Were it not for producer/DJ Total Freedom going down a YouTube rabbit-hole, “Icy Lake,” an obscure tribal-house track from the mid-’90s, but which sounds like it could’ve been made today, might be relegated to the annals of history. Fortunately, that’s not the case; said vogue-ball rallying call is about to be re-released by bass-powerhouses Night Slugs and Fade to Mind, and it’s all because of that fluke viewing of some footage from a Junior Vasquez event in NYC in 1998.
If you were dancing in London in the ’90s, there’s a good chance at some point that you traded in your sneakers for Moschino loafers or high heels, your hoodie for a proper shirt or dress, and made the move from jungle to garage. If that sounds familiar, a new documentary on the London scene of yore, Music Nation, produced as a partnership between Dazed & Confused and the UK’s Channel 4 TV, is for you—particularly its first part, Brandy & Coke, which examines the emergence of London’s garage/2-step scene.
Without any exaggeration, London’s club scene is unlike any other in the world. It has, for the last 30 or 40 years, been the breeding ground for some of dance music’s most progressive sounds, and naturally was for many years the only place to hear the newest cutting-edge tracks around (we’re talking pre-internet here). To honor that legacy, filmmaker Rollo Jackson has assembled London… On a Regular, a short documentary that features the likes of Hot Chip’s Joe Goddard, XL Recordings’ Richard Russel, and producers and DJs Lil Silva, Erol Alkan, and more discussing their early clubbing experiences at the places at which they were regulars.
While heaps of recognition have been bestowed upon Detroit, Chicago, and Berlin for their contributions to dance music over the years, the British industrial city of Manchester played just as central a role in the music’s global takeover. And it’s not just New Order and the Hacienda that help put Madchester on the map. Twenty years ago, the founders of Jockey Slut magazine, which was, at the time, a bible for rave culture in the UK, started the Bugged Out series of events, which would take on club nights, festivals, exclusive mixes, and all sorts of other forms in the ensuing years.
Perhaps best known as the founder of Mute Records (a label responsible for bringing the likes of Depeche Mode, Goldfrapp, Moby, and others to the world), Daniel Miller is a luminary in the electronic music world, and one who’s knowledge of synthesis is heralded far and wide. At last year’s LEAF conference in London, the Point Blank Music School invited Miller to share his knowledge at an intensive masterclass, helping those curious to navigate the often confusing world of modular synthesis and its inherent mess of modules, patch cables, knobs, buttons, bleeps, and bloops.
The aims of Blackout, a new short documentary assembled by Vice offshoot Thump, are laid out succinctly in its opening moments: to tell “the story of a night out around the world.” Capturing a single night’s worth of ups and downs from party professionals and avid ravers across the world, the 30-minute doc comes chockfull of club-rattling music, cheering, dancing, outlandish fashion, substance abuse, and—while they’re at it—a good deal of insight into the exploding global dance music culture.
As you may already know, Toronto, Ontario, is busting at the seams with dance-music talent. Even beyond the more obvious names (who know who we’re talking about), folks like Keys N Krates, Autoerotique, Gingy, Azari & III, and tons more are keeping the scene fresh, vibrant, and not tied to any single genre or scene. Like the country’s multicultural mandate, Toronto too embodies an all-are-welcome musical ethos.
On his own, Japanese artist Ryo Fujimoto (aka Humanelectro) is a beatboxing phenomenon. But with a team of engineers and artists, who convert the electric signals that emanate from Fujimoto’s body during a performance into real-time audio and video, his work becomes a whole new thing.
The dance music world just can’t get enough of Nile Rodgers. And for good reason: the guy has remained constantly relevant since the ’70s, and is riding a tidal wave of attention in the last couple years with his collaborations with Daft Punk, Avicii, Nicky Romero, and more. Dubspot had a chance to sit down with the legendary guitarist recently to roll through a number of his past achievements and get inside the mind that created some of dance music’s biggest hits, among them Madonna’s “Like a Virgin,” David Bowie’s “Let’s Dance,” and his own band Chic’s “Le Freak,” to name just a fraction. But Rodgers wasn’t always a hit-maker; it took being put in his place by a former music teacher to really embrace the dance and pop worlds.