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Tuesday, January 31, 2023

Commentary: House music concerts offer a unique experience for listeners

How artists such as Rúfüs Du Sol are creating a calm, safe escape through their performances

By ANA BACH — arts@theaggie.org

 

On Oct. 7, I had the opportunity to attend a Rüfüs Du Sol concert at Shoreline Amphitheater in Mountain View, CA. For those who don’t know, Rüfüs Du Sol is a musical group composed of three men from Sydney, Australia who produce music mainly in the electronic dance-pop genre intersected with house music beats. I’ve been eager to immerse myself in the house music scene after being an active listener of the genre for years without ever experiencing a live performance. 

Initially, I was intrigued by the electronic music experience and how it naturally differs from the typical style of a concert that many may have become accustomed to. Rather than chanting anthems and sharing the joy of the artist’s presence, concert-goers listening to house music enjoy an experience that caters to them rather than catering to the appreciation of the artist. 

The music creates a sort of hypnotic sensation where the listener is really just trying to match the beats of the song and focusing on that alone. The musicians don’t have as overwhelming of a presence as the music does. 

I was quite interested in the history behind the sound, since I previously assumed it was a niche genre with little knowledge among listeners about the importance of its background. I wanted to unpack these assumptions more before going to the concert and decided it would be beneficial to explore the origins of house music. 

One of the key pioneers of the house music genre, Frankie Knuckles, has been dubbed by many as the “Godfather of House.” Originally born in New York, Knuckles played many shows at the Chicago Warehouse club in the late 1970s. He laid the roots of the house sound we now know and love out of a combination of disco, funk, R&B and other similar styles of dance music.

I noticed the combination of these styles throughout Rüfüs Du Sol’s set. Their songs don’t follow the well-known formats that most acoustic music does — instead, their beats seem calculated, with each matching the others in sequence. All you are really left listening to is sounds on a loop, which creates a soothing consistency.

In a time where everything seems so hectic and unpredictable, music provides a safe haven for many. House music in particular creates a calming escape from reality, as anyone can vibe to the beats, even if they’re not familiar with the artist.

Rüfüs Du Sol’s sounds were synchronized with a mix of real instruments and electronic recordings that worked hand in hand to create a calming wave of binaural beats. During the concert, I felt an overwhelming feeling of relaxation, and the open-space venue really made it feel like a comfortable individual experience in a sea full of people. 

Overall, I was completely taken aback by the experience and impressed by the impact that the group had on audience members. As the concert went on, I noticed each song seamlessly transitioning to the next, with little distinctions in the shifts. This kept the energy levels rather consistent throughout the show.

If you are like me and are curious about the live house music experience, I would highly suggest attending a concert and observing its unique aspects for yourself.

 

Written by: Ana Bach — arts@theaggie.org