Some quotes from me in an interesting article by Angus Harrison at Thump, addressing the phenomenon of retro-dance or what Michaelangelo Matos dubbed a few years ago, "permaretro"
Harrison writes about a meticulously planned weekend, an eclectic selection of clubs and styles - and effectively, of eras:
"[We are] people who, for lack of a better phrase, are on trend. That notion of trendiness haunted me all weekend. What 'trend' did we think we were on? The selections we'd made, crudely highlighted with a dying biro, enveloped the best part of the last 40 years of dance music. There was techno, house, acid house, jungle, trap, with the high chance of garage and shades of drum and bass making appearances. We weren't just on trend, we were on all of them....
"This is what has become of the internet generation. We have everything at our disposal and want to dance to it all. That sense of freedom comes at a cost. We're doomed, it seems, to living in the ominous shadow of the mythical 'back in the day,' a constant reminder that however good things seem now, they'll never reach the organic heights of the first time round....
"... There's something to be said for the idea that we are approaching saturation point. Where movements have previously dipped and resurfaced naturally, we're now drawing on 40 years worth of dance music. There's a genuine history. Add in the internet's never-ending process of storage and remembrance — every song, ever, pretty much, is just a few clicks and clacks away — and you've got an environment where new producers and DJs aren't just stumbling across older movements, older forms of expression — they're practically gorging on them."
"By fixating on the 'greatness' of a past we've never experienced, we're turning clubs into dance music Disneylands, replete with themed kingdoms awaiting us in each room. In fact, according to speculative internet music writers (just like me), in the last five years the UK has enjoyed a garage revival, a jungle revival, a drum & bass revival, a disco revival, a house revival, and an industrial techno revival. We are trapped in a perpetual state of revivalism, looking so far back we've forgotten which way we're supposed to be facing."
"... We swamp our lineups with masters, and immerse ourselves in retrospectives, every night knowing how amazing they will be. In this secure safe-space, we block out the risk of the new, the untested. I've noticed this on a ground level. As someone in their early twenties I am consistently struck by how much stock my peers place in history."
"... With all of history on offer at once, what will we remember as being 'now'? I envy the generation before me, who can look at an image or an outfit, hear a single track or step foot in one club, and be returned to a singular moment that was theirs. I struggle to see what crystal of current dance music culture will do the same for me."
In addition to yours truly, Harrison also quotes DJ Harvey, and Oneman, who has this to say:
"I don't see anything coming up right now that I really latch on to. The last big scene for me was the Jersey stuff, the Fade to Mind guys, but I even feel like they are falling away. So in terms of music I'm just waiting. I'm waiting for something big to happen."