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Scene Building

“It’s not our revolution unless we can dance.

Dancing is not a crime unless you live in AmeriKKK”

T-Shirt slogans at the 2003 Rave Act Protest by ROAR

There is something special that happens when that beat drops and its just you and the crowd. Its like all that shit that goes on out there in the world just washes away. It just can’t touch you for 3 or 4 hours. Thats why I get so hyped to dance. I think of dancing, DJ’in, VJ’in, going to shows as an explicit act of resistance against the norms of who society tells us we should be and should be doing. Don’t believe me, look at this video Mike Harmon Entertainment Studios put together for one of our biggest monthlies in Columbus: LeBOOM!

Do you think people are abiding by who society is telling them to be? Well maybe to some degree, but a new world is created in our community and at our shows. New futures are possible just by resisting the endless cycles of consuming and connectivity that really push us to be a certain people. No doubt there are other norms we follow by going to shows, but at least we are holding down our community, our scene, & our city. At least there is a possibility to find one of the most authentic versions of ourselves while interacting with people devoted to a shared love for the music and the culture.

In that way, I think of our act of going to shows and participating in our community as a positive act of community building that resists the cookie cutter version of ourselves that the world imposes on us. It fights against the atomization and alienation that we all face in society and gives us a place where we can be weird and be celebrated for it. As Hunter S. Thompson says, “When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro”. We all know that we went Pro a long time ago. Tonight let’s celebrate each other,  our ability to come together, and create an inclusive community centered around bucking the norm. 

Make sure to support Kingpin, Dustin Knell, V.J. OZ, & Burgle at Circus tonight at:

Juicy: Return to OZ 

or Tony DeSaro, Aaron Austen, Evan Evolution tonight before Gareth Emery:

Or Fabyan, Hawstyle, Rocketnerd, Deutsche Mark, and other national dubstep/Drum N Bass acts at “Phenomenon” at Bernies:

(Sorry for those I did not provide any link info for. I couldn’t find it!!)

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Two things that stand out to me in our electronic music scene: 1.) Our dark, spacey, & aggressive core sonic aesthetic & 2.) Our devotion to the ethos of DIY (Do-It-Yourself) culture and community building.

No where is our devotion to DIY culture and community building more evident than in the comments Scott Niemet made in an interview about 1 year ago:

“I look at underground/independent music in a bigger picture… I stand behind DIY (do it yourself) ethics and creative culture.. I build social environments, I try to create places where people can share time together and walk away feeling a part of a community.” Scott Niemet–Interview with Ohio Stand Up From Last Year (Get at it HERE)

I remember reading this interview and being like, “Damn, thats right its all on us. If you want something to happen you gotta go out and make it happen. We cannot and don’t want some big production company to create this scene for us.” This would just be a commercialized production devoid of the very elements of our scene we value so much. In this way, I think of our scene as an incubator for creativity and expression. A place where you can drop out of the rat race and lose yourself in a world devoted to different ideals. What makes our scene so special is that this DIY mentality is hardwired into everything that we do, because we are all out to better our community and express ourselves creatively. It begs the question to the reader,  What do you want to happen in our scene? Is there a hole you want to fill? Think about it. How can you make our community more cohesive? I think this is a serious question, because it is the same question that propelled me to start this record of words, images, video, and audio.  It could be as simple as taking a chance by dancing or attending a show for the first time or as elaborate as starting a DJ, VJ, Dance, or artist collective. Every action counts when its oriented towards our collective goal of building our community.

Here are two examples of how people have contributed to our scene creating sounds and video to give meaning to our collective actions. What will your action be? 

Javan Hillard’s Look Into Dirty Current’s Set at RoeVy’s Halloween Party

Dirty Current from Murderously on Vimeo.

Lovin’ this video. Hillard really captures the gritty energy of that night. It really showcases how our scene is not just DJ’s, but also dancers, videographers, artists, photographers, and outcasts. Shows you how important video is to capturing energy and providing us a record of what we did and how we came together.

Funerals–Wander Drift Mix

WOAH!! You gotta give this mix done by Columbus-based Funerals a spin if you are into darker, ambient electronic music that uses equal parts silence and sound to create something new. It was just released this month as part of a mix series for an Italian magazine. As I write and research more, I see how far our community’s reach is in the world. Our artists aren’t just appreciated here, but across the globe. Though we all feel like there is something special happening here in columbus, I can tell you we aren’t alone in that feeling.  Our small, determined community is putting Columbus on the map. Funerals is a great example of this, as they have garnered widespread attention for holding down our city with their innovative sound that fits squarely into our core sonic aesthetic.

 

TRACKLIST:

1. FUNERALS – Marae (kkoee’s Breath Edit) 

2. So Inagawa – Sofartogo 
 
3. Anja Schneider – Gimlet 
 
4. Spektre – Descent (Extended Mix) 
 
5. Lusine – Haze 
 
6. Lützenkirchen – One Night in Rio 
 
7. Dance Disorder – Metallic Italic (Massimiliano Pagliara Remix) 
 
8. Anthony Rother – Cinema 
 
9. Nguzunguzu – Water Bass Power 
 
10. FUNERALS – To the End 
 
11. Aerea Negrot – Todeloo 
 
12. AGF/Delay – Connection (CLP Remix) 
 
13. FUNERALS – Out There (Δaimon Remix)

Excerpt from 614 Magazine article with Rashad Thomas (Check that HERE)

“I should have and could have left, I know a lot of people that did. I look at Kanye West, for example: he left Chicago to go to New Jersey, but that was a one-man project, and that’s what his whole life was. And my life is the exact opposite. I’ve never made a dollar here music industry-wise. But the town and the camaraderie I have with the people I work with here mean everything to me. I can go to L.A. by myself, but it wouldn’t be the same. I’m okay with being in Ohio and just doing my thing,” he added. “My dream is to have a beautiful mansion in Bexley, man, and build up my city. That’s how I look at it, that’s my Beverly Hills.”

