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Sat, 28 Feb 2009

Art of the DJ

No mistake, there is an art to it for sure and the good ones are not only technically skilled in their handling of equipment and media but in their handling of their audiences.

But! For someone coming from the indy end of rock, it's still all vaguely a bit incomprehensible - I mean, for a start, all this anxiety to please stuff - what's that about?! That's a different universe, like being in something as unspeakable as a wedding band or being a cocktail bar jazz doofus. The wedding band guys will tell you that they make a whole lot of money and you know they have skill but still, it seems awfully like peddling your ass in a low rent part of town... and where peddling your ass isn't, you know, your thing exactly.

I was at a techno party not long ago and what struck me was how safe and mannered it all was - mid tempo scratchings with slow developments and not too much in the way of surprises. After a certain hour it seemed most anyone would dance to this in a vaguely self absorbed and contained way. Well, OK, why not? Some people like playing endless games of scrabble as well.

But don't get me wrong - I don't miss bloody mosh pits at all, and I don't miss nihilism all that much either except as a momentary thing where, in a pinpoint flash of light, the body danced outside itself, outside pain, happiness, and the reality of a shitty relationship or whatever - or maybe for an instant it was a celebration of that shittiness... which is a small affirmation of life itself in a kind of a way - a sort of update of the maudlin country song - a variation on the Blues.

Or to put it another way, in an undrugged and unalcoholed state it was all kind of, well, boring. And it was somehow more boring for the fact that this music was second-hand, was not being produced in the minute even though aspects of it were being altered in the minute in sometimes fairly crass ways. How about an inspired DJ that hits every minute, and the crowd, with some kind of joyful epiphany? Well, that's an artist and there aren't many of them.

So, what then? Just check out real bands from time to time. That's all I suggest. (thunderfinger)

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