Keep yer pants on...
Posted by Disco Dirt
Back in the day, promoting yourself as a DJ or a club was a pretty straightforward affair. Knock up some flyers, give out a few demos…once you start getting a bit more ambitious, maybe get some promotional t-shirts made up, or even expand into slipmats and record bags. It all made perfect sense. But during the rise of the Superclub, people started thinking a bit more laterally – Cream made its own branded water, Space started making fans to cool yourself down on the dancefloor, hell – The Hacienda even used to sell its own branded poppers. For years, some high profile car and watch brands had to grapple with the question of whether all publicity really is good publicity when their logos were used on some rather less official clubbing ‘merchandise’…
These days, clubs and DJs are popping up in all other areas of our lives too - some make more sense than others. DJ trainers by the likes of Adam Freeland, Layo & Bushwacka! and Booka Shade, for example, which although (sadly) won’t make you mix like your hero, at least allow you to ‘walk a mile in their shoes’ (ho ho). If you can’t sleep as it’s too light outside, why not slip on an End eyemask? Or if you’ve not even managed to get back to your bed, just erect your Ministry of Sound tent on the nearest patch of grass and crawl inside. Feeling the heat whilst at that DJ Tiesto ‘concert’? Make sure that you have your specially branded Tiesto sweatband to mop your brow during that 3,674th euphoric breakdown.
Other promoters and DJs tread even further away from the party-related. Why not eat your home-made pie, that you baked using your Fabric oven glove, off your flashing Daft Punk coffee table? All these items pale into insignificance, however, beside the majestic selection of DJ merchandise available to purchase on www.davidguetta.com, where you can choose from a David Guetta ‘continental string thong’ or some hotpants. Oh, and a David Guetta Santa hat for good measure. Rumours that Mr Guetta will soon be launching his own range for Anne Summers are yet to be confirmed…
Bassline house? Forgive us while we rant...
Posted by Disco Dirt
Music is continuously changing, ever evolving. But there are also cycles within genres (within stereotypes) within music and this is where it gets tricky. This has happened throughout the history of music. Look at Oasis in the mid 90s, “but they’re just a crappier Beatles with even worse hair cuts” everyone cried. Hear a Tom Tom Club tune or a Human League instrumental circa 1980 and they could have been produced yesterday by any number of modern house artists. Is dubstep really that different from dub, apart from with a two step beat over the top, and is this necessarily a bad or a good thing? Were they forward thinking or are we backward thinking?
There’s that advert on the TV for a new bassline CD that is mixed by “the godfather of bassline”, to which Disco Dirt shakes its head cynically, remembering speed garage a decade ago; the same pitched-up vocals, garage beat and sick bass lines that just wouldn’t let up. Disco Dirt loved speed garage and can’t really see any difference between classics such as ‘RIP Groove Double ‘99’ - the daddy tune of speed garage - and modern bassline. We like the fact that it’s back, but who’s this godfather of bassline? Is Dexplicit the godfather of bassline, or were Double ‘99 the real godfathers of bassline by way of speed garage? And if so, considering speed garage was the bastard son of house music and huge basslines, does that make the godfather of house Frankie Knuckles, the real godfather?
Since electronic music appeared on the scene these music cycles appear smaller and closer together, or maybe it just seems that way with the likes of NME hailing a brand new genre every time they have nothing to put on the cover. Or perhaps it’s down to record companies trying to eke out as much cash as possible from an ailing music industry. Or maybe it really is genuine, fresh sounding music for a new generation to discover and stay out dancing all night to. Have you noticed that even the terms used to describe music are in and out of fashion? Take the word rave (invented in a field in 1988 and fashionable until, ooh, about 1995 when it became clubbing) which reappeared last year, back en vogue in countless press releases and magazines and suddenly no one is clubbing or partying any more, everyone is raving. It’s all too much, I’m going to lie down in a dark room and listen to ‘Heartbroken’ over and over hoping that someone in bassline will hire Craig David to do a vocal for them…
A live show par excellence...
Posted by Disco Dirt
Since everyone and their Gran seems to be DJing these days, it's no surprise that some artists are trying to put themselves a head and shoulders above the rest with a 'live' show. Now Disco Dirt isn't one to be cynical, but a lot of these 'live' shows seem to consist of a bloke behind a laptop adding in a few acappellas here and there. There are a select few, however, who really go the extra mile. Step forward Etienne de Crecy in his giant psychedelic Rubix cube. Clearly heavily inspired by his fellow countrymen Daft Punk, but amazing all the same. There were murmurs amongst doubters in the office as to whether de Crecy is a big enough artist to pull off such a megalomaniac display. Disco Dirt, however, always applauds wildly extravagant Jean Michel Jarre-esque posturing, especially if it involves giant lasers. Check out the show below and see what you think…impressive stuff.
