2012 saw a studio comeback from Orbital, an unexpected reunion from The Stone Roses and a live return from New Order, but the past twelve months also saw several big dance/electronica acts head in the opposite direction. Here’s a look at some of the artists who we said goodbye to this year.
Perhaps second only to Linkin Park when it comes to straddling the metal/dance divide, Australian outfit Pendulum brought drum ‘n’ bass to the masses following the slow-burning success of 2005’s Hold Your Colour and never looked back. Renowned for its video featuring a shirtless beer-bellied man dancing in the street, instrumental “Slam” attracted everyone’s attention; and by blending blistering beats and colossal industrial riffs with a greater sense of melody and Rob Swire’s emo vocals, 2008’s In Silico and 2010’s Immersion managed to hold it. At times they made even Skrillex seem subtle, but the festival circuit will be a quieter place without them.
Shameless bandwagon-jumper Madonna might have been in mourning, but the rest of the world rejoiced when LMFAO appeared to announce their split in late September, citing the age-old excuse of musical differences as the reason. RedFoo and SkyBlu later denied that they had broken up forever, but as the 21st Century answer to The Outhere Brothers, it’s difficult to see how they won’t feel utterly outdated even if they do eventually decide to come back. Admittedly, “Party Rock Anthem” had a certain brainless charm at first, but as it soon became aware that they were one-trick ponies, their novelty appeal quickly wore off.
Largely responsible for the EDM scene’s bratty frat-boy image, the Spinal Tap-esque supergroup of Steve Angello, Sebastian Ingrosso and Axwell took the concept of the superstar DJ to a whole new level, selling out arenas (including a date at Madison Square Garden just as quickly as any classic rock legend or teenybopper boyband. Their bombastic style of progressive house could never be described as intelligent, but considering how much longer they could have milked their success, you have to admire them for going out on top.
Best-known for producing one of the most anthemic dance singles of the last decade, 2001’s “Love Story,” British duo Layo Paskin and Matthew Benjamin, aka Layo & Bushwacka, have largely flown under the radar ever since. But they’ve remained a regular fixture on the London dance scene with their residency at The Egg, and despite releasing a fifth studio effort, Rising & Falling, earlier in the year, the pair decided to call it a day soon after in order to concentrate on their various solo projects.
By far the saddest passing, Donna Summer might not have had a genuine hit since the late 80s, but without her and Giorgio Moroder’s ground-breaking production, it’s unlikely that dance music would be anywhere near the force it is today. 1977’s “I Feel Love,” as radical as anything punk produced in the same year, became the blueprint for the entire electro genre, her 17-minute single, “Love To Love You Baby” remains one of the most sensual tracks ever committed to record. Her music has been sampled by everyone from indie favourites New Order to Gallic house duos Cassius and Justice to world-conquering girlbands TLC and The Pussycat Dolls. Her death from cancer at the age of 63 shocked the world, but her influence continues to be felt.