<NOTE>: I wrote this w/u for a project at my job. They have
graciously allowed me to post it here at E2. This is my own work, however it
is owned by the company I work for since it is for their project.
This is why there is the copyright info at the bottom. This was not just a simple
cut-n-paste job; it took me a week to write this with accuracy and the ring
of truth. </note>
The Ten Commandments of Electronica
1) Know thy music
Electronica is not to be mistaken with any form other than what it is,
which is literally any form of music married to a strong back beat with
electronic undertones and sound effects added for "ambience."
Most forms of electronica are created with the use of computers and other
electronic tools for music production. Some well-known variations of electronica
are as follows: house, trance, jungle, drum n bass, techno, ambient,
breakbeat and hardcore. Some variants are fast-paced and others are slow
and melodic, but all have a steady and palpable rhythm. Many people believe
that electronica is a recent development- this is not quite true. It has been
around, in its earliest forms, since the 1920's and has since mutated and
shifted into what we recognize today as having a hard-hitting kick and surreal
"groove." Electronica can be merely listened to
(which is sort of missing the point of it) but most admirers of this malleable
form of music agree that it is best experienced on the dance floor.
2) Feel thy groove
Dance is almost synonymous with music; has been through the ages, since the
dawn of Man. Dance helps to release energy, relieve stress and inspire celebration.
The form of dance associated with electronica is just as varied as the music
itself. Each style of dance fits the music. For instance, if the dancer is listening
to trance, the dancer will likely dance with wide, sweeping arm movements
that seem to flow, like water (many people have noted that this form of dance
is very similar to Tai Chi, a form of martial arts that is focused on health
and "centering" one's self). In order to appreciate electronica
properly the listener must "feel" the music and allow it to move them.
At its core this is called "feeling the groove" or "groovin'".
As with break dancing in the early and mid 80's, electronica dance is meant
to move in time with the beat and tempo of the music. To watch electronica,
as a form of dance, one might think that they are watching a tribal Native
American dance. In all honesty, this is not far from the truth, if somewhat
removed from the Native American culture. With electronica there are no
ceremonies or rituals involved. Rather, it is more like cleansing oneself of
pent-up energy and stress, reveling in the music around them as individuals
all sharing the same experience.
3) Understand thy culture
Goth. Punk. Slack. You name it, it's there. But the culture associated
with electronica changes as soon as the music and dancing begins. No longer
are they pasty-faced kids or baggy-slacked wannabes, they are all devoted
to the rhythm. Their cares, worries and prejudices disappear when they move
to the music and they unite as a single culture and body, intent
on dancing until whatever demons lie within are gone and they are cleansed mentally,
physically and even spiritually. The world that they have been born into and
have been developed by fades into a miasma of music, drums and flowing bodies,
very much like a tribe in celebration of life and freedom. Their
hearts lighten, no longer burdened by self-consciousness or stress. They
could care less what the person next to them thinks of their dancing; there
are two things in their world at that point: electronica and keeping up
with the music through dance. This is the culture dedicated to
electronica. Nothing else applies. Dance and enjoy the music or get out.
4) Thou shalt not refuse the flow
You are here to dance. If you aren't, then stick around long enough and you
will be. And if you don't, then there's something seriously
wrong. Electronica is all about the movement, as in the actual motion of
limbs and extremities. Arms, hands, feet, legs, hips, torso, head
all has to move. Even when you walk or swim, it's all moving.
The intent behind electronica is to immerse you in a total atmosphere of
music and rhythm so that your body can move along with it. It's commensurate,
like love and passion; courage and action; music and dance. To deny that simple,
basic truth of electronica is to deny the most intuitive aspect of your
nature; to deny yourself. Hear the music and dance. Feel it
pulse in your veins and inspire your body to flow.
5) Thou shalt sweat
Take a walk or a light jog. What happens? You sweat. It's as simple as that.
