There is nothing necessarily wrong with mainstream music. A lot of it can be a bit unoriginal and boring, but there are still mainstream artists out there that try new things. Since house music is a popular genre that is notoriously simple, with its four-on-the-floor beat and pounding bass, I’ve decided to provide some other mainstream electronic artists as alternatives. For people who enjoy house music for its listenability and danceability, none of these artists should be unpalatable.
SBTRKT. This guy is pretty sick. Every single one of his songs manages to be different from the others, and I have a hard time even placing what kind of a sound he has. Sometimes it’s soulful, other times it’s funky, other times it has a bluesy feel to it. To have this kind of diversity from one artist is simply impressive. Most people who have heard of SBTRKT will have heard Wildfire, but I also recommend Hold On and Sanctuary to get a glance at what SBTRKT is about.
Artful Dodger. I find 2-step to be more engaging than house because the beats are peppier. Artful Dodger are a good example of that. Their songs all have a snappy rhythm (as is the nature of 2-step), and I can’t help but enjoy them. In reality, their songs aren’t even that much more complicated than a standard rnb song, but the electronic elements enrich what the music is capable of. Think About Me is the song that got me into them, but some other good ones are Please Don’t Turn Me On (which definitely has an rnb feel) and Movin’ Too Fast(which actually has a 70’s vibe that Artful Dodger uses a lot).
Way Out West. I’ve recently become a fan of these guys. Ostensibly, they are a trance group, but I’ve found them to actually be very innovative with their songs. When I listen to trance albums, I usually get kind of bored by the end, because trance starts to drone on and on with the same beat and same tempo – it’s good for a mindtrip, but that’s not always what I want. With these guys, their songs are surprisingly dynamic. Notice how the song changes throughout in Mindcircus (my personal favorite), Blue, and The Gift. Also notice how each of the three songs are unique from each other. That’s the kind of thing that keeps you listening.
Modu. While Modu may not really be mainstream, I’ve been listening to his stuff on youtube and wanted to give him a mention. His genre is liquid funk, which is the class of dnb that involves calming backing music. It’s not complicated, but it’s really great to listen to. I’ll explain no further and provide New Steps of Change, which might just be the greatest liquid funk song I’ve ever heard. Two more songs I like by him are Roses Without Thorns and Inner City Life. What’s interesting about this music is that it’s got a nice optimistic tone without bringing the excess warmth of other “happy” music, like indie (or excess cheese, like indie pop). I think a lot of mainstream listeners would find Modu appealing, and he deserves a listen.
With that, I’ve hopefully provided a few diamonds in the rough of standard electronica that mainstream and underground listeners alike can enjoy. Getting back to house music, I’d like to talk about Avicii. I’ve been meaning to mention this for a while, but couldn’t find the right article to put it in. I know that a lot of people only like (or hate) Avicii because of “Levels,” but I have been a fan of his remixes for a while, and I’d like to offer one of his best for people that may not have heard it. He’s honestly very talented at this.