Music » Music Stories

John Digweed

Thursday, June 15; Velvet


In the oh-so-exclusive world of house and techno DJ culture, no subgenre is as universally derided as trance; it's considered the dance music of choice for the tanned and the tortoise-shelled, the kind you're most likely hear in sunny resort areas like Miami and Ibiza. Trance is to beat culture as Kenny G is to jazz; if you like trance, you're not very cool, a bit dim and probably like piña coladas.

That's bullshit, and John Digweed, the king of trance worldwide (along with partner Sasha), will set straight naysayers (at least those with open minds) willing to shut their traps, open their ears and appreciate some good drama.

Yes, trance is the most palatable of the various subgenres. Its shiny, aerodynamic tones move through speakers and into ears as though dipped in Vaseline; its simple, direct melodies rarely surprise, its repetitions make it incredibly easy for the dance-impaired and the rum-drunk, and its eerie, born-in-a-bass-bin reverb bounces around beautifully in hollow heads filled with ecstasy. It's easy music designed for easy livin', but does that mean it universally sucks? No.

Digweed made a believer out of skeptics at the Winter Music Conference in Miami a few months back. He filled a huge club with the kind of bliss and glory reserved for religious revivals and bear-market stock-exchange floors; he even managed to get a few clumsy music critic types grooving (one reportedly danced for three hours). Those who feel too old or ragged to attend warehouse parties (where activity doesn't meet epiphany until 4 a.m.) but are curious to witness dance-floor transcendence firsthand would be advised to hit this show. Trance haters and closed-minded righteous ones, lower your noses, clean your ears and open your minds; no one will think any less of you for hitting the Digweed show, and he may actually put a smile on that furrow-browed face of yours.

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