chapter  5
DECONSTRUCTING DIFFERENCE IN DANCE MUSIC: Subculture and club culture at the turn of the century
Pages 20

Dance music as a meta-genre has demonstrated an impressive staying power and now is the subject of a number of histories spanning the academic, quasi-academic and popular spheres. In my use of this term for the purposes of this chapter, I am not simply referring to (any) music for dancing to; after all such a definition might implicate forms such as the foxtrot. The following chapter deals with DJcentred club-context sounds that are derived from various roots including 1970s disco and 1980s electronica, using technology such as sampling and scratching. The public act of bodily expression, dancing, is central to such styles but is not a necessary requirement for being considered under this umbrella term: ambient music, for example, which often forms the soundtrack to the chill-out room for winding down at club events, in Toop’s (1995: 52) words is an ‘oxymoron … dance music for sitting still’. As the youth cult that first came to public attention for its drug of choice ecstasy, dance music has inevitably enough come of age and split into a number of new directions as what was once considered a niche market in itself has diversified into a multitude of sub-genre specialisations, undergoing something of an institutionalisation along the way. It is important then to be aware of the complexity of the overlapping plural scenes of contemporary dance music culture, which is far from being a singular entity. This chapter looks at various aspects of dance music and attempts to fill some of the gaps that there are in existing accounts by looking widely at ‘difference’ in dance music across its interlocking scenes, with particular reference to how it can be reconciled with the notions of subculture as discussed in the first chapter.