First off I want to thank all of you who followed the entire countdown last week. But today I’m back with a new track! I honestly don’t know what the fuck this song is. I got it in my inbox the other day, and next thing I know I’m bobbing my head and singing along. It’s mad catchy and definitely has the longest title of the year. I visited Bearcraft‘s Myspace page to find our more about the dude, and he is a promising new songwriter out of the UK. “The Werewolf” is his debut single and will be released in April on Hottwerk records. The remix was done by The Voluntary Butler Scheme, another UK act, who likes to chill you out while they get you dancing. And of course Lazertits is back!
Archive for March, 2010
Daft Punk – Digital Love (2003)
Dir. Kazuhisa Takenouchi
Was there any doubt that Daft Punk would be the #1 Most Influential Dance Artist on this countdown? Their influence transcends genre. Not only does every current dance act hold them at the highest of esteem but Hip Hop stars like Kanye West and Busta Rhymes have sampled them, Pharrell and J Dilla appear on their Daft Club album, and even R&B singer Jazmine Sullivan, along with help form Missy Elliot, took their own take on Daft’s “Veridis Quo.” Just the other day I heard a Daft Punk song on historic LA Hip-Hop radio station K-Day. But most importantly their presence, success, and sound is the biggest contributor to this current wave of new dance acts in America. There would be no MSTRKRFT, No Crookers, No HARD Festivals, if the love for Daft Punk was not so high. Last year around this time I wrote an article on how Daft Punk’s appearance at Coachella in 2006 changed the World, and I stick by my bold claim. Besides their music being the best dance music I’ve ever heard, they have done things that no other dance artist has even attempted to take on. They teamed with Toei Animation to create Interstella 5555, a full length film interpretation of their album Discovery. Their music has been used to promote Adidas, iTunes, DJ Hero and they even appeared in a Gap ad with Juliette Lewis. And to top it off this December they will be scoring the Disney film Tron: Legacy. There’s nothing these guys cant do and I cant wait to see them on their next global tour.
Kraftwerk – Kraftwerk are widely considered the inventors of Electronic music. They have been making music since the 70’s and are one of the biggest influences on Hip-Hop and Dance music. Their songs have been sampled by Zulu Nation, Jay-Z, J Dilla, and about everyone else on the planet. And though they might be the most influential band in dance music, the problem is they are just too old. They have little to do with the current wave of dance music sweeping the states (which was the main criteria for the countdown). They are probably one of the biggest influences for every artist on this list, but again, I don’t think their sound has much to do with the current sound of dance music.
Diplo – Diplo is the polar opposite of Kraftwerk. Instead of being too old, the guy is just too new. But his influence can not be denied. He is working with just about everyone who is breaking through in this current blog music wave. He has been M.I.A.’s right hand man for years, works with Crookers frequently, made a ton of splash with his Santigold mixtape, and is popping up on everyone’s radar with his current project Major Lazer. I’m just wondering when this dude gets to sleep. He’s an unrivaled producer and one of the best DJ’s on the planet.
Basement Jaxx – Basement Jaxx are one of the best dance groups in the game. They can smooth it out with some Chill-out that sounds like Air or turn it up with some crazy dance music that will rival Fatboy Slim. Their absence from the list has to do with their lack of crossover success. Besides their singe “Where’s Your Head At?” they do not have much recognition in the states with non-dance heads. But overseas they are legends. I was lucky enough to catch a Basement Jaxx show in their hometown of London, and goddamn it was one of the best shows and most hyped crowds I’ve ever seen.
I WILL BE BACK WITH THE #1 ACT LATER TODAY!
Chemical Brothers – Let Forever Be (1999)
Dir. Michel Gondry
The #2 Most Influential Dance Artists are the Kings of Big Beat, the Chemical Brothers. Chem. Bros. are one of the biggest and most influential artists on the planet regardless of genre. They have worked with a slew of big time artists including members of Oasis, the Flaming Lips, Mercury Rev and Mazzy Star. They have also quietly reshaped the sound of Hip-Hop with the ground-breaking track “Galvanize” with Q-Tip and even “Get Yourself High” with K-Os. Now artists like David Guetta and Benny Benassi are getting tons of radio play with their techno house collaborations with popular rappers. Another sure sign of crossover status is when your videos start getting a lot of rotation on MTV. In the late 90’s Chemical Brothers snagged up hot director Michel Gondry for their mind-bending “Let Forever Be” video (above) as well as the breath-taking promo for “Star Guitar.” They are still one of the largest dance acts on the planet and have been on top for about 15 years. This summer they are headlining the Sonar Music Festival in Barcelona and are playing at the Hollywood Bowl in August.
Fatboy Slim – Weapon of Choice (2001)
Dir. Spike Jonze
Muthafucking Fatboy Slim is #3. This dude is one of the biggest DJs in the world and one of the best producers as well. He is one of the originators of the Big Beat sound and has been getting radio play since the mid 90’s. He’s headlined every big dance concert on the planet and his music videos with Spike Jonze are some of the most legendary videos ever made. The video above featuring Christopher Walken ‘s ridiculous dance moves was nominated for MTV’s Video of the Year along with taking home the most Moonmen in 01. His 1998 video for Praise You, which was not only directed by, but stars Spike Jonze won a VMA for Breakthrough Video of the Year. Recently he’s appeared on the Blur’s latest album, released a Gorillaz type project as Brighton Port Authority, and is currently working on a project with David Byrne. This dude has been on top forever, and as far a single DJ’s go, you cant get any bigger than Fatboy Slim.
Fatboy Slim – North West Three (Vinyl Rip)
Moby – Bodyrock (1999)
Dir. Fredrik Bond
Coming in as the #4 Most Influential Dance Artist is Moby, the only American on the list. This might be a surprise to some, especially those familiar with Moby’s recent lighter works, but the dude was very prominent in the techno scene in the early 90’s. His most impressive trait is his ridiculous versatility. He can make a hard dance track and then smooth it out with a song that sounds like a 60’s soul record. He broke through to the mainstream in 1999 with the incredible success of his SIXTH studio album Play. I fell in love after hearing Play’s “Porcelain” when it was used in Danny Boyle’s film The Beach. After he gained some pop success, he gained even more notoriety when he and Eminem had a huge beef at the VMA’s which escalated after Em muttered the line “No one listens to techno” on his huge single “Without Me.” Nowadays a bald white guy with thick black glasses can’t even walk the streets without everyone pointing and calling him Moby.
The Prodigy – Breathe (1996)
Dir. Walter Stern
UK band The Prodigy lands at #5. These guys make some crazy ass electronic music. Their approach to dance music is so unique, there hasn’t really been any followers that have been able to replicate their sound. They blend hardcore rock alongside jungle, drum-n-bass, and techno for a sound that is as wild as their live shows. Their video for “Breathe” was nominated for MTV’s Video of the Year in 1997. A feat that no other alternative dance act had ever pulled off. The following year their video for “Smack My Bitch Up” turned the video world on its ear. It was banned in many countries and is one of my favorite videos of all time. They’re still touring and releasing albums and are heralded as one of the original modern dance music icons.