Appearing in the Projector, February 5, 2006
I’m not the only one who’s trying to convince others how great dance music is.
Unfortunately the musical sub-culture loses integrity whenever techno and its contemporaries have been targeted by commercial organizations. Hot103’s latest advertising campaign for example, features a woman posing as a DJ behind a mixer and a pair of turntables. On the giant billboard, a photograph captures a model dancing with headphones around her neck; both arms spread like she’s reaching towards the decks as if she were mixing the records on them.
Party fun time, yes? No.
The thing is – the setup is faked so obviously no credibility could ever be given to either the station or the ad. Most of the time djs play in darkened dance clubs, not brightly lit rooms illuminating them like stage actors under a spotlight. Granted, this was more than likely a studio job, with most of the work for the billboard done with photoshop or something. This is forgivable.
Usually when djing however, needles are placed on records. In the billboard the tone arms of both decks rest on their holders. Even more often, there are actually needles on the turntables. The photograph is huge and it’s easy to see that there aren’t any (needle) cartridges attached to either of the tone arms which, is like playing guitar without strings.
This kind of bastardization of underground music has been happening for years. Punk rock, grunge, techno, house, and so on – they’ve all been raped of their credibility by companies hoping to make money off of the so-called cool factors. It’s terribly unfortunate and makes me question the validity of techno…until I hear something like Mr. Oizo’s remix of Something About You by pop princess Jamelia. (No, this tune is not super new, but that’s not the point I’m making here…)
Mr. Oizo’s real name is Quentin Dupieux. He chops the beats into a sort of abbreviated madness and disassembles the melody in a similar way. The rework turns the R&B blandness into an electro dance floor stomper. Even though this tune specifically isn’t brand new and I’ve listened to it probably hundreds of times, it’s a perfect example of a record that djs would love to dig their needles into.
Although somewhat elusive the artist known as Trashtalk, from Germany, smash through aural barriers with their squelch and sleaze. Their single Tankgirl is another prime example of what dance music should sound like. It’s dripping wet with synth and so thick layers of robotic paste ooze off of dance floors when it’s played.