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Triber mentioned in Eye this week...

MoFo

TRIBE Member
Great article. Good to read perspectives on the scene.
Any comments?

All tomorrow's parties
A new year raises old questions about the future of the dance nation
BY JOSHUA OSTROFF



Mr. Praline: Look, matey, I know a dead parrot when I see one, and I'm looking at one right now.

Owner: No, no he's not dead, he's, he's restin'! Remarkable bird, the Norwegian Blue, innit, ay? Beautiful plumage!

Mr. Praline: The plumage don't enter into it. It's stone dead.

Owner: No, no, no, no, no, no! 'E's resting!

Mr. Praline: All right then, if he's restin', I'll wake him up! 'Ello, Polly! Mister Polly Parrot! I've got a lovely fresh cuttlefish for you...

-- Monty Python's Dead Parrot sketch


Way up on the seventh floor of an aging garment district factory, there's a brilliant view of the Lite Brite-looking downtown core. Hundreds and hundreds of people are here at the Together party, dancing among the brick walls, wood floors and exposed piping, celebrating the end of a tumultuous year -- in their world, their city and their scene.

Similarly explosive parties are going off elsewhere -- from the Happy Hardcore event down on the fourth floor of the same building, to the techno, house, D&B, glitch and Goa DJs throwing down all over town in lofts, industrial spaces, suburban nightclubs and at house parties.

It's a most welcome welcome to 2004 (though it sometimes feels like it could be 1999 or even 1994) but it doesn't change a thing. Electronic music is still pining for the fjords.

Variations on a form -- say, rap-rock or big beat -- can be put out of their misery, but genres don't die, they evolve. Disco taught us that. Nevertheless, what was until a couple years ago a cultural behemoth remains mired in dire times.

Toronto's party scene has been downward-spiralling since 30,000 ravers showed up for the celebratory second iDance on Labour Day, 2001. But it's a symptom of a global dance recession, one caused by government crackdowns, economic downturns and, too often, bland beats.

Over the past year or so, bandwagon-jumpers jumped off, ravers got bored and/or old, dance magazines folded, labels dissolved and clubs shut doors as the one-off party scene contracted and unsavoury (and, in the case of cigarettes, untenable) corporate sponsorship became ubiquitous.

It's great that everyone had such a good time at the Industry Reunion, but it's also sorta sad to already be commemorating the dead discotheque -- not to mention being forced to drink only Smirnoff products while doing so.

Some changes have, of course, been positive -- the end of the Superstar DJ, the reduction in crystal kids and E-tards (not to mention ticket prices), microhouse, mash-ups, Hawtin's hair -- but mostly the electronic-music scene simply lost its subcultural oomph. Bunkered-down producers and their overly formalistic sub-sub-subgenres bled the fun and experimentation out of the music. Hacks with cheap technology flooded the market with mediocre beats. The underground began considering anything but hardcore techno or MUTEK-y minimalism to be commercial crap. And much of it was. Electroclash flopped. Demographics began shifting. The Ecstasy got worse.

The old-school vibe keeps on keepin' on thanks to Promise parties, SumKidz' Om Festival and AlienInFlux's Harvest Festival -- who came Together to usher in the '04 -- but the participants are aging. Without a constant influx of fresh blood, the risk of being nostalgic is only prevented by the fact that many hadn't ever stopped dancing. Sure, you may catch Samurai Jack sucking a soother at a cartoon rave and happy hardcore events still boast considerable kid quotients -- but most of youth culture has moved on.

It's easy -- albeit disingenuous -- to argue that weak post-grunge was what opened North America's door to rave culture in the first place and that indie-rock's revival is to blame for the current situation. But subcultures are cyclical and electronic music's heyday lasted far longer than anyone could have expected -- a Tribe.ca member recently posted a 1993 Globe and Mail article with ravers already griping about the commercialization of the scene.

Those fears were inevitably realized, but despite the music's mainstreaming, the mainstream never really bought in. Not like they did with hip-hop.

Of course, there remains much fun to be had. Semi-regular warehouse and beach parties, annual outdoor festivals and the odd Hullabaloo keep PLUR alive, while Toronto junglists are in resurgence, Wabi add a little artsiness and Fukhouse provides a regular outlet for techno obsessives.

So let the club kids have their trance anthems, the rest of the scene has gone back underground where it can mutate in peace. There's always a risk of irrelevancy if, like hippies, Goths, safety-pinned punks or middle-aged jazz aficionados, we become locked into a cultural stasis.

