Do live instruments matter in EDM?


Electronic dance music (EDM) is here to stay.

The rise of the genre has gained momentum and popularity over the years, especially among young adults.

So, now that we’re drifting away from the normal concert experience of a live band and trading it in for one or two people behind a DJ booth with multiple electronic machines, the issue of if concerts are live or pre-recorded has come to the forefront.

Instead of condemning the ones who just press play, there are a few electronic artists that stand out and stray from the norm by implementing live instrumentation into their sets. Even though a DJ can manipulate sounds live, adding an actual instrument drastically changes the experience and the sound.

One of these artists will be in Gainesville this weekend.GRiZ, or Grant Kwiecinski, is relatively new to the EDM scene. He lists some of his influences in soul, funk and glitchy bass. When he performs, he not only is in control of computers and controllers but a saxophone as well. Sometimes, he features a friend, Dan Hacker, on a guitar.

While utilizing the practicality and portability of electronic music and the organic sounds of a sax and guitar, GRiZ is able to create a heavily jazz-influenced electro sound.

GRiZ will be performing at The Vault Nightclub, 238 W University Ave., on Sunday. Tickets are $12 online.

Another musician influenced by funk, soul and jazz is Gramatik, or Denis Jasarevic. From the far reaches of Slovenia in Europe, Gramatik found his way to America and Pretty Lights Music label.

He not only uses his friend, Ales, in his sets for live guitar, but also in his recorded tracks.

“It’s open to a lot of improvisation on his end. I’ve noticed that my fans all appreciate that because they love electronic music, but they also really like to see live instrument elements,” Jasarevic said in an interview.

Emancipator, also known as Doug Appling, is a musician that features violinist Ilya Goldberg in live settings. He released his first album at the age of 19 and his music was featured in the Beijing Olympics.

Rolling Stone said, “You can feel his energy when he performs. His face lights up and you can see how much he enjoys the music.”

Not only do I think that this reaction is because of the live instruments involved, but I believe that it is more prominent among EDM musicians who apply these instrumentals in their shows.

While artists like Orbital and Chase and Status, the first to pioneer this live instrumentation, get forgotten about, acts like Big Gigantic and Death Crew 77 continue to present music in a way that departs from the traditional dance music scene.

This departure spurs creativity and a new, exciting way to listen and experience electronic music.


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