Words: Jarrod Kline
In a recent Facebook post, Henry Fong argued that the future of dance music in 2015 and beyond will entail a shift in the culture of a genre derided and looked down upon for negative connotations associated with all the bad parties you hear about. With the megastars of Tiësto, David Guetta, Hardwell, et al. making hollow big-room and invoking parodies such as When Will The Bass Drop?, it’s easy to write-off the dance-music community as people with a greater love for Dutch people than sense.
Fong believes this “shift” will be “to do with the producers and DJs that are passionate about what they do” and “more fans [will recognise] that passion”, hence “2015 will be the year that separates the fakes from the artists who truly care about the music and the culture”. As an established producer, guaranteed main-stage destroyer and an artist in touch with his fans, Henry Fong is more than qualified to adjudicate what passion for the craft is. With the exponential rise of technology and the ensuring explosion of electronic music, it is easier than ever to produce – easier yet to DJ. As a result, the sheer quantity of music available saturates and overwhelms anyone looking for new tunes.
Enter 2015 and the shift in dance music in subtly evident in Australia alone. Will Sparks released a nine-track EP that displays not only his quality, but his development beyond the confines of Melbourne Bounce in working with a multitude of artists across a diverse range of styles. Peking Duk landed two songs in the top 5 on Triple J’s 2014 Hottest 100 and were originally tipped to win it with triple-platinum selling High. Dillon Francis toured and was made an honorary Australian citizen (not really) and much more. With names such as Avicii, The Prodigy, Knife Party, Martin Garrix and Afrojack hitting festivals along our shores, things are looking pretty rosy for Australian music.
But what does this all have to with Haber, and his first album, Day One, We Bounce, freshly released? To start, it is a high-quality collection of tracks. The varying range of sounds used is enough to keep one on their toes when listening through, and a testament to Haber’s nous and creativity.
Opening the album is an intro mix for New Era, featuring a soothing melody that builds to traditional bounce. Stiches and Move Your Body follow and are sure to fire up club crowds before midnight. The former is packed with energy: a song to get on the floor and loosen up. The latter slows down the tempo, before picking it back up – think Dillon Francis or Ghastly. What follows is a deep trip into the hazy, 3AMers that almost everyone has experienced at least once. I was personally blown away by L.B.V and Reznov is trippy enough to sum up a late night out quite subtly: at one point evoking a dark, smoke-filled room and slightly distorting bass such that Smirnoff ad-esque club fantasies begin to make sense.
Listening through the album, it becomes clear that Haber’s exploration of sounds shows a new sense of maturity, both of his work and dance music more broadly. It would be all too easy to claim that every track is a ‘banger’, and that the kid is the future of Melbourne, however every track isn’t a banger, and this is what separates Haber from the pack. He changes BPM, delves between electro, psy-trance, bounce and elements of progressive. He pushes the envelope, an action brought only by passion for music and something that is not done enough in dance music.
For those looking for some diversity in their pre-drinks dance music beyond the usual top-40 suspects, or for those about the bangers, or for fans of electronic music in general, I’d highly recommend a listen to Day One, We Bounce. Dance music is not always going to be a picture of musical genius – it’s a series of beats designed to make you move. And hats off to Haber, because that’s exactly what he got me doing. Besides, I bet you weren’t releasing an album at eighteen.
Day One, We Bounce is out now through Hype Recordings