As the hysteria around Daft Punk’s new album reaches fever pitch, I thought we should step out of the box and look at what has helped drive the Dance music world: Technology of course!!! Our favorite thing after music.
It’s a known fact that the whole musical landscape has changed as technology has evolved. The world of Dance music, more than most, has seen the influence of technology affect pretty much everything from the way music is made to how it’s played out. A number of glorious inventions over the years have created gadgets, software, hardware… but which one has made the biggest impact that over the course of history?
Since we’ve all got a bit of tech geek in us one way or another (if you love your iPhone you’re a tech geek), today we run down 5 of the most influential tech inventions for the Dance world.
5. Roland TB 303
A fairly standard bass synth, nothing too out there — to the point where the 303 would have been consigned to the dumper if DJ Pierre hadn’t discovered the alien acid squelch locked deep in its circuits back in ’85. He captured the sound on tape as “Acid Tracks” and the rest, they say, is history.
4. Pioneer CDJ-1000
Want to see a vinyl obsessive cry? Remind them of the day when Pioneer perfected CD decks. In 2001, the CDJ-1000 became the club standard and wrenched DJing away from the 12”s and into the hands of anybody who could burn a CD off their computer.
3. Roland TR-808
With its eerie handclaps, tinny snares and booming bass, the 808 single-handedly sent Disco into space. When it dropped in ’81, critics moaned that its distinctive ‘boom-tish’ sounded nothing like a real drum kit — but forward-thinking bedroom producers knew that was the whole point.
2. Rosie The Mixer
Francis Grasso may get the credit as the first DJ to mix two records, but he couldn’t have done it without little Rosie. Named after inventor Alex Rosner, this one-off design enabled Frank to seamlessly blend between two tunes (or cue up a car crash).
And the winner is…
1. Technics SL-1200
These are the original and still the best turntables, with their older brothers the 1210’s. See that DJ sheepishly fiddling with an iPad and a couple of leads? He’d much rather be cutting loose behind a couple of these. A high end record deck designed for Disco yuppies in 1979, the original ones and twos were hijacked by Hip Hop, supercharged House and provided lift-off for every Dance genre since. By offering push-button precision, they let DJs chop up records on a dime — and look good doing it. Technics stopped production in 2010, but whether future DJs choose to play off laptops, phones or whatever, these babies will live on in Dance music DNA forever.
So what will be next? The new ‘toy’ that is a box of tricks that promises to be a one-stop music making device. Could it forever change the way bedroom DJs bring music to the masses or the way a superstar DJ creates the next big tune? Could the Traktor Z2, CNTRL:R or OP-1 be the ‘one?’ Technology is forever changing; blink and you might miss it.