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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. It involved long, meandering structures, elongated solos and concept albums often based on 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 high unemployment rate and the economic problems in Britain at this time, it is not surprising that a sizeable proportion of the population felt that this music did not cater for 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 antics and high energy, raucous music. They channelled the attitude of much of the nation into attacking their instruments in a raw, uncompromising Way. These bands directly influenced British punk bands such as The Sex Pistols, The Clash, The Buzzcocks and The Damned. The Ramones were their contemporaries in the.US, releasing their first album just before any of the British acts. Punk bands used their guitars almost as weapons into which they poured all their angst, 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 played extremely 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 noise making. There were no long solos - any solos tended to be repetitions of the vocal line or thrashing through the chord sequence another time. At the end of 1976, The Sex Pistols released their first single, ‘Anarchy in the UK’. This was to be the definitive song of the style. The Sex Pistols’ antics gained them immediate public attention, such as 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 in causing public outrage and behaved in a manner calculated to offend, or to at least challenge the status quo. Punk music was an important release of a pressure valve, both in terms of the social context of the time and as a reaction to bloated musical styles that were inaccessible for young bands. It was destined to have a short lifespan due to its self-destructive nature. Punk bands fought amongst themselves as well as fighting against the establishment and eventually many split up by the start of the 1980s. The immediate influence of punk was to encourage less talented musicians that it was all 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 not necessarily 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 have less 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 B-52s and Talking Heads and in the UK with XTC and Elvis Costello. U2 had elements of new wave in their early music - the Edge’s chiming, insistent guitar playing along with Bono’s thoughtful lyrics and more tuneful style, but still delivered in a rather challenging 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 with even 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 with the 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 the release of the film ‘Saturday Night Fever’. Producers were very important in disco music, With Giorgio Moroder and 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 the Jacksons. In the early to mid! 1980s, Frankie Knuckles Was DJing in the Warehouse Club, Chicago. He played a mixture of disco hits, soul and funk, adding a Roland drum machine to his mixes to fatten the four-to!-the-floor bass drum on the disco tracks. In order to keep his audience interested, he started to remix the tracks he owned, adding some extra sounds to the original tracks and mixing them together. As the music developed, he began to use more and more of his own beats on top of which he could add some of his standard playlist material. The style he developed was named after the club 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 would argue that it is. . .). Acid house music became very popular in the UK rave scene. The raves would attract drug dealing, so they were made illegal in England. However, the organisers would start to arrange them at venues dotted around the M25 outside London, avoiding the authorities. D] Larry Levan took influences from soul rather than R&B, mixing a more melodic form 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

clubs such as the Ministry of Sound. Garage music, being based more on soul, was much more melodic than house music. Other styles of club dance music: ● ● ● ● ● ● Techno Trance jungle/ Drum & bass Trip hop Goa Hard house

There are many genres and sub-genres of club with the list growing every clay. For the purposes of GCE Music Technology it is sufficient to learn about the main styles listed above and how they interrelate.

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