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Features

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Features

Here's where you can thumb through our huge yellowing archive of magazine features stretching back to the neolithic period: classic moments in dance music history, captured by the finest writers on the subject. We're adding new ones all the time so keep checking back.

Here it is, our runners and riders for the best tracks of 2013. The people have spoken and the secrets are safe no more.
It’s the final countdown, the big dogs, the chosen few, yes it’s our fifty best records of the year. As always we’ve asked you lot, our forum members and lurkers, our favourite DJs, producers and sonic tastemakers to chip in with their fave three tracks and top album of the last twelve months. This is where you’ll find those that sit pretty at the top and the also-rans looking longingly at the upper echelons. So that rabbit is out of the hat, the secret is out and the fifty are furtive no more...
  • They once poured four tons of glitter on the floor. A gatecrasher died in an air vent trying to get in. Grace Jones regularly arrived naked. Its owners were jailed for tax evasion. When Studio 54 opened in New York on 26 April 1977, this boogie wonderland of sex, drugs and disco changed the face of nightlife forever.
  • The Wag was the culmination of London’s wildly creative post-punk nightlife. The novel one-nighter formula, where independent promoters took over a venue on a quiet night, had fostered innumerable micro-scenes. The New Romantics of the Blitz, the neo-rockabillies of Dirt Box, the proto-goths of The Batcave, the Westwood pirates of The Mud Club: the early ’80s saw scores of music and fashion cults thriving under this new arrangement. At the centre of this clothes-obsessed world were two ex-punk Welshmen: shop assistant turned Visage popstar and Blitz founder Steve Strange, and St Martins graduate tailor and bombastic bon viveur Chris Sullivan. In 1982 Strange took the formula mainstream at the massive Camden Palace, while Sullivan kept things on the exclusive tip and opened the Wag.
  • We dug up two old Daft punk features, an interview with the fledgling producers soon after the release of their debut Homework and list put together by Frank Tope and Alex Petridis of the influences in French pop that had inspired those producers behind the early '90s wave of French house music that came for a short period to dominate the world's dance floors and pop charts.
  • Scott Hardkiss, who died recently, was one of a trio of ‘brothers’ whose production work helped establish a new San Francisco sound.
  • This is the big one, our favourites and yours, all the runners and riders from the last twelve months. The votes are in the ballet papers have been counted, this isn't Florida so a re-count won't be required. The judges decision is final. Get your Furtive 50 here.
  • Andy Pemberton’s Mixmag article from June 1994 highlights an important turning point in the history of dance music. ‘Trip hop’, the genre whose emergence it pinpoints, is rarely spoken of today, because the musical ideas it brought into play were so momentous they quickly became just part of the furniture. The notion of hip hop without lyrics was a green light to producers worldwide to crack on without worrying about finding a convincing rapper – handy in the UK where we’d tired of bad imitations of the Bronx.
  • Back in 1979 a little London club was the decadent birthplace of the ’80s. Most of the music and fashion we know from that decade had its roots in The Blitz.
  • Simon Frith is a sociomusicologist, former rock critic and currently the Tovey Chair of music at Edinburgh University. He has written for everyone from The Village Voice to the Sunday Times, published numerous books and has been the chair of the judges for the Mercury Music Prize since it began in 1992. Here in his piece 'The Infinite Spaces Of Disco' he gives his opinion on the rise of disco.
  • Yes, it's back again! The Furtive 50, our yearly recap of the year's bestest tracks as voted for by you, and an assortment of hipster's, blokes the wrong side of 40 and men with beards and a severly limited social life. Behold the results for 2011.
  • Daniel Wang, in the sleevenotes to the Horse Meat Disco III compilation, evokes the ghosts of disco, from Andrew Holleran’s elegaic immortalisation of early 70s New York to the current queer disco explosion in clubs like Tape in Berlin and, of course, The Eagle in Vauxhall.
  • Every year we get all our forum members and selected fave DJs to let us in on what has got them sonically excited over the past year. Here are the results from way back in 2008.
  • Richard Smith outs the inside of a gay club in the mid '90s with a tale of drugs, music, sweat, boys and a shared experience encompassing everything that is good inside and bad outside.
  • Back once again with the ill behaviour! The Furtive 50 returns.
  • Back in 1992 in Mixmag Dom Phillips reported on the sound we now know as the roots of jungle and drum & bass.
  • The first ever article in the British press about the new sound of Detroit. John McCready investigates.
  • Live from Jellybean's Funhouse, where Richard Grabel checks out the new electro disco Saturday night fever.
  • Forget chinstroking trendies with their Detroit obsession, at the start of the nineties techno was more or less a dirty word. Raving had become a dark and drug-soaked affair as the more glamorous nightbirds deserted the raves for the comfort of commercial clubbing and a soundtrack of US garage. This left techno to accelerate into an hardcore assault on the senses, or to sell-out in the form of high energy Europop. But then something changed. In a massive backlash against the accepted perception, techno reclaimed its original direction and emerged as a thoughtful producers’ medium. This article captures the moment in 1992 when techno grew up and, with a fair bit of anti-rave snobbery, declared itself ‘intelligent’
  • In New York in the eighties, more was more. The city was crawling out from its burnt-out seventies bankruptcy and wanted to pile on as much colour and life and asymmetric haircuts as it could cram into a strobe-lit graffiti-strewn cellar. Rents were still dirt cheap in many parts, especially the areas below 14th Street, so if you had the driving ambition to open a gallery or a nightclub, or a boutique, or a performance space, it wasn’t hard to find a basement or a derelict storefront and get on with it. Kamin’s club Danceteria, although first sited in 1979 on West 37th Street and then most famously from 1982 to ’86 at 30 West 21st Street, was a high palace of the downtown sensibility.
  • The Make Believe Ballroom in our minds twirls to the sparkling beams of the mirror ball. We tried to find out where it comes from and just how old it is (before you get too excited, nobody really knows). And on the way we discovered they were even used in insane asylums, though quite what the purpose might have been we can only speculate.
  • In the next episode of Damon Fairclough's excellent mixtapes, we alight upon his paean to the KPM catalogue, all bound up in a severe bout of tonsilitis and a generous helping of the right drugs....