Saturday, January 2, 2010

Hed Kandi

HED KANDI returns to Manila this month in a back-to-back concert slash party with American pop-punk band, Boys Like Girls for just one night at the SMX Convention Center.

And just like that, this 2006 piece that I wrote for the i Section of the Manila Bulletin does not feel dated anymore, specially for those who still don’t know what Hed Kandi is all about.

Hed Kandi comes to town with a greatest hits retrospective


HED KANDI is in the house—our house, to be more specific.

The UK-based record label, radio show and international club sensation founded by DJ and A&R man Mark Doyle and recently acquired by the equally reputable Ministry Of Sound is coming to town in what is shaping up to be a greatest hits performance of well, epic proportions. Classic hits from 1999 to 2006 are in the marathon playlist of Team Kandi’s finest DJ’s in their much-awaited event this coming March 31st at the World Trade Center.

Hed Kandi’s arrival in town along with the recent visit of Paul Van Dyk and the upcoming sojourn of Chicane seems to signal a renaissance of sorts for house music which is defined by as “electronic uptempo music for dancing with a comparatively narrow tempo range, generally falling between 118 beats per minute (bpm) and 135 bpm, with 127 bpm being about average since 1996.”

Largely responsible for such a renaissance is BigFish Manila, the country’s leading dance music production outfit whose unparalleled dedication in bringing the top DJ’s and dance acts from all over the world has resulted in successful staging of club tours by such reputable acts like Slinky Cream, Godskitchen, Gatecrasher, Pacha, Space Ibiza, Miss Moneypenneys, Global Underground, the Ministry of Sound and of course, Paul Van Dyk and Chicane themselves.

Armed with the slogan, “This is our life, This is our music” that is reflective of its firm resolve, Big Fish has been pretty much bringing in the big fishes as of late. In more ways than one, the group was indeed partly instrumental in reviving a sub-genre of dance music that saw a decline since the start of the millennium due to factors like its own stagnation, the global rise of hip-hop and the re-emergence of rock and indie music.

The upcoming Manila gig of Hed Kandi is expected to be no different. Promising a “glistening night of disco excess, a dazzling paradise of glittering mirrorballs, stylish dancers and super sexy tracks of Team Kandi DJ’s,” all attendees are expected to dance the night and wee hours of the morning away in what is more than likely to be a full house affair, pun intended.

Hed Kandi fans will also be treated to the very best of its classic compilations including the Back To Love, Deeper, Disco Heaven, Disco Kandi, Hed Kandi MIX, Nu Cool, Serve Chilled, Twisted Disco, Winter Chill and the particularly huge Beach House series that netted Bonnie Bailey’s smash radio hit, “Ever After.”

In explaining the return of house music to mainstream acceptance, its entry correctly points to “re-invention” as key. “A willingness to steal or develop new styles and a low cost of entry encouraged innovation,” says the entry. “The development of computers and the Internet play a critical role in this innovation. One need only to examine how house music has evolved over time to evaluate the effect computers and the Internet have had on house music and music in general.”

Well, not since the genre-defining house records like Donna Summer’s “I Feel Love”, Kraftwerk’s “Trans-Europe Express” and New Order’s “Blue Monday” have we seen house music at its propulsive best. Because unlike other forms of electronic dance music like trance and techno, which has a more synthetic and yes, accelerating numbing approach, the live music feel as well as the black and Latin influences that characterizes most house recordings generate a more sexy and euphoric heat to it.

That said, disco may not be totally back in a big way but given its recent resurgence, no one is likely to be betting against the House this time. Let’s party.

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