Physical exertion causes the body to need to cool off. Sweat
is the way that happens. Dancing is no different. What's more is that it's good
for your body. In that sweat are toxins and impurities that your body has
been building up for however long and been waiting for the chance to get rid
of them. Work it out; dance it out. And why not do it with some
moving music to inspire you? Electronica, as we have already stated, drives
a person to want to move. It's unavoidable, inevitable. If
you've ever danced before in your life then you know the feeling of exhilaration
that comes with it when you're done. You simply feel alive. That's
your endorphins, which are secreted throughout your body when you exert physical
energy. Athletes are familiar with endorphins, as are martial artists, weight
lifters, cops, firemen and even some civil servants. Feeling good is the whole
point to electronica. It starts with your ears, moves to your body and ends
up in your soul. Can you feel it yet? If not, go track down some beats and
listen- you won't regret it, even if all you do is tap your
6) Know thy past
There are 12 tones (give or take, depending on which region of Earth you live in) that the human ear can distinguish. We hear them, when strung
together properly, as music. It's that simple. Jazz, country, classical,
pop, new age, polka
they're all connected by this basic truth: it's
music. Electronica is the same thing with one exception in that it incorporates
all musical styles. Most forms of music, when they start out,
are met with a vast amount of social resistance. Even jazz had a hard time
making it into the mainstream scene. When jazz exploded in the 1920's it was
associated with "counter culture" and came under fire from the religious
organizations, the government and even the news services. In the same way,
electronica has been put into a negative light, largely because of the advent
of "raves." It is common knowledge that drugs and alcohol are
found in abundance at raves. The distinction is that electronica is not
a rave. Electronica can be found at raves and so can drugs, but drugs can
be found at a Grateful Dead concert, too, so it's a misleading belief that
any form of music is responsible for the propagation of any
negative influence; the responsibility rests with the people who promote certain
types of gatherings.
The upshot is that electronica has a place in other venues. For instance,
the drug-and-alcohol-free events where electronica is played are known as
"waves." In a wave, electronica is at the heart of everything.
Dance and music are the focus at a wave. For the fan of electronica, a wave
is an ideal spot for taking the opportunity to truly appreciate electronica
at its core.
Electronica got its start in 1916 when Hugo Balle, Tristan Tzara, Marcel
Janco & Richard Huelsenbeck banded together to create the Dada artistic
movement. Their whole concept was to focus on music as an inspiration for dance
and freedom of expression. Using electronic devices to create music was beyond
their grasp at the time, but the movement they started paved the way for such
visionaries as Leon Theremin, the inventor of the first synthesizer, to
give music a breath of fresh air in1920. The idea of electronica was still
far from being realized because it was too new, but in the years that followed
music enthusiasts learned more about its applications and possibilities. Bands
such as Pink Floyd and Emerson Lake and Palmer employed electronic instrumentation
on a regular basis, making the new and unique tones it created almost synonymous
with their own musical stylings.
In 1971 Kraftwerk and Tangerine Dream came onto the scene as full-functioning
electronic bands with synthetic drum machines and synthesizers. Soon to follow
were talents like Jean-Michael Jarre and Yanni. The development of electronica
continued to make progress in the musical arena, while the general listening
audience was just barely discovering it. People enjoyed the calm, soothing tones
that many electronica bands were producing and suddenly things changed. Rock
and Roll took on a new face as electronica found its way into the hard and
heavy feel that rock brings. Dance clubs and discos showcased hundreds of
forms of electronica because the dancing audiences found it to be so easy
to move to. Based almost entirely on a 4/4-rhythm pattern, electronica was
beginning to inspire people to move their feet and bodies.
Throughout the 80's and 90's electronica shifted and changed and was tested
more frequently than any other form of music. Artists quickly realized that
it had no boundaries and that it could work well with just about anything
that conformed to conventional musical rules.
The history of electronica is rich and full and worth looking into. It will
lead a researcher to whole new venues of talent and music that they never really
understood or realized existed. To look at the history of electronica, one
cannot miss the fact that the music form itself is only about
expanding the boundaries of all musical forms. It is about discovery and growth
and movement and rhythm and freedom. Nothing else matters in the world
7) Thou shalt not worship forbidden idols
Dancing does not require an altered state of mind. As a matter of fact, dancing
almost absolutely necessitates a clear mind. How else can you truly appreciate
your musical experience? Acid (LSD) screws up your sense of perception.
GHB can twist your stomach into knots and make you go limp with no muscle
control. Dope (marijuana) simply makes you, well, dopey and far too relaxed
to do anything let alone dance. Cocaine turns you into a nervous wreck and
dancing won't help its effects any- in fact, dancing will only make cocaine's
effects worse because of the workout your blood system is getting.
Quite simply, there are literally hundreds of reasons why drugs don't have a
place in dancing. And since dancing is what electronica is all about, the
vile stuff people pump into their bodies has no place in electronica. People
will make their own choices about what they do to their bodies, but the fact
is that it is the individuals who are screwing their lives up, not the music.
Ask any true electronica fan and they'll tell you in a heartbeat that the
music is its own drug and that you don't need anything to make
it better. Once it gets past your ears you'll be affected. Drugs actually detract
from what electronica is meant to do.
