Writing About Dancing: Disco Critics Survey

9. Where's the best stuff in dance music today coming from? (You can approach this question in a number of ways: Is it happening in underground circles or on radio? North America or Europe? Is it taking place in some exciting new sub-genre?)

It's quite possibly coming from Detroit (i.e.: Eminem, Kid Rock, ghetto tech stuff like DJ Assault, electro revival stuff like i-F and the Detroit Grand Pubahs), but I could be wrong. It's not like I've done any worldwide inventories or anything. I would say the South is probably in the running too; lotsa dope back-your-azz-up beats down there. And never count out continental Europe--they've got Max Martin and Sven Vath too!

The best "dance music" today comes from Paris, where electronic dark funk REIGNS; from Montreal, where girly stuff rules; from Milan and Barcelona, where all of it is popular and much else besides, anything Euro and housey and dry and funky... Also from New York,. where the best DJs work and record even now (though Danny Tenaglia and his equals spend ever more time overseas).

re: dance floor oriented music, London pirate radio culture is still the cutting edge as it was all through the nineties: hardcore to jungle to drum'n'bass to U.K. garage to 2step. Time for another paradigm shift from that quarter.

Germany's rockin' it with the Cologne glitch stuff, weird house, Berlin's dub-techno Pole-types, Timo Maas on the populist Sasha-with-balls tip...

America's got it's own post-rave vanguard with the kid606 and friends, Schematic, kit clayton etc. etc. types bringing in humor, personality, urgent opinions and emo-core venting to the rather sterile world of post-Autechre IDM--not sure if much of it really counts as dance music though.

Actually there's good stuff going on all over the place, mavericks and hacks alike come up with the goods, so much it's impossible to keep up with it. But at the same time there's no obvious scene that has surged ahead of everyone else and is the obvious leading edge, as there was with jungle in 93/94/95...there's no sense of revolution, no next big thing but lots of next medium-sized things.

England seems to be light years ahead of the States. Even our own artists like Derrick May and Stacey Pullen get more play overseas than they do here. And it's always funny to see New York DJs that I'm so totally sick of get top billing in the U.K. at their super clubs. But, still, that country is the most progressive musically that I've yet to see; they are up for anything. At the same time, because dance music is so massive over there, instead of ' N Sync, you've got to contend with Tall Paul, Oakie, and Boy George as the big pop stars. What a nightmare!!!

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