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Special Focus Styles 2012 - Punk, New Wave & Club Dance

Special Focus Styles 2012 - Punk, New Wave & Club Dance

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Published by: simonballemusic on Jun 08, 2011
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Progressive rock was one of the most popular styles of music in the early 1970s. Itinvolved long, meandering structures, elongated solos and concept albums often basedon fantasy Worlds such as Tollkien’s ‘Lord of the Rings’. At the same time, disco was becoming popular in Britain with its glitz and glitterballs. Considering the highunemployment rate and the economic problems in Britain at this time, it is notsurprising that a sizeable proportion of the population felt that this music did not caterfor where they were at. Out of this sense of discontentment sprang the aggressive,uncompromising sound of punk music.In the early 1970s,
The Velvet Underground, The Stooges
and the
New York Dolls
 were making music in the US that eschewed the instrumental virtuosity required by progressive rock, concentrating instead on flamboyant and outrageous stage anticsand high energy, raucous music. They channelled the attitude of much of the nation intoattacking their instruments in a raw, uncompromising Way. These bands directly influenced British punk bands such as
The Sex Pistols, The Clash, The Buzzcocks
The Damned
The Ramones
were their contemporaries in the.US, releasingtheir first album just before any of the British acts.Punk bands used their guitars almost as weapons into which they poured all theirangst, anger and frustration. You do not need to be a talented musician to play punk music - attitude is the key factor. The instrumentation for a punk band was typically drumkit, bass, two electric guitars and raspy, shouted vocal. The guitars were playedextremely aggressively and the guitarist would generally try to get as much distortion
and feedback as possible. Punk guitarists were not tidy players - they revelled in noisemaking. There were no long solos - any solos tended to be repetitions of the vocal lineor thrashing through the chord sequence another time. At the end of 1976,
The SexPistols
released their first single,
‘Anarchy in the UK’
. This was to be the definitivesong of the style. The Sex Pistols’ antics gained them immediate public attention, suchas gratuitous swearing on a prime-time TV interview and their provocative dress style.Punks sported dyed hair spiked into enormous Mohican styles and multiple body piercings, as well as wearing chains, safety pins and torn clothing. Punks revelled incausing public outrage and behaved in a manner calculated to offend, or to at leastchallenge the status quo.Punk music was an important release of a pressure valve, both in terms of the socialcontext of the time and as a reaction to bloated musical styles that were inaccessiblefor young bands. It was destined to have a short lifespan due to its self-destructivenature. Punk bands fought amongst themselves as well as fighting against theestablishment and eventually many split up by the start of the 1980s.The immediate influence of punk was to encourage less talented musicians that it wasall right to have a go at making music, even if they were incapable of soloing like the big rock acts of the time. It spawned a whole new era of experimentation where people would look for ways to express themselves with some of the rawness of punk, but notnecessarily the attitude. New wave music fell into this category - a slightly less raw sound than still containing powerful, simple guitar lines. New wave bands tend to haveless aggressive vocal lines than punk with more emphasis on the melody and lyrics. It became popular on both sides of the Atlantic - in the US with bands such as the
Talking Heads
and in the UK with
Elvis Costello. U2
had elements of new wave in their early music - the Edge’s chiming, insistent guitar playing along withBono’s thoughtful lyrics and more tuneful style, but still delivered in a ratherchallenging way (eg. ‘I Will Follow’ from their first album, ‘Boy').In the US, another style emerged, moving in the opposite direction to new wave.Hardcore was a more intense version of punk - punk played at a higher tempo witheven more uncompromising guitar sounds. The most famous hardcore band was the
Dead Kennedys
Disco came about in the mid
1970s as a fusion of the Philly soul sound club dance withthe rhythms of funk. Originally it was mainly a feature of the gay clubs, but it gradually made its way into the mainstream, bursting into the public imagination with therelease of the film ‘
Saturday Night Fever
’. Producers were very important in discomusic, With
Giorgio Moroder
Tom Moulton
perhaps the most famous.Moroder Worked closely with
Donna Summer
on a number of her biggest disco hits,including the classic ‘
I Feel Love
’. Other disco artists included the
Bee Gees
and theJacksons.In the early to mid
Frankie Knuckles
 Was DJing in the
 Warehouse Club
,Chicago. He played a mixture of disco hits, soul and funk, adding a Roland drummachine to his mixes to fatten the four-to
-the-floor bass drum on the disco tracks. Inorder to keep his audience interested, he started to remix the tracks he owned, addingsome extra sounds to the original tracks and mixing them together. As the musicdeveloped, he began to use more and more of his own beats on top of which he couldadd some of his standard playlist material. The style he developed was named after theclub he worked in - ‘House’ music. It had the exaggerated beat and a sparse texture.House music became popular in the UK and, with the addition of the
Roland TB-303
,it morphed into a new style called
‘acid house’
, apparently named after the squelchy sound of the TB-303 bass timbre (and not after the drug LSD, although many wouldargue that it is. . .). Acid house music became very popular in the UK rave scene. Theraves would attract drug dealing, so they were made illegal in England. However, theorganisers would start to arrange them at venues dotted around the M25 outsideLondon, avoiding the authorities.D]
Larry Levan
took influences from soul rather than R&B, mixing a more melodicform of music than the sparse ‘house’ music in his club in New York called the
Paradise Garage
. The music he mixed gradually became known as ‘garage’ music.Garage also made a quick trans-Atlantic journey and became very popular in London

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