October 19, 2004
../ New GRAMMY Award Category:
By The G-Man
Best Electronic/Dance Album
A new GRAMMY Award category for "Best Electronic/Dance Album" excites electro-pop composers and performers
around the world! Creators of sonic masterworks, including such influential innovators as BT, the Crystal Method,
Paul Oakenfold and Deepsky, can compete against similar artists instead of having to fit into other musical categories.
Until very recently, the aural excitement of a BT album like "Emotional Technology," a Crystal Method
album such as "Legion of Boom," or a Paul Oakenfold album like "Creamfields" could get overlooked in the
GRAMMY balloting. In fact, you can find spine-tingling electronic pop and dance music being made in all parts
of the world that might easily miss out on a chance to have the kind of high-intensity spotlight that results from a GRAMMY nomination.
But this year, the National Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences (NARAS), the organization that controls
the GRAMMY Awards, has changed everything for electronic artists with the introduction of the "Best Electronic/Dance Album" category.
"This is an exciting event for everyone in the world of electronic and dance-oriented music," stated two-time Grammy nominee producer/mixer
Carmen Rizzo, who is a NARAS Los Angeles Chapter Trustee. "It is fitting that such a vital form of music receives some of the
recognition it deserves." Appearing at a pre-concert party to officially announce the category, Rizzo added, "As someone involved in the
creation of this music as well as a listener, I feel this is a giant leap forward."
NEW GENERATION OF MUSICIANS
The attraction of music with a technological slant crosses many boundaries. Brian Transeau, or BT, as he is professionally known, is
a classically-trained musician who embraced the electronic music world at an early age. "This is what my heroes Debussy, Stravinsky
and the like were looking for," BT stated. "Technology- based music is the only idiom that packs such infinite sonic possibilities," he added.
Jason Bentley, widely known for his hosting of radio programs on KCRW and KROQ in Los Angeles, is involved with electronically-generated
rhythmic music in many ways, as radio personality, club DJ, music supervisor for films (including the "Matrix" series), and producer.
"It was high time for the industry to acknowledge electronic and dance music with this album category," Bentley stated. "For a long time,
the electronic and dance categories have been in stealth mode in the USA, so it is exciting to be a part of this new effort
to shine a light on a vital aspect of the music industry."
Ken Jordan and Scott Kirkland, better known as The Crystal Method, were both pleased at the announcement. "From my first year as a voting
member of the GRAMMY Awards, several of us from the electronic music genre have been working towards this goal. We never thought it would
happen this fast and were just thrilled with the result. We're just so happy that this style of music can now be recognized by our industry's
premiere awards show," Jordan stated.
AN EMERGING FORCE
The acceptance of dance and electronic music around the globe has been phenomenal, except in the United States. "It's somewhat similar to
the situation with soccer," Bentley stated. "Soccer is a global force with millions of followers, intense fans, and tremendous
marketing resources, but it is just not as widespread in the U.S. The same thing may be said about dance and electronic music, which makes
this GRAMMY category so much more important."
Bentley sees the emergence of underground dance music into the mainstream as healthy and inevitable. "A lot of people who started getting
involved in this music in the eighties and nineties are now taking their place in the business. People like BT, Carmen Rizzo and the others
who worked on the committee at NARAS represent something of a changing of the guard." Bentley, drawing on his background as producer, music
supervisor and DJ, is totally committed to this form of music. "This has been my rock and roll, my punk rock, my movement. This was always
something that moved me, and it is gratifying to see so many people, performers and companies coming together to back it."
BACKERS AND SUPPORTERS
Among the sponsors of an Official Event celebrating the new Grammy Award in Los Angeles were BPM magazine, DTS, Life's Good, and musical
equipment manufacturer Roland, which had several pieces of gear on display, including their SP-606 Sampling Workstation, the MC- 909 Sampling
Groovebox, and the new MV-8000 Production Studio. "Electronic music is finally garnering the respect and recognition it deserves, and we're
excited to be a part of that," says Doug Hanson, Roland Director of Product Management and Marketing. "It is an exciting time for this genre
and we look forward to working with BPM in the future to co-develop events that will generate additional public awareness of this music
style," Hanson added.
The official announcement of the new GRAMMY category came during a reception at the Spider Room prior to a show at the Avalon Hollywood
featuring sets by Oakenfold, Junkie XL, the Crystal Method and BT. More than 250 attended the reception, including DJ/producer DJ Irene;
DJ/producer the Angel; Second Sun's Antoine Toupin and Adam Cavarelli; the Postal Service' Jimmy Tamborello and Jenny Lewis; James Lamb of
Skychurch; DJ/producer David Alvarado; producer David Aude; Jason Blum and Scott Giaquinta of Deepsky; Jes Brieden of Motorcycle;
DJ Eve Falcon; producer Charles Feelgood; DJ Mea Fisher; Jan Johnston; DJ Christopher Lawrence; Tommy Lee; DJ "Colette" Marino; and DJ
producer Richard "Humpty" Vission.
The Future: Although every bit of recognition and acknowledgement helps, this new category has been a long time coming.
Hopefully, this will swing the door open a little wider for greater acceptance of electronic music by the Recording Academy.
>>> Digihear? October 2004
Article Links: The G-Man | Recording Academy
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