19 August 2006

PACE! (how slow can you go?)

A bit quiet round 'ere, innit? Everyone buggered off to some miserable little festival for the weekend? Oh well, here's summit for ya...

boccaccio

"New Beat is to Europop what house music is to disco; a sound savagely stripped of everything unnecessary to its central purpose, a naked synthesis of pop-house and electronic disco, as tacky and tasteless as its tempo is slow. Like house, it's a music of necessity, developed through dancefloor demand. Entering the Boccoccio Club in Ghent is like falling into a dislocated vision of life in slow motion. Two and a half thousand dancers are standing backs rigid, limbs swinging at robotic half speed to a soundtrack of underground Eurobeat. The tempo is cast down so low that the vibrations are close to heart stopping. Bass drums explode in cascades of digital reverb, electronics undulate sensuously and any stray shreds of voice are ground to a growl. Bass, how low can you go? Lower still, say the dancers. For the music they're calling New Beat, they'll go as low as you like. Every sunday night, people come from cities all over Belgium, from Holland, France and even Germany to feel the beat of the Boccaccio. The club is a massive mirrored place of glitz, a garish temple to the laser and, as the clock crawls towards daylight, an enormous neon-lit sauna. Everyone is moving to the New Beat, standing at the bar, on the stairs, on the balcony and the dancefloor, the whole club shifts to and fro on its feet in an unconscious Mexican Wave formation. When the DJ pushes the speakers to the bass limits of endurance, switches the lasers to overdrive and mixes up records - the reaction is total bliss-out."

The above (uncredited) sleevenotes, taken from BCM Records' New Beat Megamix, offer a contemporaneous view of the New Beat lifestyle as it was happening in 1989. The issue of slow tempo cannot be understated. Listen to any New Beat record now, and they will sound quite slow by comparison to the the demands of the modern dancefloor, but then you have to consider that, at the scene's most hardcore clubs, the DJs were pitching the records down even lower still!

hambrook


To really feel the true depth of BPM sludge-out, you need to hear the Boccaccio Mix, as featured on this record. Hard to believe it was cut at 33 rpm. Play it at 45 and it seems to be at quite normal House tempo, but then shift gears to the intended number of revolutions per minute and the beats wind-down to a nightmarish slur. Jesus christ...is that what it was really like?

The Boccaccio Mix

Wait till you hear the Acid mix on the flip! Soon....

Visit the V/Vm New Beat site...it's a wonderful place.

2 comments:

doppelganger said...

No idea where people who DON'T COME BACK from hippy festivals go.....

You ain't letting that New Beat die are you? When's the club night? I'm dying to get going on the flyer......

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