Article on Origins of Dance Music
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Old 12-06-2015, 11:09 PM   #1
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Article on Origins of Dance Music

http://www.residentadvisor.net/feature.aspx?1927

I know some people don't like Resident Adviser. That's cool. Generally speaking I'm not a *huge* fan. But I thought this article is rather important and that some people might enjoy reading it.

As a person with fluid sexual identity and an ally and friend of many in my local LGBT community, I think the history of dance music in the US needs to be preserved. Much of what this article details is glossed over in the dance "history" books out there.

At the very least the fact that w/o alternative lifestyle clubs in New York and Chicago (and perhaps other places) the "death of disco" might of been the death knell for dance music as we know it.

This isn't about the state of the scene at present, but merely educating new fans of dance music or those older fans who may have been unaware of the important role these urban, gay, non-white dance scenes played in preserving and developing dance music.

Also, if anyone knows of any other materials related to these histories, I'd love for you to post them as there does not seem to be a definitive source on this stuff...just scattered material.

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Old 12-06-2015, 11:34 PM   #2
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Re: Article on Origins of Dance Music

Sorta interesting read, but I'd say that sound engineering/remix engineering and synthesizer and sampler manufacturers have a lot to do with the history of electronic dance music. In my opinion, possibly more so than DJ's. Not everybody lives out of the club scene. So it's not like the club scene is the origin of dance music. It's definately related, but not the whole story.

It takes a lot of time and effort and money to make electronic music and record and distribute it in a format that is accessible to DJ's and listeners.

And sexuality is really just a footnote when it comes to music.

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Old 12-06-2015, 11:55 PM   #3
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Re: Article on Origins of Dance Music

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nystagmus View Post
Sorta interesting read, but I'd say that sound engineering/remix engineering and synthesizer and sampler manufacturers have a lot to do with the history of electronic dance music. In my opinion, possibly more so than DJ's. Not everybody lives out of the club scene. So it's not like the club scene is the origin of dance music. It's definately related, but not the whole story.

It takes a lot of time and effort and money to make electronic music and record and distribute it in a format that is accessible to DJ's and listeners.

And sexuality is really just a footnote when it comes to music.
Well surely surely sound engineering and remixing are a big part of the history of dance music--and these DJs were doing it with turntables and DJ mixers. Most of these DJs were making music on the fly and eventually "in the studio" so to speak.

I also think that calling this "the club scene" is a bit...I dunno what the right word is...its not like these were mainstream clubs like we have now and at the time...there was literally no where else to go to find this kind of dance music in the states. Prove me wrong, but these places played a really important role in preserving/developing dance music.

In America, in the 80's especially, the DJs were the ones making the music and distributing it. And I think calling sexuality a footnote is somewhat reductive considering that if those dance fans hadn't created that scene the DJs/producers who helped pioneer the music wouldn't have had a venue for their art. That is a somewhat hindsight statement, but we can't say what would have happened with out the black/latino gay crowd's demand for a safe space to be themselves which included DJs and dance music.

My point was that this history is just as important as early European electronic music acts and Dub music in Jamaica--which incidentally came to America via Kool Herc and helped create Hip Hop.

I guess my thread title was a bit off, I didn't mean to say that this is the ONLY place that dance music came from...but it often seems the most forgotten place. We talk about Kraftwerk and King Tubby far more often than Larry Levan (just as an example).

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Old 13-06-2015, 12:04 AM   #4
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Re: Article on Origins of Dance Music

Also--many of the iconic synths and drum machines were largely considered junk and it took innovators--inside and outside the scene I speak of--to use this "junk" to make some of the most important music in the development of dance.

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Old 13-06-2015, 01:02 AM   #5
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Re: Article on Origins of Dance Music

i dunno man, i'm not gonna argue. it just seems to me like a ploy to say that DJ's invented electronic music when it's just not usually the case. the musicians played the music after they bought the synths and drum machines that the manufacturers made. even music magazines played a role in getting the word out about which gear was good.

dj's did a lot of beatmatching and crowdpleasing in terms of playing stuff that had already been printed to vinyl or CD... that's LONG after the tune's been made and mixed and sometimes remixed in the studio.

Some subgenres are probably more like what you are talking about, but it doesn't represent the whole, it's just a subset. Saying that DJ's invented dance music is like saying that ravers invented dance music. It's just not a 100% accurate depiction.

I agree maybe a lot of pioneers have been overlooked but that's how history went. Maybe DJ's invented the club scene, but the club scene is a subset of electronic music. And people can dance to most types of electronic music, so the whole "dance music" label is kinda irrelevant also.

And electronic dance music isn't limited to the USA either, of course. Music is international.

The history of each individual release tells more of a complete story and you can't logically deny the work and effort that goes into making, mixing, and marketing tunes.

And you can't ignore the synth and sampler industry. It's just where the ability to make certain sounds came from. But anyway, I'm not going to flame about it. It's just a different perspective.

