Posts Tagged ‘dance’

I’ve been an mixed genre producer for several years now but currently about 75% of the projects I’m working on are electroswing. There’s something incredibly special about this genre, both to listen to and to make… here’s why

So Danceable

Swing music was made for dancing, its hard for me to listen to it and not start moving. In electroswing, the other genres it’s being combined add an extra level of energy. The overall effect is creating a style of music that is irresistable to dance to. And the great thing is there are so many styles of dance that work well with it: swing, quickstep, shuffling, charleston, club dancing, rock and roll or just your best flapper impression…  anyone can get their groove on. A friend of mine recently observed at a gig: ‘There were ravers in the middle and swing dancers around the outside but everyone was dancing together’.

Creative Freedom

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Compared to other genres ES is very light on rules, there’s no set BPM, no set beat, no established convention on what instruments you have to use, anything goes! (note to self, I need to make a remix of Anything Goes). People produce ES that is almost entirely swing with a hint of modern production added while others make primarily electronic music combined creatively with swing. With the latter, I’ve heard ES inspired by (or based on) almost every major electronic genre: House, DnB, Electro (obvs), Dubstep, Techno, Dancehall even things like Trance and commercial EDM. Providing it fits the overall aesthetic and uses some relevant samples or instruments you can justifiably call it electroswing. This makes it a real joy to produce in as this freedom of expression allows you try out combinations of sounds and techniques you’d never otherwise think of. I wouldn’t go as far as saying that genre conventions stifle creativity but I would say that it is a lot easier to be lazy in your productions when you already know how aspects of your tracks have to sound to be considered part of that genre.

Plays well with others

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Because ES can be based on so many different styles of music and be played at many different tempos it mixes well with a whole range of other genres. Glitch hop, funk, rap, big band and latin house work particularly well but if you feel out the crowd you could drop a massive electro-house track, an acoustic rock number or something really leftfield. You could probably make anything work if you gave it enough thought. This encourages really creative DJing and means that the crowd can be genuinely surprised, which is much less likely to happen during a 2 hour long single genre set.

Sample away!

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A lot of people have commented recently about how intellectual property law has become completely ridiculous. Some corporations (ahem ahem Disney) have tried to change copyright law to allow them to have perpetual rights to their properties. This is an insane approach as it completely shuts down some major creative avenues: homage, remixes, retellings all become potentially problematic legally. Fortunately they have not managed to extend this far enough back to affect a lot of swing, big band, jazz and other pre 1940s music. Maybe its just me who cares about making music completely legally (or rather without the chance that some gung ho record label will decide to try to sue over something that is clearly being used in a creatively altered fashion) but I really appreciate the sheer volume of source material freely available to use.

Broad appeal

One of the great things about electroswing is that it is really approachable. When I’ve played some of my friends and relatives a heavy electrotrash, dubstep or DnB track, their response has  been ‘that’s just noise’, when some people hear a house or trance track all they hear is the pounding kick. I’ve yet to play someone ES and get an overtly negative response anything like that. I mean I might start them off with something fairly swing heavy like Parov Stellar or Caravan palace but even the tracks which are heavily inspired by the genres above get a much better reception. It might be something about the sounds of real instruments or the familiarity of the swing samples that makes it easier to get into. I think this is reflected in the group that turn up to ES events, you usually find people of all ages and backgrounds (not to mention an amazing selection of outfits), and that creates a really welcoming atmosphere.

Retrofuturism

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Part of the reason I love electroswing is the same reason that I love steampunk… they take some of the best bits of the past, the present and our imagined futures to create something glorious. I love the imagination of these hybrid genres but I think that they are part of a bigger trend. We have unprecedented choice when it comes to music (and media in general), you could load up your computer with all the best music from the past 100 years, or listen to it online. We are no longer bound by whatever the radio is playing or we’d managed to collect as physical media. This has meant that in a sense we have moved on from the strong creative fashions and trends of the past. People can listen to, watch or play almost anything that is current and anything that is from the past. The last few years has seen an explosion in old acts reforming, retro inspired culture and classics being rereleased. Likewise modern technology has given us almost unlimited creative freedom to combine these things. I think that this has definitely helped to bring electroswing to the fore in the last couple of years.

While often an increase in popularity is associated with a reduction in quality, I actually think that in electroswing’s case it has just created a broader range of interpretation and styles. That’s not to say that there aren’t some really lazy tracks out there but actually, there are very few lazy tracks which are popular with ES listeners, it’s the interesting stuff that keeps people hooked. If that spirit continues I’m sure it will remain one of the most exciting and vibrant musical styles.

