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Dance at the venue

Now everyone will dance to silly and delicious techno again. Is it just a trendy bark?


[rave party] It is four o'clock in the morning and 200 people have decided to drop green Swix and Sunday tour in Marka in favor of the greyhound gym for heavy bass. There is a rave party in a dark factory room on Grünerløkka in Oslo, and the party has barely begun.

From the edge of the dance floor, people look like rocking shadows, but strobe lights reveal in blue glimpses which herd of gangs move together. Strict students dance with the upholstery and tattooed motorcycle thugs. Techno enthusiasts cut air with stiff palms, side by side with stiff rock boys in black leather jackets. A transvestite bowls with some pretty girls in booties and beckons to a spastic guy with a huge clown hat on his head. The mildly complex clientele is apparently held together by a least common multiple: the Techno rhythms of DJ Tore Jazztobakks and DJ Electric Lane's record players. And no, we haven't taken a time machine back to the 1990s. This is 2007.

- It was like that at early house parties and parties as well. There were all sorts of people and often people who fall a little outside of all other environments. Sometimes I wonder where in every day these people come from, says Tore Jazztobakk, alias Tore Gjedrem, before Electric Lane, alias Jen McConachie, breaks in. She wants to show that techno parties do not have to be Harry.

- The atmosphere should be good and open. There are no codes here, and you can express yourself freely.

There are clear signs of a renaissance for the simple, electronic dance music, both at clubs and in pop music. Star producers such as Timbaland and Pharrell Williams have both gained the sense of catchy trance synths and heavy rhythms, as can be heard in the tunes of both Justin Timberlake and Nelly Furtado, and on the hip-hop club floor there are now technophysical genres such as Baltimore Beat and Southern -hiphop that applies.

Fluorinated party

Hip German record companies like Kompakt and Get Physical are sprucing up their tight art techno with shameless trance elements, while the UK's youth rubs in with fluoridating rags, honking plastic whistles and bananas at the rave party. In Sweden, our neighbors spent last year swinging to the Balearic Beat; a summery and decadent dance techno that originated in 1980's Ibiza.

Here in Norway, too, the dance feet seem more interested in techno than in many years. The Oslo club Sunkissed just moved to larger premises and is constantly selling out the whole ticket pile, while the favorite of the townhouses Hed Kandi recently filled Chateau Neuf. During this year's Bylarm in Trondheim there was also a real rave party with huge lighting and sound systems, and this week the techno club The Villa opens at almost 600 square meters in Oslo. In Bergen, simple dance techno has created sweaty contact with the record players for almost two years already.

- People want harder and more naive techno. Preferably made by Austrians and French with overly large synths. Some evenings the glow sticks are also back, laughs DJ Asel, alias Asle Brodin.

He runs the club concept Hot! Hot! Hot! in Bergen together with Mikal Telle. With concepts such as Digitalo and Powerblytt, the Bergen DJ transforms the gallery café Landmark every weekend into a chaotic dance floor with the help of deep dunk and hypnotic rhythms. Brodin says that Landmark has long been a hangout for art college students and especially interested, but that with the new dance trend a whole new audience has emerged.

- It is a stricter and younger clientele than before, without affecting the atmosphere on the dance floor. They howl, scream and dance, says Brodin, and reminisces back to when the club culture in Bergen was without a pulse.

- Four or five years ago, it was completely dead and almost impossible to get a dance floor here in the city.

Confiscating glow sticks

DJ Electric Lane also notes that dance will be a completely different among Norwegian nightlife enthusiasts today. For many years, the offer for dance-happy techno enthusiasts has been labored, but in recent years it has picked up on both sides of the turntable. She believes interest has been aided by technological bridge building.

- Now everyone can make music at home on the computer and the software has become more accessible and easier to use. In addition, you can spread the music all over the world via the internet, she says.

- We only live one life, and we have to dance now as we still can. People deserve to dance!

DJ Electric Lane

Together with Tore Jazztobakk, Electric Lane has arranged a good handful of private parties in Oslo in recent years. Now the two DJs will be in charge of booking and record playing at the new techno club The Villa which opened on 22 February. The goal is to preserve the mood of the underground parties, although not all old rave symbols are equally welcome.

- We confiscate glowsticks. There has been a big gap in the development of dance techno here in Norway, and when we now start up again, we will leave behind some of the old clichés, she laughs.

Liberate stupidity

Trends come and go as tipple trainers, and it is not always easy to distinguish between important changes in culture and what is just another glorious front page in the music journal NME. In such cases, you need the veteran look. Bård Torgersen was central to the emergence of rave culture in Norway in the late 1980s, both as an organizer of parties and as a musician in bands such as Masters Ov Møh and SUPERskill. He tries to put things into perspective and looks over his shoulder.

