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• Dance Music Looks Beyond EDM And Hopes The Crowd Will Follow
As North America (the United States in particular) throws more and more money into the burgeoning industry that is dance music, the music itself has seemed to take the backseat in certain instances — notably high priced nightclubs playing the same 40 Progressive House tracks over and over again to a somewhat musically unsophisticated crowd. It’s a natural thing to have happen, however, as the people fueling the dance music economy by spending the most money aren’t the ones drinking PBR in sweaty basements listening to Minimal Techno. But with the increasingly monotonous nightclub DJ set comes a need for the dive back underground. A need for innovation and a fresh wave of creativity. And legendary innovators Richie Hawtin and Loco Dice had this in mind exactly when they decided to launch CNTRL: BEYOND EDM, a unique North American college tour. Continue Reading
It was fleeting like a hot hand at the blackjack table, and just like that we were back home in Los Angeles wondering how a hectic weekend in the desert went by so fast. It was Thursday, and I had the grandiose idea of starting the weekend off by catching Richie Hawtin at Drai’s, a dark club in the underbelly of the Las Vegas Strip that played host to some of the biggest names in Techno over the weekend. Word was he wasn’t starting until 4AM, so that left some time for a quick pitstop at Benny Benassi at the Cosmopolitan Hotel’s Marquee Nightclub. Marquee is what Vegas is all about. Scantily glad girls and even more scantily clad employees, and enough energy in the air to get everyone through till morning even without however many Redbull vodkas they may have in their system. Continue Reading
Although we don’t post as much Minimal on GDD™ as I would like, it is still important to honor and support the great artists of the genre, which is why I’ve devoted this post to two fantastic mixes from the oustanding, deep, and groovy Magda. Originally from Poland, Magda has also lived in two cities renowned for their definitive taste in Minimal Techno: Detroit and Berlin, where she befriended the legendary Richie Hawtin and was brought in to the Minus family. Just recently, Magda announced that she was leaving the imprint along with labelmates, Troy Pierce and Marc Houle, to focus on their label, Items & Things. After initially reading this information thanks to the fine people at XLR8R, I decided to go back into my Radio 1 Essential Mix vault to pull out Magda’s incredible two hour recording, and two weeks later, XLR8R had commissioned her for a podcast to mark the seminal resignation from Minus. These are two very well thought out and well put together mixes from a woman at the forefront of her field. I can’t wait to see what the future of Items & Things has in store for us!
August bank holiday weekend is always a highlight in a music savvy Londoner’s diary. It’s the one weekend in the summer where the capital takes its partying to new levels with Notting Hill Carnival, and a host of other events scattered around the city. For South-West London, the weekend is now known for the annual SW4 Festival, an integral massive in the dance music calendar boasting an impressive lineup across two days. We were there last Sunday to check it out.
It’s pretty much standard operating procedure for us here at GDD™ to leave for Vegas in the middle of the night. Nothing really beats pulling into Vegas at sunrise, begging to be allowed to check-in early, being denied, and then just getting cocktails and playing video blackjack at the bar until the pool opens. After our weekly VERSUS party in Santa Monica Jonah Berry, myself (Burn Unit, the artist formerly known as Matt Black) & Co. hopped on the 10E and headed towards our destiny in the desert. It wasn’t long – okay, like sixteen hours – before we were finally in a limo on our way to the festival. Traffic was pretty congested around the city but as we pulled closer and the excitement built it didn’t really matter.
The anticipation in the air was palpable as the entire crowd in line roared and started chanting. Finally walking through the tunnel and laying eyes on the new EDC festival home it really set in. Two of my favorite things in the world – Vegas and EDC – had collided to form a truly unique festival experience. We walked through the crowd for Bloody Beetroots and for the first time in well over a year I slightly enjoyed hearing ‘Warp‘ as we made our way towards the Circuit Grounds stage to check out the fellas in Cosmic Gate. The quality of the production all around me was incredible, there were dozens of people to buy waters from roaming the crowd, more than a few cops who actually seemed to be somewhat enjoying the sights and sounds, and rides everywhere. From top to bottom Insomniac had put together something special, considering every detail, and it showed from the beginning. We all knew this was going to be a weekend to barely remember but never forget.
