Monday, January 16, 2006

Music as Identity - Part 6 - Dance Music

I have a confession to make. I like the boom-boom music. I'm not even going to suggest that the music has to have a melody. It could endlessly repeat sound bites in a fairly monotonous pattern, but for some reason I like it. Of course the prerequisite is that it sounds cool to my ears.
The types of dance music that I have listened to over the years probably breaks down into three categories, hip-hop, house, and techno. Much of the industrial, synth pop, or even electronica that I mentioned earlier could also fall into this category, but the former three are strictly considered for dancing. Though the interrelation between the six can be hard to distiguish at times. With all three of these, it was not that I was interested about any group in particular, but the music as a whole. There are some songs that I remember, but not by name and I never knew the artist.

When it comes to hip-hop, there was one album that I really enjoyed and recently bought on CD. It's not boom boom music, but represents one of the styles I liked. 3 Feet High And Rising by De La Soul was a favorite album in high school. The band members actually remind me of some of the guys I hung out with in the clubs. Though it is not music meant to be danced to, it's style really demostrates the type of hip-hop that I liked. It is more about life than about posturing, materialism, and violence. Similar to others like DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince, Run DMC, or LL Cool J. It was much more tame than the gangsta rap that followed.

As for house, again, I remember songs, but not necessarily the name or artist. I did find this in Wikipedia and the names ring a bell:
Trax became the dominant House label, releasing many classics including No Way Back by Adonis, Larry Heard's Can You Feel It and the first so-called House anthem in 1986, Move Your Body by Marshall Jefferson. This latter tune gave a massive boost to House music, extending recognition of the genre out of Chicago. Steve 'Silk' Hurley became the first house artist to reach number one in the UK in 1987 with Jack Your Body.

My most recent interest in music that was distinctly meant for dance were two albums by Fat Boy Slim. On the Floor at The Boutique and Halfway Between the Gutter and the Stars. Again, they are just a beat and pleasing sounds to my ears. I can't really explain it.

Next up, grunge.

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