I believe that music lovers have a responsibility to share the music we love with as many people as we can. While the digitalization of music has allowed for almost infinitely more opportunities for aspiring artists to get recognized, it is still far too often that we see the same group of artists pushing the same tired songs on us. Dressed up with a slightly different synth and a different vocal maybe, but still the same thing we have heard over and over again at main stages the world over.
There are still thousands of incredibly talented artists struggling to find an avenue to promote their music. I don’t currently have an avenue to reach all that many people, but if I can turn even a few of you on to some great new music, I feel like I’m helping “The Cause”. “The Cause” being pushing that which is new and exciting to the forefront. Stopping the cycle of rewarding artists for refusing to take risks, refusing to innovate, refusing to create rather than recycle. But I digress. Before this turns into a rant against the commercialization of dance music, let me get to the point of this post.
Instead of trying to come up with an arbitrary list of the “best” or “top” tracks or albums of 2014, I want to share my favorite discoveries of the strange and wonderful musical journey I took in 2014. You won’t find artists like Odesza, DARKSIDE and Caribou on this list, even though I did discover them in 2014. That isn’t because I don’t think they are amazing, I certainly do. But my goal here is not to reiterate what we all already know. My goal is to share some lesser known artists that are doing amazing things in dance music. So without further ado, my favorite discoveries in no particular order. I’m not sorting anything by genre, because I believe that great music stands on its own, free of labels. You can be assured that everything in here contains a whole lot of bass and a whole lot of beauty.
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Audio is by no means new to the drum and bass scene, but he was new to me in 2014. I was lucky enough to see him at the Basspod at EDC Las Vegas and it was one of the best live performances of my year. His set had so much raw energy. Even though he was one of the first sets of the night and almost no one was there, everyone couldn’t help but go wild for the whole hour. Recently signed to Andy C’s RAM records, Audio released one of the best drum and bass EP’s of the year, Nil by Mouth. All 4 tracks on the EP are completely mental and were played out around the globe by everyone in the scene. He’s been around for 15 years, but he’s finally getting the recognition that he deserves from the drum and bass world.
Anybody who knows me knows I am VERY picky about trap music. So the fact that Apashe ranks among my favorite artists of 2014 is a big surprise to me. One listen to his banger No Twerk and you will understand why he is on this list. Apashe is studying sound design (electroacoustics) at Concordia University in Montreal and that training is very evident in his music. His sound is massive and fully realized. Apashe is one of the stars of Kannibalen Records, who quietly had one of the best years of any label in dance music. I expect HUGE things from Apashe and his label mates Kai Wachi, Dabin, SNAILS, and Black Tiger Sex Machine in the upcoming year.
Switching gears a bit, MOTHXR is an up and coming band from Brooklyn. They maybe don’t quite fit on a list of dance music, as they categorize themselves as an indie band, but I believe they merit inclusion. I’m at a loss really for how to describe them, so I’ll just say this. If you are a fan of Odesza and Caribou and looking for similar artists, check out MOTHXR. I think they have a very real chance to be the Odesza of 2015 and are very deserving of that praise.
Reloaded may be the most prolific producer on the planet. I honestly can’t keep up with everything he puts on his Soundcloud. He legitimately posts 3-4 songs every week. I don’t know how he does it. Everything he makes is drum and bass, but ranges from liquid to neuro to jump up and all points in between. Liquid seems to be where is heart and should is though. You have to admire the man just for his work ethic, but every song he posts ranges from good to great as well.