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Soundtrack to your Friday
June 21, 2013 4:51 AM   Subscribe

London record label Black Butter have been spearheading a new wave of UK dance music.

Throwing together elements of house, UK garage and drum'n'bass, these artists deliberately hark back to the 1990s while also sounding like the perfect present-day culmination of past club trends.

Starting out with Rudimental and followed by MNEK, A*M*E, Clean Bandit, Lulu James, and Gorgon City, these artists alongside Duke Dumont and Disclosure are bring a fresh sound to the UK dance scene.

Further listening:

Clean Bandit - Mozart's House

Lulu James - Closer

Gorgon City - Intentions ft. Clean Bandit

Rudimental - Spoons ft. MNEK & Syron

Disclosure - Latch feat. Sam Smith

Happy Friday everyone!
posted by ellieBOA (37 comments total) 34 users marked this as a favorite

 
I was just looking through Spotify for something jaunty to listen to at work! Thank you!
posted by mittens at 5:03 AM on June 21, 2013


Ahh, Disclosure, they who mime their music in front of 80,000 people and then offer a non-apology.
posted by item at 5:08 AM on June 21, 2013


Ahh, Disclosure, they who mime their music in front of 80,000 people and then offer a non-apology.

Not really their fault, and in any case, they're perfectly capable of mixing records. What do you think it is that EDM acts do live, anyway?
posted by empath at 5:17 AM on June 21, 2013


Lulu James is on it. Halfway To Hell & Be Safe have been opening and closing all my mixtapes.
posted by artof.mulata at 5:17 AM on June 21, 2013


Actually, Disclosure actually have a legitimate live act, it seems.
posted by empath at 5:19 AM on June 21, 2013 [1 favorite]


Ah, miming to the music. I remember seeing Moby at Coachella, and he said he was going to play the fastest piano song in the world. He appeared to be banging away on his keyboard, with the music ever speeding up, until he stood back a bit and climbed on top of the keyboard and stood with his arms raised up, while the music kept getting faster. I was peeved, but the rest of the crowd seemed pretty happy.

So no, this isn't something new in the world of electronic music stage shows.

Anyway, thanks for adding a new label to my radar!
posted by filthy light thief at 5:23 AM on June 21, 2013


Drone music is actually performed live, btw.
posted by jeffburdges at 5:49 AM on June 21, 2013


I for one welcome our new snake tube underlords.
posted by Devonian at 5:50 AM on June 21, 2013


Disclosure intentionally not plugging in their mixers when paid to mime their music? Eponysterical :)
posted by jeffburdges at 5:53 AM on June 21, 2013 [2 favorites]


Nice. "Intentions" is going to make some of my friends very happy. I'm pretty taken with Lulu James, too.
posted by EvaDestruction at 5:55 AM on June 21, 2013



Not really their fault, and in any case, they're perfectly capable of mixing records. What do you think it is that EDM acts do live, anyway?


Get a live drummer and occasionally bassist, or possibly some impressive visuals/costumes to distract from the dude standing behind a laptop acting more like a freelance web developer in your neighbourhood café than a rock star on stage.

Aside: here are Kraftwerk partially explaining what they actually do on their laptops on stage. They're not texting jokes to each other, but the way the roles are divided is different from the live-band paradigm, with band members also controlling effects, visuals and such.
posted by acb at 6:06 AM on June 21, 2013


Yeah, but to me, all the rock star bullshit is a distraction from the music, which is why I hate going to big festivals with dance acts. Producers spend days and days agonizing over their tracks to get the mix down and everything absolutely perfect. Dance music is all about production quality and mastering. Adding a live drummer just dilutes what should have already been perfect.
posted by empath at 6:23 AM on June 21, 2013 [1 favorite]


Yeah, but to me, all the rock star bullshit is a distraction from the music, which is why I hate going to big festivals with dance acts. Producers spend days and days agonizing over their tracks to get the mix down and everything absolutely perfect. Dance music is all about production quality and mastering. Adding a live drummer just dilutes what should have already been perfect.

Blame the War On Drugs. Festivals without mass rock-star spectacle are too obviously drug-related and a legal liability for the US, hence the evolution of “EDM”, which is like the dance/rave music abroad only reformatted to be All About The Spectacle, so it's obvious that the punters aren't going to neck pills and dance for eight hours but to be entertained by Deadmaus or Skrillex or whoever's holding court on stage.
posted by acb at 6:34 AM on June 21, 2013


Adding a live drummer just dilutes what should have already been perfect.

