An analog manifesto

My good friend Van Halliwell is a respected record collector back in Merry Old. His taste in music is impeccable, his knowledge encyclopedic. He's been around for a long time and probably a lot more jaded than even me about the whole dance music thang. However, he's part of a movement that is gaining moment in the UK-a back to basics attitude trying to bottle the spirit of ACIIIIEEEED! and inject it into a new generation of clubbers. Halliwell feels that today's producers are responsible for the decline in club culture because of their lack of knowledge which has led to an overall homogenization of the music, the clubs, and the clubbers. He himself takes a very purist approach as an artist under the guise the GunBoat Diplomat by returning to an analog less-is-more reality. I disagree vehemently with this idea and think the music overall is getting better so long as we continually demand more quality in our tastes and while there are still malcontented rebels such as the GD in the world. So I guess in way I do agree with Halliwell but it's much harder for me as an American to grasp a moribund club culure. After years of being a fringe element in the pop music hierarchy everywhere I look I see people dancing and having fun here in the States. I am actually kinda sad that I am ten years too late to really enjoy the turning of the tide here making it kinda hard for me to envision the crass lifelessness as described by Halliwell. I do know that England and the UK are small places and overnight a rogue element can hold sway so in that spirit I offer you this manifesto culled from the GD's Myspace page as well as a mix and a video of some of his comrades in the Movement.


What has happened to our beloved dance scene in the u.k ? . Is it time for the next generation to come along and shake the foundations of what we consider to be underground music ? . Is there anybody capable of shaking it up ?

In my opinion there are not many producers with either the knowledge of their equipment , the history of the scene or the imagination to do this . Too many producers think that all it takes is a computer , a 4/4 beat and some nice chords , or a homemade programmed break with some ' phat ' bass to make a ' killa ' tune .

' I've got a Pentium blah blah ' , ' I 've got an apple mac ' How many times have we all heard this ? Just because you have a good computer doesn't mean you know the first thing about what makes a good tune. I say give these peeps an Atari and an s950 and watch them buckle as they don't have a 500 gig harddrive , any pirated digital plug ins or 70 channels to dress up their boring and unimaginative tracks .

Surely with technology being more widely available to the masses , we should be hearing more quality or at least adventurous music but in my opinion this is not the case , all we are hearing is people churning out the same old crap !

When the scene began we didn't have all this technology but the music was alive , vibrant and exciting , so what's gone wrong ?

All scenes have to progress , this is only natural , but I feel people have forgotten what original elements made a particular style . Techno isn't techno just because it's fast and drum & bass isn't all about programming and editing but these seem to be the popular misconceptions . I also feel that the advent of digital formats such as cd, mp3 and laptops in clubs are denying us the full range of harmonics that effect us subliminally .

The recent acid revival is a prime example , loads of people making tunes with 303 and 808 digital emulations and little soul . Go away and listen to likes of Bam Bam – ' where's your child ' , Jack Frost , Pierre and Adonis to name but a few and see how it's really done ! Without this knowledge how can people hope to produce music that has progressed further or contains as much passion .

Gone are the days of going into record shops and coming out with your tunes knowing that you have a few future classics in your sweaty grip ,whether it be from 4 HERO, BUKEM , CARL CRAIG, UNDERGROUND RESISTANCE or MASTERS AT WORK . Now most tunes will be lucky to still be getting played in a few months !.

For myself , most of the scene is dead . The music has become predictable , the dj's unexciting and the clubs extortionate . The drinks industry and clubs must be loving the fact that there is a current cocaine epidemic sweeping the U.K , lots of clubbers knocking back their overpriced drinks .Gone are the days of everyone on the same buzz , dancing all night with a smile and your bottle of water . Now I am faced by groups of 'coked up' arrogant clubbers who will happily give you a smack if you bump into them .

Be warned , myself and others are coming to take back our scene ……


Kay said...

Hey brother! You're so right! The scene is wasted! Though I'm part of a different culture (more discoed) every single one of them have the same roots. What I meant with this post was to express my feelings of disbelief in this new generation. People out there they all might know how the history has been made but they certainly forgot what make the grandpas so great and that's a shame! Everybody's bragging their fancy equipment without even knowing how to make them WORK properlyand without knowing why they bought it for... they just might done so 'cause a superstar dj has one too... and thanks to that shitty attitude they become prisoners of their own materialistic world... Shit, sorry for all this... I just liked your post and it influenced me to say all this! Big it up brother! Good blog! ;)

Sean-Michael Yoder said...

kay, thanks for reading and taking the time to comment. your comments are insightful and much appreciated. it's an interesting debate with powerful arguments on both sides. The author and I have a friendly disagreement about the whole thing actually. I am sure he will feel emboldened by your comment.