In the past 30 years, electronic dance music (or EDM) has gone from underground culture to a global phenomenon. Journalist Matthew Collin drew on the British rave scene for his earlier work—a book called Altered State. But in the 20 years since that book came out, and even in the time it took to write it, EDM and its culture have completely transformed. The tunes on the radio and the DJs who put on giant shows in places like Ibiza look—and sound—very different from the originators of the genre, like the musicians who invented acid house in 1980s Chicago. Collin traveled around the world to figure out whether the EDM of today still holds onto its liberating roots—or whether commercialization killed the music.
Go beyond the episode:
- Matthew Collin’s Rave On: Global Adventures in Electronic Dance Music
- Read about the clash between techno fans and extremists in Tbilisi
- Read some of the many effusive obituaries commemorating Frankie Knuckles, “Godfather of House Music”
- Watch a trailer for the 1990 movie Paris Is Burning (streaming on Netflix) and the trailer for the 2017 film Kiki (available here)
- Listen to the full tracks featured in this episode: “Can You Feel It” by Fingers Inc and “Halcyon On and On” by Orbital
Tune in every week to catch interviews with the liveliest voices from literature, the arts, sciences, history, and public affairs; reports on cutting-edge works in progress; long-form narratives; and compelling excerpts from new books. Hosted by Stephanie Bastek. Follow us on Twitter @TheAmScho or on Facebook.
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