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The Year House and Techno Music Exploded On The U.S. West Coast



There’s a new lightness to your step as you bounce around to the familiar hypnotic rhythms. Gone are the stained, unforgiving concrete floors of the warehouses you frequent. You're now in a field of grass, slightly patched closest to the DJ booth where people have been dancing the most, all day long.

This year, house and techno slinked out from rough, industrial interiors and found their way down to the beach and out to the desert; they livened up stale pool parties and made home in the depths of the forest. In these places, dotted along the West Coast of America, the air is clean and spirits are high.

Until now, the "sound" of the West Coast – a stripe on the left side of the US made up of California, Washington and Oregon – has been aggressive, explosive bass music, the kind that can rumble every bone in your body and raise the hairs off your head. Fans bowed down to the likes of Bassnectar, The Glitch Mob and early Skrillex, pairing their affinity for the loudest end of the spectrum with DGAF fashion and reputations for unruly behavior of the best kind.

That era, though inarguably still well and alive in other parts of the US, has faded along the coast, losing much of its momentum along with the dissipation of the EDM phenomenon. But the penchant to party remains strong.

In 2015, camp-out experiences dominated the festival circuit and created a natural pathway to embracing dance music outdoors with festivals. This has continued in 2016 and with EDM quickly phasing out, crossover artists like booty house master and Dirtybird kingpin Claude VonStroke, his cohort Justin Martin and “weirdo house” collective Desert Hearts played into the maturing tastes of groove-loving dancefloor fanatics.

Smart promoters caught wind of the changing tide early, introducing new efforts like Palm Spring’s Splash House, a novel concept that played into the typically sleepy city’s age old tradition of pool parties, curating an irrefutable line-up made up of Gorgon City, Hudson Mohawke, Kaytranada and Tycho mixed alongside exciting newcomers catered to a younger, welcoming audience dressed in their summertime swimwear best with artists like Cashmere Cat, TÅCHES, Justin Jay, Hotel Garuda, Amtrac and more.

Up north, Oregon's What The Festival boasts one of the most colorful arrangements placed against the natural beauty of the forest and mountain skylines. Attendees don their wildest, hippie-inspired trinkets and wraps, dancing in the open air to soundtracks from the likes of Bonobo, Machinedrum, Eats Everything and Claude VonStroke.

CRSSD Festival launched out of the gate with an intent to capitalize on San Diego’s picture perfect beachside backdrop with bi-annual shows that act as bookends to start and finish off the summer festival season. Following a similar method, CRSSD combines prolific knowledge of talents like Dubfire, Hot Since 82, Tiga and Green Velvet with cutting-edge wunderkinds like REZZ, ZHU, Jeremy Olander, J.Phlip, Patrick Topping and Danny Daze.

And these promoters' methods are working. By swinging the gate wide open to techno and house, the demographic is widening and a typical audience member might not be exactly what you had in mind as a Jamie Jones aficionado. Listeners donned in brightly colored bro tanks and neon shades bob attentively to the beats, occasionally chatting to their mates about how “incredible” this Simian Mobile Disco b2b with Roman Flügel set is – without forsaking a chance to tan, of course.

For several years, Southern California – specifically the metropolitan of Los Angeles – has been a sponge, soaking up electronic music’s progressive players and folding them deep into the entertainment capital’s veins. There’s no question that stars of the electronic music realm have finally earned a rightful spot as “entertainers” in the industry alongside rock maestros and pop stars. With it, event leaders have begun to recognize and carve out a physical space for the incoming talents that place them on a world stage, bringing the underground, quite literally, just above sea level.

There will always be the dark, mysterious basements and warehouses, but even the most seasoned of house and techno mavens need a dose of Vitamin D once in a while. Today, they’re finding their escape on the coastlines of California and beyond.

 

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