Friday, November 24, 2023

Muzik magazine issue One: 1995 club listings and Drexciya

Muzik magazine was launched with this June 1995 issue by IPC magazines, the publishers of NME and many other established publications. The mainstream music press had been caught hopping by the massive dance music explosion of this period, outflanked by magazines like Mixmag, DJ and Jockey Slut. Muzik was IPC's attempt to get a slice of the pie, and to me it felt a bit of a step backward. Or what I no doubt ranted about at the time as a musical counter revolution applying usual culture industry techniques of elevating cover star music makers out of the relatively anonymous masses of DJs, dancers and producers. It was all about 'proper' musicians (even if electronic ones), making proper albums filed neatly into product categories of techno, garage, house or even, as in this issue, hardbag. Of course Muzik didn't start the 'superstar DJ' trend but I think they went further than before in separating out the music from the experience of dancing to it - it was less clubbing focused than say Mixmag.

Still there's extensive record reviews and the club listings are evocative, even if very far from the 'definitive club listings' promised on the cover. Here's an extract for a weekend in May 1995 with some of the many places (the more obvious ones)  I was going to at the time: Leisure Lounge in Holborn, the Cross at Kings Cross, the Mars Bar,  Ministry etc.

The Techno reviews section does at least include a critique of the state of music from the late James Stinson of Drexciya:

'Too many people focus on what label a record comes out on, rather than what the track actually sounds like. To me, that means there's something wrong. I remember the days when nobody cared if you were on Warner Brothers or Booty Up, just so long as what you were doing was good. When you throw a party, what are you spinning? Are you spinning the middle of a record where all the writing is at or are you spinning the wax? You know what I'm saying? When a group comes to perform, who's up on the stage? Is it the business people punching their little computers or is it the artists themselves? 

Drexciya won't be putting records out for a while now. We'll still be making music, but not records. We won't allow this form of music to just stop where it's at, but we're not even satisfied with the quality that we are producing. And I have to say that I really wish people wouldn't follow us. Be inspired, sure, but please don't follow. The minute we hear footsteps following us, we switch our style. We'll totally abandon what we're doing. We won't release any records or perform anywhere until things change'

I believe the magazine continued until 2003, and having fiddled around taking photos of my one surviving copy I see that Dance Music Archive have scanned in the lot. So if you want to read more go there!