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New Fears

The demise of electronic culture '

17 Dec 2003

So here we are sitting at least ten years into electronic dance culture in New Zealand. Yet despite all the djs, parties, clubs, promoters, and other affiliated trappings, today we seem to be moving backwards.

Following is not a discussion about the lack of talent, or the skills of players in the dance industry. It is a comment about the dilution of the ideals and identity of our Dance Culture. It is a direct attack at the soft rotting core of the ideas that drive the dance floor.

What is it in our playstation minds that makes us think that Dance Culture is like a candy wrapper to some sort of short-term sugar rush.

Electronic music culture was grown from a deep dissatisfaction with the analog world. The music was our gathering call against the language of stale expression and industrial boredom. The culture was an embodiment of future dreaming and lateral emotion, a stepping-stone from our crushing reality into collective visions of hope.

Buttons, knobs and faders unleashed a brave new dimension that prior to the sine wave never existed. Unafraid we celebrated the acoustic time travelers who reached deep into the chaos drawing out new ideas. The dance floor was awash with a 'mind' eager for the unrestrained sounds of infinity dividing.

There was excitement before hype, and anticipation before expectation. Style was un-dictated and method was free from rule. The crowd teetered on the edge of the void, unfaltering secure in their commitment to face the unknown. Consolidated by the rhythm, empowered by the abstract. Knowing before understanding.

Then ... Somewhere along the way we lost our nerve.

The djs backtracked, reaching for the familiar, the know quantity, the 'hits'. The producers left the wave, scrambling for the comforts of samples, falling fly trapped into the formula, back into the pop psychology, escaping imagination and discarding intuition. The crowds scattered back from the edge, racing for cover under filtered loops, and packet remixes.

What happened to the vision, to the crystalline hope that we can create our own alternative?

Well nothing happened. Its still there: the edge, cutting into the blackness. We just abandoned it for the safety of popularity and sunglasses at dawn.

The trouble is, now that Dance Music is giving up its pole position in the stakes for progression. We tumble swiftly into the care of mediocrity. We are destined to wander aimlessly between the rubble of lost dreams and cheap imitation. Left hopelessly to the charms of juke boxes and cover bands. Waiting desperately for our turn on the Retro-go-round.

So what!! ... it's the wheel of time, the nature of society, the all consuming beast of consumerism, its the modern way 'you know', re-cycle, re-use .. ..

No ... we are a bunch of lazy, ill feed, infomercial loving disco teachers.

Where once we rallied to the banners of techno anarchy, seeking alliance to chaos & infinity. Brave, bold and steady in our stance of liberation.

We now live in 5.1 bull***t. We squabble under the glow of golden arches, sleeping fit-fully in our bed of self-consciousness. Now, we have traded in our magic for remote control fear.

How did we manage to convince ourselves that we are this dumb? Why do we think we are unable to create out own future? Who told us that we were wrong?

The ridiculous thing is that we are smarter, better earning, more experienced individuals than ten years ago. Today if we shared the slightest amount of interest and belief with our younger selves, we would be dancing to the phatest beat.

At it current rate Electronic music and culture will die; the aspirations of this generation will wash away like rust under coke. The status quo will remain assembled ready to receive us into their ranks, ready to sap the remainder of our love and energy,

Understand' none of this is about rebellion, its not about the underground, it's not about the resistance, its not about fighting the power, it's not even about them!

Its about us, it's about keeping our desire, its about dancing our dreams creating our own world for our own lives. Its about protecting our own choice.

..

Electronic music, electronic culture:

We did not inherit it. We were not taught it.
We were not given it. We did not buy it.

We are creating it. We are building it. Electronic Dance Culture is our culture we are responsible for its demise, only we will allow it to crumble, leaving its assets to be plundered by the new world.

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