2014 A Year In Dance

Steve & Fake Aoki
Will the real Steve Aoki please stand up? Pic:

2014 was a big one for EDM. ANDREW NELSON looks back…

It’s been a busy year in the dance music world, one where the behemoth that is EDM continued to flex its muscles.


From the world’s number one DJ, Hardwell, headlining at Future Music and Avicii with a solo Perth Arena performance at year’s start, through to Porter Robinson and Steve Aoki – and his doppelganger, Jarred Seng – rocking things at Stereosonic in November, the last 12 months have been full of big name DJs pressing the auto effect buttons and lifting arms aloft like Jesus to accept the praise of the faithful – only pausing to throw the odd cake here and there.


Similarly, deep house continued to expand its remit, the term now seems to be an all-encompassing moniker that could mean anything from ‘90s vocal house, through to UK garage. We also saw the emergence of the internet-only label PC Music with its divisive take on self-promotion and musical style, being described by Resident Advisor as a strange mixture of ‘Japanese manga, happy hardcore and grime’.


The EDM craze was omnipotent in Ibiza too with the once uber-trendy Ushuaia hosting five nights a week of crowd-pleasing commercial fodder. Space, recently returned to the spot of world’s number club, kept things a bit more underground and showed why they’re still going strong 25 years on while Sven Vath and his Cocoon night celebrated 15 years at Amnesia.


Closer to home Sven had another anniversary – five years of stellar line-ups at Future Music, Deadweight had ‘Four F***ing years in Perth’ and Habitat brought up 10 years in style with a rocking set by John Digweed, whilst earlier in the month Digweed’s old sparring partner, Sasha, proved that the oldies have still got it with an extended killer set at The Court. Ten years is also the length of time that local collective The Community have been keeping things fresh in WA and they used two rooms to celebrate their unique brand of ‘independence through collaboration’.


Notable albums in 2014 included Lone’s masterful Reality Testing (accompanied by a sterling free gig at the Good Shepherd), the much anticipated and highly vaunted returns of Aphex Twin and Moodymann and some excellent techno and tech groove long-players by Efdemin, Objekt and Kassem Mosse. Tune-wise there are far too many to mention but tracks by Ten Walls, Bicep, Leon Vynehall, Tessela and Max Cooper all made big impressions over the last 12 months.

On a more sombre note, this year we lost the talents of Frankie Knuckles, DJ Rashad, Mark Bell (LFO) and Kode9 collaborator Spaceape, but if there is anything to be gained from these early departures from the dancefloor it’s that more people have acquainted themselves with their varied legacies (Knuckles in particular, without whom this article would probably not exist.). Also check out Next Life, a compilation of footwork artists from Hyperdub and Teklife with all proceeds going to Rashad’s son, Chad.


Viny continued its renaissance with global sales continuing to rise whilst the end of CDs seem inevitable with Pioneer releasing the CD-less deck and Osgut Ton releasing their Panorama Bar 06 compilation via free download. In tech news there was some excitement at the reincarnation of the 303, 808 and 909 by Roland causing some tech heads to get all misty eyed and Native Instruments’ Traktor Kontrol S8 DJ controller pointed the way to a ‘New era in DJing’.


As for predictions in 2015, Chemical Brothers will return with a belter of a new album and Knife Party will blow The Prodigy away at Future Music. Now he’s returned from his slumber Aphex Twin will release two new long-players, old skool hardcore raving will come storming back into fashion and the EDM bubble will burst spectacularly as a much vaunted EDM on the moon party with Guetta, Aoki and Avicii will bomb due to lack of atmosphere. Watch this space…