Tuned In To Music

Reflections from a lifetime

Review: !!!, Myth Takes

Into that whole rock vs dance music thing?  Doin’ the disco sucks?  But (shh, don’t tell anybody) you like to dance?  Another closet Napoleon Dynamite?  You know, get that chkthing movin’?  Hit that place where the differences between sound, space, movement begin to disappear and become, like, one?  You feelin’ this?  Have I got a band for you!  !!! (usually pronounced chk chk chk) is a rock band that plays dance music.  They rock.  They groove.  And they blow your house down.

The dance vs rock thing has been coming and going since at least the ’70s when the backlash against the sterile mass-produced forms of disco was marketed as a resurgence of rock to its rightful place atop the pop music heap.  Over the past several decades whenever the dance-rock divide is reopened musicians who are paying more attention to music than marketing bridge the gap, dance music becomes popular, and another rock reaction sets in.  Rinse and repeat.  It might be worth examing the role played by the music companies in this process.  Traditionally rock music puts a great deal of emphasis on the musician as the star.  Rock stars are exalted and idolized.  “Rockstar” has entered the general vocabulary in phrases like  “So-and-so was treated like a rockstar”.  Dance music, on the other hand, has tended to place emphasis on the communication between the dancers and the DJ carried out through the DJ’s mixing and sequencing songs in accordance with the emotional state of the dancers at the moment.  The musicians making the music being played are secondary and often unknown.  We go see the rock star perform; we go participate in the dance.  We watch the creative act at a rock concert, we perform the creative act in the club.  The big music companies have usually been hostile toward dance music because it’s much harder for them to package and sell.  They know how to package a rock star for you to idolize and they’re very good at it.   They’re not so good at marketing music when the packaged “star” is secondary or even unimportant to the experience in the club.  Rock is packaged and marketed as an object for you to own or pay big bucks to go see.  Dance is an experience for you to have and they don’t know how to market that because it doesn’t depend on having this object as opposed to that one.  Any record will do as long as the DJ plays it at the right time and sends you into orbit.  The track that the dancers want this week may be completely different from what they wanted last week because of what the DJ’s doing in the mix.  The record companies are hopelessly out of it and slow to react to this kind of music consumption.  So they don’t like it.  So they market rock and dance as two different things and they push rock.

It doesn’t have to be this way and !!! is the best proof of that at the moment.  They’re an 8 piece band that plays ferocious dance music with a rock sensibility.  They do something like disco, they do something like house, they do something like funk, they do something like dance punk.  Through most of it they bring the heat (album closer Infinifold is something like a ballad and it doesn’t work) and they bring the energy.  “Myth Takes” is a lot of fun.  I listen to an album like this and I think, fuck the categories that are constructed to package music to make it easier to sell.  Fuck the marketing department that wants you to identify who you are with a music niche so they can sell product you can brandish to tell the world what you’re about.  Listen with open ears.  Dance.  Rock.  Have fun.  


Music from this CD can be heard on Tuned In To Music Podcast 015 – Rockin’ the Dancefloor


06/14/2007 - Posted by | CD reviews, music, music reviews

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