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.
Out of nowhere it would seem that this past week or so presented us with a treasure trove of big videos from across the dance-music spectrum. Whether it was a snappy vocal production from Matias Aguayo, totally leftfield experiments from The Knife or a morose pop-dance tune from Dillon Francis and T.E.E.D., there was much going on in the world of music/visual accompaniment.
Look, we’re not going to try to tell you how important the city of Detroit remains to the world of music—whether dance, rock, whatever. Anyone with a working pair of ears knows and a passing understanding of music already knows. But what we do want to do today is hip you to Thump’s ongoing SUB.Culture Detroit series, in which they took a team of filmmakers to the Motor City to dig into what’s happening now amongst its underground techno, house, and hip-hop producers and DJs. The series kicked off back in June with an examination of the city’s now-13-years-going electronic music festival (currently known as Movement). They then paid a visit to the arts-minded community center Youthville with instructor Mike Huckaby, and, now, the crew takes a look at what Detroit’s musical future holds with artists like Mark Flash, Jon Dixon, Aaron ‘FIT’ Siegel, and Waajeed.
Aphex Twin, as you know, is one helluva character—and while his temperament may have mellowed as the years have passed, in 1996 he was indeed the provocateur of IDM, churning out track upon track of instantly classic music for the legendary Warp Records while playing all his competitors for fools.