In this series, we look at the dance floor tearjerkers that make your night special, whether that's at the height of your high or the plateau. Electronic music has the power to break hearts and this is an appreciation of those songs.
I first heard Joakim's edit of Max Berlin's 1978 "Elle et Moi" around 2003, when it was released on vinyl—this was in the big electro days, which were a very enjoyable and open time, musically—and I remember just thinking "This is a beautiful track." It's an example of a record that I've always liked throughout my life, as for me, the spotlight is on emotional dance music records. I always call them morning records, as they're definitely records you play in the morning, and they're records you can only play if they're that good. To play this record, the standard of the party has to be so high, and it has to be so properly worked in, and everything that isn't pure and amazing has to be burned off to make it work. It's slow. It's 116 beats per minute, and it's very delicate. It's a morning record.
At that time in my life I was into the first few years of travelling internationally, I was DJing a lot, travelling a lot and making a lot of new friends. "Elle et Moi" wasn't a track at that time that was so important to me, it was later on, and on many occasions since then, at some really, really good parties that I'd throw it on right at the end as it's always just so beautiful. It's a great example of the cycle that a lot of records go through. Here's a record that came out originally in 1978, and in those years this was a song that I certainly didn't know in the eighties, but a lot of my friends did—I mean of course, it's a classic. But the edit was brand new to me, it was a record that fed into a lost era of records that I didn't know about—almost the definition of a lost classic.
It's very cinematic, very laidback, and it starts with these great finger-snaps. I've copied that very same thing on a couple of things in fact. It's got these beautiful strings, big chords and strange haunting vocal. There's a class of post-disco records from the eighties that are quite musical, but at the same time quite dance-y—there's a consistent beat, it's good for dancing, it's made as a dance record. It's a record you can trust when everybody's in a very heightened state—it's not a big powerful energy record, it's more of a mood record.
There are a lot of musicians, bands, people that make beautiful music where there's too much happening, the arrangement's are too busy, there's too many changes and it loses you—it's not trance-like enough. On the other side there's lots of dance music which is very repetitive and does work, but maybe is missing some of that genius, or that musicality—strange creative ideas that make it really resonate. The ones that have both those sides are the really magic records.
The times I've played this amazing record has always been at very special moments, at very good parties. You can play a hundred parties a year, over twenty years, playing thousands of parties, and maybe there's four, five or six where you pull out some real gems - those are the really special moments. It's not about playing it in the hotel lobby, or at a chill out room or anything like that. It's about playing this record at a moment where it really lifts everyone up, where it can really perform. Finding something a little bit different, a little bit off the beaten path, a little bit strange and making that perform at it's best is a really good feeling.
Things have been lost lately in the chaos of such high energy music, and people forget that dynamics within a night are really important. Obviously everyone knows what it's like at peak time, and everyone's going crazy, and that's incredible and hard to beat. But also, what's really cool is this: imagine an underground party with five, six, seven hundred people—early in the morning. Imagine Max Berlin's record, which is quite peaceful almost - there's a lot of space in it, a lot of depth. Being able to play that beautiful music at that time is one of the coolest things in the world. Hearing the quiet fill the space, and that emotion within dance music, is something truly special. It's just like the saying; speak softly but carry a big stick.
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