Aug 28, 2010
Countdown to Electric Zoo – Part 5
Aeroplane - We Can't Fly [PIAS France]
Flying Lotus - Gng Bng [Warp]
Pretty Lights - I Can See It In Your Face [Pretty Lights]

With one more week left, Electric Zoo is right around the corner! I’m sure you’ve been keeping up to date with our previous coverage, and this week will be yet another of our featured posts. So far, we’ve covered electro house, dubstep, trance, minimal, and techno. Now, you might be left wondering what’s next. What more could we possibly write about? Well folks, I’m here today to talk about what many would term “miscellaneous.” They’ve been called experimental, new age, even genreless. For the sake of this post, I am going to save you the trouble of categorization and simply talk about their sound. After all, music is expression of self, and the self is often difficult to put into words. So without further ado, I present to you the ambiguous piece of our puzzle: Electric Zoo Part 5.

First up is Aeroplane. I first discovered this guy from Radio 1’s 500th Essential Mix live from Circus in Liverpool. He kicked off the event with a great set, pulling from genres all across the board that ranged from reggae to ambient. Aeroplane was the brain child of the Italian-Belgian duo Stephen Basano and co-captain Vito De Luca. Nowadays, Vito is flying solo after Bassano peacefully left the group to pursue other musical paths. Nevertheless, the plane is flying as true as ever. Take the hit single We Can’t Fly. It’s a hip tune that echoes the sound of music from a generation in their golden years. When I listen to this track I think of a modern-day Queen. Aeroplane’s got a big load of remixes too. Check out his MySpace for a choice bag of goodies.

Next up we have the esteemed Dusty Kid. His MySpace labels him as electronica/techno/psychedelic. Whatever he is, he owns. Take for instance Here Comes the Techno. It has all the great elements of any techno track – sophisticated, sexy bass, penetrating lines of drum, and of course, repetitive synth at its finest. If you loved this one, you’ll be able to enjoy his other tracks. His set starts at 1:30 on Sunday. So, if you don’t feel like getting raped by Cosmic Gate that early in the day, go see the Kid for a dose of eclectic goodness.

It’s an honor to be able to introduce one of my personal favorites: Flying Lotus. Where do I start with an artist like FlyLo? Well, he comes from a very musical background. His uncle was the influential jazz saxophonist John Coltrane, married of course to jazz pianist Alice Coltrane. You might recognize FlyLo’s music from the late-night Adult Swim bumps on Cartoon Network. This is the guy who spawned my love of experimental EDM. His album Los Angeles is a favorite of mine. The musiciality of it is phenomenal as Flying Lotus purveys sonic waves of new-era, hop hop, and jazz rolled up into one fat musical blunt. Oh yeah, and did I mention he won the coveted Essential Mix of the Year in 2008? …Well, he did. I’ve added the badass track Gng Bng to this post. Be sure to check this guy out, but be ready to have your mind blown.

Jon Hopkins is a beautifully gifted composer from London who has been described as “bold electronic music using walls of synths, lustrous melodies and amorphous bass rumbles.” Vessel sounds audaciously gorgeous. More jazz than EDM, this track takes my breath away from start to finish. You can just imagine yourself perched on a mountaintop staring over the horizon. Then, at the tail-end of the song, a bucket of wobbly synth dumps all over you. It’s quite a treat. I’m not sure what kind of and experience Hopkins would give during his live performances, but I’m sure it would sound amazing. Festival-goers looking for boisterous, crazy music should pass up this set; this one is for people who can take a break from all the craziness and appreciate a breath of fresh, musical air.

The last artist I’m going to talk about for this post is Pretty Lights. Straight out of Colorado, Pretty Lights takes to the stage with DJ/Producer Derek Vincent Smith and live drummer Cory Eberhard. If you liked my post on Savoy, then you will probably enjoy these guys as well. It sounds like Savoy turned down a notch or two and injected with hip hop. But don’t get me wrong – these guys rock. Their hit single I Can See It In Your Face has been rocking dancefloors all across the country. It’s a groovy beat laced with cuts and scratches and layered with jazzy samples and horns. I instantly fell in love with this track the first time I heard it. It’s just fun, feel good party music. Pretty Lights performs at 8:45 on Saturday – don’t miss ‘em!

Well folks, that about wraps up this edition of Countdown to Electric Zoo. I hope that you all discovered a little bit more about EDM’s dark side of the moon. Just sitting here writing this post really makes me wish I was going to Electric Zoo. Luckily, a lot of our team will be there, so be sure to check out our review after all is said and done. Stay tuned for the final part of our countdown next week–but until then, listen, comment, and enjoy.