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July 2011 Articles
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Issue: July 2011

By Alexander Clark Campbell

‘House Music' modernistic, futuristic, electronic more often called by under umbrella terms — ‘techno' or ‘electronica'; or ‘dub' or ‘dancehall' or ‘rap/hip-hop': but by whatever name, this internationally-flavored musical form is minimalist, repetitive, always and forever with a ‘4 on the floor' dance-beat, emphasizing bass and higher-range tones (and de-emphasizing the octaves of the human voice, which has the effect of making it sound machinelike). An offshoot of the once-infamous, once thought-to-be-know-nothing ‘non-music' of disco, it combined itself strongly with rap and emerged (so the Chicagoan's account goes) in South Side dance clubs favored by the City's Latinos, AfricanAmericans, and gay community before being widely exported abroad. (According to Wiki-wiki-wiki-pedia anyway.)

Me, I'm not so sure. I think it more likely amalgamated into being out of the NYC, LA, DC (and also European cities like London, Paris, Amsterdam) a variety of places — as part of the 60's-to-mid-80's Zeitgeist.

In its formal elements reminiscent of the deco era of the 1930's (and so of the gangster era so exemplified in the popular imagination by Chicago), electronica/techno, like deco style, seems, in its youthful exuberance, to go ‘On and On' being new. (In fact ‘On and On' is the title of Chicago DJ Jesse Saunders' now-classic House recording, thought by some to be the genre's earliest, and defining, recording [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N535RekE4c8 — Dave Nada Moombahtohn

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SVNXymHf68s Munchi Gracias

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UgBT7GEKVBE David Heartbreak — Dance If You Like

These two fine examples of t/e coming to Headliners next month — Matisyahu (who was also at Headliners last summer) with Sub Swara (a duo comprised of Dhruva Ganesan and Dave Sharma who are both electronic music producers and percussionists) — Doors at 7pm 18+ w/photo id Show Time: 8:00 pm — July 21st

Matisyahu is a Hasidic Jew who melds the elements of reggae and hiphop with his religious beliefs and outlook on the world in English and Yiddish while spreading the messages of love and peace in a war torn and sad world. In his mind, he doesn't really care if the popular music stations pick him up or not for rotation (online is changing what is popular music, and MTV and pop 40 do not matter much any more anyway) — he just wants to make the music he wants to make for himself and others like the DC-based and internationally influenced Thievery Corporation http://www.louisvillemusic.org/terrabeat/2011/02/21/mon-february-21-2011-95110-amfw-sweet-tides-pools-of-blood-pools-of-love-the-music-of-revolution-war-peace-reconciliation/) . However, despite the complex and heavy political and religious lyrics, there is something radio-friendly about Matisyahu does which makes the heaviness and sophistication of his subjects go down very lightly like Justin Beiber. And, what do I mean by ‘radio-friendly'? — it is something that an artist has or not — and many of them try when they shouldn't. ‘Radio-Friendly' is a quality that you know that a sound will appeal to many listeners — and Matisyahu has that that quality whether he likes it or not. There is a vast difference between listening to Matisyahu, who channels the Elvis of the Caribbean, Bob Marley, very deftly and reading his lyrics — one you are on the dance floor with no worries; and the other you are in a library or in a synagogue doing heavy pondering and soul searching. His Chop Em Down is one of the many examples of this.

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