Chase and Status, Sub Focus and Avicii have all released albums this year which have received a great reception from fans and critics alike, with each artist being an integral part in the growth of dance music in the last decade. However, it is important to remember how EDM came to be in the first place; here we take a look at my top ten tracks from the nineties:
If Frankie Knuckles was at the forefront of the house scene in Chicago, then it was ‘A Guy Called Gerald’ who was importing it over to British fields and warehouses in the form of acid house, (although released in 88’). it is impossible to ignore this track when looking at 90’s dance culture. The seed had been planted.
Madchester, baggy, whatever the politically correct term is, it is undeniable that the movement deserves a mention in the dance culture of the 90’s. Adidas tracksuits 2 sizes too big, maracas and The Hacienda combined, to create a vibe similar to that of Woodstock in the 60’s. Inspiral Carpets were hugely instrumental along the way, the synthesised fairground keyboards not only show the transition into dance but also the feelings of nation crying out for change.
From acid, developed many sub genres of dance music, and Altern8 were a prime example of the rave scene. The video says it all, two blokes running around in boiler suits and masks, having a laugh, making crackly rave tracks on a Roland TR-808.
Recognisable by heavy bass lines and fast, furious drum beats, jungle was the alternative for those who preferred a more urban feel to their break beats. Although more commercially successful with ‘Incredible’ featuring General Levy, ‘Surrender’ mixes those jingly ravey piano solos with the ragga and soulful lyrics that were reminiscent of urban artists of the 80’s.
Drum and Bass is one of the genres from the 90’s that still thrives today. It has evolved over the years, with artists like SHY FX and Andy C starting off the movement in the 90s, which laid the platforms for artists such as Rudimental and Pendulum today. Krust’s Warhead was released in 1997, with shifty drum patterns and the droopy bass lines which are still being wobbled today. This one is a must have in any dance music collection.
Big beat originated from techno and acid house breaks, using heavy beats and synthesisers which allowed a lot of DJ’s (at that time), to be very creative in what they produced, and Norman Cook from The Housemartins, aka Fatboy Slim used this freedom brilliantly. It was his first single to enter the UK charts and was a hybrid of rock and dance infused repetition. A perfect example of the mutating genres that musicians of the late 80’s and 90’s were so fond of.
Trip hop was a highly experimental form of dance music in the 90’s, with influences coming from house, acid and hip hop. Tracks often featuring slowed down break beats, with electronic mids and either vocalists or mcs over the track. ‘Angel’ signified the development of Massive Attacks development from jazzy to darkened, dinghy, bass line thumping trip hoppers. A huge commercial success, yet equally underground and raw.
Similar to acid house, techno’s core resides in the original Chicago house scene, which imploding into Britain in the form of Acid and break beat hardcore, championed by artists such as The Prodigy. ‘Hey Boy, Hey Girl‘ was their most notorious track, a twisted, psychedelic, repetitive track which signalled their impact on the world of techno.
As the raves were ripe in Britain, in Germany, the creation of Trance was hot on its heels, developing in the early 90’s. In England it enjoyed a lot of mainstream success during the late 90’s and early 00’s, with the rise of DJ’s such as Tiesto and Armin Van Buuren. System F, aka Ferry Corsten released ‘Out of the Blue‘ in 1999, and was everything that trance stood for, euphoric, transcendental, pure bliss.
Written by Dean Dallman