Last weekend Chicago’s Montrose Beach, located on the massive Lake Michigan, played host to the second year of Wavefront Music Festival. There were a few reasons the MMIBTY team couldn’t have been more excited for July 5-7 to arrive:
1.) Only one of us lives in Chicago while the rest of us either hadn’t been or we had visited and fallen in love with the city only to have returned home at a later time
2.) Wavefront is a three-day music festival that is literally on the beach, making it like no other festival in America
3.) It’s one of the few festivals that books big name acts (such as Rusko, Diplo, and Justice) while also focusing on more underground names in Seth Troxler, Jamie Jones/Damian Lazarus, and dOP to name a few. [Check out dOP's live set HERE]
The key takeaway from our experience with almost 75,000 dance music fans was this festival was so much fun and truly a fantastic time – maybe the best dance music festival in the U.S. But since we had a handful of writers in attendance I’m going to let you hear about it from each one’s perspective.
We’re all used to the Rusko exclamation “Put ‘em up put ‘em up put ‘em up!” when we see him at a live show, shouting at the crowd over the mic. Well now he wants us to lift him up, as he dropped the Lift Me Up EP on Skrillex’s OWSLA label today. Anticipation for the three-song release began just a couple weeks ago with some teaser hype and even a free download of the track “Take Off” back at the beginning of June.
I feel like there is some divide among Rusko fans. There are those who have been following the Brit since day one, when he was producing raw and grimy Dubstep tracks. Then there are fans of the newer-school Rusko who began producing lighter, happy-go-lucky Dubstep that some refer to as Brostep. While I like both sides of his work, I’ve found myself with a sense fondness in regard to his more recent stuff, especially with the Reggae-infused LP Songs that came out last year. Again, I like all sides of Rusko’s music but I also appreciate that he originally emerged with a unique sound and that he continues to evolve his sound to remain unique. Make sense?
Lift Me Up is strictly Drum & Bass (DnB) – all tracks clock in at 175bpm. Personally this doesn’t come as a surprise, as I learned Rusko would be moving in the DnB direction after I spoke with one of our now-mutual friends (shout out Speez!). The production value remains extremely high and the songs have a bit of flavor similar to the last two releases (which includes the Kapow EP). While “Lift Me Up” and “Murda Sound” are more aggressive tunes, they manage to incorporate melodic synths and vocal samples that allow the tracks to appeal to a wider range of people. “Starlight”, featuring Claes Rosen, is the ballad of the three tunes and reminds me a bit of something Netsky or Sub Focus would put out. My early favorite from the EP would be “Murda Sound” but that can change at any moment.
Overall, the Lift Me Up EP is a VERY solid release from Rusko and I’m very excited to see him play these tracks live at Wavefront Music Festival in Chicago this weekend. If you Boston folks reading this are around on the 5th, make sure to head to Ocean Club to see him spin. Tickets are still available.
Without further adieu here are the Co-Founders’/Editors’ favorite 10 songs from 2012. It’s clear we all have varying tastes in electronic music but at the same time there are some tunes that seem to rub us all the right way.
For as many singles releases as we see all the time in dance music, there are the artists who still realize the creative advantages to releasing an multi-track release like an album or an EP. 80′s babies will remember the days when you had to buy a CD just to get the song you wanted and can appreciate listening to the whole thing and hearing some pleasant surprises (or sometimes utter disappointment). With the advent of technology came a la carte music, with everyone only buying the songs they wanted and artists no longer feeling compelled to release more than one track at a time. Albums, however, remain a powerful way to convey the full spectrum of an artist’s creative talents and ideas and so we wanted to recap some of our favorites of the past 12 months here. Click through to read all about it!
KAPOW! British Dubstep (or “Brostep” if you wanna get into a debate about it) producer extraordinaire Christopher Mercer, aka Rusko, is back and as stellar as ever with this four-song EP released today for free to fans on his email list (also being released on iTunes on November 6th). This is Rusko’s first release since he put out his full-length masterpiece Songs back in March of this year and it builds perfectly onto that collection of Reggae-infused, melodic music that sees no shortage of his signature wobbles.
My early vote for favorite of the EP is the opening track “Like This”. This jam has a nice driving beat, plenty of vocal samples including one that goes “Wow” – which is what I said to myself when I first heard it – and sharp crispy wobbles that fall under some layered synths. I think there’s also a DMX sample with him saying “What?!”. What’s interesting to note about “Like This” is it clocks in at 110 BPM which is where Moombahton usually falls, although this track definitely doesn’t have a Moombahton feel to it.
“Booyakasha” is another fun one that has a more traditional Dubstep feel to it, although again this is plenty more melodic than the Rusko of old (thinking of songs like “Mr. Chips“). I can already see Rusko boppin’ around stage and putting his hand up when the “Booyakasha” vocal sample drops in. “Bring It Back” is a song that most closely fits with the Songs LP in that is has more vocal work and could even open up for a crowd singalong.
All in all the EP is a fantastic effort by one of our favorite producers in any genre of dance music but make sure to check out the tracks for yourself and see what your thoughts are. Also be sure to catch Rusko on tour this Fall/Winter because he puts on some of the most fun shows I’ve been to. He’ll be in Boston on December 28.
PatrickReza, a 19 year old bass/dubstep music producer, is at the forefront of the up and coming dubstep spotlight. Based out of Los Angeles, California, he has been producing for only one year and already has made a huge name for himself in the scene. His remixes, all of which have smashed the Hype Machine Popular Chart’s Top 5 spots, have gained him noticeable attention! PatrickReza‘s remix of Moby’s “Extreme Ways” is a wild warp of wubs, wobbles, and epic drops.