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Old 13-06-2015, 04:02 AM   #6
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Re: Article on Origins of Dance Music

^I don't really want to argue either. But I will add that many of these DJs bought those instruments you are talking about and also made music. They did both. And w/o the DJs no one would have played the music (OK, I swear I'm done).

I'll leave it at that because I don't feel like either of us are inherently wrong here and honestly you are one of the cooler people on the forum these days man...so...yea...I can see your point of view for sure : )

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Old 13-06-2015, 05:10 AM   #7
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Re: Article on Origins of Dance Music

Man, dance music in America hasn't contributed that much to dance music at large. And most of the successful artists from previous generations owe more of their success to European innovation and support than they do to anything that was happening locally.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nystagmus View Post
Sorta interesting read, but I'd say that sound engineering/remix engineering and synthesizer and sampler manufacturers have a lot to do with the history of electronic dance music. In my opinion, possibly more so than DJ's.
Dude! That's like saying the company that made Blind Willie Johnson's guitar is more responsible than he for American Blues.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nystagmus View Post
Not everybody lives out of the club scene. So it's not like the club scene is the origin of dance music. It's definately related, but not the whole story.
Whether a producer goes out clubbing is irrelevant. It doesn't change the fact that there are plenty of producers who write music for DJs to play in clubs. More to the point, in the US during the 90's and early 00's there's plenty of examples of producers who wrote tracks exclusively for specific DJ's. And if you're going to argue that DJs like Danny Tenaglia, Frankie Bones, Armand Van Helden and Frankie Knuckles have contributed nothing to dance music in America, then you need a history lesson

Quote:
Originally Posted by relic View Post
I also think that calling this "the club scene" is a bit...I dunno what the right word is...its not like these were mainstream clubs like we have now and at the time...there was literally no where else to go to find this kind of dance music in the states. Prove me wrong, but these places played a really important role in preserving/developing dance music.
Well sexuality isn't really relevant to the music. When I was hanging out in the clubs as a teenager in the 90s, it had nothing to do with sexuality. That's the big misconception about queer culture, nobody cares who you do or don't fuck. Just be yourself. Like the first time I saw men having group sex in club, I didn't fill like I had to participate, and it wasn't something that was really relevant to anyone else's experience in the club. It was just one thing that was happening and a way that people were experiencing that particular moment.

The other thing is that bohemian movements have always held more liberal attitudes towards self expression, including sexuality. It's really a chicken and egg question because did they spawn the club scene, or did the scene welcome them? And really, it's not like homosexuality is a new thing in the liberal arts.
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Old 13-06-2015, 05:28 AM   #8
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Re: Article on Origins of Dance Music

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jaded View Post
Man, dance music in America hasn't contributed that much to dance music at large. And most of the successful artists from previous generations owe more of their success to European innovation and support than they do to anything that was happening locally.
I'd love to know more about that. I know that Europe certainly contributed to the large genre of "synth music" or "electronic music" or whatever you want to call it. Are you talking about Italian Disco producers? Or Baleric (spl?) DJs from Ibiza? I know Dub and sound system culture started around the same time as Disco...

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Old 13-06-2015, 08:02 AM   #9
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Re: Article on Origins of Dance Music

Serious Props to the LGBT community in Detroit..some of the best dance music I have ever heard and that was in the mid 1980's..we could not get enough of those white labels growing up.

Personally both sides of the pond no matter who are important to the entire history..from "junk" contraptions(yes you could pick up a TB303 for 50 bucks people thought they where toys) to the evolution or teh various genres and marrying of genres. We live in a time when there happens to be beep boop than anyone could tap a toe to.

Huge fan of music history( or recording history and techniques)..without knowing how the journey started wiht that first step you have no idea how far you have traveled let alone what direction.

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Old 26-06-2016, 03:21 PM   #10
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Re: Article on Origins of Dance Music

Thanks for sharing the link. I think everyone with a love for sound should know this part of music history. It has so much magic and drama to it (and not only).
I ve grown up reading this stuff and it seems so far in time. And listening to stories from my friends dj (before i joined too)
I remember reading the stories on the leaflet books inside those cds like "Larry Levan live at PG".
Sometimes i like to loose myself into memories that are not even from my own life...
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Old 26-06-2016, 04:39 PM   #11
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Re: Article on Origins of Dance Music

Every part of music history is important. But the last 50 years of the previous century have an undeniable charm.
So much evolution, compared to the thousands of years before. Then anyone has his favourite period or movement. Sadly i can't be a fan of prehistoric music as there's no stick&rock album or lp to listen to. That must have been very minimalistic.
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Old 03-07-2016, 08:54 PM   #12
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Re: Article on Origins of Dance Music

Throbbing Gristle........

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Old 03-07-2016, 09:33 PM   #13
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Re: Article on Origins of Dance Music

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dark Opera View Post
Every part of music history is important. But the last 50 years of the previous century have an undeniable charm.
So much evolution, compared to the thousands of years before. Then anyone has his favourite period or movement. Sadly i can't be a fan of prehistoric music as there's no stick&rock album or lp to listen to. That must have been very minimalistic.
stick & rock techno will be the new thing : )

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