Nothing new

The Dominion, 27 December 1997

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Sir, -- In your article on The Gathering dance festival (December 13), spokesman Grant Smithies is wrong. He claims that electronic dance music is "a sort of shock-of-the-new". Wrong. Anyone "sort of" acquainted with Kraftwerk, Tangerine Dream, Neu, Suicide, Yello or Giorgio Moroder (via Donna Summer) will know that there's nothing "shock-of-the-new" about pulsating electronic music. Even an artist as supposedly naff as Jean Michel Jarre got there first. His 1984 album Zoolook prefigures "techno" and "trance" artists like 808 State, Orbital and The Future Sound Of London.

Mr Smithies labels David Bowie a "dinosaur" and accuses him of "putting jungle beats behind (his) music to modernise it". Piffle! Bowie merely uses the latest technology and techniques to continue what he commenced in the late 1970s. While Bowie and Brian Eno were busy developing today's musical palette, the likes of The Prodigy and the Chemical Brothers were still fouling their nappies.

Leigh James, Newtown
Letters to the Editor, The Dominion, 27 December 1997

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