Category Archives: dance music

X.O. Tempo Published in Augur Mag

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Good news! My sci-fi piece, X.O. Tempo has been published in Augur Magazine’s winter 2020 edition at http://www.augurmag.com

In a dystopian near-future, an Afro-Indigenous DJ finds a mysterious graphic novel and embarks on an interdimensional journey of self-discovery.

I’m so grateful to have this opportunity. It is extremely difficult for writers to get their work published, so when it happens, it means you’ve done something right!

This experience highlights the importance of hiatus (periodic breaks from routine practice) for artistic renewal. I knew it was time for my writing to evolve and took a break from blogging to work towards that. X.O. Tempo was written just before the lockdown and refined during that period.

The theme of Issue 3.2 is “A Multiplicity of Futures.” This anthology explores possible outcomes for humanity with a strong emphasis on BIPOC narratives. X.O. Tempo is the beginning of an exciting project born from my love affair with dance culture and sci-fi. Expect to see interesting developments around this later on. So what are you waiting on? Get your piece of the action in Issue 3.2 at http://www.augurmag.com in what may very well become a collector’s item 😉

Copyright © 2020 Frankie Diamond. All rights reserved. Excerpts of less than 200 words may be published to another site, including a link back to the original article. This article may not be reproduced in its entirety and posted to another site without the express permission of the author.

COVID-19: A New Way of Be-ing

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Today, I am taking time out from hiatus to express my thoughts on the coronavirus pandemic that has swept the world. COVID-19 and its consequential social distancing has changed commerce, communications, entertainment and the way we party. In 2020 A.D., a well-dressed virus has done the cha-cha all over our beloved rituals and humdrum routines, leaving chaos and anxiety in its wake. We are not allowed to even dance with one another in social settings, much less get in someone’​s face to ask for directions. The new normal has arrived and it is virtual, for the most part. Which begs the question; what kind of world do you wish to create? I’d like my future children to have the freedom to dance with others in large groups, if they so desire. It seems that future has been jeopardized by the choices that we, humanity, are making as a collective. Moving too fast with hi-tech lifestyles and spending way less time just sitting with ourselves alone, engaging in honest dialogue with others that is not broken up by sporadic texts sent over a data net like a perverse game of ping-pong.

Turns out, there’s nothing quite like external agency to shake things up and rearrange priorities, especially when people aren’t paying attention to what’s truly important. Clean air and authentic human connections matter more than money. I think this crisis is an opportunity for growth, renewal and letting stuff go whether they be toxic people, fake nails, fake eyelashes, fake attitudes. For those of us who aren’t in danger, we are fortunate to have this luxury of self-isolation to examine who we are and where we want to go while the system resets itself. When it rebounds, if you have done the work on yourself, you may move forward at warp speed, experiencing life in a totally new and incredible way.

My thoughts go out to all those who have been directly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, whether through illness, loss of loved ones, unemployment and emotional distress. You are not alone. Everyone across the planet is being affected by this crisis in some shape or form. I encourage you to reach out for support; help is available and technology has facilitated its dissemination via social media and online communities.

Social distancing is a challenging situation, where days plod by in a seemingly interminable march towards weeks which eventually turn into months. Believe me – we can do this! When it’s over, we should take care to remember and embody all the insights we have gleaned during this period otherwise the next shakedown might unveil a harsher truth; we may never dance again.

Copyright © 2020 Frankie Diamond. All rights reserved. Excerpts of less than 200 words may be published to another site, including a link back to the original article. This article may not be reproduced in its entirety and posted to another site without the express permission of the author.

Remembering Genius

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4 years ago on this day, Prince departed our world. His peerless contributions to music and humanity will continue to enrich lives in present and future generations. Discovering gems like this performance made me realize I will spend the rest of my life on an endless treasure hunt when it comes to his artistry. So I take a moment to remember genius and express gratitude for all the joy this remarkable person has brought into existence.

Copyright © 2020 Frankie Diamond. All rights reserved. Excerpts of less than 200 words may be published to another site, including a link back to the original article. This article may not be reproduced in its entirety and posted to another site without the express permission of the author.

 

AFTER 8…

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8 ball

8 is symbolic of infinity. A closed double loop signifying completion.

8 years for Frankenräver to evolve and embrace what is to come.

After much thought, I have decided to go on hiatus. Other projects require my full attention and focus so that they can grow into ravishingly successful monsters!

I have tons of articles I’d love to throw up. Unfortunately, the luxury of time is not  abundant like before. Besides, I have given all of you so much to digest over 8 years and further into the future. I figure now it’s time to reap tangible benefits from the talents that I have honed through the hard work and sacrifice that it took to maintain Frankenräver.

This blog has brought many blessings into my life. I am so grateful that I could share my gifts with the globe (over 160 countries to date).

Thanks to all of my fellow Ecstaticans for being part of this wonderful journey! I have gained so much insight about my relationship to dance culture. It is my sincere hope that your lives have been enriched through entertainment, whether through music or my engaging articles.

Do check this page every once in a while as I will post updates on my upcoming projects.

Too late I sank the 8 but wait – the game ain’t over! 😉

Stay Tuned,

Frankenräver

Copyright © 2019 Frankie Diamond. All rights reserved. Excerpts of less than 200 words may be published to another site, including a link back to the original article. This article may not be reproduced in its entirety and posted to another site without the express permission of the author.

 

 

 

 

Party Legend Ab Boles Turns 70

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Ab Boles and Frankenraver at Architectures

Do you remember this guy?

If you’ve partied in Toronto’s underground within the last 20 plus years, chances are you’ve seen Ab Boles. A flamboyant fixture at countless raves, clubs and warehouse parties, Abs is the elder statesman of dance music culture in the Toronto. He recently got some recognition with a front cover on NOW magazine in August. So when I found out he was celebrating his 70th birthday at the ROUND venue in Kensington Market, I had to pay my respects.

Architectures on Thursdays is known for its chill, psytrance vibe and they delivered as usual. Special guest Living~Stone from Montréal ran the decks with accompanying visuals from Nostylejack. 20% of proceeds from ticket sales went towards Rainforest Alliance, a charity supported by Abs. Now that’s what I call conscious partying. At the rate humans are going, future generations might have nothing but a patch of scorched earth to dance on. Abs’ thoughtful gesture sets an example for many of us to follow.

When I first saw Abs, I was a youth at a rave in the 90’s. I thought he looked old enough to be my dad yet he danced like there was no tomorrow.  I got used to seeing him everywhere; at clubs, parties, The Guvernment, Cherry Beach. Everyone that I knew accepted Abs as he was and left him alone. He always seemed to be completely absorbed in a zone but his outfits were fantastic. I realized that past a certain age, most people retire from the club scene but not Abs. In his world, it was perfectly acceptable to party past middle age. This colourful elder demonstrates that when it comes to raving, age ain’t nothing but a number!

Tonight Abs was warm, effusive and basking in his blessings. I told him how happy I was for him and how much it meant seeing him on the dance-floor all these years. Other revellers approached with gifts. I even met his son. It was touching to see the reverence paid to this elder. Abs still looked the same as I remembered him back in the day. Enough of the age-shaming that is so endemic in western culture – Abs, I salute you for aging defiantly and dancing to the beat of your own drum.  May you live to rave much more!   

Copyright © 2019 Frankie Diamond. All rights reserved. Excerpts of less than 200 words may be published to another site, including a link back to the original article. This article may not be reproduced in its entirety and posted to another site without the express permission of the author.

Lone Lady’s One Woman Show

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Amidst the noisy clamour of mainstream music are calm ripples of beauty, so quiet that they may slip by unnoticed. But not entirely with those that have ears to hear. Lone Lady (Julie Campbell) from Manchester U.K. is one such artist who commands your attention. “Groove It Out” (off Hinterland, 2015) grabbed my ears during a mundane shopping excursion at a department store. Thanks to Shazam, I was able to identify the track and absorb its lush glory during repeated listening sessions. Reminiscent of mid-80’s acid house with artfully layered synths, a la “Voodoo Ray” and “Theme from S-Express, ” Groove It Out transports you to another era while remaining firmly grounded in this one.

