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The Great EDM War Continues

Now that the season of goodwill is well and truly over, the dance community has wasted little time in restarting its civil war with several high-profile names already failing miserably to stick to their ‘be less confrontational’ New Year’s Resolutions.

Incredibly, everyone’s favourite trolling DJ, Deadmau5, isn’t the instigator this time around. However, in a slightly delayed reaction, his previous ‘just press play’ comments have belatedly riled Dutch DJ Afrojack enough to speak out in an interview with Billboard.

Like many whose DJ skills were called into question by the Canadian last year, the man who voluntarily chose to work with Paris Hilton argued that he and the likes of Skrillex are much more skilled than they are given credit for, and that if anyone should be accused of faking it, it’s the man who chooses to hide behind a mousehead. Round two to Afrojack.

However, it was Chemical Brothers’ Ed Simons who unexpectedly made 2013’s first notable dig at dance culture. Indeed, the non-geeky half of one of the most inventive and important electronic acts of the 90s certainly doesn’t appear to be a fan of Swedish House Mafia’s fratboy-friendly brand of trance-pop, describing their recent compilation, Until Now, as “an awful awful record” on Twitter whilst also slating the EDM scene in general (“this post-modern everything’s ok attitude is killing interesting dance music”) during an argument with U.S. DJ Tommie Sunshine.

Looking at the drivel that has dominated the upper reaches of the charts recently, it’s difficult not to side with “Team Simons.” Alongside The Prodigy and Underworld, he and Tom Rowlands achieved mainstream success without ever really compromising their underground roots, whilst the likes of Basement Jaxx, Groove Armada and Faithless also later proved it was possible to produce melodic and commercial dance-pop without succumbing to the lowest common denominator.

Simons’ comments seems to have kick-started a new wave of debate about the merits of EDM with the likes of Belgian DJ Dimitri Vegas (“I suggest spending the energy of hating on each other into creative work”) and British trance producer Mat Zo (“there’s nothing new about the wave of pop-dance and the battle of old and young”) leaping to its defense, and German superstar DJ Sasha fiercely attacking it (“most EDM is made by douchebags for douchebags”).

As interesting and as entertaining as the argument about EDM has become, let’s hope that the tectonic plates of dance music shift far enough to have rendered it completely insignificant this time next year.

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About the Author


Jon O'Brien's love of music began as a six-year-old after becoming bizarrely transfixed with the 80s poodle rock of Heart, Europe and Def Leppard. Switching his attention to pop icon Michael Jackson, he then became addicted to the UK Top 40, becoming a rather pointless walking Wikipedia of chart positions in the process. Driving his poor neighbors up the wall while learning to play the drums as a teen, he toyed with the idea of becoming a musician, but in studying Journalism at the University of Central Lancashire, he realized heÕd rather write about music than perform it. Since then, he's written thousands of reviews and biographies on everything from bubblegum pop to death metal, but electronica remains his main passion, with everything from Aphex Twin to Zero 7 in his spare room-consuming record collection. Jon resides in northwest England near Liverpool.

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Posted in: Electronic Music, Featured


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