Living in a Post Cultural Society

There are only 3 guys who make commercial Drum n Bass, i’m sure of it, and they all own the same synth.

I went out last night to a night in Leeds t’other night, which has acheived somewhat of a legendary status amoung dub and reggea aficionados for the rediculous rib cage crushing bass provided by the Iration Steppas sound system in a Jamacan style dance hall in Chapple Town, and the dirty crowded drum n bass room that neighbours it. It was in this room that I spoted the unmistakable tower of hair that is ‘Mt. Brad’s Dreadlocks’, who had come along with his sister, and his dad, all on one big family rave outing. It was quite nice actually, dancing along to fast Jungle while me and Brad’s dad symultaneously slagged off the sound systems in their respective rooms.
I then got a feeling of Deja Vu. It wasn’t the fact the same ugly little fat man who only 15 minutes ago (and in fact 4 months ago, when I was last there) had serendaded me with the tender verse ‘Ere mate, need any pills?’ before disaperaing into the not-as-crowded-as-last-time room (i’ll get to this in a minute), it was the fact the DJ was playing the same tune he had played ten minutes ago, and again 20 mins before that. I looked around the room at my fellow Jungle massive comrades that populated said room, and no one was making a fuss. I then realised, it wasn’t the same tune, it just sounded unforgivably similar. The main uninspiring hook was the exact same fucking access virus TI (or C) lead hyper saw bloody preset that carried the uninspiring lead hooks in the other two tunes. Once I started listening out for this, I started seeing it everywhere. It didn’t take me long to figure out why the rest of the room wasn’t giving the DJ some serious stick. It wasn’t just because most of them were artificially happy (althought had I have been, would still have been cross) it was that they simply didn’t care/notice.
I had this lecture from Simon at Roskilde, when I pointed out that the DJ was using ableton live 6, as I recognised the default setting on the auto filter plugin he was using to do all these tired panoramic sweeps, and the fact that Band Ane was using logic, as i recognised the test tone generator and it’s response, and that people at this level should be designing all thier own sounds. His response to me pointing this out was ‘Do you really think some girl grinding on the dance floor gives a shit about which filter pre-set he’s using??!’. The geek is stumped for an intelligent comeback. ‘No, probably not’ was all I could muster.
It is this fact, that lead me to think that DJs and producers (there are plenty of exeptions though mind) have just got lazy or run out of ideas. So long as you bash out basic beats with a few bleeps and syncopated HiHats over the top then people will dance, and whats more, will love it, as they’re all bloody high anyway. This can pretty much be mapped to the modern state of pop culture.

It look like we’re stuck it a very steep valley along the skyline of popular culture. It goes without saying that the 50s, 60s, 70s, 80s and eary 90s brought with them massive changes in popular culture. New music, drugs, fashion, lifestyle, political ideologies and the like we’re created be the youth and more or less defined each decade. 50s - Rock n Roll, 60s - Woodstock, Psycodelia, LSD, 70s- Prog, Fusion, formation of punk, 80s-Punk New wave, hip-hop, electronic music, 90s-Raves, ecstacy, 1994 - Criminal Justice and Public Order Bill, MTVisation of everything but your next door neighbour’s kitchen sink. 1995 - Your next door neighbour’s kitchen sink is on MTV.

It’s not hard to see that over this timeline, all this underground youth culture was a striking departure from social norms. Now, the western world is much more liberal (ie nothing to react against), and the kids are happy enough to sit indoors and spend all their time on myspace anyway. Festivals and scenes are now rather sanitised, health and safety have got their mits into everyhing (see Glade Festival 2007). It allows the parties to happen, but dampens them just that little bit as to ruin them. Returning to the not-so-crowded-as-last-time-room in Sub Dub, it was because everyone was stood outside smoking. DJs are now finding it quite hard to keep crownds together as people have to leave the room every 15 mins for a fag. I’m not saying the smoking ban was a bad thing, it’s just another product of this post cultural revolutionary society that drops the intensity of things like this that little bit. You should detect an element of confusion running throughout this narrative. I guess its a cry for reassurance.

I’m also not sure of what this generation can call it’s own. If it’s Ketamin and Dub-Step, i’m not fucking interested. Now shut up and check out my Virus TI.

One Response to “Living in a Post Cultural Society”

  1. Haha, spot on. I know fuck all about DnB, but it seems like it’s caught the same disease that trance has.