October 20, 2002

Eardrum Buzz

Inevitably when having a music-related conversation of any kind, the topic will come around to the old Breadth versus Depth discussion. I know squarely which camp I fall into, and I won't hesitate to acknowledge that my musical tastes are actually quite narrow. But it's within the small niche of independently-produced pop and rock music that I've gotten the greatest listening pleasure, so I tend not to stray too far from the (admittedly blurry) boundaries of that definition when seeking out new music to listen to. And my obsessive acquisition of both records and knowledge has somehow turned me into the person with whom others end up playing Stump the Musical Obscurantist at parties. (Oy.)

Which is why Friday night this self-professed indie rock chick found herself a bit of a fish out of water at an East Village club listening to 100% techno music. A friend had invited me to come along with him to listen to an apparently well-known DJ, Dan Bell, spin records. Figuring it would be a good time, and a chance to exapand the ol' musical horizons, I said "sure!"

And what do you know, I was right on both counts. The music was loud enough to enjoy, but not so much that we couldn't carry on a conversation. And I was impressed with the DJ's skill in smoothly mixing from one track to another, subtly changing the mood and groove throughout the course of the night. It's something that I never really learned how to do properly when radio DJ-ing, but then again playing in a club where everyone is watching you and you've got a live audience to entertain versus messing around in the studio in-between songs and putting the needle down on the record at the last possible second before having dead air... well, they are two very different endeavors.

It was also pretty ear-opening to be able to get a bit of running commentary on the music being played by someone who obviously has as great a love for and knowledge of techno as I do indie rock: listen to the reggae influence here, check out the organic sounds being mixed in, notice the flow into the vocal track. And then an almost pitch-perfect (and completely genuine) return on my own serve from last Friday when Mission of Burma came on the jukebox, his reaction in response to a techo track that starts playing:

<pointing at speakers>

Ooh, I love this one!

Posted by nstop at October 20, 2002 11:27 PM


I have had similar experiences... sometimes I think it's weird that when techno first "arrived" as a genre while I was in college, most of us indie geeks totally panned it. even though all of the folks I knew in college who became serious DJs (some of whom were quite good at it) were all indie geeks before they became more interested all things electronic and analog.

a couple of my friends in college were high school friends of moby, and they often defended attacks on the musical worth of electronica/techno by citing moby's previous punk efforts and his skill as a guitarist. heheheh.

Posted by: martin on October 21, 2002 01:26 PM

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