“There is a time for dancing”, Ecclesiaste 3:4 Bible
In the beginning there was Jack. And Jack had a groove. And from this groove came the groove of all grooves” – Can you feel it, Mr Fingers.
What are the differences between a good dj set and a bad dj set? When a dj is considered a good dj? Who are the best djs? These question seem to be really personal, but they hide some esthetic rule. If as Frank Broughton and Bill Brewster wrote in Last night a dj saved my life, the dj came from the shaman, the mystic figure of the ancient times where dance and religion were really close, then the role od the dj is now really different, full of responsibility towards the audience. Dancing and religion are now far from the other because of the sexual implication of moving, but dance has always been important in collective ritual.
If you saw the images of the crowd dancing during a djset of Larry Levan at the Paradise Garage inside Maestro documentary , isn’t so difficult to understand that a good dj set is an adrenalic experience, a sort of celebration of our instincts.
That is the reason why religion is now afraid of dancing. Afraid of the many aspects of the dance, like losing control, the contact between tha human being and the everything that is God. During the dance there are no mediation, no reasons but only celebration. The first rhytm is the easyest, the one really similar to the heartbeat: it is the sound that make our head bumping.
The first movement is the bridge to the real dance.That is the moment in which we need someone to carry us to the real dance, to help us losing our control and bringing us to a sort of edonisthic trance. What we need is a good dj. If he is not able to carry us in the right way to or ideal ” La La land”, we can help the experience with drugs, but everything becaome less instinctive, too artificial to be true.
That is the reason why dance music, the music for our body, can and have to makes us losing our human dimension without drugs. We deserve a good dj set, and at the same times, we have to let our emotions free and feel the whole feelings music can give us. Agood dj is someone that makes us want to dance. Mysticism together with djing isn’t a modern idea: God is a dj by Faithless, where the club is compared to a church, is a good answer. Some songs in the fisrt house music were focused on a mystic theme, with a sort of gospel scenary (Promised land by Joe Smooth INC).
But when a dj set can be considered good? The answer is easy: when there is a good selection. A A A passionate one, a rhitmic and melodic road able to carry our minds to distant places, while our body is moving. Selection should be so good that no remixes is needed. Mixing should be only something that makes the set better, a sort of optional that fit the music into a wider idea.
A dj with a great tecnique can make interesting also a boring record, but anyway this is not so usual. The combination between selection and mixering is what makes a complete dj. The dj has to feel the audience, its emotions, until they together reach a sort of orgasmic top. Mixing can be unique, armonic or not, but it has never to become neither a noise, or a tecnicque exercise. Dj setis a trip, and it has to be as most enjoing as possible. Smooth but also adventourous. Choosing music just because it sounds good is the worst mistake of a dj. It is true that, with this choice, tecnical mystakes are more difficult, but this is a limit in the selection. Tecnique, passion, selection, sensibility, these are the keyword for a good dj set.
In these days, when producers and /or musicians become dj because of the hype of their productions, where dj are too much interested in public relation, where flyer and sponsor are more important than the show, where the most important thing is playing the latest song, where everyone can become a dj after a couple of download, where dj is a jukebox and commercial music is considered a genre, in these days I said, it is really hard to find a shamanic djset. Difficult but not impossible. The next time you’ll be in a club, don’t think about the location, the one who is in consolle, don’t think about your favourite hit, just let music guide you, let the dj be a dj, let him be original. That is the only way to help the club culture, with lots of glitters and less content. And we’ll be back dancing.