So dance music is starting to push things forward again. The distillation of the scene is creating a more concentrated audience while freeing DJs and producers from the yoke of materialism.

Previously guarded boundaries are being overrun thanks to eclectic DJ sets and compilations mixing unlikely pop, rock, hip-hop and French cabaret tracks with their techno/house beatdowns.

Furthering this subgenre-fucking is the burgeoning alliance between dance and rock. Call it disco-punk, neo-post-punk, synth-pop or electro-whathaveyou -- the point is that dance producers are playing with pop structure and non-diva vocals while indie-rock bands are incorporating keyboards, drum-machines and effects.

Basement Jaxx hooked up with Siouxsie Sioux and Brooklyn production squad DFA beat up rock songs to become, like comparable contemporaries The Neptunes, more popular than the artists they worked for. Meanwhile, the success of Manitoba's psychedelic laptop-rock and the diverse electronic-pop from Junior Senior, The Notwist, M83 and The Postal Service has set the stage for a coming year of fusion.

Back here at home, the increasingly popular Hot Times and Santa Cruz parties (the latter returns to Stone's Place Jan. 10) apply a dance scene sheen to downtown hipsters, letting rockers and post-ravers get together and shake it like a Polaroid picture.

So don't pine for the good ol' days -- at least not too much. Enjoy rave's remains and revel in anticipation of something new brewing, something that rejects splintering and segregation, something that'll make the break-o'-dawn worth staying up for again

********

Oh, and who was the member who posted the article?
And what article was it?
 
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green_souljah

TRIBE Member
Originally posted by MoFo
Great article. Good to read perspectives on the scene.
Any comments?

All tomorrow's parties
Some changes have, of course, been positive -- the end of the Superstar DJ, the reduction in crystal kids and E-tards (not to mention ticket prices), microhouse, mash-ups, Hawtin's hair -- but mostly the electronic-music scene simply lost its subcultural oomph. Bunkered-down producers and their overly formalistic sub-sub-subgenres bled the fun and experimentation out of the music. Hacks with cheap technology flooded the market with mediocre beats. The underground began considering anything but hardcore techno or MUTEK-y minimalism to be commercial crap. And much of it was. Electroclash flopped. Demographics began shifting. The Ecstasy got worse.


That paragraph about sums it up.
 
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JMan

TRIBE Member
My feeling is times change. People will always party, people will always dance, and there will always be somewhere to find a good time. Taking the pulse of the "scene" every 5 mins does no good.

J
 

Liquidity

TRIBE Member
But subcultures are cyclical and electronic music's heyday lasted far longer than anyone could have expected -- a Tribe.ca member recently posted a 1993 Globe and Mail article with ravers already griping about the commercialization of the scene.
hey, anybody wonder how he came up with this thread? do you think it just popped up in a google search? or maybe this JOSHUA OSTROFF guy is a lurker?
 
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MoFo

TRIBE Member
Re: Re: Re: Re: Triber mentioned in Eye this week...

Originally posted by basic
I know - just pointing out what everyone else thought when they read the thread.
Eat some bananas before they're all gone, Kevin. GO. *hmph*
 

starr

TRIBE Member
Originally posted by Liquidity
hey, anybody wonder how he came up with this thread? do you think it just popped up in a google search? or maybe this JOSHUA OSTROFF guy is a lurker?
Josh is probably a lurker. He probably posts from time to time, but I can't remember his nickname.

He's a regular writer for Eye and also submits stuff for other publications (mixer, etc.).

Last time I recall seeing Josh was at the party at Roy Thompson Hall. I'm sure I've seen you since Josh, just can't remember where. :)
 

Booty Bits

TRIBE Member
Originally posted by lucky1
She is my Twin sister. Spins Jungle so spends more time on torontojungle.com
holy crap! i've met you before! at Om, 2 summers ago. my name's liz, i was hanging with dave (fleaflo).
weeeeeeeeeird.
 
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fleaflo

TRIBE Member
Originally posted by lucky1
She is my Twin sister. Spins Jungle so spends more time on torontojungle.com
She's your sister? Did you know that her boyfriend at the time was my roommate? Did we already have this conversation? :confused:
 

Booty Bits

TRIBE Member
dude! i swear we hung out with jocelyn and her sis at Om that year. i remember watching her morning jungle set with both of you.
jocelyn's leg was in a cast, if i remember correctly.
 

lucky1

TRIBE Member
Yeah!! Totally!! Crazy. So Fleaflow is Dave? And Liz I do rmember haning out with you. My sis was recovering from knee reconstruction, hence the crutches. I had such a good time at OM.
 
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