Jamie, Giorgio, Diplo & HudMo: How To Know Which Big Summer Dance Album Is For You
Summer signifies many things, but mainly it’s a time to listen to music as loud as possible with as many of your friends as possible. In lieu of that, many music sites jockey to anoint the song of the season each year — btw, congrats to “Lean On” — but this piece has a different aim. In the past month alone, four venerable producer/DJs, spanning a few generations, released solo albums of superlative dance music, each of which can provide the perfect soundtrack for a particular scene and a particular music fan this summer. And after spending a lot of our time writing about and reviewing dance music — which is seriously the lamest way to actually enjoy it — we wanted to make some hypotheses regarding how the albums from Hudson Mohawke, Major Lazer, Jamie xx and Giorgio Moroder will be consumed in the field, especially with the long Fourth Of July weekend finally here.
How do you know which album is appropriate for which occasion? How do you avoid alienating half of your group with an incompatible vibe? More importantly, how do you know what to do/which drugs to take when a specific producer/DJ’s music is playing? With our handy Consumer Guide, you’ll have all the answers needed to maximize lit-ness at summer parties, cookouts, festivals or impromptu raves with club fiends of the same stripe. We guarantee it!
Hudson Mohawke — Lantern
Who should listen to this? Hudson Mohawke made a statement with sophomore album Lantern, and that statement was basically a teenager shouting at the top of his lungs “DON’T TELL ME WHAT TO DO!” After shaking up the EDM landscape a couple years ago with TNGHT, his partnership with Canadian producer/DJ Lunice, HudMo became known for his hip-hop production, most notably on Kanye West’s “Blood on the Leaves.” But Lantern is a schizophrenic confetti canon of electronic music, showing off his versatility in tantrum-like doses. I see this album being the gateway drug for the next generation of dance music fans…kids who were in middle school when “Levels” and Scary Monsters And Nice Sprites came out, and have little time to discern between hip-hop and EDM beat drops or trap and trap-rave. Basically, I see a lot of teenagers making out to “Very First Breath” one minute, then cruising down suburban streets bumping the old school soul rendered in 3D that is “Ryderz” the next.
Where should they listen to this? In suburban basements hosting their teenage sex-and-beer ragers that freak out the olds. It’s The Leftovers‘ pilot episode all over again! Honestly, the score in that scene could have been lifted straight from Lantern.
What should they be doing? Did I say making out already? And partying? And doing all the things the grownups don’t like? Unlike this album, teenagers are pretty simple.
Major Lazer — Peace Is The Mission
Who should listen to this? Diplo’s latest album as leader of the dancehall/reggaeton/EDM Voltron of Major Lazer is designed for the discerning listener who can both appreciate and ignore as much cultural appropriation as possible. These are the dance music fans who became disillusioned with the universally beloved, monoculture producer/DJs of the world (Avicii, Zedd, Steve Aoki), whom they have seen multiple times each in a live setting, and have begun to search for a more “authentic” sound. Although, that search began and ended when Major Lazer’s “Lean On” featuring MØ and DJ Snake appeared on their “dance music” Pandora station at work, which led them to then impulsively buy tickets to Cup Match Summer Splash in Bermuda. And even though the festival isn’t at a resort, it’s cool, because they totally left the grounds of the Sandals in Jamaica that one time on a family vacation and asked some locals if they had any weed, so they can totally handle it.
Where should they listen to this? During a day set at the Cup Match Summer Splash, if possible, with the work friends they split an Airbnb with. Major Lazer appear to be the headliner so the chances of seeing them in the middle of the day are minimal, but those sleepy afternoon sets at big festivals when mental states and expectations aren’t super high yet is where ML thrives.
What should they be doing? Vaping on the $300 Firefly they picked up at the duty free shop with some sick hash oil they bought off a real Rastafarian (he was not a real Rastafarian) outside the festival gates.
Giorgio Moroder — Deja Vu
Who should listen to this? The knights in white satin, baby! This is actually pretty tricky, as the return of the Moog God Giorgio Moroder appeals to two very different groups of people. The first being the millionaire ’80s/’90s club burnouts who have somehow managed to retire on the quietest part of Ibiza, still refer to dance clubs as “discotheques” and usually include a bowl of activated charcoal on the table of their dinner parties next to the olive tapenade. The second being the 20-30 something music nerds who earnestly loved Moroder’s soundtrack work in the ’80s (American Gigolo, The Neverending Story, Top Gun) and appreciate, with a weird seriousness, the unapologetically cheesy Euro-trash dance vibe Moroder has honed to perfection on Deja Vu.
Where should they listen to this? Again, this probably isn’t practical, but the club burnouts should listen to this record at a real live Eastern European discotheque that hasn’t changed since the Berlin Wall fell, and still boasts a collection of original Moroder posters in the manager’s office. As for the music nerds, they will probably get to listen to half the album at their friend’s DJ night in some local dive, synching their Spotify library up with the Pacemaker iPad app.
What should they be doing? The club burnouts will be talking with the Romanian bouncer about their clothes, most of which feature limited edition polyester prints from a long-dead Italian designer who died in an orgy with members Silvio Berlusconi’s cabinet, while the music nerds will probably clean the bar out of High Life bottles while blankly staring at their friend playing music that was made for dancing.
Jamie xx — In Colour
Who should listen to this? In general, Jamie xx’s work is usually listened to by guys with floppy hair, wearing Ray Ban Clubmasters and dark, short-sleeve oxford shirts buttoned all the way to the top. So basically, Jamie xx’s target audience is Jamie xx. And that’s fine! But these are people who have commenter accounts on Resident Advisor, just as like a status thing, and never use them, and are the second wave to move into a transitioning neighborhood, right before it gets fully gentrified, but after it’s been written about in the New York Times. They throw around references to UK-Garage DJs they’ve never really listened to before, and lament the fact that the word “dubstep” got co-opted in America to describe music that sounds nothing like Burial. They went to Bard.
Where should they listen to this? But seriously this is brunch music. Saturday brunch music. At Tandem in Bushwick, probably, but it could be somewhere much quieter, on an outdoor patio that features a small group of people standing awkwardly inside of the door waiting for the very flustered waitress to clear off the plates from the four goddamn tables that are currently open.
What should they be doing? Drinking bottomless mimosas, discussing the latest feature in Dazed, and fingering their favorite vintage coke vial between their fingers under the table, debating if the single, unisex bathroom attached to the courtyard will provide them with enough privacy.