Cloudbustin'

Speaking with Soundcloud superstar Rico Passerini about the future of dance music. Plus: Todd Edwards, Siouxsie Tribute, Out Side Art, and more

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What the HTML will happen when "cloud computing" renders our desktop monoliths obsolete? I drool at the thought, while thoughts are still my own, of the coming retro fashion movement, enshrining the clumsy keyboards and monstrous monitors of yesteryear: boxy eggshell skirts, CPU tower heels, flat-screen kneepads, air can earrings, novelty glasses of scratched and sneezed-on anti-glare shields, flash drive panties, Ethernet cologne, USBriefs, "laptop ass," "modem face," brominated flame retardant blush, tantium base, phthalate plasticizer mascara ... Alt+F fashions are freakin' toxic in 2k17.

For now we've only gaseous intimations of the handheld, continuously updating future. And I've become addicted to the free Soundcloud.com (product placement!), on/at/in which I can listen to tens of thousands of DJ sets via my Stone Age Mac.

In fact, the unrefudiatedly dirty little secret of my dance music knowledge lately has been superstar Soundcloud user R_co (www.soundcloud.com/r_co), current online master of the techno-and-house nexus, who posts up to a dozen sets a day nabbed from famous and not-yet-famous DJs, from clubs like Berlin's Berghain and Detroit's Oslo (and our own Temple), from as far back as the 1980s to just last night. Soundcloud's crouching trainspotters are quick to identify tracklists, relieving me of that whole, embarrassing "whistle it into Shazam and hope" thingy.

"I'm just a regular guy with a passion for electronic music," R_co, a.k.a. Rico Passerini told me over e-mail. "I frequented the clubs in Manchester, Leeds, and London for most of my adult life. But I needed more, so I moved to Berlin a year and a half ago for the music scene. If I told you how I got the sets I post, I'd have to kill you. Nah, to be honest I had a big collection of music that I picked up over the years, and more recently I've been lucky enough to get sent music from DJs, record labels, and various club nights across the globe."

Mike Huckaby - Long Track Radiocafé, Budapest - 16-05-2009 by R_co

So, Guru Rico, what do you love? "Mike Huckaby plays the best deep house. Sven Weisemann too. I love Peter Van Hoesen's techno right now, and of course you've gotta love Ricardo Villalobos. Clubs? Berlin's Suicide Circus is my latest favorite."

With everyone's sets immediately available on the Internet, and musicmakers being able to respond instantly to each others' work, is there a danger that dance music is melting into one giant stew of similar-sounding mush?

"The Internet is definitely changing how DJs and producers hear and make music," Rico replied. "It's a lot easier to get samples, for one thing. I do understand how all the old school DJs are saying that music is getting worse because it's too easy to produce it now. However, if you're a 16-year-old kid, it's not likely you've got the cash to spend on hardware, more likely you have access to a laptop and some software. So in a sense it's a good thing, it gives new artists of all capabilities the chance to experiment from home.

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