You hear old-time music fans complaining about it all the time. “DJs aren’t musicians”, they say. “Real music comes from instruments, not computers”. It’s an argument that seems more poignant by the day, as electronic artists continually breakthrough to the main stream. Well, rather than choose sides in this ongoing debate, the new documentary RE:GENERATION sought to bring both sides together.
In the film, 5 DJs - Skrillex, Mark Ronson, Pretty Lights, DJ Premier, and The Crystal Method - are each given a unique music type unlike their own. Taking on jazz, R&B, rock, country, and classical, these electronic artists are then tasked with creating fresh new songs that capture the spirit of both their dance music, and the new genre they were assigned.
Watching the process unfold is entertaining and fascinating. Mark Ronson seems to effortlessly blend his style with the jazz sounds of Erykah Badu and the Dap Kings. Their song “A La Modeliste” is easy the most uplifting and funky of the group. At the other end of the spectrum, Pretty Lights struggles to deal with country music - and the egos that some of its brightest stars have. Watching him deal with the stubborn mind of Dr. Ralph Stanley is one of the most awkward moments in the film.
Skrillex seemed the most excited to work with his collaborators - the remaining members of the classic rock group The Doors. While the old-timers appeared reluctant at first, the energy of the young DJ quickly won them over.
Bonus points go to DJ Premier and The Crystal Method. Both stepped drastically out of their element, taking on classical music and R&B respectively. (The sight of seeing Premier conducting an orchestra is easily the most endearing image in the film)
All the artists involved should be commended for their work. Though difficult at times, you can tell how much love and passion each and every one of them has for music. The resulting songs reflect the time and commitment put in and we highly suggest going to the film’s official website to download the soundtrack for free - http://www.regenerationmusicproject.com/
While these songs may not put an end to the argument over electronic music’s place, they’ll at least make a cool addition to your iTunes playlist.