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Dance The Drop – May/June 2017

Column: Dance   |   Date Published: Saturday, 13 May 17   |   Author: Peter O'Rourke   |   1 month, 2 weeks ago

Sometimes a rare meme comes across your Facebook feed which is just way too accurate and on-point in its cutting assessment of the state of the world. Last week, one appeared in my feed as a fake flyer for a club night, poking some fun at the underground left-field house and techno scene. With this particular meme, I’m 90% sure it came from a place of love, rather than derision. Each detail was delicately reconstructed, from the informal typeface, the reference to celebrating with 163 art students, quotes such as “vinyl that costs $80” and “where did these four guys with hair gel come from?” – seriously, I’ve seen this at this style of party, with dudes who looked like they stepped straight out of 1994 with slicked back hair and large bomber polyester jackets.

When something reaches a meme level of recognition, you know that it’s a thing. As the club world embraces proper techno and house records again (debates about tech-house being techno or not aside), both trendsetters and those who sit outside the mainstream will end up doing their own thing, as represented in this viral image.

I remember going to a Pickle warehouse party last year and feeling like it was something truly new and exciting, a scene completely outside the club and outdoor doof scenes I was part of. A single mirror ball in the centre of the room, warm lo-fi analogue disco records at 120 beats per minute and a young arty crowd hypnotised to the steady groove of the vinyl. The crowd itself was different, with a strong queer representation, and a focus on dancing, rather than picking up (which you see a lot more in the commercial scene). The DJ was also at the same height of the crowd, not raised above, but barely seen.

But I guess these things don’t happen in isolation, especially in the age of the internet, with sounds, fashions and ideas spreading quickly. The fact that this meme reminded me so much of a flyer you might find for one of these events shows that, after a while, a specific style is set – and that’s what the scene becomes.

However, I’m glad that new stuff does come along in the dance music world. Sure, there are some links to the past, particularly with those raw analogue and disco sounds, but it’s awesome to see that dance music – and what it means to go out with dancing as the focus, not the lights, not the spectacle – can be stripped back to its basics and sound so fresh and new again.

A few gigs coming up by the way, take a look.

After TXNK at Kyte on Thursday May 11, Friday May 12 is pretty special for house and techno fans. Mr Wolf has Miguel Campbell, Kyte has progressive house legend Max Graham and my crew Dept of Late Nights is throwing a secret dusk until dawn rave, Troll Life with Sydney’s Shepz, DB and a host of locals! That same night Academy has some big room sounds with JDG.

The following weekend it would be worth checking out Kyte for techno action on Friday May 19, while on Saturday the first Capital Electro Swing Ball goes down at Albert Hall – costumes are a must! The next Friday May 26 sees Timmy Trumpet at Academy, and The Pitcher headlining Hard Envy at Cube. The first weekend of June is pretty cool, with Lotown and Dept of Late Nights joining forces at Kyte for the Subsonic Festival Launch Party! Underground progressive techno legends Thank You City are down for headlining duties. See you there.

PETE O’ROURKE

 

 





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