Thursday, December 31, 2009

Thoughts On 2009

Last day of the year, time to look back upon some twelve months antithetical as antithetical can be. On the one hand I've been playing more than ever which means a minimum of average two times a week, on the other I've seen a musical output as uninspiring and of diminished quality as I've never seen before proven by the fact that in the first time ever since I compile a personal monthly DJ chart there's been times when I couldn't even think of ten - yes, 10 that is - quality records fresh on the circuit I've heard or bought. And this hasn't happened only once but at least in approximately half of 2009. So what happened?
Audiomatique, Dessous and Poker Flat Recordings delivered quality stuff, the last mentioned even some of their best 12"es ever, but talking about many others there's been much failure. Dubstep degenerated to either some cheap dancefloor fodder with a wobbly bass, a bunch of boring bootlegs or a mixture of Detroit influences and some stripped down PostUKG-Breakbeat. I've seen Detroit, I've seen Breakbeat and UKG so I don't see the point why this is regarded as sth. new, some even came up with strange descriptions like DubTechno or TechStep which truly have different meanings. No need for mixing things up. And for the Dubstep that went experimental - Electronica / Intelligent Techno / IDM has been around for ages. Try and do different. Then there's UK Funky, another new thing appearing on the scene - next hype. But, has anybody apart from Martyn, who made the connection clear in an interview, listened to some early 90's Strictly Rhythm-tunes? No? You should, coze there's the same syncopic latin percussions on top of a straight 4/4 drumset. Leave out the 4/4 and add some more breaky beat and there it is - UK Funky. Invented about 15 or more years in the past. Then there was Niche / Bassline, a thing emerging from Sheffield that I'd really hope to see break through in Germany in 2009 but it didn't. Maybe the distributors are, in these trouble times, too afraid to bring them releases to Germany, coze they don't want to experience the same that happened to UKG some ten years ago. Some rare records are coming through, a few of them good, a few of them nothing more than ElectroHouse with a bigger bass. Hope this isn't the standard of this music in UK now and, if not, the German clubbers will recognize this musical phenomenon soon, coze whenever I've been playing this music out the reactions were quite good.
But at least some good things happened musically. DeepHouse, classic House and DubTechno - the true meaning - returned and several labels were putting out good new stuff in these genres. Instra:Mental delivered a blueprint of futuristic, Electronica-influenced HiTech-R'n'B with their massive tune "Watching You", MicroTechno-imprint Perlon took the risk to publish Shackleton's new album as triple-vinyl and I had some very very proper nights playing out some early NuSkoolBreaks and/or Oldskool / UK Hardcore as well as early 90s RaveTechno to audiences only as old as the records I spun. Good to see that the raw energy of this music never seems to diminish and that today's kids still can feel it although they're used to productions more hi-tech, clean and polished. Guess that proves my theory that a good tune is still a good tune, no matter what the production sounds like.
Talking formats I'm still one of the rare DJ's withstanding the so called digital revolution and timecoded, mp3-based way of playing out in clubs. As Sven Väth recently said in one of his interviews - one starts to feel like a dinosaur when nearly everyone else enters the club with nothing more than a laptop but vinyl still feels right and it seems that the club kids are reacting different and more ecstatic to turntable trickery when they can see that every cut, scratch, sample and mix is crafted with the DJ's hands only, seeing them records spin and fingers turning knobs and faders instead of having someone staring into an illuminated screen and moving mouse or trackpad. So expect true skool DJ'ing in 2010 when you come to see me on the decks, coze this is the way I've done for more than 10 years now and this is the skool I'm sticking to. Period.


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