Grab your streamers, champagne glasses, and dance shoes everybody! It’s almost 2017! Tomorrow marks the final day in the Calendar year of 2016, and I’ll be dancing away at Minimal Effort NYE in Los Angeles. What I look forward to the most about tomorrow is seeing artists that I don’t often get a chance to see, and to be honest, this lineup surprised me in just the right way. Here I’d like to give you some of my personal recommendations for artists I’ve had the pleasure of seeing in the past or plan to see tomorrow evening.
Simian Mobile Disco
My first introduction to this dynamic duo was in 2008, when I was a member of a San Francisco based Hip Hop dance team. I know what you’re thinking; hip hop? Yes, but we danced many styles outside of hip hop and as you may know, this was around the time when electronic dance music started to hit the mainstream. We learned a funky piece to their track “It’s The Beat”, full of attitude and sass. Today, Simian Mobile Disco remains one of those groups with a unique sound, and have mastered their craft over the years. I had the opportunity to see them live in 2011, and it was one of the best acts I’ve seen in my lifetime. If you’re into an upbeat techy sound that’s got a touch of old school synth, you don’t want to miss them tomorrow.
What can I say about my girl Francesca Lombardo? I happened to stumble upon her at an event in 2013 and was blown away by her music selection and undeniable grace behind the decks. She’s a perfect fit for Minimal Effort; her sets are gritty, the style is minimal, and the quality is supreme. She’s held her own in an industry that’s full of obstacles, and has really made a name for herself in the techno, minimal, and progressive world. One of my favorite aspects of her music and selection is that she really sticks to the roots of techno and house, where the sounds are edgy and raw . It’s a hard hitting bass beat matched with psychedelic undertones.
If you’ve read any of my pieces before, you may have picked up on the fact that I am a little bit of a HUGE fan of Amtrac. I’ve seen Amtrac spin more times that I can remember, and each time I am pleasantly surprised. That’s to say that his musical repertoire is one that is rarely matched in EDM. In general, house dance heads will find what they are looking for in Amtrac’s groovy music, often taking on a modern disco feel or sampling soulful vocals. Although I consider Amtrac to be a house DJ, he’s got a bit of a darker and more mature sound than the deep house that’s extremely popular right now. To be honest, he is one of the artists that I was surprised to see on the lineup this year, but it makes a lot of sense. Amtrac, along with some of the other artists, are bringing in a bit of groove and funk, soul and flare into Minimal Effort this time around.
Now lets step into the other side of surprise artists for Minimal Effort. There are a number of artists on this year’s lineup that are crossing over from genres like chill trap, bass music, and g house. Chrome Sparks is an artist I discovered a number of years ago (with the track below), and while he doesn’t fit into the techno or house category, his music is undeniably emotional and matches an overall tone that we typically find at Minimal. When I need a fix of some relaxing groove music, to just chill out and forget about the stress I acquired from the day (or the year, for that matter), Chrome Sparks is about to come through the speakers. For fans of artists like Flume and Charles Murdock, and other “Future” artists, Chrome Sparks is a must see.
Kastle is an artist that I discovered years ago, and another artist I was pleasantly surprised to see on the lineup. His productions are extremely bass heavy and emotional, often at a slower tempo than typical dance music. He falls more into chill trap or soulful bass music. You’ll notice an R&B and hip-hop influence to some of his productions as well, using samples in completely innovative ways and transforming them into something his own. Kastle has built an Empire of his own through his Symbols Label while continuing to evolve his musical style and tour around the world. I had a chance to see Kastle at Sound last year, and lets just say I will not be missing him tomorrow night.
Did someone say G House? Yes, I did. HVDES is one of the artists bringing some, dare I say it, “swag” to Minimal Effort this year. I am originally a hip hop head, so HVDES is an artist that I cannot overlook. Hailing from our very own city, this LA based producer is disrupting the typical flow of the trap house scene with a unique and experimental approach to production. She runs the trap with intricate percussion, satisfied the house heads with a bounce step, and intrigues any music enthusiast with a constantly evolving sound mixing hard hitting hip hop with melodic, electronic rifts. Fans of artists from Dirty Bird may find similarities to HVDES, but in reality her music is truly something of its own.