As both a music lover and a nascent blogger, the topic of originality within music has always been of interest to me. Is innovation and individuality more or as important as the sonic quality and emotional response in the listener? My natural instinct is to say that originality is the most important characteristic to be aware of and to critically judge it. What's the point in listening to second rate copies of a 20 year old stylistic niche? With regards to musical statements and releases that are aiming for a higher sense of artistic value, I think that point is valid and true. Music as an album or with a higher concept behind it should aim for innovation and to entice feelings of awe in the listener as all great art should. But I think with the dance 12" that shouldn't be the first priority.
The majority of dance music is at it's simplest, functional. That isn't to say that functionality is a bad thing and I don't mean that in a derogatory or reductionist way. This is music made for clubs, on bass heavy system that are meant to make you dance your arse off at silly hours of the day. The best dance music succeeds in it's function as dance music. When you're listening to a guy spin (unless you're an acne ridden train spotter), you're focusing more on the selection, sequencing and the haptic feeling of the music rather than the year it was produced or the abundance of the particular style of music. To hear a whole set of played out classics or generic RA chart toppers is incredibly tiresome granted. But that's more down to being jaded with individual tunes rather than a specific style of music. The originality of the music or it's place within dance chronology isn't what matters, it's whether the tune flipping kills. So when it comes to functional dance music, the sonic quality is a lot more important than whether the music could be the next Trout Mask Replica.
The Danish Vibes Ltd vinyl only series are very much in the vain of classic Nervous and Emotive releases and under a double blind test could easily be misconstrued as something from the 1990s house scene. They're beautifully produced and pressed, and feature some of the finest deep house of recent years. The second tune on their most recent release Vol. 5 has an effervescent vocal track that drifts in and out as reverberating acid pads sparkle around the beat. The A1 of Vol. 1 features a classic female lead saying 'don't make me wait' as a killer bass line seems to bounce and push the song forward. But the real masterpiece is to be the B2 of Vol. 3. It features a spine tingling pad that washes in out while a banging hat pattern floats on top. The whole song seems to glide over it's six minutes. These releases aren't particularly ground breaking, but they would get a crowd absolutely bouncing and raise the hair on the back of my neck like all my favorite music does.