everyone again and more power will continue to be given to the artist.
I’m actually really looking forward to the eventual demise of labels and high-street music retailers. In the near future, it’ll be interesting and much easier to be able to download music onto your PDA (next progression for Mr Hawtin?) as well as the further development of social networking in spreading word of mouth and paying a monthly surcharge on your cable bill to download as much music as you want. This obviously won’t be good for independent labels but they’ll start to operate more as agents or managers, earning their profits from licensing, touring and merchandise. Labels might ultimately become a lot more like film companies and the way they operate...they'll start to sign artists more as business partners rather than loan sharks and the inner workings and processes will be far more straight forward hopefully!
Other original new electronic soul/dance/pop music I’ve been listening to this month worth checking out:
Charles Stuart - original and quirky electronic soul/pop/blues
Tosca - chill-out/trip hop which reminds me of a cross between Nightmares On Wax and Pink Floyd
Finn Peters - modern, cutting-edge flautist
Ari Rose - smooth Aussie soul/reggae
Sound Captives - psychedelic/soul/indie/chill-out
Morgan Geist - electronic pop
Fink - folk/acoustic/soul produced by Andy Barlow from Lamb
Also, please take a listen to a friend of mine Hayley’s new tunes under the guise of Electric Soul Sounds: