Gaia is the word for "unity-of-life-processes". The experiment here is to unify the various threads of voice and sense of self together into an undivided unity. Spirituality, economics, politics, science and ordinary life interleaved.

Monday, October 25, 2004

The Uniqueness of Dance Music as a Genre:

I have been collating the best dance songs I can find. They are based on predictably sound principles of construction, rooted I would suppose in the basic neural structures of humankind since story and song first emerged, some 3 hundred thousand years ago.

But there are traits unique to dance music. Notably is the dialectic of camp impersonation versus realistic versimilitude. Said another way: how far does a dance song go in exaggerating, overstating, making unreal or ironic - in other words, how camp can a song be without sacrificing the essential sense that the song is about something REAL and actual.

The same conflict plays out in the postmodern expressions of popular culture through mass market paperbacks. How possible is it for writers to depict outrageous and highly amusing and improbable events that will entertain their readers, without the sacrifice of the sense of self-consistent reality that a good story must have?

This dichotomy touches on the very essence of the postmodern, because in fact, in the best dance songs, both camp and the sense of the real arrive effectively FUSED TOGETHER in aesthetic unity. The power of the song arrives from above, from the inherent nonintellectual moral values that transcend the song itself and are part of the genre. It is the transcendent moral value of the song that generates the strong structure and precise form, rather than the strong structure of an excellent song somehow signifying aesthetic excellence.

Dance music seriously and profoundly explores and comments on the notions of collectivism versus individuality, the emotional and spiritual nature of liberation and illumination, the phenomenological reality of the passing moment of joy and rememberance, and, at their absolute pinnacle, dance music is capable of holding two ideas that are normally opposites and, in the most extraordinary and post-verbal manner, unify the two in the zero-effect sacred space generated spontaneously between the music and the listener. What is even more extraordinary about dance music is that it is capable of doing all this without recourse to either language or the conscious mind. Dance music is the postmodern equivalent of zen calligraphy: as calligraphy is a form of creativity on the verge of vanishing into experiencing itself, so dance music is a form of creativity on the verge of vanishing into camp commercialism and the crude sexual-social realism of the song's content.

What is garbage in other genres is a very very serious matter in dance music. This is the genre that plays the role of court fool, saying what no-one else can say without fear of reprisal.

So in collecting this music together I am collecting my thoughts, thoughts held in a new way about new ideas, that are no-where else expressed so simply and well as in these dance songs.


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