I started to hear the beat differently; I didn’t identify it with the face of a guitarist, drummer, or violinist — it transformed into the actual voice of the technology the DJ manipulated, and it talked to me, shapeless and mysterious, so I could mold it however I wanted.
This experience continues to mold me and shape anything that I write. There’s a bit of that romantic writer in me that has felt the need to find closure. But last night, feeling everything that I love about this scene in the sound of Underworld, I’m reminded again that this moment continues to evolve, and as long as I’m able to stay up past midnight on occasion, I’m still a part of it.
But I think more people can relate to that younger version of me, going deeper into that world. That curiosity, experimentation, fearlessness. That desire to be cool, to belong, to know. That drove me then, and it’s those very human traits that drove this journey.
It was a world in which we truly played with technology — where the field was level, and where everyone, no matter who they were or where they were from, had access to it. I came back to this place each weekend, as if returning to a womb to be reborn as an upgraded being — to interact in a frictionless realm where we allowed machines to manipulate our bodies like yo-yos, and where we responded to their maternal calls.
Early in the morning, as I peaked on the dance floor of the main room, a dancer threw his glow stick in the air, and I watched it rise — in slow motion — and recalled the beginning of 2001: A Space Odyssey. This guy was like a caveman, and his glow stick was the fragmented piece of bone that the man-ape in Stanley Kubrick’s film flung into the sky that spun and transformed into a satellite in orbit.
But like a mentor once told me, every moment of writing counts. This is a window into this world that will soon close forever, my mentor told me, so just write. Write it all. Write what you remember, what you felt, what you wanted. Ten years later, I have 161 pages of this specific perspective on this specific moment, now staring back at me.
And now, I can’t write that post here. The words were fluid in my head: a space where nascent ideas are brilliant, where then and now blend, and where everything makes sense. My shower creates a similar space: when I wash my hair, the running water and the mundane task at hand release the flow of thoughts. Yet when I sit and try to put these words down, I can’t slip back into that zone.
But hearing it again, knowing that we’re not invincible — that I’m no longer 20, and he is no longer here — was odd. It’s as if the song died with him.
There’s just something about dubstep. It is unlike the music I used to go out and dance to. Good dubstep wraps around you. You get lost inside it. Or, it can get lost inside you. It morphs and shapeshifts, it clings to your body, it transforms into the moment.