Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Moving to an electronic beat

It seems my whole life has been dominated by electronic music. I was in love with the synthesizer from an early age and the sounds made by Emerson, Lake and Palmer, Yes, Rick Wakeman etc., were my favourite bands during my formative teenage years.

In the late seventies, the punk era exploded on the scene and swept my friends and me away on a tidal wave of saliva and adrenalin induced sub-three minute songs. Being a Peel devotee however, and here was a man who was untroubled by musical labelling, my safety pin years were expanded by reggae, pub rockers, obscure folk guitarists, jazz funkers and a plethora of styles. There was one missing ingredient though: the death of the concept album, outlawed by the punk police, caused synth lead music to take a back seat in the road trip of life.

There must have been electronic music in the eighties(Tears for Fears anyone?), but it passed me by, and the early nineties weren't much better with classical piano making inroads: I had got married after all and the influence of a significant other has to make a difference to your life in more ways than one. Children entered my world in the middle nineties - there I told you married life would change me - and their demands meant that music, apart from the beats of the nursery, slipped further into the background.

The pattern continued until a series of events propelled me back to where I had started. The first was when the Chemical Brothers 'Hey Boy, Hey Girl' came on the radio and the children were grooving along in the back of the car and the simplicity and repetition anchored on a receptor deep inside my brain, locked away, dormant, for many years. This was followed by The Launch by DJ Jean, a superb crescendo-building electronic-fest, which hooked me in further, and was finally cemented by a few years of preparing a delicious evening meal to the sounds of Judge Jules' Saturday evening dance show on Radio 1.

I was now completely sold on dance music: the sheer energy and euphoria created by those greater than heart-rate beats per minute which quicken your pulse and intoxicate your cerebral cortex. The latest phase of my musical development has been to discover that electronic music comes in a whole range of tempos, and that there is a tune out there that will match any mood.

Lately I have been listening to slower material like Jochen Trappe's 'Glitch', 'Leftorium' by Anil Chawla/Dale Anderson and Chris Lake/Sebastien Leger's 'Aqualight'. All these pieces can generate a beautiful calm which descends from your grey matter to your toes, relaxing everything in between. My musical education continues with new styles and new cadences: filling my Ipod with a range of material to wake up to, or to go to sleep by.

And in the words of Pete Tong, "we continue"...

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