So I'm trying to check out FACT mag's "Sentimental Things: The Story of UK Dance Music from 2000-2009 in 100 Records" feature series, curiosity piqued by the way it's framed in the intro blurb, as an attempt to:
"document a decade that not only won’t be repeated, but arguably... witnesses the hardcore continuum – that
lineage of UK dance music that charts hardcore’s transition to jungle,
to garage, to grime and dubstep and so on, as advocated by writers like
Simon Reynolds – dissolving into something else entirely"....
That something else entirely being related to "the transition from the club... and... pirate radio... to the internet as dance music’s key hub –
the arena where new scenes were incubated and future classics first
But every time I click on a year - 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005-- I end up with:
Error 404 - Page Not Found
Tempting to find something symbolic in that glitch void! An inadvertent allusion to historical consciousness being eroded by the lateral logic of netspace.
The blurb, again:
"For better or worse
though, the dim room that most people are discovering dance records from
in 2013 is lit by the cold glow of a Macbook rather than Plastic
People’s little red light"
Hope that glitch gets fixed quick because I would to check with my own ears if there is an audible difference in the music as analogue mediation gets steadily more displaced by digital dissemination during the course of the 2000s.
"Glutted, clotted" is one syndrome I've observed, obviously. While the clottage can be attributed to the superpowers of the software involving in the music's making, the gluttage clearly has something to do with the post-historical/post-geographical overload: the interior swarm of influences and inputs that creatives now must contend with and attempt to thrive within. (Although not dance music as such, this is very audible in the New UK Underground proselytized for here by Adam Harper, "post-noise" whose imploded genre-morphing seems to take off from "Preyouandi" and Cosmogramma more than Sheer Hellish Miasma and Burned Mind)
But I wonder (in light of FACTblurb's "cold glow" versus basement-red light-feeling contrast) whether there we willll be able to detect an audible depletion of an aura of sociality in UKdance, a sense that it's made for solitary ears rather than for a crowd-body whose Pavlovian reflexes respond to certain triggers and structures.... that it becomes steadily less about stoking a collective vibe and more about stroking the individual cerebellum. Tickling the intellect of the homebound or the in-transit earbudded unbody.
Certainly it's noticeable that in most dance writing today there's little reference to, well, dancing.... almost no emphasis on the scene, crowd behaviour, participant-observer stuff.
Instead its primary mode is taxonomy, the tracking of genre-ological evolution and mutation, etc.
Which is to say, monitoring flows of information... remote encounters between genres and peoples in increasingly immaterial world... Digihybridity... Music for a virtual dancefloor.
postscript: another thing i suspect will be audible as the years go by from the decade's start to decade's end is a decline in the rate of anthem-production... the anthem i think is predicated on the crowd as the site of reception.... there's only been a few anthem contenders in recent years ("hyph mngo" is a sub-anthem, to my ears, falls just short; "Wut", definitely; Joker has a smattering of top tunes that achieve anthemhood.. But even great talents like Z**by that are steeped in nuuum knowledge don't really make anthems, by and large his stuff is deep... his revisiting of hardcore on U in 92 noticeably didn't involve anthemicity, it was a deepification of 2 Bad Mice et al
there is also i surmise something about hyper-eclectism that works against the emergence of anthems, which seem to involve tapping into the essence of a genre, e.g. Renegade "Terrorist" is pure jungle, certain trance or gabba classic anthems are pure trance, pure gabba... To write an anthem today probably requires a reversion to some kind of retro mode, which may partly explain the house resurgence