This beat is…tectonic
Posted by Disco Dirt
We think we have it pretty easy in the year 2008. Back in ye bad olde days, dancing was a highly complex affair, involving various twirls, spins, and trying desperately to avoid stamping on your partner's toes. Fast forward a hundred years or so and anything can pass for 'dancing' – from shuffling aimlessly side to side whilst nodding your head, to simply pogo-ing up and down on the spot whilst whooping enthusiastically. There are no rules, no one has tried to invent any set steps, and even the worst dancer in the world can fade into the background in the dark confines of your average nightclub. However, somewhere along the line, some ker-azy French kids have decided to invent some new dance rules - 'le tectonic'. It's hard to describe exactly what this involves, but if we're totally honest, it looks a bit like how Napoleon Dynamite would dance if you sprinkled speed on his cornflakes. Get practising, this is coming to a dancefloor near you soon…
Weird but wonderful...
Posted by Disco Dirt
Disco Dirt would like to apologise for the lack of words of wit or merry banter pouring forth from the column today. Hey, it was a big weekend. Sometimes you just have to step back and let nature speak for you...step forward, The Dramatic Lemur! Disco Dirt has watched this 10 times and still can't stop laughing (you need sound for maximum effect).
Frank Sinatra vs. Chas & Dave
Posted by Disco Dirt
Everyone loves a good fight. Whether it’s top trumps, celebrity death match, or simply Jordan vs. Jodie Marsh (sorry Jodie love, you ain’t got a hope in hell), it’s just human nature. Why else would one of the Top Ten Pub Conversations of All Time be the pointless yet highly illuminating sport of pitting random people / animals against each other and discussing in depth who would win. Ant vs. ladybird? Sven Vath vs. Richie Hawtin (our money’s on Sven – have you seen his guns?) The stranger the better. Forget bear vs. shark, we solved that one years ago, we’re thinking lemur vs. gerbil or praying mantis vs. lobster.
Two people who understand this way of thinking better than most are the fabulously twisted cabaret act Kitty La Roar and Nick of Time. Infamous for their unorthodox musical mash-ups, Kitty & Nick will be dropping in to AKA this Thursday to perform at Rant.
In honour of this occasion, we thought why not dissect some of their trademark musical mash-ups in a bear vs. shark style to see who’d win…
Fred Astaire vs. Meat Loaf
Now, as much as we like to back the underdog, let’s look at the facts here. Fred Astaire: was taught to dance by his sister, has been described as “debonair, poised and elegant”, played the clarinet. Meatloaf: weighs about 20 stone, was in the film ‘Fight Club’, writes songs entitled ‘Bat out of Hell’. To be honest, it’s probably better if Fred doesn’t even step in the ring. Sorry Fred.
Shaggy vs. Robbie
However evolved we are, we can’t claim to be immune to the theory of natural selection. The strongest of the species survive, the weakest fade away – harsh, but there you go. Hence, the smallest kid in the playground gets picked on and the strongest lion gets an entourage of lionesses. Virility has always been seen as a sign of strength, and that doesn’t look set to change any time soon. So step forward Shaggy, the self professed lyrical lover Mr Boombastic, who was “caught red handed creeping with the girl next door”, offers to “sexercise you to sleep” and writes songs with tasteful lyrics such as “all virgins put up your hand, yeah”. Then step forward Robbie Williams, muttering about angels, pain and waterfalls. We leave this one for you to make up your own mind…
Frank Sinatra vs. Radiohead
There may be safety in numbers, but even with the strength of the whole band combined we reckon Thom Yorke and his cronies would be no match for ol’ Frank. Miserable buggers never win fights, it’s just the law of the land - Frank would beat the lot hands down, with a tip of his hat and a cheeky wink. In his own words, “Don´t you know, little fool, you never can win.”
Shirley Bassey vs. The White Stripes
Rock ‘n’ roll grannies / grandads seem to be getting ever more prevalent these days – what with Jack Nicholson still marking up the notches on his bedpost and some of the original house music pioneers still wheeling themselves out of retirement for gigs, hearing aids switched up to max. The queen of the rock ‘n’ roll OAPs is, of course, Dame Shirley Bassey. Performing with the Propellerheads at 60 and headlining Glastonbury last year aged 70 in a pink Julien MacDonald dress? Try and mug this old lady at a bus stop at your peril. Sorry White Stripes – we do love ya, but in this instance you’ll have to step aside and give your elders the respect they’re due.
Hungry for more mash-ups? Rant feat. Kitty La Roar & Nick of Time, Rant DJs and Andy H is on Thursday 20th April in AKA. See full details here.