Why Disclosure Is EDM's Most Exciting Act
"Just noise, white noise," sings Aluna Francis of AlunaGeorge on Disclosure's track "White Noise."
"I'm hearing static, you're like an automatic/You just wanna keep me on repeat and hear me crying."
Whether intentional or not, those lyrics describe the current state of popular electronic dance music, AKA EDM -- just bland background sound with no intent or purpose, not exactly moving the genre forward.
So how is that brothers Guy and Howard Lawrence -- ages 22 and 19, respectively -- were able to deliver one of the most exciting dance records in recent memory while mining the kind of classic vibes that have recently seemed to be drowned out by arena EDM and brostep?
The siblings' debut album, 2013's Settle, tore up the British charts, making them superstars in their home country. In the United States, the response was initially a bit more tepid.
Even at last year's Ultra Music Festival, the brothers played to a sparse crowd despite enjoying praise from American critics that saw Settle as a return to the original mission of house music: to bring people together for a good time.
Somehow, the Frankenstein genre called EDM forgot that.
When I put together my end-of-year list for Village Voice's Pazz & Jop poll, the easiest decision for me was to include Disclosure's debut. (Really, only four electronic music records mattered to me in 2013: Settle, Daft Punk's Random Access Memories, the Knife's Shaking the Habitual, and Darkside's Psychic.)
Here was an album that was hell-bent on bringing back the dance in dance music.