Musicians rock against rave drug

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One of the world's leading record companies is to release an album of music intended to wean British youngsters off drugs. The head of MCA Records in London, Nick Phillips, says he now sees it as a duty of the music industry to fight the drug problem.

It signals a dramatic change of attitude not just in the industry but also in the record company MCA, whose roster of artists includes acts with notably extravagant lifestyles - Guns N Roses, Nirvana, Aerosmith and Courtney Love.

The album, Le Voyage, by the contemporary Italian composer Gigi D'Agostino consists of melodic tunes which contain slower drum beats than rave or techno music. The theory - actually promulgated by the Italian government as well as musicians - is that this means no drugs are required for clubbers to keep pace with the beat of the music.

Italian health minister Elio Guzzandi said it was "helping to stop the slaughter after clubbing, of young women and men 'murdered' after taking ecstasy. After mixing alcohol and drugs the youth feel great - they get in their cars and drive at high speeds not fully conscious. Fifteen young people died at the weekend, a new slaughter after clubbing."

Peter Pritchard, head of Media records UK, the dance music specialist subsidiary of MCA, who persuaded the parent company to take up the campaign, commented: "In Italy this Mediterranean progressive music represented the beginning of a sea-change away from fast house music and the E [ecstasy] culture it represented, to a slower calmer form of instrumental house that has turned its back on drugs, and endeavours to find a natural high from the music."

Steve Wolfe, director of artists and repertoire at MCA, said: "There has been high-profile moral panic about drug abuse, particularly ecstasy abuse, within teen-club culture in the UK. Mediterranean Progressive attempts to move the focus back to the music. It's a 'less drugs, more music' message which can only be a good thing."