Is EDM about to undergo an evolution? Does it have an unstoppable momentum? Can it be called a cultural phenomenon? Canadian filmmaker Edward Platero seems to think so and he’s bringing it to a theatre devoid of squares near you in a highly anticipated documentary.
In 2012, EDM has reached a fever pitch, becoming the hottest ticket in music since hip hop in the late 90s. Electronic dance music’s shift into the mainstream spotlight has opened up the dates, inviting a broader critical look into the genre as a whole.
Taking heed (and potentially having a sneaky stalk) of artists like Moby, Avicii, Hardwell, Krewella and little man Cole Plante (not exactly my mate), in a tour across the US, the film attempts to understand the growth of the ‘EDM Movement’ and just generally get a bit electronically existential whilst pumping the crazy lasers and filming gratuitous close ups of munters whom are off ye olde’ chops (totes aesthetically poetic).
Hold up, hold up. Where do we begin with our issue with this?
Maybe it could start with the idea of straddling everything under the title EDM? Already a ‘genre’ which is plagued with controversy – we assume that the majority of artists followed would have issues with being identified under the bracket and being forced to find a place under it. If one were to – as Platero states – ‘follow all aspects of the growth of a genre’, that’s a whole lotta shit to cover.
Drumstep, liquid funk, techstep, neurofunk, brostep, thugstep, prog trance, psytrance, tech trance, minimal techno, deep house, prog house, tribal house, UK garage, speed garage, 2-step, grime, trap, hard trance, hard dance, moombahton, breakbeat, downtempo (and thats just off the top of my head) – all technically find a place under the mechanical branches of the EDM genre (just check out this hectic chart). Yet we think you’d be hard pressed to find a punter whom enjoys all of these – and the distinct culture and ritual that comes with each one. Like seriously, I’m down for all trance but fuck hard styles – just look at their pants!
In this sense, the whole concept is kind of ambiguous – and the delivery is also a head scratcher. For example; why would one pick apart the careers of Cole Plante and Madeon if they wanted to understand the history of EDM? They’re barely past the cheesy mite stage. Another major flaw is the examination of electronic music in the states alone – if one was going to understand the history and establishment of the movement one can’t ignore them trippy Europeans as the grandaddy pioneers of the electronic cultures.
The film also proclaims it wishes to follow the trajectory of the landscape of the field stating ‘the landscape of electronic music will have extended its reach to all forms of music‘. Whilst we’re clearly fans off anything electronic, we can’t help but feel that this is a gross overstatement of the realms of EDM, and also a misunderstanding of the dimensions of music in general. Music and popular cultures are in an ever-expanding flux, constantly remixing, lapping back on themselves and influencing each other. Elements of hip-hop, rock and roll, classical music and many other genres and sub genres permeate electronic music whilst having thriving cultures within themselves. To suggest a dominant musical form seems ignorant at best, and categorises a generation at worst.
Perhaps if the film took a narrower approach to the EDM scene in a particular city, a singular trajectory of an artist or an artistic group, the growing festival scene or specific party culture then we feel like this would be a viable project. Take Thump’s recent video which gave a fly-on-the-wall insight into the different electronic cultures around the globe, or the Electronic Daisy Carnival Experience (2011), which caused controversy amongst insight regarding the highly acclaimed festival. These works distinguish the separation which should be celebrated within the electronic sphere.
The documentary has failure within the concept – and we predict that more than anything, this film will lead to the construction of a false identity of a boundless social group. Thats the problem with anyone trying to define a ‘generation’, exclusion and compartmentalisation almost always occurs – two elements which betray the spirit of EDM.
[via The Drop]