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06/16/2005: ""

This thread that Ronan started on ILM got me thinking about the overlap between "underground" dance music and "overground" dance music. Or the "German underground" versus the seamless, swooping, expansive "Global Underground." I'm not talking about John Digweed putting one Superpitcher track on his Fabric mix. (Check out wildly conflicting views on that mix by two writers I really like: this review in Pitchfork by Jess Harvell, and this feature by Tricia Romano in the Seattle Weekly.) Or about Kompakt's increasing drift towards bigger, more anthemic-sounding trance. Take a look at the track listing for this brand new Fundacion mix (done in Ableton Live!), by Digweed's longtime collaborator Sasha. And it's hard to get more overground than Sasha:

1. Badger - Rise Of The Machine
2. Adam Johnson - Four Squares
3. Swayzak - Another Way (Richard Davis Mix)
4. Beanfield - Tides feat. Bajka (C’s Movement #1) (Carl Craig Remix)
5. Kosmas Epsilon - Innocent Thoughts (Stel Remix)
6. Funk Da Void - All That Matters
7. Closer Musik - One, Two, Three No Gravity (Ewan Pearson Remix)
8. Phonique --99 & A Half featuring Alexander East (I:Cube Remix)
9. Holden & Thompson - Come To Me (Last Version)
10. Holden & Thompson - Come To Me (Club Mix)
11. M.A.N.D.Y. - Jah
12. Playgroup -Behind The Wheel (DJ-Kicks Electroca$h Mix)
13. Freeform Five - Electromagnetic (Tiefschwarz Dub)
14. Closer Musik - One, Two, Three No Gravity (Ewan Pearson Remix)
15. Andre Kraml - Safari (James Holden Remix)
16. Freaky Chakra - Blacklight Fantasy
17. Goldfrapp - Strict Machine (We Are Glitter Mix)
18. M83 - Don't Save Us From The Flames (Superpitcher Remix)

Several of the tracks on it--Get Physical! Kompakt! Border Community! Richard Davis! Ewan Pearson!--are pretty great. But what really kicked my ass about looking at this was that it looks a bit like the new Damian Lazarus "Suck My Deck" mix, which I received in the mail the other day, complete with fanfare about how it was the real sound of the underground, etc. It includes two of the same exact remixes, plus several overlaps in artists:

1. Break 3000 - Flash 1
2. System 7 – Planet 7 (James Holden Remix)
3. Thomas Dolby – One Of Our Submarines (Ricardo Villalobos Remix)
4. Pier Bucci - Polaris
5. Switch – Get On Downz (Max Fresh Remix)
6. Phonique feat. Alexander East – 99 and A Half (I:Cube Remix)
7. George Issakidis - Into Your Life (Midnight Mike Remix)
8. Freaks – Tweekers (Extended Disco 12”) [Exclusive]
9. Rayon - The Panther
10. Trentemoller – Physical Fraction
11. Matt Tolfrey & Craig Sylvester – The Horn
12. Audioperu - Viviendas Paraiso
13. Alter Ego – Beat The Bush (Ewan Pearson Remix)
14. James Holden – Lump [Exclusive]
15. The Stranglers – Love 30
16. M83 – Don’t Save Us From The Flames (Superpitcher Remix)

Now I'm not criticizing one side or the other, or saying that one mix is necessarily better than the other. I'm just fascinated by the blend between two camps, where I'm having more and more of a difficult time telling what's what, and wondering how important of a distinction that is anyway. You take it from here.


Replies: 9 Comments

part of my problem with this i guess is that (especially if you're english) the likes of sasha have always been this ever-present, overpowering hegemony of boredom....and them sticking around and getting cred by association is a bit nauseating... kind of how what was fun about electroclash was that it ridiculed and mocked the old guard...you don't really get that with the 'metrohaus' lot, perhaps cos they're mostly rather older...

owen said @ 06/21/2005 12:23 PM EST

Nice article but i'm not suprised at all.

Damian Lazarus may have been cutting edge in 2000, but he was never a good dj and always wanted to be big like Sasha anyway.

Damian has root like Ministry of Sound and Ibeeeeeeeeeeeeza club culture just like all the rest.

Cos he hung around in old street for a bit and caught the upsurge of electroclash he got a reputation and with his City Rockers label.

20jazzfunkgreats said @ 06/21/2005 11:41 AM EST

i think craig richards is exempt from any "aging trance types" commentary here... he's been holding things down for the minimal sound for at least four years now at his fabric residency. certainly one of the best big-name djs around for my money.

colin nagy said @ 06/19/2005 09:22 AM EST

It always amuses me how people tend to assume that successful/mainstream DJ's must be some sort of musical imbeciles, locked in their musical formula - and then are surprised when it turns out that they can recognise and spin good music when they hear it. How many people have noticed that Tiesto has been spinning Mayer and Superpitcher tracks for years?

siegbran said @ 06/18/2005 08:36 AM EST

ha! it makes total sense to me that sven vath would be into areal, though! that's a pretty big compliment to areal, i think.

i guess i'm envisioning a harmonic relationship between the two camps. where the big guys get a shot of inspiration from hearing the littler guys, and (hopefully) make their music less bland as a result. and the littler guys get wider recognition and a bigger stage. i think it's a win-win situation for everyone involved. or i hope it is, anyway.

geeta said @ 06/17/2005 03:24 PM EST

i find it all a bit odd, like when you read groove and find that sven vath is into areal it's somehow depressing

i'd kind of rather this stuff went in revolutions, that what came before was subjected to ridicule- instead you have ageing trance types like craig richards and sasha (sasha i ask you!) playing villalobos rather than being shamed into retirement...

owen said @ 06/17/2005 02:55 PM EST

i interviewed sasha awhile back when his involver mix came out, and was really surprised to hear that he was listening to grand national, ricardo villalobos' alcachofa, and a lot of other minimal stuff. guy's got great taste in music, and even tipped me off on the langley schools project. i think the stuff he normally plays is intended to cater to the up-for-it, anthemic crowd that comes out to see him- but im glad to see this change of pace.

colin nagy said @ 06/17/2005 10:15 AM EST

my two cents:

http://www.exclaim.ca/index.asp?layid=22&csid=7&csid1=3632

martin turenne said @ 06/16/2005 01:31 PM EST

very well remark...

i was having the same feeling, but never really articulated it.

however, in my opinion, this is a great development, as i was into some of the prog-trance (sahme on me) from a few years ago and thought that it got progressively stale and incredibly boring, calculated music. however, people like pearson and mayer give it a breath of fresh air. also i'm sure, that these guys will know when to stop, before becoming too formulaic.

tom said @ 06/16/2005 10:18 AM EST

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