Tag Archive: music

Signs That Rock Will Dominate

Let’s be real: in the recent past, rock music — specifically hard rock, punk, metal, and their many offshoots — has been relatively underground. Sure, huge bands like Guns N’ Roses and Foo Fighters have remained in the public eye their whole career, but even they have felt a level more entrenched than the average rap star or pop singer over the past decade. But while plenty of critics have often made the tired “rock is dead” argument, or wondered if rock will ever “reclaim its throne”, fans and artists within this community have been focusing on what’s important. If rock isn’t the flavor of the week, we’ve realized, then we have to work to make it happen.

Here are some signs of the oncoming arockalypse in 2020…

The MCR Reunion Was The Biggest Piece Of Music News This Year

In 2019, there was no news, so massive and widely commented, that My Chemical Romance announced its return to the scene. Not only fans turned the covers, but artists from all genres of music were grateful and excited. The fact that the band, which was initially regarded as the emo paragon, is returning to rapid universal applause, suggests that rock music is boiling under the surface of everyone’s mind – and now the volcano is erupting.

Modern HIP-HOP Stars Love Goth, Punk, And Metal

For many years, the story that many mainstream publications and critics have offered is what has clouded hip-hop. But this year, it has been proven that the next generation of rappers listened to a lot of music on the basis of a guitropic guitar. Artists such as Lil Uzi Vert, Ghostemane, SCARLXRD and the late Juice WRLD publicly share their love for artists such as Marilyn Manson and blink-182. All you have to do is watch Post Malone perform with Ozzy Osbourne to know that whatever the genre, the real recognizes the real.

Everyone’s Talking About MÖTLEY CRÜE

Think about it – it’s 2019, 30 years after Dr. Felgood came out, and all he can talk about is Metley Crewe, the king of metal hair bands. Between their massive Netflix biopsy of The Dirt and the recently announced Tour Stadium, the Sleaze Kings are in the languages ​​of listeners around the world. If you had told the average music fan ten years ago that the Mötley Crüe star would rise by the next decade, they might have laughed. But in 2019, looking at the biggest mainstream metal name to win its throne, one cannot help but hope for the future.

Death Metal Bands Are Underground Superstars Again

For a while, the extreme metal was its own microcosm – either you were trapped in thrash, death and black metal, or you weren’t. But 2019 was a breakthrough year for the extreme met-group. All of the metal stars I wanted to refer to were Gatecreeper, while acts such as Tomb Mold and Blood Incantation rose to the top of many esteemed year-end lists. All this, as well as the excitement surrounding Detclock’s return to the scene, indicates that the ceiling of the metal detector is broken and the monsters appear in the spotlight.

Sounds That Define Modern Music

Chances are, you’ve heard many of these sounds countless times. Whether it’s the garbled chatter snipped from Masters at Work’s ‘The Ha Dance’ or the distorted TR-808 kick of Musical Mob’s ‘Pulse X’, these samples and synthesizer bleeps make up the architecture of modern dance music and are littered throughout SoundCloud and YouTube, often well outside of the genres, they emerged from.

There have always been examples of samples jumping genre boundaries, but in the last few years many of these sounds have experienced heavy use outside of their original context. Many of the oldest examples featured here were almost exclusively used within their original scene for decades, but the effect of the internet has widened the appeal of genre hallmarks.

Simply exposing more people to different types of music has resulted the diversifying of sound palettes within genres and the creation of new ones. And the influence of Jersey Club, with its emphasis on chops and cuts over traditionally composed musical elements, has encouraged a trend in sparser, sample-heavy tracks in the 2010s.

The ‘Ha’ Chant / Crash

This ubiquitous voice loop is often referred to as “Ha”, a reference to its use in the classic house composition of “Dance Ha” by Kenny Gonzalez and Louis Vega, also Masters at Work. The scandium itself is an example of Eddie Murphy and Dan Ackroyd (black) shouting artificial African words in the 1983 comedy Shopping Places, and has long been a mainstay in post-1990s trendy tunes and contemporary soundtracks ballrooms palette.

