This Is Sound Year in Review 2011 (Part II): Electronic Hits and Misses

By: Dominic Gavan
Part 1- Alternative    Part 2- Electronic
Electronic music is a very wide-ranging part of the music industry with an unbelievable amount of subcategories. There are really two main subcategories of the electronic: trance and house. Trance is popularly known for being between 100- 150 bpm (beats per minute), having a poppy sounding synth, and having a slight build up and breakdown of the main bass line.  House music is commonly referred to as club music, and it usually has a four part drum kick pattern.  Dubstep is an up and coming part of part of the electronic scene. Even though dub has existed since the late 90s, it only started to shine out of the small British scene around 2006 and just became extremely popular around 2010. 2011 was a great year for electronic music in each of these categories as more and more artists popped out from the underground.
Best Trance Artist 2011- Tiesto
            It’s hard to argue against a tried and true legend of the trance scene; however, it’s odd to name someone the Artist of the Year if they didn’t release a full album all year. The 2011 College Invasion Tour has been hailed as “an isolated raging dance event” and has been sold out at every performance. Tiesto has also released several singles such as “Kiss from the Past” and “Work Hard, Play Hard.” He has also been hailed by DJ Mag as “Worlds Number 1 DJ” three times already. Tiesto is known for making someone a success just by touring with them. Often if people know anything about electronic music then it’s more likely than not they have heard one of Tiesto’s basslines. His beats are commonly featured in the background of America’s favorite show, Jersey Shore. This automatically cements his spot as electronic royalty. In 2012 we are expecting another banger from this 42 year old.
Best House Artist 2011- Avicii
            Avicii is a newcomer to the house scene, and somehow with one single he has been able to capture the attention of fans and DJs worldwide. “Levels” is the aforementioned single, and alone it went platinum in Sweden, which is one of the biggest countries worldwide for house music. “Levels” was not Aviici’s first single, but it is the one that catapulted him into the worldwide spotlight. Oddly enough, this single came out during his world tour as it was starting to falter, and it helped bring him to sold out arenas and a weekly mix on Sirius XM. Avicii’s heavy bass lines set him apart from the pack and almost have a drum and bass type feel to them. It easy to say the industry has high expectations for Battery Pack, which will be his first album set to release 2012.
 Best Dubstep Artist 2011- Have a Cow
It’s extremely difficult to pick a favorite artist in a genre that is so underground that the closest thing to dubstep some people have heard is a car crash run through a synth. Have a Cow, though, took Spain by storm in 2011. It is a duo who takes hints from legends Rusko with the BPM of their songs, but with their drops or breakdowns they are obviously influenced by one of the kings of brostep, Skrillex. They have, in my opinion, the most aggressive drops in all of 2011. I believe for dubstep the filthier the song the better. In dubstep terms, filthy doesn’t mean profane or vulgar. Rather, it has to do with how exactly the drop of the song sounds. In a filthy song the beats are heavily produced, and to many they produce a unpleasant gargling sound. Have a Cow is great at making the filth come out clean. Their drops continue to melt people all over Europe. However, they have not had much influence across the Atlantic; this is typical as dubstep is not quite mainstream in the states yet. Hopefully in 2012 this powerhouse duo will break over to the states and bring us several more bangers.