The video was shot in what appears to be a decrepit warehouse (most likely in Manchester) that pays homage to Julie’s roots and the post-industrial environment that helped inspire her music.

Lone Lady is truly a one-woman show. She sings, writes and produces her own music in addition to playing several instruments including cello, keypads, samplers, bass and guitar. I’m all for sisters doing it for themselves (which is never easy in a male-dominated industry). Lone Lady does it in her unique, inimitable way so I encourage you to support her music, explore her albums and spread the word!  http://lonelady.co.uk/

Copyright © 2019 Frankie Diamond. All rights reserved. Excerpts of less than 200 words may be published to another site, including a link back to the original article. This article may not be reproduced in its entirety and posted to another site without the express permission of the author.

 

 

 

Prince is Still With Us…kinda sorta

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Today marks 3 years since Prince passed beyond the exosphere. I’m only now getting used to the fact that he’s gone but damn, I still miss him! Besides charitable works, Prince’s greatest legacy is his prodigious musical output. The best part of all is I’m still discovering loads of music and of course, I will spend the rest of my life unearthing his delightful gems until I, too, fly beyond the exosphere.

Personally I think that Prince died young, with still so much to give. His death, like much of his life, remains shrouded in mystery and methinks I smell a rat. But his massive stockpile of music, even if the majority of songs remain unreleased, gives fans many moments to savour in the coming years.

Just a few days ago, I discovered “She’s Always In My Hair” a delightful number from the b-side of the “Raspberry Beret” single. Never once did I hear this amazing track on radio, which illustrates the abundance of underrated tunes just waiting to be discovered. I suspect the mystery woman entwined in Prince’s hair might have been Susannah Melvoin, since, to paraphrase, she’s always in his boat even if he hits the wrong notes! Plus, they were engaged at one point, and he does toy with the idea of marriage in the lyrics. It’s one of Prince’s most playful songs as it lets your imagination ride on a canopy of spiky synths and signature arrangements that highlight his eclectic tastes.

This man touched millions of lives and influenced so many artists with his genius. So please take a moment to remember and appreciate Prince, one of the greatest musicians of our twilight civilization.

Copyright © 2019 Frankie Diamond. All rights reserved. Excerpts of less than 200 words may be published to another site, including a link back to the original article. This article may not be reproduced in its entirety and posted to another site without the express permission of the author.

Milli Vanilli: Still Sweet

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Milli Vanilli captured the essence of their time

Few incidents have rocked the music industry like the Milli Vanilli scandal of the 90’s. At the height of their fame, Fabrice Morvan and Rob Pilatus were outed by producer Frank Farian as having lip-synched their way through their hit record and performances. The fallout was huge. Milli Vanilli was stripped of their Grammy for Best New Artist and Arista Records erased their album from its catalog. It was a media circus of astronomical proportions and I was a mildly befuddled spectator, watching from the sidelines. Milli Vanilli’s unmasking yielded lasting personal and financial consequences for the young performers. With time comes perspective and now is a good time to examine this incident with a fresh set of eyes.

Summer of ’89:”Girl You Know It’s True” was burning up the charts and dominating airwaves. However, it was the visual impact of Milli Vanilli’s videos that helped to launch them into the stratosphere. Two extraordinarily handsome, Black men with exotic braids, lithe bodies and chic esthetic danced their way into millions of hearts. I was smitten; Rob and Fab were the epitome of cool. How could I ever forget Rob’s number after being transfixed by those eyes?! It was too much!!! I even went so far as to paint their likenesses with oil pastels on a t-shirt, which I proudly sported. Though there was an odd moment when I thought with a child’s wisdom that Fab’s looks didn’t seem to match his voice, I quickly dismissed that as my imagination. Even the album cover was pretty dope. Milli Vanilli was the new flavour in town and an adoring public couldn’t get enough.

