Tuesday, 28 January 2014

The Definitive Sound Of 2014 (Predictions)

As with the beginning of every new year, a huge array of lists and polls, both mainstream and alternative emerge with hot tips for breakthrough artists in the coming months. Usually they are selected by industry experts, or if not, self indulgent believers in their music taste (self proclaimed experts) and I'm afraid that this post is to an extent of the latter kind. However, to avoid a cliched rant and keep a little bit of originality going, this list is going to feature a little more diversity surrounding the predicted ups and downs of the music world over the next 12 months.

'Deep' Electronic Music Will Continue To Dominate
Not wishing to anger the Mixmag purists, this isn't a suggestion that we'll get a huge resurgence in A Guy Called Gerald rerubs and headlining from Frankie Knuckles (although that would be a nice idea), but that the more general trend of deepish dance music will continue to thrive. The heavy, minimal drops of songs like LRAD, Animals and Booyah dominating the club scene will inspire a whole new similar wave, alongside the rise of a development of the 'deep/pop/garage' sound pioneered by Disclosure and AlunaGeorge in mainstream radio.

Modern interpretations of this deep house through DJ's such as Hot Since 82 and Shadow Child will break out into more mainstream dance culture, so stay tuned for big things from up and coming artists like Golden Boy, Ejeca and Maribou State. Even artists more known for other genres are jumping on this so called bandwagon with some great success, check out Sub Focus's Turn Back Time for proof of that.

Lemaitre Will Become Gods For Hipsters
If you don't know Lemaitre, their a Norwegian band specialising in funk influenced indie electronica. They released 3 EP's over the last 2 years called Relativity 1, Relativity 2, and Relativity 3, following up with club mixes and remixes in Relativity By Nite. Hoping for an orchestral, 'Special relativity' release very soon, featuring a guest appearance sample by the great Einstein himself, to be released both in particle and wave format.

Download Festival Won't Be As Good As 2013
While my love of rock and metal music is less discussed on this blog, I have been a faithful disciple at Download for the past three years and in terms of headliners, 2013 featured possibly the strongest line up in metal music. Slipknot's visceral, raw and at times emotional performance shook the mainstage, Iron Maiden provided a trip back into the nostalgic mists of metal past and Rammstein set the festival ablaze (quite literally), with an experience unlike anything I've ever witnessed. Enter Shikari caused a meltdown on the second stage, A Day To Remember kicked ass with crowd antics, and new blood Heart Of A Coward, and viking metallers Turisas provided excellent afternoon support in the Pepsi Max Tent. Even with Aerosmith and the whole of Hybrid Theory, the headliners in 2014 just don't have the same, awesome quality to them.

Kanye West News
Call me Kanye, will sign into legal contract a decree that the first born grandchild of his own daughter, North West, must be called North by North West. Puntastic indeed. Also, he'll probably make some outrageous statements to be parodied across the internet.

Drum & Bass Returning In Triumph
Where 2011 was the year that Dubstep got big, 2012 was the year that the woefully described EDM (read electro house with heavier basslines) got big and 2013 was the year that cool, 'deep' and disco house got big once again, 2014 will see the return of one of my favourite electronic genres, drum and bass. The regression away from what one interviewee of mine described as Microsoft Windows loading style bass sounds works in favour of this genre known for it's deep, smooth vibes.

Leading the way has been a swathe of recent albums from both established and lesser known producers that have pushed the envelope further, creating a distinctive and cinematic sound for the future. Check out S.P.Y's What The Future Holds, Nu:Logic's What I've Always Waited For and Lung's Wait Less Suspense to hear what tommorow's DnB will sound like, elegant, classy and in albums beginning with a W. Look out for big releases from producers like Metrik, Sigma and Fred V & Grafix and take another listen to albums such as Spill from Calibre and Wilkinson's Lazers Not Included, just cause there rather excellent! And maybe, just maybe, we'll get another Pendulum album!!!!

Twitter Spats Will Continue
Those involved in them, I cannot say, but it's pretty much an inevitability. But I'd like to imagine that Wiley and Pitbull will have a row, resorting to ever stranger half rhymes to diss each other, Kojak to Kodak to GoFlak (yourself).

Strange Combined Genres Will Also Continue
Following Avicii's shocking (it's actually quite good, but whatever) release of a dance album inspired by country music, the one man capable of trashing a genre in one song, (Can't Believe It - modern deep house, Feel This Moment - eighties power pop), Pitbull stepped up with Ke$ha to release the irritatingly catchy Timber. Now I've been informed why you'd actually yell timber, all due to the philosophical problem of a tree not making a noise when it falls in a forest, we can only imagine what's next to come.

My favourite combination is of Reggae, Trap and Metal in the Iicarus Remix of Skindred's Kill The Power is a good start, but I'd like to see old school hip hop fused with some black metal guitars, or maybe 80's power pop vocals over an ambient soundscape (think James Blake with A Flock of Seagulls). If anyone has any great combination ideas, let me know

Pop Music Might Just Get It's Mojo Back
It's very cool to hate pop, to dismiss it as too mainstream and to claim that you only love Abba cause they pioneered the Scandanavian Electropop genre, waving your Sally Shapiro and Say Lou Lou vinyls around. But the truth is, the charts, while not generally an indicator of innovation, are not the only place where you can find 'pop' music. Artists such as LIGHTS, Alpines and Mona Lisa Veto are all proof that it's possible to make sohpisticated pop music, electronic or otherwise and it's not inconcievable that we could see a couple of great albums from them soon. Maybe even an XX or James Blake album by the end of the year to really whet our appetites.

The Foo Fighters New Album Will Be Good
Even if it's only an average good, a legion of fans will defend it, and an average Foo's record is still a very good one in the total scale of musical quality.

Boybands With Hair Will Be In The Charts, Sadly
With modern music always seeming to draw it's influence from history at about a 15-20 year gap, the age of the classic boybands and inevitable solo breakouts (if such a title exists) is featuring it's return. Thanks to legions of adoring fans on social networking, it's now possible for between one to five or so young men with some hair to do some youtube videos, buy a single guitar (at best) and thanks to some careful management, release top 10 singles. I'd love to profess that I have key examples of this, but in the wake of the break up of both JLS and The Wanted, I don't actually know who the names of these people and groups, but you can probably find them in Twitter hashtags.

While the fans may be faintly irritating, the music banal at best and downright dull at worst and the whiff of careful image management PR at the heart of this resurgence, you have to respect that these guys are making a lot of money out of essentially having some hair. Cause while we may all profess to hate the Biebers and Harry Styles's of this world, they probably have a pretty darn awesome time as a result. Even the Bieb's arrest only goes to show that they have an actual human side underneath all that corporate PR.

Prince Might Die
I don't want Prince to die. He's one of the best musicians of the 20th century, and a true legend. But announcing a huge comeback tour at an advanced age is a recipe for trouble. Just look at Michael Jackson.

If anyone has any thought on my thoughts, or any thoughts of their own on what I might have missed, please do let me know.

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