Review (of Book, Film, Etc.)
You Better Work!: Underground Dance Music in New York City is arguably the first ethnography of electronic dance music culture; it is also one of the first ethnomusicologically-influenced monographs on mediated dance music. Kai Fikentscher deftly avoids the wealth of music industry genre tags (such as "deep house" or "two step garage") that plague many writings on electronic dance music, instead focusing on a specific dance community in New York City which began its social dance practice in the days of disco and continued the practice well into the 1990s. His study took place over the course of thirteen years, during which period he had contact with club promoters, record labels, and DJs (as well as developing his own DJ chops). The work is not entirely ethnographic, however, as he connects the practices with African American church contexts, gay pride and the Civil Rights move ment, and most notably the disco era, ultimately using these connections to theorize the "disco experience" and the play between "autonomy and interdependence" in music and dance.