I kinda disagree - I actually really like the combination of live drumming with a drum machine/synthesized drums. Radiohead has done this particularly brilliantly when they've played Idioteque live, I think -- trying to find the one I'm thinking of on Youtube now.
posted by en forme de poire at 6:35 AM on June 21, 2013


(Though I agree with your main point, that it's a mistake to just uncritically import the same priorities from a rock concert into a dance act.)
posted by en forme de poire at 6:36 AM on June 21, 2013


Yeah, idioteque live is unreal, I agree.
posted by empath at 6:41 AM on June 21, 2013


(BTW, if that Lulu James video doesn't inspire a generation of drag queens I will be super disappointed.)
posted by en forme de poire at 6:45 AM on June 21, 2013 [2 favorites]


Not really their fault, and in any case, they're perfectly capable of mixing records.

If they'd actually cared they easily could've refused to perform (or maybe pulled something akin to PiL being forced to mime on American Bandstand), but then I suppose the draw of the almighty dollar outpulled the draw of artistic freedom.

What do you think it is that EDM acts do live, anyway?

I guess you've never seen Mouse on Mars live, for one example. Then again, they're not cute teenage boys and don't draw the teenybopper crowds that don't care if the act they paid good money to see is pretending to play.

The notion that electronic music can't or shouldn't be performed live is ludicrous. The difference in experience between seeing an act actually performing and an act miming is noticeable and it is vast.
posted by item at 6:56 AM on June 21, 2013


There are a lot of fun things you can do live. I recently saw four very different electronic artists in a weird little art studio. There was knob twiddling and effects filtering, drone, a rather dull laptop set (the guy could have been posting jokes to Twitter for all we could tell), and a more lively guy who had a keyboard, a laptop, and some other gear.

Fischerspooner are all stage show, playing it up to a great degree. The lead singer (?) even yells back to the mixing board "Play track 3 on the CD!" His live voice doesn't match the vocals in the music, but it was tons of fun. Then there were the Chemical Brothers, who had a huge stage to themselves, and it was COVERED in gear. They spent over an hour, running around the stage, apparently playing and modifying different electronic instruments of sorts.
posted by filthy light thief at 7:07 AM on June 21, 2013


I always saw Fischerspooner as more of a dance troupe than musical act, especially live. The songs seemed secondary, and - with the exception of a few tracks - mostly a four-on-the-floor afterthought.
posted by item at 7:15 AM on June 21, 2013 [1 favorite]


...a vastly entertaining dance troupe, I should add.
posted by item at 7:16 AM on June 21, 2013


Wow, somehow I kind of thought that when MetaFilter listens to electronic music it would be more like this
posted by Mooseli at 7:17 AM on June 21, 2013


Thanks for the link. I didn't NEED another UK dance label to check out / follow, but that doesn't mean I didn't WANT another UK dance label to check out / follow.

I don't have anything nice to say about Disclosure, but bringing up Mouse on Mars as a contrast is a little unfair (MoM are the absolute best)...

I don't really know what to say about the electronic music live performance conundrum, I've been to shows where the act obviously was live mixing/manipulating/doing stuff and shows where they didn't seem to be doing as much and have enjoyed them both. Saw FaltyDL last month and I am not sure what he was doing (too far back, too dark) but it was fun; he opened for James Blake (a little different circumstance re: performance, to be fair), who along w a drummer and another instrumentalist was definitely DOING things live. Certainly I appreciate and probably I enjoy the shows where the act was more involved.

Maybe the problem is context/scale?
posted by J0 at 7:18 AM on June 21, 2013 [1 favorite]


Wow, somehow I kind of thought that when MetaFilter listens to electronic music it would be more like this

The Mefi Electronic Anthem
posted by item at 7:20 AM on June 21, 2013 [1 favorite]


Since I listen to most EDM on headphones, or when, you know, I'm dancing, I don't really care what the artists are doing on stage. I listen to the music, not watch it.

I've come across Rudimental recently and wasn't aware of their place in this "new wave of UK dance music". This post has made me very happy.

Thanks for the introduction to these artists.
posted by treedream at 7:28 AM on June 21, 2013 [2 favorites]


Since we're deep in this derail about live performance of electronic music, let me share this fine jwz rant about a Daft Punk tribute band
how does that even work? Daft Punk are basically DJs who wear funny motorcycle helmets. So a tribute band is... different guys in similar helmets pressing play on the same CD? Yeah, pretty much. They are really nice helmets, though.
jwz has evolved though, he's beyond "get off my lawn!" to "those crazy kids.. but I'll take their money!".

