Work & Playlist—Nocturnal Wonderland 2016 Edition: ODESZA, Chromeo, Gramatik, ANNA and More
It’s really exciting to see Nocturnal Wonderland going through such an aesthetic revolution. For anyone just joining the party, Nocturnal is Insomniac’s first true baby and the longest-running dance music festival in North America, celebrating its 21st anniversary next month. And one of the biggest changes you’ll see in this year’s iteration is its bold artist lineup led by a strong roster of live bands, new acts and the biggest names in electronic music.
We’re all about new music discovery here at Insomniac, and we encourage all Headliners to roam the Nocturnal grounds in search of fresh beats and your next favorite artists. To help guide you, we’ve put together a list of some of our personal suggestions for your musical pleasure. Dig in and dig deep—there’s lots to discover at Nocturnal Wonderland.
Chromeo “Night by Night”
Chromeo have always had a certain touch of cool no other live electronic act could ever replicate. The songwriting power combo of P-Thugg and Dave 1, brother of fellow dance heavy hitter A-Trak, mirrors classic duos like Hall & Oates, one of Chromeo’s biggest influences. Chromeo came into the world as a Canadian electro-funk duo in 2004 via their debut album, She’s in Control, and graduated to bona fide funk lords with their 2007 breakout album, Fancy Footwork. While their most recent release, White Women (2014), saw the dudes finally cross over into mainstream American radio play, it was 2010’s Business Casual that set them up for global success. Lead single “Night by Night” is a mega song that’s equal parts dancefloor funk and inspirational dance-off montage theme music, as seen in the track’s official music video. While I’m no dancing machine like Dave 1, I’ll be showing off my own brand of fancy footwork throughout all of Chromeo’s set. —John Ochoa
Chromeo performs at Nocturnal Wonderland 2016 Sunday, September 4, at Labyrinth.
starRo is a versatile Japanese producer that, truthfully, I was a little surprised to see on the Nocturnal lineup this year. But with the incredible diversity of artists at the festival, it now seems only fitting. His music runs across the board from jazzy deep house and glitchy grooves to lush downtempo, and this song fits into the latter category. While you probably aren’t likely to hear a slow-jam, R&B-esque track like “Secret” on the dancefloor during starRo’s performance at Labyrinth, beautiful tracks like this definitely show his ability to create intricate and emotive soundscapes—hopefully a telltale sign of the quality to expect at his set. Catch me there for sure! —Skylar Hardenbrook
starRo performs at Nocturnal Wonderland 2016 Friday, September 2, at Labyrinth.
Gramatik ft. Eric Krasno “Torture”
Gramtik isn't the first to infuse the blues with electronic beats, but he does stand out as one of the best. His command over big beats and grimey basslines puts a whole new spin on one of America’s most revered and soulful sounds. His most recent album, The Age of Reason, has him collaborating with a laundry list of bass music and hip-hop heavyweights. “Torture” is the sound that made me initially take notice of this producer, though. It's space-age blues rock. From the opening guitar riff, it is steeping in classic funk and modern grit. Eric Krasno has the vocal chops to bring some big soul to the record, as well. All of Gramatik’s tunes have a mix of organic and face-melting sounds that translate well on any set of speakers. But to be able to experience this in a festival setting at Nocturnal will be something special and joy-inducing. —Alexander Dias
Gramatik performs at Nocturnal Wonderland 2016 Friday, September 2, at Labyrinth.
ODESZA “How Did I Get Here”
In preparation for ODESZA’s surprise addition to the Nocturnal lineup, I’m throwing it back to what is (for me, at least) the OG ODESZA track. Still arguably my favorite the group has ever produced, it’s a fleeting but satisfying feel-good clip that never, ever gets old. I wonder if there’s an extended version. Do they even play this one out anymore? Something tells me no—but a man can dream, right? So many questions left unanswered. We’ll have to see for ourselves at ODESZA’s highly anticipated show on Saturday at Wolves’ Den. —David Matthews
ODESZA performs at Nocturnal Wonderland 2016 Saturday, September 3, at Wolves’ Den.
Joyce Muniz ft. Kat Vinter “Cover Me Up” (ANNA Remix)
I’ve been shadowing ANNA on the internet (not in person, because that would make me a creep) for the better part of a year now, and I have watched the Brazilian heart-stopper hop from one mad-respected imprint to the next like the in-demand producer she has grown into. The latest label swing-in shows her poking her head into Exploited, where she slaps some sass on the tooth-aching single taken from Joyce Muniz’s debut album. She really made it happen here. Her rework pulls the light away from the original vocal layout, instead choosing to stretch indiscernible shards of Kat Vinter’s singing over a low-lit groove, replete with hissing hats and clattering percs. It’s the shit, and I’ll probably be pulling out all of my hair when I hear ANNA work it into her Sunken Garden set next month. I’m sure you know the feeling. —Sam Yu
ANNA performs at Nocturnal Wonderland 2016 Friday, September 2, at Sunken Garden.Work & Playlist Nocturnal Wonderland Nocturnal Wonderland 2016 Stream Playlist starRo Anna Chromeo ODESZA Gramatik Show more
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