June / 11 / 2021

Films on electronic culture: Beats

Films on electronic culture: Beats


We are opening a section in which from time to time we will feature films or documentaries that have already been released but which should be seen because of their importance in the world of electronic and dance music.

We wanted to open this section with a relatively recent film, which we have already mentioned in previous articles such as this one.

Beats was released in the UK on May 17th 2019, and offers a tremendously faithful portrait of an era in the history of electronic and dance music. The beauty of this film is how perfectly it delivers that portrait by turning it into a personal story of two friends.


The film is based on the book of the same name by Glasgow-born Scottish writer Kieran Hurley. Because, we haven’t said it yet, this film is set in Scotland in the mid-nineties, specifically in 1994, when the infamous Criminal Justice and Public Order Act was passed to criminalize the rave movement throughout the UK.

The story has even more merit because Scotland was perhaps the part of the UK where raves took place the least, more frequently in the south of its latitudes. The plot focuses on the path that leads the protagonists to an underground rave… Johnno is the most outspoken, the one who “knows” the most about these things, Spanner is the shy one, the most withdrawn, a “virgin” in many experiences and, to spice up the menu, the son of a policeman.

The greatness of this film is the veracity of everything that happens in it. How the protagonists listen to pirate radio stations to soak up the electronic music (we will now make a section and reference to the soundtrack), the contact with these girls who also want to go to this rave, how they find out where and when it is going to be and all the preparation and beautiful paraphernalia prior to the moment of communion.

The moment of the rave arrives, the communion takes place, and the wonderful mixture of the expected music, the no less expected chemical addition and the component of sexual attraction form a perfectly combined cocktail. The scenes of these passages of the film make you relive past moments of your existence in an impeccable way, evident proof of Beats‘ perfect Making.

As for the plot, we won’t reveal more than what is told. There are no incomprehensible or head-scratching twists, but we will avoid spoilers.



The details are taken care of to the utmost. Interestingly, its director, Brian Welsh, chooses black and white to shoot the film, which gives it a perfect patina despite reflecting an era in which colour was a fundamental part of it. But this visual contradiction ends up being one of the film’s attractions.

To round off the whole, for the soundtrack they go in search of a specialist, and they don’t go far in that search. Keith McIvor, better known as JD Twitch, dj, producer and part of Optimo Records, born in Edinburgh and based in Glasgow, is in charge of providing the tracks for the soundtrack… LFO, Plastikman, The Prodigy, Liquid Liquid, Leftfield, Model 500, Orbital, Joey Beltram, A Homeboy, A Hippie & A Funki Dredd… pure sonic testimony to a golden age of electronic and dance music.

Beats is, as the British say, a must. Be sure to check it out at some point.



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