Remember when it sounded like this? Okay maybe you don’t. Maybe you’re like I was, sneering pithily at trance the way people used to ignorantly espouse “I like all kinds of music…except for country.” That was a little before the New South movement fully restored some dignity to the discussion of American artists and their work. And just before I began to shed my own mantle of snobbery.
At the time I had been several years in the music business. Lucrative or not (not!), this had blessed me with information that had value indeed, my diverse-of-taste-but-equal-of-passion peers’ expert insights about what makes certain recordings special and why this craftsmanship is so worthy of our investment and attention. For myself I learned to map the variety of expression all types of music offer and finally stop talking about whether something is four and half stars good and why. Creative work needs to be creatively discussed. More and more I’ve been giving thought to how music is presented. When it first touches us and where it can take us.
“And Tiësto is his example???” you may be thinking. Well yeah. Let’s go to the crazy year of 2K, when for someone like me on the left coast, trance was inescapable. Full disclosure: I’m
partly accountable because I did go to DJ events weekly if not more. And in San Francisco, people never really let that New Year’s Eve ball drop once the whole damn year. Trance and rave didn’t hold my attention, plus I couldn’t dig seeing eckied friends grinding their jaws late into the night. Find me in the other room, with the Dub Mission set or Asian Massive drum and bassheads.
This predilection made me sound like a know-it all all the more as trance seemed to take up 50% of most conversations amongst electronic music fans. And I’d just harumph a little, “peh.” Tiësto’s remix of Delerium’s “Silence” was a juggernaut our stores couldn’t keep in stock. I envied the commercial strength. A dozen years later I’m appreciative of incredibly slick production by Dash Berlin and other outfits, admiring of the ubiquity of singles that top international charts. My eye-opener came at the end of Electric Daisy Carnival and stepping into Armin van Buuren’s set, it seemed like the whole LA Coliseum crowd was singing along to every word.
So this reformed snob came to cherish songs that confessedly sound like the music in that Six Flags commercial. But ya see, life changes, like getting married to the woman of my dreams made me wanna dance just like that guy. And I fell in love with headphones for the sixteenth time and, maybe just like the Bay Area ravers, I thought the will to celebrate could keep the honeymoon ball from dropping. That glittery orb ran aground some time ago, hon’. Heck, I wrote about Tom Waits last week. Every sound has its place and time. Euphoria can’t be a constant.
Still I keep my ear to the ground for a new Audrey Gallagher morsel all the same. Just as my fellow music sellers, teachers and DJ’s in the Bay shared stories with me about what a song can create, I still associate with tuned-in types, some of who have graciously cultivated my appreciation. I traversed bridges to familiar Detroit house and Köln synth pop, routed other roots and now hear that part of the big picture a little better. I’ll steer my personal playlist toward potent streams within the past two decades’ variegated trance subgenres and movements. Even through the bewilderingly arrayed canals and crisscrossing waterways of Amsterdam, I can find my way back at the dawn of the new millennium and moving toward the bell-like reverberation that must have pealed through the July night. Follow the chimes and feel the soul of these sounds.
Ah, time’s up! This was a Race the SoundCloud post. I started writing when I started listening to the attached audio clip. Music’s ended, gotta stop*. Solo parlour game of a sort. If I do it again, I’ll initially post the song with no writing but “Press Play. When it’s over, refresh.”
*Later made select revisions, i.e. scrubbing the words “good” and “bad” everywhere I used them after saying I wasn’t going to! Ah, fun.