The Eski Click / Clink / Stomp

The angular, low-biting “Eski” Willy sounds (shortening the Eskimos because the sounds were so cold) have been enjoying a resurgence in popularity over the past few years, fueled by a new interest in dirt. Unable to be from an old Nintendo Ice game, samples can actually be found in the factory pre-installed banks of the popular E-mu series of audio modules.

The Bed Squeak

While it may be difficult to determine the exact origin of the everyday sound effects, the “ri-ri” raincoat – which sits alongside drip swatches, “cocky” singing and Rye Rye vocal cuts in just about every production of SoundCloud Jersey – is not the case.

Trillville’s “Some Cut”, a real dirty southern heater made by none other than Lil John, opens with a familiar loop for making babies.

The ‘Witch Doktor’ Woo / The Yell

This popular exclamation, often associated with Arman Van Helden’s “The Witch Doctor,” is actually the powerful voice of Loleatti Holloway in her hit “Crash Goes Love.” The cry drew Gelden (and countless others) from the mix of “Yell Apella”. Despite the widespread use of this sample, it is hardly the only Holloway experience when its voice is “borrowed.” The black box hit of the Italian Black House used Holloway’s “Love Sensitivity” chapel, not counting it, and to add insult to injury, a French model named Catherine Quinole was hired to synchronize it live. As the track was recorded internationally, Holloway felt cheated and forgotten.

Popular Styles in Electronic Music

Dance music is about the beat—no one denies it. Beyond the beat, electronic dance music has, over the last decade or so, also been about the BPM and the occasional mixing of genres, as when Diplo embraced trap and moombahton. But as the major commercial wave of EDM has rolled back a bit, other sounds in the broader electronic genre have begun to get more attention.

Some of these sounds being heard in 2019 come from more recent underground scenes. Others that have existed in other niche genres for a while, or even had their heyday in other decades. And while house and its sub-genres arguably remain the most popular styles of today’s EMD production, below, we take a look at a few artists who are helping to define this year’s exciting array of electronic dance music sounds.

1. The return of lush, melodic production

In a lot of the electronic dance music of the last decade-plus, the emphasis has been more on the beat and the bass than anything, and on creating sonic mayhem, whether it’s a mainstream act like Skrillex or someone more experimental like Oneohtrix Point Never. And if the results aren’t bombastic, then they might be something like the minimalist techno coming out of Berlin, which largely eschews melody. But a look back at Jamie Principle and Frankie Knuckles iconic house track “Your Love” also shows the value of a great melodic hook in creating a lasting dance record, but also a song that can get people moving on the dance floor.

2. Afrobeat influence

Like the Gqom genre aesthetic, Afrobeat has been around for a while. A blend of hip-hop, funky house, and local African music from London (via Africa diaspora), Ghana, and Nigeria, Afrobeat had originally been fairly limited to parts of the African continent and the UK, but it’s catching fire internationally. British-Ghanian artist Mista Silva’s “Murda” is a great example of the Afrobeats vibe, which sounds almost like a more rhythmically and sonically diverse musical cousin of Reggaeton.

3. Trance lives again

Originating in the UK and Germany in the late 1980s and early 1990s, before devolving into self-parody, trance is by no means fashionable. The Field might have released a sliced and diced variant of trance back in the late 2000s, but it’s not as if people are clamoring for the sound. And yet, Tale of Us recently dropped an amazing remix of “Cafe del Mar,” an iconic trance track produced by Energy 52.

4. Experimental dance

Both house and techno are four decades old now, so a big part of keeping these genres and their various offshoots fresh, is experimentation. In 2019, plenty of artists are doing just that, whether it’s finding refreshing sounds and textures, or collapsing genres to find new forms of expression.

Take the track “Oral Couture.” An industrial bassline throbs rhythmically until a crystalline synthesizer arpeggio enters the mix. While a lot of artists might quickly drop the beat, JASSS lets this mixture unfold like a music cue from a science fiction or horror film, and brings the beat in around the 2-minute mark. It’s a masterful approach to dancefloor sounds, and really seems like the electronic dance music that permeate the clubs of the future.