Jonah: The Top 3
As Matt so eloquently described above, Insomniac outdid themselves this year and brought one of the best massive electronic events in the world to Las Vegas and succeeded. With production and talent being second-to-none, Pasqualle and the lovely people at Insomniac spared no expense on making the Electric Daisy Carnival the best overall experience you could ever ask for as a music and art enthusiast. Every direction I looked in I was dumbfounded by the sheer size of the stages, the fireworks that seemed like they lasted for hours, and the top tier artists on all stages at all times. Here’s a breakdown of my top 3 acts by day:
Friday – Richie Hawtin presents Plastikman — There’s not too much to say about Richie Hawtin’s Plastikman set that you don’t/should already know. The man is an audio/visual genius. After seeing the Plastikman show at Coachella a couple years back, I thought I pretty much knew what to expect from the show last weekend in Vegas, but once I glared upon that monstrous LED curtain while simultaneously getting rammed in the ear with body-vibrating Minimal Techno, I knew that Richie was about to amaze me once again. Lucky for me, I had remembered my Plastikman iPhone App, so I had a live streaming video of the man behind the curtain at all times. Lucky for the crowd, Richie came out in front of the curtain at the end of his set to prove he is, in fact, a human being. If you have not seen Plastikman, I highly encourage you to do so the next chance you get.
Saturday – Boys Noize – It seems that it’s standard now for Boys Noize to make the top performances of any festival we cover. I can confidently say that the man is a living legend, and his song selection and powerful DJ prowess have never, ever let me down. His set commenced with a new track, unknown to me at the time, which repeated ECSTASY about 15-20 times before launching into a massive drop that nurtured the crowd’s need for a big-time Boys Noize banger. Despite some festival-goers losing their marbles just after this first drop, the set went on and was as relentless as ever, with the staples of a BN set bursting through the Vegas desert including “& Down,” “Yeah/Swoon,” and “My Moon My Man.” As long as Mr. Alex Ridha doesn’t start playing top 40 mashups, I’m pretty sure he’ll always be at the top of my list wherever I witness his performance.
Sunday — Afrojack — Like many artists at EDC this year, Afrojack was slotted for two sets: Saturday night at Kinetic Field and Sunday night at Cosmic Meadow. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to catch his set on Saturday (though I heard it was fantastic), but fortunately I saw his set in its entirety early Monday morning at the Cosmic Meadow stage. It’s safe to say that the man is one of the best DJ/producers out there. With an arsenal of original tracks and a fresh Grammy under his belt, Afrojack is leading the charge across the ever-closing gap between Pop and House music. Thanks to the great people at Insomniac, we were able to watch this monuMENTAL set from the stage, as Afrojack wanted everyone up there to be right behind him for his entire set. He even moved his own monitors so the sound would project towards the people on stage and not him! There was ‘Bangduck.’ There was ‘Pon De Floor.’ There was ‘Take Over Control.’ And thank baby Jesus there was no ‘Sexy Bitch.’ I can’t wait to see this guy again.
BONES: EDC OVERALL
My two colleagues above seem to capture the energy of the festival and the top performances of the weekend, but with the opportunity to have all-access coverage of EDC what really made this weekend for me was the level of ease we enjoyed every aspect that was put in to making the festival a resounding success. With the festival going from literally 8pm till sunrise, it was the first time I was able to witness Boys Noize and MSTRKRFT (you better believe I went to both) from dawn til’ the break of sunlight.
The production of the stages uniquely complimented each lineup accordingly – the BASSPOD shaped like a transformer Ferris wheel with the DJs performing in the center, the main stage given a huge upgrade in size that made you feel like an ant when you came near it. All I can say is that the production throughout the festival was out of control.
With attendance reaching around 80 thousand each day the new location at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway made the crowds flow easily as we maneuvered through the masses to reach every stage and attraction. The layout of the Speedway also made it possible for Insomniac Events to really capture the carnival theme, and in a town full of performers it was clear that all of the dancers, jesters, bikers, and even fish people were truly skilled and appropriately matched to the night’s festivities. As if that wasn’t enough, the pyrotechnics and fireworks were enough to hold us over beyond the 4th of July. Everything just seemed to go right all weekend, with the hundreds of amazing performances and the problem-free atmosphere making for a spectacular first year in Las Vegas. With the news of all the success traveling far and wide, we can only imagine how much is going to be put into next year! GDD @ EDC: THE VIDEO Don’t just take our word for it – we were lucky enough to have our great friend and videographer Clare Wadsworth put together a highlight video of all we experienced during the weekend!