8) Honor thy artisans
Art is, and ever shall be, life, as expressed by the artist.
It is the audience that dictates the future of art and let it be known, here
and now, that electronica, as a form of music and dance, is
a form of art. It is in the celebration of this new art form that people
will congregate together and dance. They do so because, to them, life is enjoyable
when the music moves them. The dance floor itself becomes the canvas, the dancers
are the paint and the DJs are the painters. Extra effects such as sound systems,
sound effects, sound bytes, lighting effects and whatnot round out the human
art that is the dance floor. The dancers revel in their guidance by the DJ
and obey his or her will, succumbing to the flow set by the music. The music
is the brush. Look with eyes that perceive and you will see truth of this.
Just like there are many different types of brushes that a painter can use,
there are even more types of music available to the DJ. The DJ's
art is putting these music genres together in new ways. A solid drumbeat is
the toner for the music. In a sense the beat speaks to the DJ, crying out for
what type of music is necessary for the beat to be truly enjoyed. The music
can be pop, rock, metal, country, techno- whatever the DJ is moved
to incorporate. The DJ will know, almost instantly, if the fruit of his or her
labors are valuable by keeping a close eye on the dance floor, the human canvas.
The mood of the music played can be fast-paced or soothing and slow- it all
depends on what mood the DJ gets from the audience, like a painter carefully
becoming one with the linen canvas to judge the texture, thickness and grain
of the cloth.
The dancers are guided by the music, the paintbrushes, and inspired to move
either quickly or slowly by it, at the hands of the DJ. The dancers are entirely
multi-faceted. They have a wide range in color, shape, size, emotion and texture.
The dance floor can be large, wide, small, short, poor quality, new, old
a dance floor's only commonality with another is that it is the surface upon
which people dance. Ergo, it is the canvas upon which the human paint is controlled
and guided by the DJ.
Heed the music; move in a swirl of life and dance; grace the dance floor
so that it may fulfill its purpose. This is the basis for electronica, pure
and simple. It is art. Honor it as one people.
9) Thou shalt be united
Let us say that you are a fan of electronica, even if you are not, suppose
it is so. The night before you went to an electronica party, a dance party.
It was an amazing evening. You got there at eight in the evening. Once you got
there, you noticed that there were people around you who looked, talked, thought
and dressed quite differently from you. At first, you held misgivings about
how the night would turn out and then the DJ started a new set. The music began
to pulse and beat its way into your limbs and you found your hips swaying,
your arms moving, your body dancing. Before you knew it, you were a part
of the crowd and dancing the night away with not a care in the world. You
felt alive and invigorated and, when you got home at three in the morning,
extremely, deservedly tired. It was a long night, but worth every second of
Today you are at a café or the grocery store and you glimpse, out
of the corner of your eye, one of the dancers from the previous night- a nameless,
faceless person who shared an experience of dance and art with you. He sees
you, too, and recognizes you. For a moment, you have a connection, a bond.
It doesn't matter that he is walking Technicolor, that his nylon baggy pants
slightly reflect the cans of ravioli next to him on the shelf, his jewelry
is almost alien-like and his tennis shoes are neither fashionable nor clean-
in some way that you can't quite describe he is like you. He nods in an almost
secret fashion. "Hey," with a mere movement of his head. The two of
you are as different as night and day, but one thing unites you: appreciation
for electronica, in your own right, artists. Do not underestimate the unifying
power of dance.
10) See thy future
They say that the future is unwritten, that it cannot be seen by the eyes
of men with pure clarity, that it is a mystery for the greater number among
us. If anyone had told Dizzy Gillespie that he would be celebrated as a hero
of jazz, back when he was in his teens, he would have thought them crazy. If
anyone had told the Romans, two millennia ago, that Christianity would thrive
and encompass the globe, they would have laughed (and they did- and then it
did). If anyone had told Noah that there would be more than 6.3 billion
people on the Earth, after having witnessed the flood of forty days and nights,
he would have thought it unthinkable.
The future is hard to tell and even harder to believe. One thing is certain,
however: it will come. That which has existed before, if it is
good and worthy, will continue to exist. This is the way of things. Electronica,
at its heart, is intended for the good of all people. It was meant
to give them a way of falling into dance easily, and dance has been, since
time out of mind, one of the purest forms of joyful expression. It is a good
thing that has evolved with Mankind since its beginning. As long as Man continues
to grow and live and create, music and dance will follow closely on its heels.
Other forms will come, certainly, but it is the hope and intention that electronica
will be here to stay.
(copyright 2001 by SeaStar Corporation / StormFront Records)