For You: Andy Stott – We Stay Together EP
I feel as if I’ve always mixed up complexity for maturity. If something, like an event or person, is hard to understand, they must have matured in some way, right? I tend to extend this assumption to music: if there is a near-incomprehensible drum pattern and crazy noises panning left to right and the left again, it must mean that there is some complexity and maturity to it. As if the simple dance producer is a 16 year-old who has yet to grow into the more nuanced sonics of a 40 year-old DJ.
But we’re coming up to the days that once-popular DJs are 40 year-olds, and they have not changed a lick of their sound. In the wake of complex electronic arrangements, we will always have that 4/4 beat and looped vocal, and most likely a drop.
So my mix up reveals something about myself: am I just moralizing the music I listen to? If the straight-up dance fan comes across my music, do they feel morally superior to myself? If not, then I am either doing something terribly wrong with my approach to music, or something terribly right. While music may be subjective and there truly is “something for everyone”, I was so sure that there was a tier of inaccessibility that required maturity to access. But instead the egalitarian worldview comes back, and I realize that there may be something mature or perfect in the most basic of pop structures. That it requires experiences rather than maturity.
We Stay Together is not complex, nor is it simple, nor is it perfect. But there is a reference for dance music, exhibited by a muffled out speaker and a stern glare. The sweat and tears in producing music can be found even in a 4/4 beat, and the exhaustion that follows a good track is tangible in this EP. Andy Stott, like Burial and other experimental dance producers, reminds one that it’s the passion rather than maturity that makes good dance music. And I need that reminder just about every day.