Everyone knows what came afterwards. On the heels of scathing scorn and humiliation, the German-based duo attempted a comeback by singing during live performances. Under new management, they moved to Los Angeles and released an album entitled “Rob and Fab” that did poorly but is collector’s gold today. It seems the wounded ego of the music industry stifled any and all attempts at redemption from Milli Vanilli. The fall from grace was too overwhelming for Robert Pilatus, who sadly succumbed to a drug and alchohol overdose in 1998. The “Back and In Attack” record scheduled for release was shelved, ending the Milli Vanilli era for good. Fabrice soldiers on as a DJ and independent musician, having found the strength to move forward with his life.

Mass deception aside, the memory of Milli Vanilli lingers on like a stubborn aftertaste. Their songs still get airplay and you know what? The music is great! Iconic basslines don’t lie. “Baby Don’t Forget My Number” is one of the best music videos of all time. Rob and Fab had looks, presence, style AND moves. I still enjoy their performances immensely. Those guys had something, a spark that’s missing from a lot of performers these days. They captured the essence of their time and they delivered. Sure they lip-synched their way to the top but now that’s standard practice for ye average pop-star. Watching Milli Vanilli now makes me realize that perhaps they were judged too harshly for their actions. They brought joy and entertainment to millions so they’re not such bad guys, right?

Behind the rise and fall of every empire is a story. Milli Vanilli is a tale of 2 Black youth from Europe lusting after stardom. Enter Frank Farian, a German producer with a shady history of fronting Black music shell acts like 70’s phenomenon Boney M (who didn’t sing most of their songs). The trio forge a Faustian pact that brings Rob and Fab success but at what a cost! The dance-pop duo claimed they were exploited by Farian, yet they decided to go along with the charade from the start. If anything, theirs is a cautionary fable of the pitfalls awaiting those who seek a fast-track to fame. And yet, underneath it all, is heartbreak and resilience. A meteoric rise from poverty and shattered childhood to worldwide acceptance and back again. This is the real story that needs to be told. Fabrice opens up in this interview with VLADTV accessible via http://www.fabmorvan.com –  a must-see! In this era of docudramas, the time is right for us to know more about Rob and Fab. No disrespect to Charles Shaw and the original vocalists, but these 2 will forever remain Milli Vanilli.

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Source: collectors.com

R.I.P. Rob, you are sorely missed!

Props to Fab for surviving  it all

Copyright © 2019 Frankie Diamond. All rights reserved. Excerpts of less than 200 words may be published to another site, including a link back to the original article. This article may not be reproduced in its entirety and posted to another site without the express permission of the author.

 

 

 

 

30 Years of Straight Up by Paula Abdul

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It seems like just yesterday but 30 years ago on November 22nd 1988,“Straight Up” by Paula Abdul was unleashed to become a massive dance-pop classic. In recent times, Paula is best known for her role as empathetic judge on American Idol. Back in ’89 though, she was tearing up the charts with this funky tune that made her a household name. Everyone sat up and took notice of the short, sassy, exotic-looking dancer who  moved like a sista. In the age of MTV, visuals played a huge part in the commercial success of recording artists. Part of Straight Up’s endearing appeal is the stunning music video shot in black and white by legendary director David Fincher. Paired with Paula Abdul’s energetic choreography and streetwise aesthetics, they created a timeless classic that eventually went straight to no. 1. Even talk-show host Arsenio Hall got a piece of the action as he guest-appeared in the video, helping to raise its profile.

Hard to believe that at the time, Paula’s record label  wanted nothing to do with Straight Up because they thought it wouldn’t go anywhere. But Abdul’s intuition told her the song had potential and she fought to get it recorded. So this was a major personal triumph for her, being a testament to the power of faith and belief in oneself.

Straight Up is hands down a dance-music masterpiece that 30 years on, stands the test of time!

Copyright © 2018 Frankie Diamond. All rights reserved. Excerpts of less than 200 words may be published to another site, including a link back to the original article. This article may not be reproduced in its entirety and posted to another site without the express permission of the author.

The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill 20 Years On

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Today, August 25, 2018 marks the 20th anniversary of The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill, a groundbreaking album that redefined feminine expression in hip-hop and influenced artists across many genres. Of course, everyone into popular music knows about the incomparable Lauryn Hill, former member of The Fugees who scorched airwaves with their infectious blend of reggae, hip-hop and RnB. But it was Lauryn who stood out with her seductive soulful crooning and natural beauty.