Analyzing This Year’s Key Trends

From the grittiest basement to the most polished party palace, we love clubs! Say what you want about five-day festivals with hundreds of headliners vying for your attention, the heart and soul of dance music is its club scene. That’s where the music comes to life; where people are squeezed in tight, dancing together in front of the best soundsystems on earth, sharing magical, communal moments, and making new friends and memories that can last a lifetime. 

The USA claims the most entries for one nation for the second year, with 12 clubs making it into the poll — that’s actually three less than last year, perhaps in part due to a slight decline in Las Vegas’ club scene. Sin City’s clubs again drop places and superstar DJs such as Calvin Harris have announced dates in Ibiza this summer after several years of near Nevada exclusivity.

But where Las Vegas’s dominance has waned, other scenes are on the rise. Clubs from an incredible 36 nations appear in the chart this year, up on last year’s 31. This change has been most noticeable in Latin America; though still dominated by the Brazilian scene (which drops from six to five entrants), there are two new countries from in the region this year: Chile and Argentina. Other newcomers are based in Ireland, Lebanon and Vietnam, demonstrating how global the poll has become.

Europe is still top in terms of continental clubbing (48 clubs overall), although down two entrants on 2018. The continent boasts a whopping 27 clubs rising up the poll, plus two new entries and three non-movers. Ibiza still can’t seem to make up its mind, with three up and three down. Now only a brace of White Isle venues have made it into the top 10, and for the first time in nine years, no Ibizan club is in the top two.

t’s all change in the UK and Germany, as both see new top-rated clubs in this year’s poll — each of them also entering the top 10 for the first time. In line with this the Asian club scene has continued to blow up this year, as represented by the region landing the most new entrants in the poll. In fact, 75% of charted Asian clubs are new or have risen places, indicating the continent’s flourishing popularity. 

What does all of this mean? Well, first and foremost — the global club scene is as strong as ever. Where some clubs fall, brand new ones take up the baton, sometimes in places you never knew had an electronic music scene. 

All over the world, DJs and ravers are coming together to party and spread the love — often in the face of challenging economic and social climates  — and that’s all we ever hoped for. 

The Darren Lock Primer

I did this video before as part of the Google+ Hangouts and recorded the thing live, but I only had one viewer and the resultant upload quality didn’t really cut the mustard. So here it is again.

It is just a video of me talking about all the music I’ve recorded over the years and hopefully it will be of interest to some of you. Thanks for having the patience to watch it all!

Click here for HD quality

So here are those all important links…

My Music:

Apple iTunes



My Website

My Books




Or perhaps I can interest you in a T-shirt:

Connect via social media:


Text Versus Video

In the past, I used to write down some of my thoughts about the records I was buying purely for my own entertainment. (Check out the review section of this site for some of the crud that I penned). I think I started doing concert reviews – as I liked to keep a diary of what I’d seen – and this extended to album reviews too, thanks to my involvement with a music fan site I am no longer involved with. I used to get a bit of traffic off these reviews and there used to be a spike in virtual footfall whenever I posted a review of a concert.

Indeed, the days after writing about a live gig I would see people searching on Google, seeking other people’s thoughts on the night’s entertainment. This was pleasing and a feeling of inclusion in the World Wide Web is a nice thing. I was happy to share my thoughts and share my experiences with strangers. It seemed a nice, productive way of spending my time.

This was until June of this year when I posted a review of a pretty high profile concert (Madness at the Royal Festival Hall as part of the Ray David Meltdown Festival) and I saw zero traffic for my review. Nothing, nada, not a fucking bean. How so? I couldn’t understand why no-one would be seeking out reviews of the concert. I even went so far as to type in the gig into Google to see if:

1) There were any other reviews of the concert
2) If my website was even in the page ranking

I can’t remember exactly where my website rated but it was pretty deep into search results. Of course, people tend to search for something and then not bother clicking through 20+ pages of search results – so being on the front four or five pages is key to a successful website. Despite my review being very current (I posted it the same night as the concert), for whatever reason my words were designated by Google as not being relevant enough.

