Almost six months since the Ultra Music Festival held its ninth annual event in Miami, an official “aftermovie” was just released two days ago.  It’s so bonkers and over the top in how it depicts the state of the art in rave culture, it calls for a juxtaposition with an earlier moment in rave culture, from northern England circa 1992.  Try to give yourself the full 17 and 15 minutes to appreciate these respective videos.

I’m still trying to figure out what the contrast in these two videos all means.  If you have some thoughts, please share them below!

Some initial observations:

1. The production values of the 2013 Miami footage are extremely high, possibly unprecedented in the genre of branded EDM video content, but don’t be misled into thinking that the Doncaster video is unedited and “raw.” Indeed, this Doncaster warehouse video is itself rather notorious (860,000 views as of today!).  There’s definitely a self-conscious presentation of rave culture going on in both of these.

2. Calling this a history of rave is maybe a misnomer, since the journey of two decades doesn’t necessarily constitute a coherent narrative.  Common signifiers notwithstanding — house music, youth, dancing, the drug MDMA, communion, a largely white crowd, a self-conscious invocation of “rave,” etc. — there’s a serious contrast of economic venture, national context, and the (extra-)ordinariness of these respective events in the daily lives of youth in the worlds depicted here, not to mention the complications posed by two decades of house music’s generic advances and global reach.  It might be wise to think about the contrasts in these videos in terms of something other than a teleological development.

3. I’ve loved house music and participated in its underground scenes since the mid 1990s, but there’s almost no way a 40-something like myself can ask “Where has house music come in these two decades” without sounding like a cranky old-timer who’s nostalgic for days gone by, or envious of young people today.  So rave on, kids.