Sun. Jul 21st, 2019

gods, pills and social misfits


Poor DJs. His role in the history of music has always been that of parasites and vividores of the night. Never respected until the rise of techno and house (and not even then, but when these styles became massive), the "disc jockeys" (DJ) have lived for decades in the shadow of the cultural industry as mere animators of the clubs, Burnishers and drug banquets. To try to recognize artistic dignity comes this essay, which began as a work on dance music and soon became a genealogy of the "homo discotecus" of the shaman (with the permission of the camel) who officiates the miracle of dance and communion between individuals of sexes, races and even different religions. In its first edition, the volume wanted to do justice to the catacombs of electronics, but in the successive ones (it already reaches almost 800 pages), this study goes back to the jukeboxes and the jukeboxes. With a purpose, as they make explicit in the prologue: "Rock critics are even more reluctant to admit our main thesis - namely, that DJs are more important than the bands themselves when analyzing the genesis of radical changes in the musical aesthetics-, but they have had to compromise and admit, finally, that the subject that wanders around dragging a chest full of discs has played an important role ».

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Distil greatness

Excessive enthusiasm? The role of the DJ has a lot of postmodern, of creator that adds remnants, that juxtaposes fragments of ends to create a new work. It has, of course, a lot of artistic and cultural phenomenon. The conclusions, that each one obtains.

«What exactly does a DJ do? They distill the greatness of music. They select a series of recordings to create a unique, improvised result, to adjust precisely to the moment, the place and the audience they face ». The definition of the trade picks up its value directly. A DJ has to know music as much or more than musicians. It throws to the track musical moments «so new and fresh that it is irrelevant that they are recorded». He is a rare being who looks for rare records and is going to put them on other rare ones. Then, at her death, the widows sell their vinyl collection by weight.

The first DJ in history did not live in New York or Paris. It was in the anodyne Leeds where nothing less than Jimmy Saville (known for being a predator pederast with honors of the British Empire) was who, before becoming a television star, had the idea of ​​charging dancers in a nightclub animated by a grammar Saville built a small club empire. So, what can we expect from an office with such an original sin? The redemption comes with the chapter devoted to the scene "northern soul", which well deserves a monograph: do you know how many unadapted with emotional constipation saved this music? Loaded with amphetamines and with a dress designed for speed and to dance as dervishes, the followers of this sect were misunderstood who belong to the most immaculate musical movement in history. Not because they were against a tendency, but against absolutely everything that happened around them. The DJ played a fundamental role in the story because it promoted the fusion of tastes. In the premises it was necessary to satisfy diverse people who approach each other sharing the dance floor and in that way know other styles. This is the formula of the best musical fruits. Linking styles favored the emergence of "rhythm and blues" and rock & roll. Reggae was born with "soundsystems", just as disco music grew in places where condensed sweat fell from the ceiling. In the origins of hip-hop there were no rhymes, but dancing on "scratches" by James Brown records. And well, electronic music does not need to mention it. Of all these genres there is a solvent chapter although it could be missing, for Latin and modern, the section of reggaeton and could well have spoken of salsa. The book ascends to the golden age of techno and house, names like Derrick May, Juan Atkins or Jeff Mills, who take electronics to the place of mysticism, and end in the age of the gods. That of the DJs at 100,000 euros a night, like Tiestö or Armin Van Buuren, which is perhaps the most inane version of electronic music. The brands, the franchises, the obscenity and the masses. The complete distortion of origins: we no longer speak of a group of misfits who find in music a way to continue living, but of a commercial machinery that stifled the pioneers of success.

None of this would have happened if before the "dexis" and the "prelis" (the ampheta), the acid would have taken the dance floors of the UFO and the psychedelic London. Marijuana and cocaine also demanded a rhythm for their ritual. Although no drug defined club music as much as ecstasy. The whole phenomenon is incomprehensible without the substances. And there is another fundamental aspect very well covered: the clubs. Places that transcend the one who plays music, such as the Electric Circus that Jerry Brandt bought Andy Warhol or the Café del Mar and the Amnesia of Ibiza until the wild raves on the ring roads.

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