The state of music is changing everywhere we look. We are seeing new trends in electronic music that have some really interesting possibilities. It seems we are building off the past in a positive way. The genre blending that is happening within a lot of new electronic music has sparked a whole new opportunity for those that dare to dance on the fringe of define-ability, and venture into the deep dark unknown. For most of the last decade, electronic music has been a very segregated place, it’s all house, or it’s all techno, or it’s all bass music. Often times I think fondly of the old days, when parties in Detroit incorporated all genres of electronic music, having a different room for each different taste. Since the early 2000s Detroit has seen a decline in the amount of events held in big venues, and the trend had moved toward genre specific parties, until now that is,,,
I was recently talking with Brendan Gillian (BMG) of Interdimensional Transmissions about the new wave of party-goers, and the current party scene. He had an interesting thought about exposing the younger generation to different styles of music, through multi-genre events. The average young party-goer is still very impressionable, and at any event happening with multilple rooms, there will undoubtedly be a lot of movement from room-to-room. This offers the promoters a chance to give people a different taste of music wherever the people may roam. It is an opportunity to expose people who perhaps have only heard a few types of electronic music, to experience something else. If this happens enough we can see where it might lead, an education of the average fan, and a new appreciation for music in general. Having a House or Techno stage at a bass music show can open up a younger audience to the roots and foundation of the new electronic music that is so popular, and it can offer a new base of fans for the artists involved. Similarly, having a hip-hop stage at a House or Techno show can offer a nice break from the intensity, and open peoples minds to a genre they may have never considered as electronic music. It’s all about an open mind, and a willingness to see where the next generation of fans are going to come from.
More and more I am seeing different genres being paired together in the same events, and I think it is great. We all came to love electronic music in a different way, and exposing ourselves to variety is the only way to grow. How many people came into the scene liking terrible trance music, or something they would rather not speak of today. How many new school kids are getting there feet wet with dub-step, bass music, or hip hop, and what will the future hold for their musical development? The answer is in the sharing of different kinds of music at the same shows. Maybe you hate dub-step (ahem), or maybe you hate House, but being at an event with both offerings could do some amazing things. Perhaps the younger generation is leaving the sweat filled main room of a dubstep show, and they pop there head into a deep house room, and find a vibe they hadn’t previously known.
The reason I started to look closer at this trend was because I started seeing hip-hop (like, real hip hop) at the underground events I was attending, along side the usual House and Techno. I was reminded of the old days in Detroit, for those that remember, I conjured a image of the infamous “True Masters” parties with Roc Raida and The X-ecutioners, Monk, Bad Boy Bill, Too Short, Eminem, Frankie Bones and many other classic acts. Recently there has been a surge of interest in mixing genres within a party, and hip hop has been a winner in all of this. I myself have always wanted to see more hip hop at shows, and now, it is becoming a reality. There is even a new interest in DJ’s actually playing hip-hop at parties, which is an entertaining element to a true head. Obviously, the group of people that appreciate underground dance music also appreciate underground hip hop , and I’m glad to see this being included in some recent sets I have seen. It’s refreshing to see people like John Johr and Chuck Flask doing all hip hop sets, as they mostly come from strict dance music backgrounds. You even have people dropping mini-sets inside their sets with a 15 minute breakdown into hip hop, and it kills. Just recently I saw Stacey “Hotwaxx” Hale do this at then end of the night at Grasshopper, and it was awesome. You also see the younger folks appreciating the more abstract side of Hip-Hop and Trip-Hop. People like J dilla, Madlib, Portishead, RJD2, and many others have seen their interest grow, and now are being included in the scene in a very real way. I love that. There’s even room for emcees in this revival, with people like Action Bronson, Mos Def & Talib Kweli, and Nas being booked at major electronic festivals.
I do think the Bass Music culture of the youth has helped usher this trend in. I am not a fan of everything out there in this vein, but I have to show a certain amount of gratitude for people like Gramatik, Pretty Lights, and The Glitch Mob. They have brought people back into the hip hop sound, and have made it relevant enough to hear at a large event or festival without killing the vibe. It’s refreshing to see people like Dabrye and Shigeto doing major things, and it just goes to show that we are opening our minds to new avenues. Turntablism is also something that has gained some more appreciation recently, from what I have seen. For a while, I started to wonder what the fate of the scratch DJ and vinyl-head would be. Now I am quite confident there will always be a place for the wizadry that is turntablism, and I am glad to see it being appreciated by the electronic scene. People like DJ Craze, DJ Qbert and many other DMC champions, are being lifted up once again and shown to a whole new generation that never even knew you could make those type of sounds with a metal spinning wheel (a turntable).
Admittedly, this is a bit of a gushy post about how cool things are right now, and I don’t want you to think I am getting carried away. I know there is a lot of music that is being created that is diluting the collective product, but I always go back to the idea that anyone willing to create something with their heart should have a forum to display it. The spontaneous creation of art, in any form, benefits us all, and it should be encouraged. Having many ideas and forms of art under one roof is a beautiful expression of humanity that should be fostered, encouraged, and cherished. The true cream will rise to the top, and the rest will have it’s place on the artistic wheel of life. Appreciate the ride, and if we all try to contribute something positive we just might meet up one day on the other side.