Summer of 1998: I was a full-blown raver, heavily into house and techno. There was always a room dedicated to hip-hop/DnB at raves; heck, even Run DMC made a guest appearance! At the time, I was dating a Chinese Canadian fellow raver, who was a bigger fan of hip-hop than I was. One day, while hanging out at his house, he turned to me and said, “Have you heard The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill?” I hadn’t, and I was too hyped up about the rave happening later on that night to really think about anything else. He gave me this look that veered somewhere between exasperation and annoyance, tempered with a sort of steely determination.“You have to listen to this.” Before I could escape, he clamped his headphones onto my ears and pressed Play.

After Intro, “Lost Ones” dropped like a feathered suckerpunch of sweetness. Lauryn Hill’s voice sounded like rich dark chocolate wrapped in gold tin foil, oozing all over my consciousness as she spat out a scathing rebuke to a wayward lover with elegant precision, backed by booming polyrhythmics. I was speechless, practically glued to Jeff’s bed, not from the usual excitement but from genuine shock. I had never heard music like this, ever! Sure, I had heard “Doo Wop” and seen the video but this album…this was something fresh, authentic and utterly compelling. “See?” Jeff said as he registered my reaction, and smiled, satisfied that he’d spread the gospel. For the next hour, I was wrapped up in Lauryn’s world, her stories of motherhood, relationships, heartbreak and triumphant awareness. As I read the liner notes, seeing Lauryn’s involvement in practically every aspect of the album, I realized Ms. Hill had arrived. She was exceptional, smart, gorgeous and she sure as hell did not need The Fugees. Here was a woman who knew exactly who she was and blowing minds with her artistry.

The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill set the music industry ablaze. The press just couldn’t seem to get enough of her! She was showered with praise, accolades, awards, money. Here on out, the world was Lauryn’s oyster. She could have done absolutely anything she wanted to but she seemed to reject fame and the whole world. Apparently, she gazed into the shell, inspected the pearl and found it rather lackluster. Shortly after, reports began to emerge of erratic behavior, she stopped making albums and got busy making babies. Lots of them! I was somewhat puzzled, but realized she had her battles.

There was even the lawsuit that seemed to indicate that The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill was not properly credited to others working on the album. At the same time, I wondered if somehow she was not hurting her own success. It was hard to tell. Lauryn’s tunes were still getting airplay years later. Songs like X-Factor, To Zion, Everything is Everything were still dance club and radio staples. Life went on but people were still eagerly awaiting the next Lauryn Hill album, if it ever came. I learned not to hold my breath for that. Here was a woman, happy in her own skin, owning her decisions and certainly living life by her own defiant standards. Lauryn Hill did not ever have to make another album if she didn’t want to, but if The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill was the only one we would get out of her, we had to consider ourselves damn lucky!

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20 years later, we are still feeling the ripple effect of this seminal album. Now that women’s rights are trending, especially in arts and entertainment, I can appreciate even more fully Lauryn’s underappreciated genius at that time. Sure she’s not perfect, but she stood up against an industry that wanted to misappropriate her success. She chose to have a baby when others were telling her to have an abortion because it would damage her blossoming career. That shows integrity and strength of character that few possess in that particular world. Lauryn Hill understood that there’s more to life than fame and money, and she chose Life. She is alive and it seems she is happy with the choices she made and what she had to sacrifice in order to create a safe, healthy space for herself and what matters most to her.

As a woman, I think The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill was a clever backlash against the expectations Lauryn had of life and relationships, versus the steep learning curve of reality. She crafted her story so skillfully that heads are still bopping decades later and people still pay to see her. Younger generations speak of her with admiration, judging from the countless reproductions of the iconic album cover in contemporary art. Let’s be happy we have such a gifted artist and fine example of Afrocentric womanhood in our midst. The world is a much better place for it!

Copyright © 2018 Frankie Diamond. All rights reserved. Excerpts of less than 200 words may be published to another site, including a link back to the original article. This article may not be reproduced in its entirety and posted to another site without the express permission of the author.