Hear The Track HerePagoda is a South African artist I met a few years ago when he and I hung out on a Legoland (Ed: I think he means Ejay) website. He's always been a bit of a dance merchant, so here's a track just to prove that point. Now, as you are all painfully aware, I'm not overfond of this particular genre. Too much four to the floor for my liking, although I have heard and liked a great many tracks that have dance as a starting point. In my world, almost anyone can cobble a reasonable sounding dance track. As an example, I've just taught my two boys how to use a program that does exactly that (and it isn't Ejay). Pagoda reappeared lately over at MP3 Unsigned and I reviewed his Ripple Effect (February 2006) in which I wasn't at all complimentary about the track.
So far, so normal...
Even though I don't particularly like the genre, I do know what makes it work, and IMHO it isn't a kick drum pounding the same old tired bollocks into your face. The best kind of dance music is the kind that challenges your heart and mind, as well as your feet. That's usually accomplished by nifty arrangements, performance idiosyncracies and - the secret ingredient - subtlety. Establishing a rhythm is the name of the game and it isn't one that starts boom boom boom boom, at least not the kind of rhythm that would interest me - or my feet for that matter. The reason I am banging on so mercilessly about this is because this track is replete with the genre's worst traits, and I'm quite willing to admit that may have to do with me being a crusty old fart, but the music for this track has a definite 'been there, done that' feel about it.
Shame really because it's not a bad song. A few years ago on Usenet, I got involved in a remix project for an artist who had passed away before finishing the tracks. The genre was gabba, another genre whose insistence on a four to the floor doesn't do it any favours. This track has many of the qualities that endeared me to the gabba remix, a good, straightforward dance lyric and a more than decent electronica backtrack. Where it falls down is in the department that matters most. There is a drum track here but it mostly overshadowed by a kick that doesn't so much propel as automate. Again, I say honestly, I may well be wrong about this and afficiandos of the genre will love this to bits, but I won't be holding my breath about that. Sort the drum track out, get some of that African rhythm in there and you may well be talking.