Looking back at 2007, it most certainly can be said electronic music is alive and thriving in America and across the globe. The meteoric rise of rave rockers Justice and the electrifying resurgence of Daft Punk have undoubtedly spread a wide net introducing millions (most importantly young aspiring musicians) to the power of the beat and the excitement, democracy of participation, and borderless history of dance music and club culture.
No conversation about dance music in 2007 can ignore the speed at which both France's big electro sound and the German minimal techno scenes have spread across the dance floors of the world.
Ed Banger and its Parisian brother label Institubes led the way for DJs dropping full sets of distortion heavy, maximal electro to the beer soaked floors of tiny basement rock bars. On the other hand, a stripped down version of tech house has been providing the pulse for the non-stop minimal parties inspired by the 24 hour Berlin techno culture. The speed at which music and ideas flash and morph across the internet has led to a global spattering of genre creating releases and mimicking local dance scenes. Punked up or stripped down, whichever is your pleasure, its meant that this year dance music has reached many more ears (particularly in the States) than the last few.
Interestingly, the last few waves of dance music crossover were much more album and artist focused: 2007 was all about the danceparty. Getting out and freaking out. Not only that, its piqued the interest and talent of budding musicians in bedrooms and home studios across the world. Signed or un-signed, new high-quality electronic music is being produced and distributed with lightning speed (and often without regard for payment or ownership).
Blog house, minimal, baleric, fidget, dubstep, bassline, nu-rave, or a disco re-edit: 2007 was a very good year for the beat.
2008 is the twentieth anniversary of the "Summer of Love" and the rapid rise of acid house and club culture. A lot of people have been making what we refer to here as 'electronic' music for quite a long time. But there is a fresh crop of Abelton armed 20 year olds maximalising their minimal that aren't even going to look up to take notice. For better or worse, it's only getting easier to produce, to DJ, to perform live...
Two giants, without whom modern dance culture wouldn't exist, passed away this year. The soul and rhythm of James Brown laid the foundation for every breakbeat and bassline from early disco to modern techno - not to mention the most heavily sampled drum beat in hip-hop history. If music doesn't have a bit of JB's soul, it's probably not worth your time... I had the honor of sitting down with Tony Wilson this year at Coachella right before the Happy Mondays took the stage and mere months before he succumbed to cancer. Not well, but fiery as hell nonetheless, Tony passionately discussed his new project of bringing his Manchester based In the City festival to New York, with the off hand reference to legendary stories of the Hacienda and Factory records artists Joy Division, New Order, and The Mondays. Tony's passion for his city, his bands, producers, and projects truly made history. Despite the controversy, Tony was true to his passion, didn't give a fuck about what anyone thought, and showed us how to stand up and make shit happen for ourselves. His spirit and passion for music will no doubt live on.