Now thats holding down your City. Sound Familiar? Its the same ethos that drives the electronic music community here in our city. Lets collaborate and build ourselves up. I love Thomas’ devotion to create a sound for Columbus. He is well on his way I can hear the dilla flowing through his tracks. Check his production work on Stalley’s huge track Lincoln Way Nights:

Thomas’ work on Stalley’s huge mixtape “Lincoln Way Nights (Intelligent Trunk Music)” also just got recognized. Spin magazine recognized Stalley’s mixtape as one of the top 50 mixtapes you need to know (Check that article HERE). Guy is helpin’ put Columbus on the map.

Scene Building Briefing 1: Objekt & Magazine Coverage

I have a new series of posts for you. This series looks into tangible methods that can be used to build scenes or that can break them apart. I will be drawing on the scholarly literature of musical subcultures and genres to analyze our local scene and other scenes around us in order to start a brainstorm about how we can continue to grow our scene and avoid pitfalls that would separate us. But first lets get to Objekt’s tracks.

I REALLY REALLY like these two tracks. They are over a year old, but I just discovered them so bare with me. Hopefully you too are just coming to Objekt yourself. I not only think his tracks are great, but I find it useful to look at descriptions of Objekt to see how hierarchies can be erected where some artists become “great” and others become “lesser”. I will analyze a tiny blurb from a magazine description of Objekt to show how stories of experience, isolation, & slow maturation are used to separate Objekt from other “lesser” artists. This is useful for understanding how hierarchies can be created in electronic music scenes.

But first, the music! There is a subtlety to Objekt’s work that I really appreciate. Everything feels so clean and polished, despite its ragged sound. I especially like the roughness of the Tinderbox track. The deepness of these tracks and their myriad of effects and sounds reminds me so much of DJ Rupture’s album Uproot. It really pushes boundaries and shows where dance music can go if we think outside the box. Check the tracks Tinderbox, The Goose That Got Away, and Unglued to see what I mean. You can listen to more of Objekt’s tracks on his Soundcloud.

Tinderbox

The Goose That Got Away

Unglued

Now to the analysis of discourse and electronic music in magazine depictions of artists. I premise this analysis to say that I love Objekt’s work. Yet, I think its important to analyze the statements used to create Objekt as “Great” in order to understand how such statements can be dangerous to the advancement of electronic music communities.

Now to the Analysis:

Objekt was just featured in a music magazine for a promotional mix he created for them. Here is what that magazine had to say about him:

“Objekt hasn’t released much in 2011, but that’s one of the reasons his emergence has been so welcome. In an age of oversaturation and overexposure, where people feel the need to upload their entire life stories to Soundcloud after two weeks of watching Logic tutorials, he’s the definition of someone who’s taken time to hone a craft (he’s actually worked as a programmer at Native Instruments for several years, which goes some way to explaining why his music is so sonically potent), and waited until they’re 100% ready before exposing their wares to the world at large.”

This magazine has created Objekt as a “great artist” by juxtoposing him with all the other lesser artists that watch “two weeks of Logic tutorials” and then “upload their entire life stories to Soundcloud.” This is interesting because in opposition to these lesser “amateurs” this magazine frames Objekt as an artist that went through a slow, steady development on the back of years of hard work honing his sound in isolation while working at Native instruments. They differentiate the “sonically potent” Objekt with other lesser artists by saying that he waited until he fully matured artistically before he started releasing his music. This creates a hierarchy based on two stereotypes of who the good and lesser electronic artists. Good artists wait to release their tracks until they are absolutely perfect, while lesser artists spew everything they can onto the internet even though they have no skill.

These stereotypes are in no way in touch with reality. They are ideal types that don’t exist. Sure there are people that come close to both of these strereotypes, but it begs the question: Is it useful to set up the dichotomy in electronic music to make sure we arbitrate “good” and “bad”? I argue it is not useful. These “Lesser artists” uploading their new tracks to soundcloud only seek connection to a community they love and want to contribute to. Why should we point them out as frivoulous and silly when we have all been that person seeking connection or expression of our feelings? Why alienate these burgeoning artists at their key moment of vulnerability when all they seek is validation and help? Thus, i think it is important to recognize that the function of statements that frame “good artists” in relation to “lesser amateurs” is to create hierarchies within our community that hinder communication, collaboration, and  creativity.

I believe the local columbus scene is a great example of how barriers have been ripped down to promote collaboration. But lets take this example as a cautionary tale lest some magazine wishes to impose a hierarchy on our scene. You can take it as a pledge from me that I will never use my words to tear someone down in our scene. As a scholar of culture, language, law & power, I know the affect of such statements. I only will use my words to build our community and our awareness of each others unique talents. Everyone has a place within our community; Dancers, Wallflowers, fans, djs, photographers, videographers, the curious, and the outcasts. Lets all come together, dance to the beat, and try to eliminate the hierarchies that threaten to separate us from one another.

Remember to Like Local Autonomy on Facebook for all the up-to-date info on show reviews, music spotlights, and scene building briefings. 

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