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Ravers often wear loose, wide-legged jeans that flare out at the bottom. Knickknacks from childhood, like suckers, pacifiers and dolls, are common accessories. Dancers, sweating to the music all night, often carry bottles of water to battle dehydration, which can be aggravated by ecstasy. Attendees sometimes dress in layers so clothes can be stripped off if the going gets hot, and blue and green flexible glow sticks are popular. One sound you'll hear if the party's going right: a communal whoop of approval when the deejay starts riding a good groove. "The first rock-'n'-roll shows were dance events," says 6th Element promoter Matt E. Silver, who has worked with best-selling electronica acts such as Chemical Brothers and Prodigy. "Now it's about deejay culture." In the movie Groove, the filmmakers refer to that connection between deejay and dancer, between promoter and satisfied raver, as "the nod." Many rave promoters and deejays don't do it for the money. They do it for the nod.
One electronic musician who is definitely getting the nod these days is the American deejay-composer Moby. Most deejays a decade ago were faceless shadows lurking behind turntables. Now deejays associated with the rave scene--like Van Dyk, Armand Van Helden, Keoki and BT--are artists, celebrities, superstars. "If Stravinsky were alive today, this is the kind of music he'd make," says BT, who composed music for the rave movie Go (1999) as well as the PlayStation game Die Hard Trilogy. "It just affords you a broader sonic palette to work from."
Moby has used his palette skillfully. He got his start as a deejay, but he also sings and plays with a backing band when he's on tour. His 1995 album Everything Is Wrong sold about 125,000 copies. His critically acclaimed new album Play, which samples old blues songs and sets them to futuristic beats, has already gone platinum. The rave scene is catching on with a new generation of fans, Moby believes, because it offers an alternative to today's version of bubblegum. "The consolidation of all the different record companies under big multinational parent companies," he says, has spawned the current crush of mass-produced teen pop acts. "Your BMGs, your Sonys, your Time Warners...nothing against these companies, but they buy music companies and they expect music to perform the way that, say, snack cakes or liquid paper performs. There's so much commercial emphasis on disposable pop music that I think it leaves a lot of people desperately looking for other types of musical expression."