I then did some digging around and discovered that this year Google had changed their search algorithm, which apparently changed all the page ranking and now the search engine basis a websites suitability in terms of fresh, original content. Despite my site being packed with fresh, original content, I was no longer featuring highly. I saw my traffic plummet to single digit visits on some days and I found others on the Google Forums who were in the same position and wanted to know how to fix the problem.

There is no fix and there are businesses out there who depend on Google to direct customers to their sites and I read harrowing stories of established internet businesses finding their customers disappearing overnight. And there was nothing they, nor Google could do about it. It was all part of this search algorithm change.

So for a month or so, I watched my website die. OK – I didn’t have the greatest amount of traffic in the world, but people come to my site for certain requests and my regular daily traffic was gone – just one man and his dog was turning up. So I was left with the dilemma – do I quit now and take off all my content or do I try and come up with a new strategy? The weird thing was that despite my site being almost invisible on Google I was still shifting hundreds of Gb of data with my music and video files coming off the site. So I thought I would come up with a new strategy and it has kind of paid off.

Google and YouTube are the same company, no? There’s an awful lot of viewers on Google, right? So what if I try and harness the power of the two, bring them together and somehow kick-start the traffic to my site legitimately without using Blackhat SEO techniques? I had this idea to move my music reviews onto YouTube and then link to them via my site – cross indexing the two. I started my “Prog Review” channel and have seen an incredible increase in traffic to my site. My site is alive again. Huzzah! However, I have had to generate content for YouTube (which is Google) to get to this point.

But despite this success, I’ve had a couple of nay-sayers on the music website I used to be involved with saying that video reviews are crap because they can skim written reviews faster and sitting through some fat head flapping his chops about records takes up too much of their time. They do not want to be entertained, they want the facts fast. They kind of missed the point in what I was trying to do, but it got me thinking about Text Vs Video.

I personally cannot stand reading music reviews (or reviews in particular). People who are paid to write music reviews are the lowest form of life. They don’t buy the things they review, so therefore sit in an artificial domain compared to us serfs who actually pay out our hard-earned money and there is very often an agenda involved. Cripes, I used to work in magazines and on a number of occasions I had written stinky, honest reviews of products only to be told by my editor to bump up the score because an advert from the company involved was appearing in the mag. That left me pretty much fucking jaded with writing reviews for a living.

But yeah: words versus pictures? Will one supersede the other? I’ve been spending a lot of time on YouTube over the years and I’ve seen lots of interesting content made by enthusiastic amateurs who review electronics, computer games and what-not. And now I am trying to do the same. If you want to take part and be mildly entertained, then join me. But if you want to remain in the past, skimming reviews written by people who have no right to express an opinion, then play on, my friend.

The internet has changed everything…

This set of recordings were committed to hard drive between April and September 1999. At that moment in time, I’d only dipped my toe in the water of “ambient” music and was taking my cue from Robert Fripp, Brian Eno and Terry Riley. I remember that these recordings were put down quickly and it being quite a fraught, yet exhilerating process as it was really seat-of-the-pants stuff. One mistake or duff note and the take would be ruined, so you had to keep focus and really concentrate on the process. However, that rush of adrenalin was the key, I believe, to these recordings.

In terms of equipment, I was only using my Fender Fat Strat guitar and my Roland GR-1 guitar synth – there were no delay pedals in my collection at that time. The really good thing about the GR-1 was that you could modify the sounds so that had a slow decay, so you could trigger a note and it would resonate for a long while, allowing you to move your fingers to another note or chord. So you could create these big smears of sound and create a veritable audio soup without the need for looping or delay pedals. The sound would then decay slowly allowing you to consider your next move…or not.

I don’t know if this is particularly good or not – I have a great fondness for it because I was moving off the map – but here it is cleaned up for the 21st century and available as a free download too.

So this is the album “Blue” and it represents my first steps into ambient music.


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