Among the many wonderful things I experienced at Mysteryland a few weeks ago was the opportunity for 4 of the members of our group – myself included – to begin the complete and total indoctrination of the 5th person into the world of EDM and festivals (“welcome to the dark side,” one of them aptly said).
Our friend was a complete neophyte but had a really open mind, and showed up in a festival-appropriate fun outfit, ready to dance (note to everyone: the only 2 things you really ever need at a festival are a good attitude and your dancing shoes). We showed him the ropes, taking him to see our favorite artists, teaching him important phrases like, “tropical house,” and imparting key lessons such as the importance of always having a full water bottle.
He emerged from Mysteryland completely converted and ready to sign up for Camp Bisco, which happens next month.
Initially, I wanted to write a post called, “A Newbie’s Guide to EDM” that details all the major players (the ones I like, anyway) and would help my friend continue his musical education, but I realized that this task is far too ambitious, plus I’m definitely not qualified to give an overall view of the world of electronica. Instead, I’m writing this post as a homework assignment of sorts, both for my friend and for anyone else who plans on going to Bisco next month yet isn’t quite familiar with the music they’re going to hear there. Here are the people you need to listen to, in order of their billing on the poster. You will not regret it.
Bassnectar is pretty much a deity ’round these parts. Listening to a Bassnectar set is almost like being outside on a really humid day – the air is so thick with vibrations you feel like you’re swimming in it. Only unlike humidity, it’s awesome. His music is so diverse it’s almost unfair to sum it up in one song but here’s one that’s been on heavy rotation for me recently.
This might be the first time I’ve ever talked about Pretty Lights on this blog! (Not). I read recently that Derek didn’t choose this name based on the incredible laser shows that come along with his set, but I don’t believe it. PL is the full audio-visual sensory experience and his live performances are beautiful and moving. Hearing this song at Voodoo Festival in New Orleans might have legitimately been the best 4 minutes of live music I’ve ever seen.
Is there such a thing as peaceful dance music? If there is, I’m going to throw Sound Tribe Sector 9 (along with Pretty Lights, Tipper (below), and some others) in that category. Like most of the artists on this list, and most of my favorite electronic musicians in general, they supplement with the use of real instruments. This one will be fun.
Okay, at this point everyone knows how much I love Big G. Even my EDM newbie friend knows them by now. They need no introduction.
I actually don’t listen to Tipper (!) and I’ve never seen him live, BUT I’ve heard all about his psychedelic, artistic visuals and mellow, downtempo tunes. I can only believe that he’s going to be worth all the hype.
Kill the Noise
Kill the Noise was one of the first dubstep acts I really got into. Perfect for jumping around and getting out all that excess energy.
I have sung the praises of Manic Focus and his power glove many times before. Love his electro-hip-hop feel and incorporation of both current and older rap songs. He was at Mysteryland as well and did not disappoint.
The Floozies bring that e-funk all the way from Kansas. Their live shows are way more upbeat than this particular song, but I love it anyway.
Smooth and sexy. With a killer “No Diggity” cover.
Trap, but a little less frantic, a little more groovy.
This isn’t a full list, but it’s a solid start for now. You may notice that I did not include the Disco Biscuits on this list, despite the fact that they’re top billing and this is actually their festival (Bisco, Biscuits, get it?). I’ve listened to a few of their songs and frankly, I don’t understand them. Which is not to say I won’t check out one of the many sets they’ll do over the course of the festival, but I’m also not committing to anything and I may decide to check out other artists, or shower, or go to the water park, or sleep, or sit in my tent twiddling my thumbs, or otherwise do things that are decidedly NOT going to see them. Sorry I’m not sorry, as they say.
Go forth and listen to good music! 🙂