Minimal-Tech House and Techno takes on the world! But why?A sneak peak into the culture with Dubgrade
The minimal-tech house scene got huge over the last couple of years.
An uprising takes place in Eastern-European countries. Romania could be considered one of the new wave pioneers with artists like Petre Inspirescu, Rhadoo, Ada Kaleh, Raresh and Horace Dan D just to mention a few. Before anyone would misinterpret what I'm saying, I'm totally aware of the presence of other big musical subcultures based on straight four on the floor beats like Detroit techno, the German tech scene and so on and so for. The only thing is Romania, amongst other nations, went crazy on this line. New venues appear every year and all of these are sold out with prices like 3 bucks for a water in a country where the average wage is about 500$. The other interesting thing is the significant role of the upper ten in the rise of the minimalistic culture.
What are the reasons behind this huge success? I as a non-digger of this genre was fueled by the curiosity to find out what makes this kind of music so appealing to so many people worldwide. The situtation was obvious, for me alone it would be impossible to get to the bottom of this with a correct end result. I needed help and even before I could ask for it a friend of mine crossed my paths in the best moment.
with prices like 3 bucks for a water in a country where the average wage is about 500$He is a Romanian DJ running under the name Dubgrade and he is quite into the scene. I didn't know anything about his musical orientation until he sent me one of his mixes. As I've found out more and more about him I knew that he was the right man to help me get this article straight. Here's what you have to know about him: He started to play house around 2005 and since than his passion for deep-tech and bass house grew ever stronger. He shared stages with artists like Sasha and Mihai Popoviciu while his all-time favorites are Darius Syrossian, Hot Since 82 and Sidney Charles. After quite a bit of chatting we managed to point out some important aspects of this scene. Now all you got to do is to sit back and take a look at the reasons what may have caused the skyrocketing of the scene and what Dubgrade has to say about it.
This scene is highly related to drugs and that is not a coincidence. Minimalistic music is safe for tripping. When on drugs the set and the setting are important. Music like Tech and Minimal (micro)-house reduces the risk of a sudden noise or a change that could drive a trip into the wrong direction. The steady pace and the calm nature of the music is not just safe but it also creates a steady state which makes the experience similar to the ceremonies of the shamans where the drums and the shrooms or other substances took the voice of the tribe to the gods. But this doesn't apply to anyone. Dubgrade for instance has never ever took any kind mind-bending substances and he is not the only one. There is a huge difference between those who enjoy the music while on some stuff and who are into it because they are desperately in love with the sound. If looking for an extreme example we could take a look at the minimalistic interior designs. Some live in places like that because they truly feel like home in it (as it is normal in Japan) while some are liking it because it is trendy and also has some benefits.
The steady pace carries other positive aspects as well. It's easy to let in, the flow is simple. There are no complex basslines, chaotic vocals. One doesn't need total devotion to the sound to accept it compared to other musical extremisms like glitch or hard electro-breaks for instance.
It's easy to let in, the flow is simple. There are no complex basslines, chaotic vocalsThe minimalism which makes it easier to accept also distinguishes the listener from casual party goers who listen to everything even if the focus is not on the music. It creates a unique atmosphere for a select group of people. This is where the role of the upper ten becomes significant. These people like to have their own places. Mid or lower-class people tend to think that the members of the top ten are snobs, but they are mostly wrong. Many of these people want to be different in a good way. This need and the characteristics of the minimal genres add up perfectly.
Last but not least from a DJing point of view it might be easier to mix straight 4/4 rhythms than broken beats not to mention chaotic basslines like the ones in trap and glitch. Yet speaking of musical merit, it is harder to get out more of the less. Dubgrade had a different point of view at this point. According to him, if someone is bad at DJing than he or she will be bad no matter the genre and vice versa.
Deep house is not involved here because it has already achieved a mainstream success while tech and minimal are still making part of a phenomena that is not for everyone. As a last thought, being an outsider to this scene creates new ways for researching and discovering. I have a strong feeling that this write-up is only the beginning of something new.