Archives For rave
This article was written and submitted by Derek Nagler
Very likely if you are not in your thirties, having experienced your first party before the year 2000 this article is not written for you. With that being said, where are all of the rest of you now-a-days? Those of you I partied side by side with, in the dark abandoned warehouses of our day over fifteen years ago. It’s like we’ve become an extinct breed of people who’ve been slowly killed off by the evolution of our own lives. If you’re anything like me, you probably moved on from it when it withered and died off the likes of which our scene had never witnessed before. You moved on to become wrapped up in a significant other; you started your lives together and potentially even a family. You got “real jobs” and became “real life” busy. Sooner than later you forgot about the days in which you lived like there was no tomorrow, wrapped up in TPS reports and paying the electric bill. Good for you. Then one day you were listening to your playlists and you heard a track you hadn’t heard in ages and it flashed you back to all of those days that you had now forgotten. You remembered everything for what it was; weekend after weekend of unique experiences that only a select few within Detroit and its suburbs got to experience. You tried to tell stories and share memories with the people in your life. Some got it, but most did not and it made you sad. I don’t blame you for having done the above and I don’t blame you for looking back and feeling sad, because things truly are different now. Not just in your lives but in the “rave scene” that’s being promoted present day. The majority of it is astonishingly terrible because when we watched our scene wither and die away over a decade ago, it died forever.
However, there is hope. You see, everything I described above happened to me and it wasn’t until about six months ago that I decided to make a concerted effort to go experience good music once again. I was tired of trying to share my memories and nostalgia with people who would simply never understand so I set off to find the people who did and catch a groove with them. I wanted to make new memories but I wanted them to do justice to what I once experienced and let shape me. It was not going to be an easy accomplishment because present day music events have BIG shoes to fill in my mind. I started looking around to see what types of events were happening within the electronic music world and more times than not I came up without any good reason to leave my house. Then finally it happened. A music event with a musician actually worth giving a shit about, a musician of historic significance who directly impacted many of the experiences I look back on fondly, at a venue I actually knew. This was all it took and I knew I was going to be there and give it my best. I linked up with a few of my friends that I created my memories with back in the day and we went out and had yet another amazing life experience. It was fantastic through and through and it rejuvenated me. I felt like I was in my late teens again.
Unbeknownst to many of you these experiences do still exist, though admittedly extremely rarely. In the last six months I have been to a total of three extremely high caliber events from artists that are greatly impactful to the music that they play and the nights that we can still experience. It’s simply a matter of knowing where to look. There are one off events that pop up that seem specifically geared to the older crowd of musically educated, old school party kids who went to parties for the musicians and NOT the party favors.
One of these rare gems of a music event went off last weekend without a hitch. Alexander Robotnick graced the city of Detroit with two and a half hours of musical enrichment and culture. He brought to the decks over thirty years of electronic influence and you could feel it from the very moment he started his set. He aimed to give the crowd a true experience they would look back on for years to come and did it with great success, even singing over his own classics live right before your very eyes. It was historical. We danced until drenched in sweat and sore head to toe and every single second was absolutely worth it. The crowd roared with genuine admiration and respect when it was over and you could tell it truly touched his heart. The night was a meaningful experience for everyone involved, Alexander included.
As I reflected back the next morning and thought about what made the night so wonderful though, I couldn’t necessarily give Mr. Robotnick all the credit. A huge part of my experience was each and every other person out on that dance floor. The appreciation, vibe and energy given off was one for the record books. However, there were only 150 people in attendance. Perhaps the most perfect 150 people to ever attend a music event, but only 150 people nonetheless. Back in my day, the best parties that created memories had several hundred if not thousands in attendance so I know that there are more of you out there. This message is for you. You can create new memories too, and you should! Those of us who make it out to these events every two or three months are highly dependent on your presence, so I’m calling you out. Get up off the couch; don’t go to sleep early on the weekends. Give the kids to grandma and grandpa or other members of your family and take a night out for yourselves. Do it for us. We as fellow members of the crowd will give back to you what you give to us, and there will be no regrets. That selfless atmosphere coupled with the music influence of someone the ranks of Alexander Robotnick and you have created new memories of equal or greater caliber to anything you experienced back in the day. Because now you know the rarity of creating those types of new memories and you’ll cherish them that much more. Believe me when I say that if this article speaks to the depths of your soul, if you can read this and relate to it in a way that’s uncanny, the rest of us can’t wait to see you at the next gig. You just have to know how to find us.
I don’t give a fuck what anybody says, Happy Hardcore is awesome! Well it’s not awesome per se but it is pretty okay. Actually, I’m sorry. Happy Hardcore sucks and sounds fruity as hell. What was wrong with me back then? Did I have any clue about anything?
The youth sometimes latch onto things not because they are good, but because they’re crazy. I know I did. With all the conformity thrown at them while growing up, it makes them feel good to wallow in ridiculousness for a minute while listening to music that is straight bananas. Take dubstep for example. The youth is crazy about it. Not because it is amazing or because the artists have integrity, but because it is crazy and pisses off old people. Most of the populace say it sounds like two robots fucking and the kids are like,”Hell yeah it does!”. This was the same with weirdo sub genres back in the day as well. Nu-NRG, Braindance, Hard House, Happy Hardcore, and Gabber were just some of the types of sounds coming out that just took things a little too far. Even fans of Aphex Twin, who is an extremely talented multi-instrumentalist, could most likely tell you that they started listening to his music because it sounded nutty as hell.
So I was thinking the other day while listening to Happy2bHardcore Vol.1 that I’m really not too different from the new generation, just a little older. We all listened to something in our youth, that we look back on like “What the fuck was I on then?”. It is fun to revisit at times and although I’m not quite as happy 2b hardcore as I used to be, I can still appreciate it for what it is.
So what is Happy Hardcore, you might be asking? Well, It is very fast 4/4 beats(160-180) with piano loops, vocal samples, and the signature “hoover” sound popularized by many “rave” genres that were coming out in the 90s. Most tracks were actually edits of slower house and dance songs with the pitch shifted to a chipmunk type level. As rave got popular, the house and techno got faster, mostly to make up for the general speediness of the crowd. As it got faster and faster it started to incorporate jungle style breaks and Happy Hardcore was born.
Although Happy Hardcore was for the most part created in the UK along with other hardcore music, it really made a presence in Canada courtesy of Anabolic Frolic’s Hullabaloo parties in Toronto. These were massive raves with mostly Hardcore, Drum & Bass, and Trance DJs. They were pretty much a shit show with candy kids galore that made a lot of Techno purists in Detroit throw up a little.
Although the music was dumb and the scene was ridiculous, I do give some credit to Happy Hardcore artists for their overall “DIY” approach. Back then there were no ghost producers, accessible computer production, or big marketing. Everything was done by themselves with hardware, vinyl, and footwork. They created something different and allowed a few kids at that time to break away from mainstream monotony, express themselves, and release some happy aggression.