Love and Peace, D

 

 

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At this moment, Fabric, one of the best known, respected and loved clubs in London has a very uncertain future. While I find this deeply upsetting on a personal level (I have so many happy memories of nights spend there), it is unfortunately part of a much bigger problem. The UK has lost half of all of its clubs in the last 10 years. This has happened for a variety of reasons but the pattern is clear… and if we don’t act now to protect existing clubs and encourage new ones, we might lose them for good

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If you haven’t already signed the save Fabric petition, please do it here

Worldwide shift in electronic music

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One of the strange things about club closures is that, in the UK and worldwide, electronic music is more popular than ever. The clubbing scene has always been tightly bound to these genres of music, so surely having more fans should mean more club punters? Unfortunately in reality it has not worked out this way. A lot of new fans are too young to get into a club. Even if they could, they may not want to anyway, electronic music is played in homes, cars and everywhere else. The idea that the club is the natural home for those genres is no longer as strong. There are obviously tons of fans who are old enough though but a lot of them would rather go to a festival to see big ‘superstar DJs’ playing to 1000s rather than a more intimate venue. Clearly a lot of new fans are still interested in clubbing. When I go out nowadays, there are still plenty of young ‘uns but it is way more mixed in age than it ever used to be

Also nightlife itself has evolved, there are many pop up raves in unusual places, DJ bars, sober morning parties etc. which are very cool but again take away a lot of traditional club business. We might see club closure as a particularly UK based problem, but I hear reports from all over the world that a lot of traditional venues are being shut

Change in licensing laws

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Over the last 10 years, it has become easier than ever to get alcohol after 11 PM. Late opening bars and pubs have become increasingly common. Once again, this is something I really appreciate but it does take a lot of business away from clubs. Back when I started clubbing, people would often move on to a club at 11 pm because it was the only option for continuing the night, nowadays you have options. Bars often have DJs and dancefloors so even if you wanted to dance, you could be well catered for without actually going to a club (but always stay well clear of those ‘music too loud to talk/no room to dance’ bars, those places are the worst). This has probably made the clubbing experience better as there are less people there who only want to get completely lashed but it has still meant that the clubs themselves have taken another economic hit

The rise of tinder

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Just like the “I’m only here to get plastered” crowd, the “I’m only here to pull” bunch used to be a regular part of the scene. People who didn’t care about the music or about the dancing or even about the alcohol. They just wanted to get busy and the club was the best place to meet people for a fleeting dalliance. Nowadays, there are definitely easier ways of finding a squeeze, almost all technology based. Once again, I think that the absence of those people has made the club experience much nicer, but again less punters means less profit.

Drug policy

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I could  write a whole post on the absurdity of the ‘war on drugs’ and the broad range of social harm that it has caused. However in the case of clubs, drug policy is applied in a particularly unproductive way, often used as stick to keep them in line. Many clubs have had their license revoked on the basis of people taking drugs there. I still remember when Home was shut ostensibly because their door policy was too lax (but everyone knew that it was because they were being very vocal about not being given a late license). Fabric now faces closure because 2 people have died while on drugs there, there is no evidence that they bought the drugs there and Fabric’s door policy is generally considered ‘gold standard’. Still, I would imagine 1000s of people take illegal drugs there every month, without incident. Inevitably, many are suggesting that the answer is stronger door checks with police (including sniffer dogs) outside. This is the worst possible way of dealing with the problem. Rather than trying to stop people taking drugs (which never works), we should be focused on preventing drug deaths.

While tragic, deaths from common club drugs are actually pretty rare (or at least far rarer than alcohol related deaths). They usually down to either toxic impurities in the drugs or a higher potency than expected (causing users to take higher doses than they were expecting). If someone buys drugs then they are likely to take them at some point, whether they are allowed into a club with them or not. So if people do go to a club we should see this as an opportunity rather than a problem. Don’t add extra security and confiscate them, rather let them in and have testing stations that can assess both strength and purity and provide advice on safe amounts to take, levels of hydration etc. Don’t create a situation where people fear the bouncers and the police and so down their whole night’s supply when they see them and overdose. Sometimes people will even refuse to see the club medics because they fear getting in trouble, this is a climate that creates poor outcomes. Ultimately legalisation, regulation and taxation would be the best way to clean up the supply. Until them a liberalisation of the way we police drugs could effect an immediate improvement in the risks, almost every club death is preventable if we are open minded about how to tackle them

Rising rent

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London is becoming a little bit absurd in this respect, there is almost nowhere that is safe from rampant gentrification. There are even some parts which have become quite like ghost towns as the only people who can afford to buy a home there are investors who have no desire to live there or even rent the property out. I don’t think all gentrification is bad, but when it prices everyone out, it has gone too far. Running a club is expensive and the rising rent has been the final nail in some of their economic coffins. Even worse than that, many landlords have not even given them the option to continue renting the space and have sold up to property developers for a tidy profit. Turns out some people would rather get a quick buck over owning a piece of cultural heritage.

Nimbyism

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These are the most frustrating reasons why clubs close down: disputes over soundproofing, drunken revellers at closing time or litter on the pavement. There are many NIMBY reasons people give for why their local venue is a menace. Sometimes they really do have a point but closing the venue seems a very heavyhanded way of dealing with them. Every other possible avenue should be exhausted before that is even on the table as a possibility.

Shortsightedness

So if there are still plenty of places to go on a Friday night and get your groove on, should we even care about all the club closures? Do we need them anymore?

I truly believe the answer is yes. Music has been one of the greatest exports from the UK in the last 100 years and clubs have been a vital part of that. They have offered one of the purest forms of escapism for generations of party goers looking to listen to great music, dance with friends and forget their weekly woes. Festivals, bars and house parties are all fun but nothing quite compares to a club night.

