Orlando Higginbottom, the fresh-faced 26-year-old behind Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs, is part of a growing scene of British producers who’ve forged crossover success from their experiments in the meeting place of house, garage and pop.
Much like Disclosure and Hot Chip, with whom he shares a sonic palette, Higginbottom’s success lies in that ability to craft house songs — music that moves your lips just as much as your rump, and never seems to take itself too seriously.
It’s an approach informed by a childhood spent listening to classical music as much as jungle and reggae. His father is conductor of the choir of New College, Oxford, and as a pianist and former chorister, in Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs, Higginbottom marries the bounce of breakbeats and two-step to a deft appreciation of melody.
The result is a curious strand of elegantly crafted club music, guaranteed to set dancefloors alight while maintaining the structure and hooks endemic to the pop chart’s biggest moments. After early singles on Greco-Roman, Higginbottom migrated to Polydor for an album that exceeded the promise of his early EPs.
‘Trouble’ wound through a plethora of styles, from the infectious Arps of ‘Household Goods’ to EDM-as-imagined-by-Daft-Punk on ‘American Dream Part II’, and even tropical, bongo-heavy house in ‘Panpipes’. It showed a remarkable range, and a remarkably adroit touch, that was as welcome on Radio 1 playlists as late night festival tents.
But while 2012 may have been the year that Higginbottom suddenly appeared in the Top 40 and daytime radio, it’s just another step along the road. “I put my album out, did an Essential Mix and toured around the world, so yes it’s been a big year,” he explains, “but things have always gone steady for me, and it hasn’t been a sudden thing.” And as for the next 12 months? “Continue,” he replies, with a wry smile.
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