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Saturday, Oct 05, 2002

electrocliche

"How Electroclash, the festival, went in the course of one year from must-see-event-of-the-millennium for members of the global avant-cool to something the readership of Spin magazine might find kind of passť can almost certainly be attributed to a single factor: hype. The music press has taken to the term "electroclash" with the same sort of cynical delight with which it took to "grunge," using it to neatly compartmentalize a broad swath of artists, as well as making it into a descriptor for the current early-1980s influence on fashion (witness the increasing use of "electroclash" on eBay as a keyword for Members Only jackets, wraparound sunglasses, and the like). Thus, just as in 1992 any band that had so much thought about living in Seattle, or donned flannel onstage was hailed as grunge, so in 2002 any artist who has ever used a vocoder, or sported an ironic haircut is bestowed the title of electroclash. Albums that a year ago were buried in the techno section, amidst Ibiza's Greatest Hits Vol. 104 and This Is Bulgarian Progressive House, are now required listening in urban bohemia, and acts that would have been lucky to register a blip on the radar screens of major labels are being offered enormously lucrative contracts. Hence it is possible that electroclash the genre is now too big for Electroclash the festival. And while nothing bearing the electroclash label has yet to make an appearance on MTV, or grace the cover of Rolling Stone, a number of artists - most notably FischerSpooner, who recently signed to Capitol Records, and Miss Kittin, who is now doing Levi's ads - are prominent enough that they might consider this year's festival not worth their bother. A likely explanation for this year's lackluster lineup then, is simply that the biggest names weren't willing to perform, and so the acts chosen to appear are the most renowned members (or at least those possessing the most clout) of a largely drained talent pool."

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