Thursday, 20 December 2012

2012's Goodbyes

Although 2012 has in general been a rather excellent year for me, and has delivered an exquisite range of electronic music to gently cosset the ears of the assembled masses (except in the case of Drumstep where cossetting is replaced by machine gunning.) Yet through the rose tinted spectacles with which history appears to remember things thus passed, there are always a few upsets to the party, and in this case, premature departures. Pray silence for the ending, splitting and destruction of some of dance music's brightest stars.

Without Pendulum, I'd never have gotten into electronic music in the same way, and Rob Swire's announcement that Pendulum will not be performing or writing as a group for the foreseeable future was a rather painful one. From the first time I heard Blood Sugar, a squealing, thrashing, devastating stomper that tugged at my then rock music obsessed mind, through three albums of mayhem, Pendulum unleashed a selection of wonderful songs, that had notes of groove, style and quality production, but never stole from the fact that when performed live, they'd create utter chaos. From classics Slam, Granite and Hold Your Colour, to true epics such as The Tempest, they are best live band I've ever had the privelige to see and will be sorely missed. Never has singing na na, na na, na na na na nahhhh in a mosh pit been such fun!!
Does It Offend You, Yeah?
Pendulum may be the best live band I've ever seen, but for sheer fun, these guys are right up there alongside them. With only two albums under their belt, and through their more independent approach, DIOY,Y? never quite hit the spotlight in the same way that similar acts such as Hadouken! managed. What made them so excellent was the myriad genres they tackled, ripped up and rearranged to create a unique blend of electronica, indie rock, dance and almost anything else you care to mention. Currently on hiatus, with various members now dabbling in side projects, it is with a heavy heart, I regret to inform you of their current demise. Everything they did, from stormy favourites We Are Rockstars and The Wrestler, to the gentler climes of Dawn of The Dead and Broken Arms, was truly excellent. Plus, any band who calls a song Attack Of The 60 Foot Lesbian Octopus deserves a lifetime achievement award. Fact.

Swedish House Mafia
They sold out Milton Keynes bowl, having written 6 songs. Forget the pile of remixes done by various members of the group, or even their cumulative effort in reworking Coldplay's Every Teardrop Is A Waterfall. A 65,000 capacity venue, in a nondescript town north of London, and they filled it. They may be mocked for being to commercial, for being no greater than the sum of their parts, but in three years, the three men from Sweden conquered the world of house music, and left us begging for more. From the first time One, with a riff so simple, yet so well engineered that it propelled the group to the top of the charts, came through your radio, don't pretend you weren't impressed. Post Milton Keynes, with the release of Don't You Worry Child, they announced a final gig at Ultra Music Festival, three years from when they began!

 It is important to note that in the case of Pendulum, Rob Swire & Gareth McGrillen are still functioning as Knife Party, and have risen Phoenix / Jesus like from the ashes / grave to take over dance music all over again. This is good news, and has prevented the Mayan Apocalypse :)

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