Monday, February 02, 2009

The modern music scene

Back in fin de siecle Paris, UK Garage was the big new thing. As it evolved, the bass lines became more ruthless, and the rhythms more disjointed — especially in the 2-step style, with its characteristic absence of any tune whatsoever. Although garage was temporarily driven underground, young crews in East London resurrected it in the form of grime, a British version of hip-hop, whilst in Croydon a group of producers centred on the record shop Big Arse, stripped out the singing, ramped up the bass and created dubstep. Within a few years, dubstep conquered the world. This atmospheric style borrows from dub reggae its lack of imagination, and creates a striking sense of emptiness and predictability. Perhaps buoyed by dubstep’s success, garage producers set to work again, and produced a lighter style called funky house, or simply funky, which pretty much brings garage full circle.

The anti-thesis to House's thesis, was Techno. This came in two strains, Detroit techno and acid techno. Although the Detroit producers made free use of 'hydrofluoric acid', the metallic ping-pong tone wrested from the Rolf Harris Stylophone, they also often based tracks on funky basslines; acid techno, in contrast was predicated entirely on the Stylophone. Whilst there were offshoots such as Gabber, (a harder variant developed in Rotterdam, and played on the harpsichord at a manic tempo), everyone was happy with the formula. Until, that is, several lone producers independently thought something was getting lost in the maximal approach, and a minimal movement, centred on Berlin, took root in about 2003. The latest technology can create music with an appealing sense of nothingness, and is perhaps the most 'techno' techno yet.


Anonymous said...


I did think that I'd strayed into the wrong blog for a minute there though...

Gordon McCabe said...

I suspect it's an experience familiar to many McCabism clientele.