Wednesday, November 14, 2012


Electronic Dance Music, which seems to be wiping out all other forms of musical discourse at the moment, honestly makes one long for the profundity of the early work of Britney Spears. Here is an article about a recent gathering. One of the superstars of the genre is Hardwell and here is one of his live shows:

This is big, money-making stuff as you can tell just from the set. Well, and the size of the crowd. His method is to create a basic rhythmic texture which builds into fierce climaxes by simple doubling and re-doubling the speed of the subdivisions--the same method used in Psy's recent "Gangnam Style". But this is a long form; it goes on for over an hour with lots of contrasts and cuts. About six minutes in you will notice a one-verse quote from Gotye's recent hit "Somebody that I used to know". Other songs are also quoted. As the show goes on, Satyr-like figures appear to perform acrobatic stunts. This is almost purely somatic music, appealing to the body. Amazing how vacuous it is! It makes Metallica, N.W.A or Jay-Z seem like Bob Dylan--or Franz Schubert for that matter. The underlying tempo, despite the contrasts, seems to be right around the ubiquitous 120 beats per minute that I noticed before with this and other electronic-based music.

What it oddly reminds me of is the Roman descendent of the Greek Satyr plays, but that is probably because of the version shown in the television series Roma, plus the satyr costumes. Everyone is having a remarkably fine time. So what's wrong with it? Apart from the vacuity and vulgar gaity? Nada...

As Greg House once said, "If you're happy, I'm ... " [long pause and then he just walks away]


RG said...

Just when I thought it could not get worse.

Bryan Townsend said...

It can always get worse!