- At the first big rave parties, there could be 2000 pieces. The parties attracted all sorts of types and there were punks, metal people, gang types and west coasters.

Among other things, Torgersen participated in Xs To The Ravezone, a traveling rave circus that visited the country's more rural areas. Artists like Mental Overdrive, Sadomaoists and Origami filled little pubs from Alta to Bø with strobe lights, huge sound systems and smoke machines. Torgersen largely regarded the rave movement as anti-political, and believes it appeals to people from a variety of environments throughout the country.

- It was a hedonistic and liberal party culture, where you did not have to take a stand on anything. The music is designed to create community on the dance floor, and when you dance you feel like you are living in a happy bubble where the world outside the party does not exist.

After a period of secret parties in factory premises and sports halls, the phenomenon grew, and it did not take long before Rockefeller and Sentrum Scene began to house the techno-dancing crowd. At the same time, Oslo clubs such as Jazid and Headon opened up in the 90s, and pulled electronic music in a more sophisticated direction. Genres such as acid jazz, drum'n'bass, jazz techno and IDM (Intelligent Dance Music) prevailed, rather than hours of dancing to thumping bass.

In parallel with this, the dance technique was further institutionalized from May 1, 1995, when around 6000 people filled Oslo Spektrum for the first edition of the giant party Hyperstate. Bård Torgersen thinks the environment gradually became too uniform and navel-gazing.

- Hyperstate inflated the most vulgar elements of the rave party. Everyone came with glowsticks, everyone looked alike, everyone was distant and drank water all the time. There was an established notion of how to behave, which broke with the original feeling that all sorts of people were attracted to a new culture of which they were not originally a part.

He still realizes that the desire to dance sweat is back.

- It's liberatingly stupid! It's like reggae or dance band: Three grips, dance on the premises and simple music that immediately appeals to community. Now there has long been a focus on rock bands, posing and musical brilliance, and then I think people may think it's nice to just dance full time to simple repetitive techno, says Torgersen

The Ramones of rave music

Also, the commercial trance and dance music, represented by collectibles such as Hard Dance Mania, Trancemaster and Ministry of Sound, is showing an increasing interest in hard dance techno. Dag Krogsvold, chairman of Voices Music, says that Hard Dance Mania 9 has sold 13.000 copies in one month.

- A lot has happened in the last three years also in commercial trance and dance. It seems as if the interest is back at full speed with a new scene consisting of young people, says Krogsvold.

The commercial dance techno is produced in large quantities in Central Europe and, like the dance band genre and gas station country, is often overlooked by the music press and sales barometers, although it has a considerable fan base. Hook violence responds when people think trance is stupid and primitive. On the contrary, he thinks many of the productions are advanced and intellectual.

Captivating and energetic music is not necessarily simple and silly. Many people probably thought The Ramones seemed incredibly stupid when they were on, but I would like to hear someone who thought so today.

Art critic and techno enthusiast Erlend Hammer also welcomes the hard and simple electronic music back to Norwegian dance floors, although he personally prefers Ricardo Villalobos over Russian trance.

- Some of the commercial trance, such as German Scooter, is so incredibly stupid that I almost wonder if it must be concept art. Maybe Bill Drummond from KLF is behind it, he laughs, and thinks the dance techno has similarities with the minimalism in contemporary music.

- It does not require interpretation, only experience. In addition, it is advanced and impressive that a tradition can be kept alive for so long. From the rave party, there is an unbroken line back to the cave man, Hammer claims.

Destructive Baptism

A not insignificant consumption of drugs was one of the reasons why the rave movement crumbled beyond the 1990s.

- It rotted a bit on the root and got tired. In addition, it is impossible to keep a nightclub alive when no one buys anything at the bar because they are so intoxicated, says Bård Torgersen.

He believes recruiting a new and young audience is crucial for the club's technology to live longer than a mediocre nachspiel. Asle Brodin from Hot! Hot! Hot! also believe that drug use helped kill the previous club environment, and is therefore pleased with Bergen's newly released techno dancers.

- All the drugs destroyed the audience, actors and reputation. Therefore, it is incredibly important and positive that the new audience here seems drug-free.

Art critic Erlend Hammer believes that the future of dance technology in Norway is primarily dependent on the clubs getting longer opening hours.

- No proper club culture is created when the clubs close at half past three. All the exciting things happen between four and seven in the morning!

Back in the dark factory room on Grünerløkka, DJ Electric Lane calls for a statement in dance through the technology rhythms.

- We only live one life, and we have to dance now as we still can. People deserve to dance!

Out on the dance floor, a guy takes care of his upper body. Some are laughing at the ceiling and shouting "party!" It is half past five in the morning and the party has barely begun.

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