I guess maybe it’s surprising to some people that with my obsessions with glam rock, new wave, and the sixties (and generally impeccable taste, and generally snobbish attitude) I have a big thing for electronica and dance music. Those things are so mindless, you say. I agree that it’s true – a lot of dance music is mindless. But nevertheless, I like to dance, and I don’t see electronically generated music as less valid than more traditional genres, as long as it’s done well. The way I see it, all music is by necessity produced by instruments, be it synthesizers or banging two rocks together. And how do you think music is reproduced? The act of recording a performance is artificial in and of itself, and take into account that nowadays it’s very rare to tape live in the studio and most records are in fact an audio collage of separately recorded parts digitally spliced together. The only true instrument is the human voice, and even that, again by sheer necessity is also recorded for posterity in unnatural electronically enhanced ways. With that in mind, it becomes harder to make a distinction between ‘authentic’ old fashioned live instrument based musical styles and newfangled computer generated ones. It’s a slippery slope, true, between human creativity and just cutting out the middleman and letting the algorithms take over, but we’re not quite there yet. Take this song by Goldfrapp. It’s fairly typical dance music. It’s unapologetically electronic, but still anchored in the realm of the human by Alison Goldrapp’s voice. What she’s saying isn’t supposed to matter, yet there’s feeling in her voice. Those are robot drums, but they compel you to dance just as surely as two rocks being banged together. Is is artistically valid? Is it not? Do you like it? Are you tapping your foot? If you are, do your ideas about artistic value even matter? Because what, in the most primitive sense, is the point of music if not to bypass your judgemental frontal lobes and cut straight to the pleasure center. The same pleasure center that tells infants to rock to their mother’s heartbeat makes you move when you hear a drum. It doesn’t matter if it’s a live or electronic drum, the response is the same. Whether you this kind of music or not, or if you make fine distinctions between ‘good’ and ‘bad’ electronic music is arbitrary. I’ll admit I hold on to some arbitrary judgments, and I do make distinctions of when dance music is bad or good enough for me because, being a judgmental modern person, I have to rationalize the responses I can’t control.