For me, Phutureprimitive was a gateway artist. I first really got into electronic music through the heavy dance scene of Miami, Florida – home of Ultra Music Festival and a thousand of the most exclusive clubs America has to offer. It’s easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of who’s dropping the latest electro-dubstep-moombah-house tracks in such an atmosphere. I soon realized, however, that such a fast-paced market was lacking two main characteristics: artistic individuality and longevity. All the songs sound the same, and each week there’s a new hit record to replace the last one. And yes, of course there are exceptions (Savant and GRiZ, to name a few), just as there are in any situation. But the point here is that there’s a big difference between a half-heartedly embellished four-on-the-floor beat, created for the sake of keeping the nightclubs packed, and inspired, musically creative electronic music. It was through this quest for more meaningful artistic vision that I came across Phutureprimitive for the first time.
Here is an artist who has demonstrated an incredible knack for producing high quality, high fidelity electronic music that remains authentic in the face of emotionless banality. “Lush melodies drift across intricate rhythms, groove-heavy beats and warm, fuzzy bass lines. Often exploring a dark and dense palette, his music also manages to convey a sense of tranquility and beauty, engaging the listener into hypnotic movement and often escalating toward a full kinetic experience.”
Electronic music has come a long way since it’s humble beginnings in the early 20th century. It began with a desire to use the evolving technology of the time period to create increasingly innovative sounds. This new kind of music, known as musique concrète, was approached mostly as a sandbox for experimentation, rather than as a tool for augmenting popular music. It wasn’t until the late ’60s and early ’70s that electronic music itself began to be popularized. The Moog synthesizer was featured prominently in bands like Pink Floyd, Yes, and Genesis. New Wave and synthpop music began to rise in the commercial market. In the club scene, disco music became hugely popular, followed by techno and house music.
Why is any of this important? Because by understanding the history, we can see the remarkable journey that electronic music has undertaken since its genesis almost a century ago. In the past few years, modern rave culture has exploded and the scene is stronger than ever. As a result, its influence has begun to permeate throughout many other musical genres. Not only is there house, trance, and dubstep, but also styles like electro swing, chiptunes, and even folktronica (what?).
The recent wave of modern dubstep artists has become one of the most polarizing movements in today’s music industry. Love it or hate it, it has had a profound effect on the development of electronic music, and has influenced a variety of derivative styles. One such pioneer goes by the name of Blackmill, and has been producing music that he christens “melodic dubstep.” In a genre that is known for its heavy bass lines and fast-paced sampling, Blackmill’s sound is refreshingly calm. For those of you who find the average dubstep track to be too abrasive (i.e. my last post), I would urge you to continue reading, despite any hesitations you might have, and hopefully be pleasantly surprised by what you find.
His approach to music production is really quite ingenious. Although you might expect to hear an excess of white noise and heavy, distorted bass content, it is refreshing to feel the much gentler touch of Miracle upon your ears. The harsh wobble sounds have been crafted into a much warmer and muted tone. Sharp chord stabs have been replaced with echoing bells and slow-moving synth pads. The music opens up into a much less cluttered arrangement, allowing for a greater emphasis on chordal harmony and ambient sound textures.