Off The Record: How Dance Brought The World Together (Now Let’s Do It Again)
Remember when Gough Whitlam petitioned us to embrace change? To accept, to act, and to acknowledge?
Me neither, though his legacy is starting to look pretty bloody golden when it comes to progressing both as a society and as a species. These are testing, trying times characterised by oppression, aggression and fearmongering. Where once change was promised to take us forward, it now appears to be dragging us right back into a regressive, discriminatory primordial swamp.
Excuse me while I climb down off my soapbox…
Much like blues, gospel and jazz, electronic music was born of an ideology not entirely dissimilar to what we are quickly heading back toward. People gathered to celebrate their differences – and to forget their differences – through the fluid, unassuming politics of the dancefloor. Dancing was, and is, an outlet for individual identity and expression. Most importantly, it brings people together, and continues to do so even following the horrors of repeated mass shootings at nightclubs and music events in recent times.
There is an intrinsic, undeniable relationship between social dynamics and music: it’s a wonderful, powerful creative weapon. Music synthesizes and soundtracks history. It is a cultural marker. If there’s one thing we can take from these experiences, and from this rich tapestry of music, it’s that resistance is essential. History has a habit of repeating itself – to paraphrase Edmund Burke, the triumphs of evil are possible when good people do nothing.
Resistance is diverse and of many faces. It can be passive, in the form of solidarity, support, and simply attending music events to share ideas and a common feeling. And it can be active – taking to the streets, expressing oneself to one’s peers, writing to your local member of parliament.
Take Sly and The Family Stone’s [above] Stand! and There’s A Riot Goin’ On, Eugene McDaniels’ Headless Heroes Of The Apocalypse, Curtis Mayfield’s Curtis, Gil-Scott Heron’s Pieces Of A Man, Lou Bond’s ‘To The Establishment’, The Watts Prophets… throw them on your tape deck, your turntable, your smartphone. Hell, while you’re at it, throw in a bit of Pete Seeger, Billy Bragg and Half Man Half Biscuit.
As disco ensemble MFSB best put it, love is the message. Whatever or however we engage with the issues of today, let’s do it with an open heart and an open mind.
This week’s playlist:
Tornado Wallace’s Lonely Planet LP. He’s put the effort into producing a cohesive album rather than a collection of sorts; it’s packed with subtleties and signature percussion, and it’s got a distinctly ’80s/Balearic flair to it.
Also check out The Numero Group’s Good God! Born Again Funk to get you up on the good foot with its funky, life-affirming gospel.
SUNDAY FEBRUARY 12
Dave Seaman @ Café del Mar
SATURDAY FEBRUARY 18
Hashman Deejay & PLO Man @ TBA
Keep Sydney Open Rally #3 @ TBA
SuNDAY FEBRUARY 26
Classic Album Sundays: John Coltrane – A Love Supreme @ The World Bar
SUNDAY MARCH 12
Fallout 3.0 @ Ivy
TUESDAY APRIL 11
Roy Ayers @ The Basement