I came across this article on EDM while waiting for my train to Massachusetts this weekend and saw several parallels to the contra dance community's ongoing debate. It reminded me of some of the comments I've heard made about alt contras relative to this blog, especially the variants of, "I will never hire a DJ; they're lovely people, I'm sure, but they can't react in the moment to the room the way a musician can."
Let's put aside for a moment the erroneous assumption that there is no skill to DJing well -- even if you mix your tracks ahead of time, you still need to edit most of them for length, if not for speed and phrasing and that most certainly does take effort and skill), I do think that this complaint ought to be addressed. Some groups, like Double Apex, Phase X, and Firecloud address this by blending live and prerecorded sound; Perpetual e-Motion dodges the bullet entirely by clearing the loop machine before every gig and mixing their live sounds on the fly. Some DJs can get around this by freestyling through the entire dance, complete with the sort of phrasing and coming in armed only with samples. I would love to see more of that (and suspect we will as the genre evolves; we aren't to where this is the norm right now) but I also recognize that it requires something akin to the skill of memorizing several of Shakespeare's sonnets and reproducing them almost perfectly at the drop of a hat -- and then watching the crowd and well enough to vary the timbre of your voice to match at the same time. It's not an impossible task, but still a rather tall order.
One of the interesting things to watch with a fringe genre is what happens when it hits the relative mainstream. What do you see happening? Or, the bigger question, where do you see this all fitting in the years to come? Do conditions exist (even hypothetically) wherein an alternative contra could speak to a hard-line traditionalist whose issue with prerecorded music is moral rather than aesthetic?