Jaxx of Clubs

Basement Jaxx's Rooty is a wild card in the traditional dealings of dance music

Basement boys: Felix Buxton and Simon Ratcliffe
Basement boys: Felix Buxton and Simon Ratcliffe

The great divide between dance and pop is authenticity: With looped voices and digitally displaced sentiments, dance music denies our "soul"-derived insistence on a subjective "I" dying for an objectified "U." (Even a diva crying, "I need you," can seem more actor than lover.) That's why 2step's house/R&B/jungle fusion--which treats the human voice like one more element in the mix--gets nowhere in the U.S., and trance's nu-age swvooosh, which pretends dance music should ignore emotion and simply "funktion," fills airplane hangars. Fatboy Slim and the Chemical Brothers tried to transcend the emotional issue by blowing up dance music until it felt like classic rock, but both got cold feet. The Chems went back to their techno roots and Fatboy, rumor has it, intentionally sabotaged his celebrity with his limp last album. And so we strive for our own utopias: The space where your head is at is always sweeter than the space it's taking up.

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