October 4th, 2006

put_the_needle.jpgTitle: Put the Needle on the Record
Director: Jason Rem
Publisher: REM Entertainment
Catalog No.:060601
Date: 2006

In the 1970’s disco music became a pop culture phenomenon. But then just as quickly as it ascended, it was driven back underground by a vicious backlash from the rock music peace community. Disco, renamed dance or club music, re-emerged in the DJ set of Frankie Knuckles at a Chicago club simply called “The Warehouse.” The music that was spun there became known as “house music.” Almost thirty years later, house music, a mixture of many subgenres including downtempo, trance, techno, drum ‘n bass, and soulful house, continues be celebrated every year at the Winter Music Conference in Miami.

The film Put the Needle on the Record examines the history, classification, purpose, and future of house music and electronica through the eyes of the dance music DJ. Produced and written by Jason Rem, the film uses the Winter Music Conference in Miami as a backdrop for interviewing many of the top dance music DJs from around the world including Mark Farina, Jesse Saunders, and Donald Glaude. The DJs comment on many facets of dance music as an art and as a business. The DJs intimate that dance music is a very large family of music that includes many diverse styles united by the standard “four on the floor” beat, funk, and soul. The film also goes into further detail about many of the subgenres and their particulars.

The DJs passion for the type of music they play and their self-described roles as tour guides through a musical experience is evident. Although the documentary focuses on the DJ as the central force in house music, the other dominant force, the partygoers, are seen as the force that inspires the DJ. Since the purpose of dance music is to motivate people to dance, Put the Needle on the Record weaves in plenty of actual club footage to illustrate the critical rapport between the DJ in the booth and the frenetic crowd on the dance floor.

Put the Needle on the Record also includes bonus features such as footage of DJs in various clubs around the country. The film is a good introduction to dance music and a good retrospective for electronica/dance music fans alike.

Posted by Fredara Mareva

Review Genre(s): Electronica, Club/Dance Music


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