BEST OF 2012: Electronic/Dance
The world of electronic music continued to veer into uncharted territories throughout 2012 – both within unexplored underground nooks and on stadium stages with bigger sounds (and more party-hungry audiences) than ever before.
Here are some very good songs in playlist form and an overview of electronic/dance's most notable developments in 2012.
Footwork Freakout - The footwork underworld in Chicago finally blew minds on a more national scale. And rightfully so! Figurehead DJ Rashad led the way by flipping genres and microsamples into screwfaced stews tailor-made to make people totally flip the hell out. It worked.
Return Of Soul - Acts like AlunaGeorge and Disclosure skipped the sterile genre workouts and combined soulful vocals, R&B dynamics and enough driving dance motifs to keep things both interesting and forward-thinking. This class provides proof that the space between dance, hip-hop and pop matters less and less.
Trap Theatre - I want to slap fools with my glove when I hear talk about 'trap music,' but the tweaky menace of southern hip-hop did indeed assert a lot of positive influence on dance and electronic music this year. Whether it was Baauer with the nutso "Harlem Shake" or Star Slinger rattling trunks, the rules were broken, hands were waved and our ears were better for it.
That's Emotional - Again, in a world where much of the music is made for partying purposes, artists like Burial made music that went straight for the heart and brain. His Kindred EP was yet another pitch-perfect, dusty caldron of emotion, while the chipmunk narcotics of acts like Holy Other and ecstatic dread of How To Dress Well inspired more tears than dancing.
Need A Vacation - Visions of the tropics and beautiful bodies of water were a theme I kept hitting in my electronic excursions. Major Lazer's major single "Get Free" is a light, bouncy dub revelation with great vocals, while Poolside used the palate of disco to chill me out to the point of considering those sugary blue drinks with umbrellas as a proper dinner.
DJ Rashad - Well Well Well
Baauer - Harlem Shake
Disclosure - Latch (feat. Sam Smith)
Burial - Ashtray Wasp
Chromatics - Lady
Star Slinger - Ladies In The Back
Major Lazer - Get Free (feat. Amber Coffman)
Traxman - Shake Dat Azz
Poolside - Next To You
How To Dress Well - & It Was U
Daphni - Yes, I know
TNGHT - Top Floor
AlunaGeorge - Just A Tough
Maya Jane Coles - Not Listening
Fatima Al Qadiri - D-Medley (Dutch E Germ Remix)
Holy Other - Tense Past