“What came first, the music or the obsession?” – Part 1

“I lost the plot for a while then. And I lost the subplot, the script, the soundtrack, the intermission, my popcorn, the credits and the exit sign” – excerpt from ‘High Fidelity’ by Nick Hornby

Chapter 1: Intro

This is the first of a multi-part thematic series about obsessions, music and obsession with music. Based on my own experiences, I will attempt to explore and rationalize the profound impact of music on our habits, daily routine and life in general. With music being the focal point, each part of the series will be focusing on a different aspect; all-day long visits to record stores, endless queues outside clubs, late night radio listening with the record button on, mixtapes, the digital era emergence and the inevitable changes to the way we perceive, consume and enjoy music.

The series title is a paraphrase of an excerpt from the book High Fidelity by Nick Hornby, featuring also in the eponymous film adaptation a few years later (replace obsession with misery for the original quote). Although the essence of the question is totally different in the book and I am pretty certain Hornby didn’t have electronic music in mind, it has prompted a psychological dilemma that has been bothering me for years. What came first, the music or the obsession? Did I listen to electronic music (and drum & bass in particular) because I was obsessive? Or did I become obsessive because I listened to electronic music? Continue reading

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Whatever happened to …?

It‘s been almost two decades since the birth and evolution of the jungle/drum and bass music (will be referred to as jdnb onwards). Many artists and labels have marked indelibly the development of this musical genre with their work, vision and ethos, establishing jdnb as a dynamic and pioneering movement in the electronic dance music culture.  At first underground and accessible to the chosen few, jdnb has become slowly but surely a prominent player in the urban underground music map. No matter how different the styles and the musical taste of their champions, the evolution of this music has been very interesting to watch. Inevitably, there have been ambiguous eras. The effort, on behalf of the producers, to re-vitalize people’s interest, re-invent themselves or develop a certain identity has led to the generation of many sub-genres; the results however, after 20 years or so, have been more than satisfying. Recently, a dnb track hit no1 in the UK chart, an achievement rather unimaginable back in the day.

The world doesn’t stop turning, whatever you heard, neither do life and music. Labels and artists have come and gone, which is quite normal during a period spanning almost 20 years. Priorities change, circumstances demand a re-target of focus and the financial factor has been always crucial in the music industry. The main purpose of this article series is to shed light on the contribution of certain artists who have left the scene and of various labels that are now defunct. The reasons of their activity suspension are many and beyond the purpose of this series. It is impossible to include every label and artist, no matter how large or small their contribution, so in all fairness the selection is solely based on my taste, knowledge and sympathy.

Part 1 coming up. Whatever happened to … Hidden Agenda?