A friend of mine doesn’t like electronic music very much. He’d rather listen to a band. He thinks the synergistic talents and stage presence of individual musicians make music more alive, more in tune with the moment, and therefore better to dance to.
He’s got a point. He also has a slower heart rate than most of the people listening to electronic music.
Witnessing a live performance of a group of talented and charismatic musicians is undoubtedly an uplifting experience. Equally uplifting is dancing to the recorded sounds of the numerous and talented artists that are making electronic music.
A person’s heart rate decreases each year with age. The maximum heart rate (mhr) of a teenager is 220 beats per minute (bpm), and for a 40 year old it’s about 180 bpm. Most electronic music—the kind that DJs play in discos, dives, warehouses and outdoors—has a range of about 90-180 bpm.
A DJ works among 10 foot tall, and taller, stacks of speakers, blending different styles and layers of music using thousands of watts of sound through booming 18-inch woofers that make you feel fuzzy all over, like a baby seal. Courtesy of a good DJ, a person can enjoy a groovy rhythm, a spastic beat, a wild romp, a little kung-fu action and some hip-rattling vibes that will keep playing and keep one on the dance floor all night, barring a power outage or exploding heart.
I really don’t know why a lot of people don’t like hypnotically rhythmic electronic music. I’ve met many young folk who dislike electronica just as much as their aging cohorts do. Music, regardless of the instrument used and the speed at which it is played, is more than sounds having rhythm, melody or harmony. For much of history, music was considered to be inspired by a greater power for a higher purpose.
The Chinese of the 3rd century B.C. worked out a system relating musical sounds to the order of the universe. Music was not just sound but a transcendent power, a way to sustain universal harmony. Three thousand years ago, while praising the Muses, the givers of music, the Greek poet Hesiod wrote, “For though a man have sorrow and grief ... when a singer, the servant of the Muses, chants ... at once he forgets his heaviness and remembers not his sorrows at all.”
In the spirit of music and its power to unite, inspire, transform and uplift people, The Ear Candy Experiment is producing another evening of sound, rhythm and beat, incorporating the talents of local DJs and musicians in an effort to bring the two styles together. On Tuesday night the Ritz will be filled with beats as various musicians playing guitar, electric violin and drums will hop in and out of the constantly spinning recorded sounds supplied by the DJs, creating a spontaneous and inspired event. Who knows, maybe you can defy your maximum heart rate.
The Ear Candy Experiment goes awry at the Ritz this Tuesday, Jan. 30 at 10 p.m. Cover TBA.