Sunday, April 4, 2010

Day 09: A song that I can dance to

Like pasty white nerds the world over, I've never thought of myself as much of a dancer. I'm competent enough at a ceilidh, I can hold my own in a mosh pit on the rare occasions I venture into one, I play a mean air guitar, and when suitably-intoxicated, I can move rhythmically to music in a reasonably unselfconscious way provided others around me are doing the same thing, and not too many people are watching. I've got decent natural rhythm, and I'm far better-coordinated than I used to be, but there's almost always a quiet inner voice telling me that I'm still the gangly, uncoordinated teenager whose brain isn't quite sure where his limbs end or begin.

If I simply went out and actually did it more often, I'm quite sure that I'd get the hang of it - it's worked with just about everything else I've ever learned, after all - but to be honest, I've never really felt the need. I enjoy dancing as and when I do it, but it's rarely my first choice for a night out, especially since - happily-married as I am - I don't really have a pressing need to go out on the pull, which is perhaps the only arena where an ability to dance really well offers significant, concrete advantages.

So, the handful of exceptions - artists who really do get my pulse racing, my fists pumping and my legs twitching - stand out somewhat. I've actually been to quite a few dance gigs in the last year or two - perhaps most notably, the Prodigy's recent, long-overdue return to top form, coupled with an Oslo concert, got me up and shaking my skinny arse in no uncertain terms. But at heart, my favourite dance music is the sort of dry, mathematical bleepy stuff to which a suitably-pretentious soul can really stroke his/her chin. Like, for example, UK electronica colossii (colossi? colossuses?) Autechre, whose concert I was at last night.

The piece I've posted today (and yes, the reason I chose this specific track was largely down to the title) is a relatively-early AE number, before they moved quite so decisively into the increasingly-abstract field they've been ploughing for most of the past decade. I love the likes of LP5 and the Gantz Graf EP dearly (I've not heard as much of their most recent output), but the mathematical complexity of the music on those CDs is so alienating that it's hard to actually dance to (well, I think so, anyway). Live, however, while still aggressively amelodic and texturally-abstract, the music is far more heavily beat-driven, giving it a hypnotic quality which utterly transcends anything else. I'd be hard-pressed to consciously/soberly demonstrate the sort of dancing this sort of thing might induce, but the pools of sweat I was able to wring out of my t-shirt upon leaving the club after their set last night, and the aching in my legs and arms when I woke up this morning, suggest that I did quite a lot of it anyway.

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