Only those still with the underground will understand this post / A Rave/House/Techno Manifesto

Liberation by Liberation 2. Injected with a Poison by Praga Khan … and all the rest, have extensive social commentary and political sloganeering in them. They are made by people living on this planet. Much of what is on Proton Radio may as well have been made by an alien life form on another planet. The incessant bliss obsessed, trance sleep inducing over production. Filter chains. Badly timer sourced MIDI syncing. Muddy mix production. Too many things in the mix. Badly set-up synths. Lost in software music production. Along with a myriad of other problems. While the original SHIFT music from early 90’s onwards has an honest sound. Everything is crisp and mixed up front. The other music is music from a toothpaste advert. The psychopathic soundtrack to a machine, made to make rave’a’tron zombies feel like they are being told the truth. “What revelatory music this is!“. “Listen to radical samples!“. “This musician has their finger on the pulse!“. Then we go back again and listen to Liberation by Liberation 2 and Injected with a Poison, and the hideous fakery is revealed. Are these people all on Prozac ? To go back to Liberation, it has a sample from a speech by Jesse Jackson in it for craps sake. When do the “electronic dance music people” ever mention things like that ? Do they even know who he is ? It reminds me of Jeff Mills and his “Are you with the underground. Are YOU WITH THE UNDERGROUND !?“. The underground appears to be a place which is quite difficult to actually stay in, and with. Absolute identification with it seems to be something that the Blue Meanies really can’t stand for. Is this because it is a statement of 100% authentic humanity WHICH THE BLUE MEANIES DO NO STAND FOR OR REPRESENT. They aren’t “it”. They haven’t got “it” however much they strut and pose and deceive. Delude. Infiltrate. Copy. Pretend and self deceive they still have not got “it”.

The original Rave/House discovery creates a Religious/Spiritual experience akin to to Tribal Trance Dance. The kind of direct embodied creation of God, The Spirit and The Force that the Vatican has been trying to keep away from people for hundreds of years. The pretenders and followers try to make that into “the radical” or political but it is really what we (what are we really called as a species because I don’t think it’s “humans” ?) have been doing for millennia. The intended effect of Rave/House/Techno is IMPOSSIBLE to mistake for anything else once it happens. It is overwhelming and totally irresistible … the irresistible force, like Volcanoes or The Sun. Identical at its base level to the electrically charged Lava that comes exploding out of a Volcano. The Blood, meridian Chi flow of the Earth, of Life itself, just like human emotion. I’ll tell you a secret. Human emotion is so intense that only a real human can survive feeling it. Same with Rave/House/Techno music.

~~~

Technical analysis: I’m at this very moment listening to “ScottHenry_EastCoastScience1_SideA.mp3“. The mix is using a Normaliser. Probably some kind of rack unit or something built into the PA seeing as this is from the early to mid 90’s. This got me thinking of WHY music from this period sounds so stripped down and up front in the mix. Just as with the usage of the Normaliser this is for a reason. Let’s take the Normaliser first.

The Normaliser

Loud PA’s are difficult beasts. The force of the bass beat can easily overdrive some PA’s. Then the “quiet bit” comes in which is often too quiet on some PA’s. The DJ is tempted to turn things up at this point. Then the beat comes in again and it could be too loud. The DJ turns it down. Hence the wisdom of using a Normaliser on a large PA. When you are right in front of the PA it’s not that obvious that Normalising is going on. It’s more obvious if you listen to mix tape at home that was recorded from a feed on the other side (PA side) of the Normaliser. “Quiet bits” are suddenly mixed in loud. Obviously louder. There is a reason for this. The original source mix was mixed/sound engineered for a big PA, not your home sound system.

Stripped Down Composition

There is a reason for this is well. Many of the fine details you hear in Trance or Progressive “dance music” are completely lost on large PA’s. In fact the entire mix becomes muddy because all the various mixed in elements are fighting for attention. Hence the lack of such elements in music actually produced for the dance floor. I wonder who is really listening to many House/Trance/Progressive tracks out there ? I suspect they are really made for lounge music or in car sound systems. Personal stereos and the like. They are often very good tracks, but strictly speaking they are not Dance Music because they don’t follow tried and tested sound engineering principles for amplifying music at large venues. Any experienced live rock musician already knows a lot of this.

The Experience of the Listener/Dancer

Authentic Dance Music does not follow traditional music composition techniques. Traditional classical music is very cerebral and intellectual. The audience are all sat down. Their bodies are not engaged, only their minds. This is what makes authentic Dance Music so visceral and I would say balanced. It brings into involvement all aspects. Mind, body, sexual, and something else. A Factor X that happens when all physical and non-physical aspects are engaged. Something larger than the sum of the parts of muscles and Chakra Points. Traditional waltzes and jigs as well various tribal rhythm based music are much closer to what Dance Music really is.

Being a musician I have learnt to listen to authentic Dance Music when not dancing. I have to sit still (or stiller) in front of my music making equipment. Maybe I should use some kind of wearable device and dance around while composing ? Anyway, I found that listening to authentic Dance Music without dancing can have some interesting effects. It can take one to place where there is no thought in the traditional meaning of the word. This is probably due to brain wave entrainment creating a meditative state. Over produced non-authentic “dance music” does not do this. It introduces too many subtle elements that the mind starts grasping on to and using which takes the listener out of a meditative state. Ironically, the silky soft over synthed and over mixed so called “dance music” actually increases anxiety levels because it makes the mind too active.

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