take_home_final - Thomas Clapp 903772133 Take home final...

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Thomas Clapp 903772133 Take home final Disc II 3. Write an essay in which you outline the effects of psychoactive drugs on the dance music scene in Britain between 1988 and 1995. Make reference to events, pieces of music, and any other cultural artifacts you find relevant. Do not limit yourself, BTW, to any one controlled substance. The electronic dance music scene in Britain evolved rapidly between the late 1980’s and mid 1990’s. DJs and producers were constantly creating, altering, and popularizing radical, new styles of music in this period of time because of many sociological and technological influences. As the scene changed musically, so did the culture associated with it. In a rather symbiotic way, dance music and culture influenced each other: the musicians created tracks that satisfied the desires and needs of the audience at that specific time and the audience then found ways of maximizing the pleasure of the music listening experience by emphasizing certain elements of the songs. One of the most significant influence on dance music and culture though was the drugs that the audience was taking. The introduction of MDMA into the dance music scene in Britain in the late 1980’s brought about dramatic and widespread musical and cultural changes. In 1976, an American chemist named Sasha Shulgin synthesized MDMA (methylenedioxymethamphetamine) and introduced it to many of his therapist colleagues ( Holland ). It became used as a psychotherapeutic drug that would make patients feel a sense of openness and trust with his or her therapist that encouraged a more honest
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sharing of thoughts. The molecules in the drugs work by telling the brain to release overwhelming amounts of naturally created serotonin, which is what gives people the feeling of happiness. Also released are other chemicals such as norepinephrine (fight or flight, adrenaline feeling), dopamine (the feeling of being rewarded), and oxytocin (the love drug a mother feels for its child). MDMA was originally called Empathy, until it began being used for recreational use in the 1980s and drug dealers changed the name for marketing reasons. The anonymous drug dealer responsible for the name change remarked, “Ecstasy was chosen for obvious reasons, because it would sell better than calling it Empathy. Empathy would be more appropriate, but how many people know what it means?” ( Holland ). Ecstasy crossed paths with British dance music enthusiasts on the Balearic vacation island of Ibiza in the late 1980s. Brits who were wealthy enough to afford such vacations would pop Ecstasy in the nightclubs there while the DJs played the fairly experimental Acid House music. The combination of the drugs and the Acid House really clicked and these tourists found themselves bonding with people in Ibiza in ways they never had before. One of the most significant events in the development of Ecstasy driven, British dance
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This note was uploaded on 10/03/2011 for the course MUSIC HIST 8 taught by Professor Staff during the Spring '11 term at UCLA.

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take_home_final - Thomas Clapp 903772133 Take home final...

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