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My Heart Still Beats in 4/4: Virgin Festival Dance Tent & Blank Artists Review

Electronic Dance Music was not the first music I fell in love with. My first aural affair began at an early age with the music I was playing on the piano and cello–classical (my favorite composer was Bach). As I grew older my taste diversified, though I still maintained a love of art music. However, I just wasn’t as into punk as all my friends were. In fact, I just wasn’t into the whole live band experience.

A bunch of factors led me to EDM, mainly the fact that it could still be heard on WHFS at the time. My taste matured from the near-rock of Prodigy, to drum and bass, and finally to that purity of sound of techno (mainly the Detroit, acid, and minimal kind). I began frequenting parties, club nights, “raves,” anything with beats coming out of a sound system. I began DJing with kids at school, then organizing our own nights in high school and college (though they where never heavily attended).

Techno was one of the passions of my life. I read, and re-read Techno Rebels: Renegades of Electric Funk. I spent way to much money on vinyl, and mixed instead of doing work. But slowly, I lost interest in that music.

My tastes became more inline with that of the indie trends. This is most likely due to the death of the EDM scene around these parts, and the astounding emergence and quality of Baltimore’s indie scene. The new indie electronic acts, though technically electronic, didn’t fit into the old paradigm. Dan Deacon is electronic, and he does make dance music, but not in the same way that Jeff Mills does.

The end of an era came for me when I packed away my second turntable, because I wasn’t using it, and it was taking up space. I sold much of my vinyl on ebay.

However, the electronic music I have experienced live over the past few weeks has re-invigorated my interest in the music that was once the sole pursuit of my life. Read the rest…

Virgin Fest 2008 Review: Saturday

I was not expecting too much from the Saturday line-up, and this proved to be true. Indeed, I was not expecting too much from Virgin Festival at all, aside from a few select acts.

It would also be the first large-scale music festival since my early-to-mid teens years spent at HFStivals. Oh, how I was enamored by what I saw then, and how annoyed by most of what I saw now. Was it a function of maturation, or have things really gone that down hill since I was 14?

It would also be the first “mainstream” show I had attended in some years. I anticipated the crowd being radically different than what I was used to seeing–not really a value judgment, just an objective assumption. I also realized how much I have changed since freshman year of high school, both in regards to musical taste, and also life outlook.

Just for shit-and-giggles I dressed Saturday to blend in with the crowd. Not that I’m super fashionable in the first place, but I thought it would be nostalgic fun to don the old high school lacrosse practice singlet (get the pun? You would if you went to my high school). It turns out this was the goddamn uniform for the large portion of guys in attendance (if they were wearing shirts at all). It made me feel really old when kids asked me what year I graduated, I answered, and they looked at me like I’m old. Then they asked me to buy them beer. In all fairness I remember being 16 and thinking early twenties was old, too. Read the rest…

Virgin Fest 2008 Preview: Richie Hawtin

Richie Hawtin- a name that looms large in the world of techno, but one that many outside of the scene may find unfamiliar. To be clear, we are talking about techno here, not house, not trance, not generic electronic dance music. And more specifically we are talking about pummeling Detroit techno, and then, as Hawtin’s style progresses, heady minimal techno.

To make this a little more familiar to the uninitiated, techno grew out of the failing economy and racially divided Detroit in the mid Eighties. People like Juan Atkins, Kevin Saunderson, and Derrick May played a huge role in the transition from electro to techno. Hawtin, then known by the seriously unfortunate moniker “Richie Rich,” was one of the first white kids on the scene. Not even a native of Detroit, but English by birth, and an immigrant to Windsor, Canada, Hawtin was met with some resistance from the Detroit establishment. This reluctant passing of the torch from the old Detroit guard to the new kids became known as the “Second Wave of Detroit.” All this is chronicled in much greater detail in the book Techno Rebels: The Renegades of Electronic Funk, by Dan Sicko. If you have even the slightest interest on the development, and evolution of a scene from local sound to international movement, than read this book Read the rest…