In the lunar cycle of dance music, where bass darkness waxes into 4/4 light and back again, we are now in a full-moon phase. From Disclosure to Duke Dumont, Storm Queen to Ben Pearce, last year house music was mixed with UK garage and topped with pop, to huge chart success. Now, the way has been paved for more underground stars to break through.
Todays Guardian carries an insightful article about the Dance Music stars to look for in 2014. Maybe they’re all really underground: I certainly haven’t heard of any of them. Leading the way is an outfit called Gorgon, who, judging by their video, once heard an Underworld album but got it confused with Seal. Not that it’s David Guetta horrible or anything like that: It’s a passable enough chunk of slightly dull soul music much the same as the stuff that clogged up the charts in the early nineties. A sub Lighthouse family vocal over the top of a slightly too loud square bass that seems designed to add a bit of thwunk to the proceedings. Nicely, the band name check Detroit and Chicago within the article, thus giving themselves all the ‘Underground’ credentials they will ever need to impress Guardian journalists unused to anything more hip and edgy than a busker outside Covent Garden tube station. I particularly enjoyed being told that they used minor chords because people from Detroit and Chicago used them, and they are good because they are ‘clubby’. Yeah, throw down that music theory right there!
Bollocks as the article might be, it does – perhaps subconsciously – ask an interesting question. House music is approaching thirty years old. If it was rock music we would have already gone by punk and hit the New Romantic era. In fact, we would be on the cusp of the House Music revolution. Can House and Techno be regarded as safe, established consumer fodder by simply being older than the people listening than it, or is there something else?
A fair point might be made that the article isn’t really talking about electronic music in the sense most of us would mean it. In fact, the article does actually use the term ‘Pop-House’. Of course, Pop-House is actually just Pop, an entire world that has it’s own good and bad points. The problem lies in the articles use of the term ‘Underground’.
‘Underground’ is one of those words that has been hijacked by people who have no business anywhere near it. Like the word ‘Classic’ came to mean the sort of year old tracks you found on Ministry of Sound compilations, ‘Underground’ has come to mean any music to which the public weren’t having shoved down their throats a dozen times a day. None of the bands in the article are underground, they are simply unknown. There’s a hell of a difference.
Well done, Guardian. You’ve got your finger on the pulse once again. I suppose you could argue that it’s really not the place of a mammoth like the Guardian to break genuine new music to the sort of people who still think of Billy Bragg as the epitome of danger, but it would be nice if, just once, they could cover one of the labels actually doing it for real. Personally, I’d love to break into one of the editorial meetings and let a wild Greg Beato loose on them.
Anyway, Here’s the link to the piece….http://www.theguardian.com/music/2014/feb/06/gorgon-city-cyril-hahn-pop-house-stars-2014-dance-music
Let me know what you think, and tell me how wrong I am.