Some of this music linked here is good, but I don't get all the vocals. Is this really club dance music or is it more radio music? Anyway, I like the beats on Mozart's House.
posted by Nelson at 7:36 AM on June 21, 2013


Hey, let's not bicker and argue about who killed dance music!

I found a bunch of good things courtesy of work and some friends yesterday. This dude nobody had ever heard of is totally killing it and was just signed to Funk D'Void's Outpost label.
posted by mkb at 7:37 AM on June 21, 2013 [3 favorites]


in light of all the disclosure "miming" stuff... let's look to another British band to show you how miming is really done.

been following a lot of these artists for a minute. disclosure is good live; a definite change of pace from "button-pushers" with a healthy dose of live instrumentation and vocals.

(i've always loved to assume that performers who look blasé on their laptops are on excel or SPSS... try that next time you go to a show)
posted by raihan_ at 8:15 AM on June 21, 2013 [1 favorite]


I'm torn. On the one hand, this just sounds much like the same overplayed diva house that got boring as hell in the 90s in the first place. On the other hand, I'm currently enthralled by the retro-electro 80s throwback stylings of Perturbator and the like, so my position doesn't have much grounds to stand on.
posted by FatherDagon at 8:22 AM on June 21, 2013


This post is a treat and I salute you.
The Disclosure record is the most completely satisfying dance debut I've heard since Remedy in 99 (even if it is made up largely of tracks scattered over the last couple years)

This stuff is right up my alley: built for dancefloors rather than clubs full of nodding trainspotters or stadiums full of bobbing tweens.
posted by Senor Cardgage at 8:45 AM on June 21, 2013 [1 favorite]


Thanks everyone!

Nelson, I wouldn't say it was unusual to hear vocals-led dance music in UK clubs, there has been a huge crossover of dance music that's charting and dance music being played by DJs.
posted by ellieBOA at 9:03 AM on June 21, 2013


Dear iTunes, get this stuff into the US store so I can give you my money. No love, a US listener who is annoyed at seeing iTunes links on youtube only to be foiled by "not available in the US store".
posted by immlass at 1:12 PM on June 21, 2013


rant ahead:

i think that most of the "live drummer" electronic set ups nowadays are uninspired and boring. your music is programmed with 808s, 909s, machinedrums, elektrons and EQ'ed samples; at which point did you think it makes sense to solely use a mic'ed kit with 2 triggers (if that)? silly. There's a local promoter whose whole shtick is "[[electronic act here]] playing with A LIVE DRUMMER!!!!" The caveat is that the drummer has to understand the material and add to it... that rarely happens. Anyway...

Part of the joy of electronic music (whether it is house, hip-hop, or singer-songwriters) is how hard the drums hit on a good system. good drummers understand the disparity in sounds and work accordingly: Questlove uses a Yamaha Subkick on his bass drum and and is running a tight sub-mix that makes kit sound beefy, like a good hip-hop production. James Blake, Disclosure and most of the current crop of UK-based acts get this.

as noted upthread, radiohead does this well (hell, they use some of the gear noted in this post in a live setting... very cool) and some hip-hop DJs have done this to good effect: DJ AM's (RIP) collaboration with Travis Barker might be the most well-known, but watching Questlove play drums and trade decks with a DJ might've been my favorite thing in this vein, even though it's way different from the style of music in this thread.
posted by raihan_ at 3:51 PM on June 21, 2013 [2 favorites]


immlass: Amazon mp3 is generally more satisfying to me than iTunes as a consumer AND I just successfully bought a BB release thereon (specifically the My Nu Leng EP)
posted by thedaniel at 4:29 PM on June 21, 2013


I'm not too into Mozart's House, but Lulu James' Closer is stunning, thanks.
posted by jeffburdges at 5:37 AM on June 22, 2013


Thanks for introducing me to Clean Bandit, they seem to have a sense of humour. Maybe someone can identify the mix of Toddla T Take it Back that appears on this edition of Tim Love Lee's Two for Tennis show. It is not on the release EP. Naturally the show is fantastic, but if you can't be bothered listening for over an hour to get to it, click the fast forward button about 30-40 times to jump to the right spot. It is mixed out of a track has a vocal that says, I'll take you back, and followed by a disco funk thing.
posted by asok at 9:18 AM on June 22, 2013


Asok, did you try shazaming it? I love Toddla T, his Fabric Live cd is fantastic.
posted by ellieBOA at 1:46 PM on June 22, 2013


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