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Exploring the Underground: Art Department at Beekman Beach Club

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If you are anything like me, you got into dance music because you had an insatiable  need to discover and explore. The countless genres, nearly limitless in their number and complexity, drew you in and kept you captivated. Remixes of remixes, rerubs, bootlegs and mash-ups always left you wanting more. But then, as your knowledge developed, so did your tastes, and as the glow of the honeymoon faded so did your interest.

You got bored. It’s fine, it’s totally natural, it happens to the best of us. We already spoke at great length about the “mainstream”  and how banal it has become but we never addressed what you can do to satisfy your itch for creativity and originality.  Exploring the Underground is our look at whats happening outside of the mainstage. I’m moving out of the big rooms and big clubs, and into the warehouses – where the music is all that matters and the word “predictable” doesn’t apply.

For those of you unfamiliar, the Verboten brand and their parties have been taking the NYC underground by storm. Run by true risk takers and music enthusiasts, Verboten has been developing the underground scene in NYC for some time now, bringing deep and tech house to the masses. You won’t find a progressive DJ on their playbills and you might not recognize any of the songs being spun, but you will have one of the best times of your life. The crowd at a Verboten show is different too, a refreshing change from neon-tutus and “Party with Sluts” t-shirts, comprised instead of true house music fans; the types that listened before it was popular and will continue to listen long after it’s popularity has faded. If you are looking for a Beatport Top 10 set you should look elsewhere, but if you are looking for something inspired and unique, a Verboten party is your best bet in the NYC area.

Art Department’s recent and quick ascent up the international DJ ranks has been undeniably impressive. Formed in 2010 and comprised of two Canadian born DJs, Johnny White and Kenny Glasgow, Art Department are known for their deep melodic grooves and experimental downtempo beats. You won’t find big builds and face-melting drops here, just raw and primal dance music. Their productions are innovative and exciting, the type of dance music that locks you in and refuses to let you go. The drops may be subtle and the beats simple but the experience is anything but predictable.  When Tone of Arc grabbed the mic and began singing “Goodbye Horses” (of Silence of the Lambs fame) it was readily apparent that this was no ordinary DJ set, rather it was a movement, an exciting departure from what we’ve come to expect out of dance music.  Their name says it all — Art Department is more interested in creating aural artistry than predictable party music. Their sets are an experience, and one that needs to be enjoyed live to truly appreciate.

For a taste of what an Art Department show is like, check out this set from June of last year in Barcelona. It may be different from what you are used to, but if you are looking for something different, put on a good pair of headphones and give it a chance – you just might like it.

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Or check out their Essential Mix from October 2011.

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To continue to satisfy your itch for new music, be sure to listen to the rest of the talent on the No. 19 imprint for more unique and inspired dance music.

And now the fun part, here’s where you come in; aside from our usual coverage of all the big names and big events happening in NYC this summer, we want to hear what you want us to cover. Use the comments section below to let us know about smaller events, underground parties and up and coming talent that you think needs to be represented on Dancing Astronaut and I’ll be there to cover it.

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