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Rave & Acid House Music & Culture

Mar 20

A rave is a dance party that takes place in a warehouse, club, or other public or private space and has DJs playing electronic dance music. DJs played at illegal events in musical styles dominated by electronic dance music from a wide range of sub-genres, including techno, hardcore, house, and alternative dance, in the early 1990s dance music scene. Live musicians, as well as other forms of performance artists such as go-go dancers and fire dancers, have been known to play during raves on occasion. The music is amplified by a big, powerful sound reinforcement system, which usually includes massive subwoofers for a deep bass sound. Laser light shows, projected colourful graphics, visual effects, and fog generators are frequently used to accompany the music.

The rave culture had a disctinctive fashion, you can see examples here.

While some raves are tiny gatherings conducted in nightclubs or private houses, others have grown to enormous proportions, such as major festivals and events with many DJs and dance zones (e.g., the Castlemorton Common Festival in 1992). Rave-like elements may be seen at some electronic dance music festivals, but on a bigger, frequently commercial scale. Raves may run for hours or even days, with some gatherings lasting up to twenty-four hours and all night. In several nations, law police raids and anti-rave legislation have posed a threat to the rave scene. This is due to the link between rave culture and illegal substances including MDMA (also known as "club drug" or "party drug"), amphetamine, LSD, GHB, ketamine, methamphetamine, cocaine, and cannabis. Rave parties frequently employ non-authorized, hidden locations, such as squat parties in vacant homes, empty warehouses, or aircraft hangars, in addition to drugs. These worries are frequently linked to a moral panic that surrounds rave culture.

Origin (1950s–1970s)

The term "rave" was used in the late 1950s to characterize the "wild bohemian gatherings" of the Soho beatnik culture in London, England. Mick Mulligan, a jazz guitarist who was notorious for engaging in such excesses, earned the moniker "king of the ravers." Buddy Holly's popular song "Rave On" was released in 1958, describing the craziness and fury of a sensation and the yearning for it to never cease. The term "rave" was later used in the early 1960s by the developing mod youth culture to denote any raucous gathering. "Ravers" were a term used to designate gregarious party animals. Pop performers like Small Faces' Steve Marriott and The Who's Keith Moon were self-described "ravers."

The term "rave" was a frequent phrase used to describe the music of mid-1960s garage rock and psychedelic bands, foreshadowing the word's eventual 1980s relationship with electronic music (most notably The Yardbirds, who released an album in the United States called Having a Rave Up). The "rave-up" refers to a specific crescendo moment at the climax of a song where the music was played faster, more heavily, and with intense soloing or aspects of controlled feedback, in addition to being an alternative name for partying at such garage concerts in general. It was later used in the title of the "Million Volt Light and Sound Rave," an electronic music performance event staged on January 28, 1967 at London's Roundhouse. The event included the only known public performance of Paul McCartney's experimental sound collage prepared for the occasion — the iconic "Carnival of Light" recording.

The word went out of favor when British pop culture shifted rapidly from the mod era of 1963–1966 to the hippie era of 1967 and beyond. Many consider the Northern soul movement to be a crucial milestone in the development of current club culture and the celebrity DJ culture of the 2000s. Northern soul DJs, like current club DJs, gained a following by meeting the public's yearning for music that they couldn't get anyplace else. Many say that Northern soul was responsible for the establishment of a network of clubs, DJs, record collectors, and dealers in the United Kingdom, and that it was the first music genre to provide the British charts with recordings that were solely based on club play. The sequencing of tracks to produce euphoric highs and lows for the crowd was a method used by northern soul DJs, as it was by their later counterparts. Laurence 'Larry' Proxton, a DJ, is well-known for his use of this technique. DJ personalities from the original Northern soul movement, as well as their followers, went on to become key characters in the house and dance music movements. The phrase was not popular in the 1970s and early 1980s until it was revived, with one noteworthy exception being David Bowie's song "Drive-In Saturday" (from his 1973 album Aladdin Sane), which includes the line "It's a crash course for the ravers." Its use at the time would have been seen as a quaint or satirical use of bygone slang, since it was part of the antiquated 1960s vocabulary with phrases like "groovy."

The meaning of the word "rave" shifted once more in the late 1980s, when the phrase was revitalized and embraced by a new youth culture, probably influenced by its use in Jamaica.

Acid house (1980s)

Acid house music events in the mid-to-late 1980s in the Chicago region in the United States spawned a wave of psychedelic and other electronic dance music, most notably acid house music. Acid house swiftly expanded and caught on in the United Kingdom among clubs, warehouses, and free-parties, initially in Manchester in the mid-1980s and then later in London, once Chicago acid house musicians began to achieve international success. The term "rave" was used in the late 1980s to define the subculture that came out of the acid house movement. The activities were associated to the party scene of Ibiza, a Mediterranean island in Spain that was favored by British, Italian, Greek, Irish, and German vacationing youth who held raves and dance parties.

Growth (1990s–present)

Acid, breakbeat hardcore, hardcore, happy hardcore, gabber, post-industrial, and electronica were all included at parties, large and small, by the 1990s. There were large-scale events that drew tens of thousands of people (up to 25,000 instead of the 4,000 that came to earlier warehouse parties). During a televised interview in the summer of 1989, Genesis P-Orridge (Neil Andrew Megson) renamed acid house music gatherings "rave parties" in the media; nonetheless, the rave's atmosphere did not completely develop until the early 1990s. In 1990, raves were conducted "underground" in basements, warehouses, and forests in locations such as Berlin, Milan, and Patras.

The rising rave party movement was met with disdain by British politicians. Politicians spoke out against raves, and fines were imposed on promoters who organized unlicensed events. The rave scene was driven into the countryside by police crackdowns on these frequently unlicensed events. The term "rave" was coined in the United Kingdom to characterize popular semi-spontaneous weekend gatherings that took place at several places connected by the brand new M25 London orbital highway, which encircled London and the Home Counties. (This is how the band Orbital got their name.) Former warehouses and industrial areas in London were mixed together with fields and country clubs in the countryside.