A new GRAMMY category enables creators of sonic masterworks, including such influential innovators as BT, Crystal Method, Paul Oakenfold and Deepsky, to compete against similar artists instead of having to fit into other musical categories - a report by The G-Man.
Until very recently, aural excitement of a BT album like "Emotional Technology," a Crystal Method album such as "Legion of Boom," or a Paul Oakenfold album like "Creamfields" could get overlooked in GRAMMY balloting.
In fact, you can find spine-tingling electronic pop and dance music being made in all parts of world that might easily miss out on a chance to have kind of high-intensity spotlight that results from a GRAMMY nomination.
But this year, National Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences (NARAS), organization that controls GRAMMY Awards, has changed everything for electronic artists with introduction of "Best Electronic/Dance Album" category.
"This is an exciting event for everyone in world of electronic and dance-oriented music," stated producer/mixer Carmen Rizzo, who is a NARAS Los Angeles Chapter Trustee. "It is fitting that such a vital form of music receives some of recognition it deserves." Appearing at a pre-concert party to officially announce category, Rizzo added, "As someone involved in creation of this music as well as a listener, I feel this is a giant leap forward."
NEW GENERATION OF MUSICIANS. The attraction of music with a technological slant crosses many boundaries. Brian Transeau, or BT, as he is professionally known, is a classically-trained musician who embraced electronic music world at an early age. "This is what my heroes Debussy, Stravinsky and like were looking for," BT stated. "Technology-based music is only idiom that packs such infinite sonic possibilities," he added.
Jason Bentley, widely known for his hosting of radio programs on KCRW and KROQ in Los Angeles, is involved with electronically-generated rhythmic music in many ways, as radio personality, club DJ, music supervisor for films (including "Matrix" series), and producer. "It was high time for industry to acknowledge electronic and dance music with this album category," Bentley stated. "For a long time, electronic and dance categories have been in stealth mode in USA, so it is exciting to be a part of this new effort to shine a light on a vital aspect of music industry."
Ken Jordan and Scott Kirkland, better known as Crystal Method, were both pleased at announcement. "From my first year as a voting member of GRAMMY Awards, several of us from electronic music genre have been working towards this goal. We never thought it would happen this fast and were just thrilled with result. We're just so happy that this style of music can now be recognized by our industry's premiere awards show," Jordan stated.
AN EMERGING FORCE. The acceptance of dance and electronic music around globe has been phenomenal, except in United States. "It's somewhat similar to situation with soccer," Bentley stated. "Soccer is a global force with millions of followers, intense fans, and tremendous marketing resources, but it is just not as widespread in U.S. The same thing may be said about dance and electronic music, which makes this GRAMMY category so much more important."
Bentley sees emergence of underground dance music into mainstream as healthy and inevitable. "A lot of people who started getting involved in this music in eighties and nineties are now taking their place in business. People like BT, Carmen Rizzo and others who worked on committee at NARAS represent something of a changing of guard." Bentley, drawing on his background as producer, music supervisor and DJ, is totally committed to this form of music. "This has been my rock and roll, my punk rock, my movement. This was always something that moved me, and it is gratifying to see so many people, performers and companies coming together to back it."
BACKERS AND SUPPORTERS. Among sponsors of event were BPM magazine, DTS, Life's Good, and musical equipment manufacturer Roland, which had several pieces of gear on display, including their SP-606 Sampling Workstation, MC-909 Sampling Groovebox, and new MV-8000 Production Studio.
"Electronic music is finally garnering respect and recognition it deserves, and we're excited to be a part of that," says Doug Hanson, Roland Director of Product Management and Marketing. "It is an exciting time for this genre and we look forward to working with BPM in future to co-develop events that will generate additional public awareness of this music style," Hanson added.