“The Evolution of Western Dance Music” is a beautifully plotted infographic map that takes less than 20 seconds to chart 200 years of musical evolution.
The mapmakers tell just one side of the story (leaning heavily toward dance music’s Afro-Caribbean roots, ignoring the jigs, reels, and chanteys that European immigrants added to the mix, and largely skirting the Latin American influence), and they seem to have mixed up the relative locations of Chicago and Detroit. But quibbling with their picks, and picking out the biases, only underscores the incredible complexity of forces, interactions, and imaginative leaps that this map tries (and largely manages) to capture. And as it gets closer to our own century, the thing this map conveys most beautifully is the madly revved-up rate of cross-fertilization between the genres and the continents.
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