Friday, 2 March 2012

So much music, so little time...

We live in an era of information technology; an unrivalled age where music, mail and much, much more, is now accessible at the click of a button. Yet the fundamental role of the Dj has barely shifted throughout the years. Yes, technology has played its part (and while modern day effects can add some gloss to the modern set), it's still the track selection that remains most pivotal; the primary factor under which we judge a Dj's merits.

These days however, the discerning jock is having to dig deeper and deeper for music to captivate, (or very occasionally), surprise their audience. It's an admittedly strange phenomenon: In an age where music and information is more accessible than ever before, how can finding what suits prove so difficult? The answer is half attributable to the sheer volume of releases on offer - the other half attributable to the mostly appalling – and vast - palette of music that's served up to us all with increasing regularity.

Hard as it is to believe now, there was a time when searching for new records was considered a pleasure as opposed to a chore. In contemporary times though, the best, (or at least), the 'freshest' Dj's, are the ones that do their homework properly: the ones who constantly plough through the rough in the vain hope they'll discover a diamond. Professional Djs aside , few others have the time to scour the net (or, in increasingly rare instances), a record shop in such fashion, and the labels aren't helping matters: releasing records every fortnight and playing musical roulette in their quest for a hit.

We're embroiled then, in a period of instant gratification, a time when the slow-burning, initially difficult-to-appreciate track is relegated to the obscurity of an unloved hard drive if it doesn't instantly appease. The age of information has also prompted the age of information overload, a culture that obsesses over the latest, one that appeals to short attention spans. Is it really any wonder then, that new tracks are often handed a life span of a month at best?

And what facilitates all this? Well, technology itself. So while the likes of Ableton, Cubase and Logic are used to devastating effect by some, they've become so accessible and easy to use that they've also facilitated and ushered in an era of mediocrity music wise. Technology has become the double edged sword of the electronic music world: without it, networking with like-minded individuals from far afield would be nigh on impossible, but with it, an age of piracy and substandard music has become the norm. At the epicentre of the whole debate are the so-called 'Online electronic music websites' with many - while not without merit - also in ways, the very antithesis of dance music culture. Finding a relatively undiscovered gem on the sites has become a task of gargantuan proportions: one made no easier by the slew of monotonous, unmastered drivel that courses throughout. It's worth noting that such issues aren't consigned to the mainstream either - as anyone who's read the latest 'tech-house' charts on the most infamous of these websites can attest.

So despite living during a time when even the most basic laptop comes ready armed with an array of musical tools, the fact that many Dj's and producers are looking to the past for inspiration is especially symbolic. How ironic too, that this is happening in a genre that prides itself on its futuristic sensibilities. The era of technology has moved too fast, and electronic music's all-encompassing nature has ensured its swallowed up much of its own character in its wake.

Source: Ibiza Voice