That is a very personal argument though, and maybe not everyone shares my passion but everyone should still care about these places. Clubs are not the only thing being closed – many live music venues, theatres, pubs, independent cinemas and other venues have also been suffering recently. These are intrisically part of our cultural heritage, they are part of what make our country great. With everyone that goes we are losing a battle in a slow war of attrition that will turn our cities into beige blandscapes with no life and no flavour.

What to do

It is clear that we need to take action to protect our clubs. But what actually can be done? I feel we need some drastic action, firstly with a protection scheme similar to listed buildings to make it harder to redevelop culturally important space into soulless office blocks or high end investment residences. Secondly we should encourage the development of more clubs, other venues and new forms of nightlife. In London, the arrival of the night tube should be a huge boon for this and development should be encouraged along these lines. The way we tackle drug-taking in clubs should be radically altered.

This sort of change takes time, for now, the most important thing would be to make it easier to appeal licensing decisions so that a council cannot just hand a venue a death sentence. If Fabric’s license is revoked then it will be a deeply upsetting day for clubbers all across the country and the world. If we don’t act soon though, it will not be the last… not by a long shot

Peace, Love, Unity, Respect

Dataphiles

The playlist of free Dataphiles tracks on soundcloud is looking very healthy. There are now 9 tracks with more to be added soon. Check it out and get yourself some quality music for nothing

PLUR, D

Having released two big boshy dance albums, I wanted to do something a bit more conceptual with my latest release. Over the last few years, I’ve become quite enamoured with the world of Steampunk, the idea of recapturing ~Victorian inventiveness and progressivism and the associated optimism that goes with it. The general aesthetic is awesome and it has been fairly well explored visually… sonically much less so. There have been some great examples of Steampunk music but I wanted to come at it from a slightly different perspective. On the the other hand, Cyberpunk was a major part of my world growing up. It taught me that the future will probably be a dark and dystopian place but at least the clubbing is going to be awesome: laser laden post-apocalyptic dens of inquity with intense electro pounding all night and day long. I wondered what music from the boundary layer between these two realities might sound like (music from the portal perhaps).

Steampunk Cybercrunk EP is my musical journey into both of these worlds and the spaces in between. The tracks themselves are quite varied, reflecting the different ways that these two genres could intermingle. Beep Beep Baby is an uplifting electo-swing banger (possibly counting more as dieselpunk than steampunk but I’ve never been a fan of over defining genres). Remember me is a deep dubstep inspired track with a hint of the classic horror film with its ethereal piano part. Harpsix is a big dancy tune with a bombastic harpsichord riffing against some classic electronic arpeggios. Finally, Waltzing with the devil is a slow English waltz reimagined with an electro slant. I really enjoyed making the whole EP. I hope you enjoy listening to it too.

Out on the 23rd of February 2015

Love and Peace, D

Just a quick post to let you know … In celebration of the last day of Large Hadron Kaleidoscope release week, there is 50% off everything on the official download page for the next 24 hours (until midnight 15/07/12). Just enter the code “boson2045” in the buy now screen to apply.

Big love to everyone whose helped me out this week.

Keep boshing

Dataphiles

Yesyes, the day has finally arrived, Large Hadron Kaleidoscope is out now on iTunes, Amazon and all other good online retailers and streaming services.

You can listen to it on the download page, or using the handy player below

Like all my tracks it’ll be free to listen to forever, in full because everyone deserves music.

Also the very first review of LHK is out now too, you can read it over at Ascrono music

Keep your eyes on the dataphiles homepage and the @DTPLrecords twitter feed as there will be discounts and giveaways posted live for the next couple of weeks.

Love and Peace

Dataphiles

 

Large Hadron Kaleidoscope is out in all major online shops on Monday but if you really can’t wait that long its out now on the download page as a special treat for all readers.

So exciting, bring on the Bosh!!

Love and Peace

Dataphiles

Hey there,

As I’ve mentioned before I haven’t had much time for blogging recently as I’ve been getting my new album mixed and mastered up.

Well its all ready and submitted, with just over a month to go until release. If you can barely wait that long then fear not as you can preorder on Amazon, trackitdown and 7digital (more to follow)

In the meantime expect more album news, offers and vids coming up

Love and Peace, D

Two new tracks on the download page

Posted: December 27, 2009 in free stuff, releases
Tags: , , , ,

Ever wondered what the best cure for some seasonal overindulgence is?

Put on some pumping electronica and dance it off!

To help you out I’ve added two new tracks to the download page. Dive in, a punky driven track and Exponent, a furious bosh with lots of digital distortion. Have a listen below …

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You may have noticed the download page has changed slightly, there are now only high quality downloads. So you can get these tracks in the format you want for the price you choose (even for free). Hope you enjoy

Love and Peace

Dataphiles

Yes the day has finally arrived. A week before it goes on general release, you can hear my debut album – The Vibe Electric right here on dataphilesmusic.com. Also as promised, you can download a free standard quality version for a limited period, so be quick.

The free stream will be on the download page forever though … because everyone deserves music

Love and Peace

Dataphiles