Coachella had more than enough on offer for dance music fans this year. Major names like RÜFÜS DU SOL and Gorgon City brought brimming crowds to the Outdoor Theatre with their indie-leaning sing-alongs, with the "dark prince of techno" Gesaffelstein rounding out the festival clad in a head-to-toe Vantablack ensemble, working mercilessly between a stripped down setup of cattycorner tables and doling out thrashing torrents of techno, all the while backed by floods of white light visuals.
The Sahara Tent offered an smattering of bass belters from the likes of Diplo, Jauz and Anna Lunoe, while the Mojave Stage played host to both the most lauded and most controversial performances of the weekend: Aphex Twin’s highly-anticipated set, complete with nightmare-inducing visuals and sounds, and Nina Kraviz’s brand new audiovisual art exhibition/live set.
As tradition, the Yuma Tent was a dimly-lit, tented rave haven for underground stalwarts to get lost in with the thumping house and techno wafting through the speakers. Helmed by artists including Stephan Bodzin, Maya Jane Coles’ Nocturnal Sunshine project, Nicole Moudaber, Lee Burridge, Kölsch and Guy Gerber. Saturday brought the epic reunion of Deep Dish, the duo of Dubfire and Sharam who disbanded back in 2006, including an exclusive listen to a forthcoming heater from Desert Hearts artists Marbs, RINZEN and Evan Casey titled “Helix.”
The beloved Do Lab remained the counterpart to the Yuma’s dark atmosphere, offering a colorful, sun-soaked stage full of water guns and areal acrobatics, programmed by the independent California event company behind Lightning in a Bottle. Each weekend received its own lineup, and weekend two had electronic fanatics reveling in sets by Madam X, Justin Jay, Sonny Fodera, The Glitch Mob’s psychedelic side project 29 Palms, and even the newly-minted collaborative project Escapade, comprised of Dirtybird heroes Walker & Royce and Ardalan. The Do Lab is known for their massive surprise guest bookings, which this year included Tale Of Us, SOFI TUKKER, Yotto and Dusky.
Fans who needed to cool off from the desert sun could seek refuge in the air-conditioned, kaleidoscopic HP Dome dubbed Dreamland. Weekend two featured two major label takeovers, including Lee Foss’ tech-house bastion Repopulate Mars and California-based collective Desert Hearts’ dusty brand of house and techno. While the most famous musicians in the world played on massive stages just feet away, these artists drew crowds into the lounge as testament to their cult-like fan following.
But between all of the electronic music Coachella had to offer, nobody reigned supreme quite like Four Tet. Boasting his signature set up of a solitary table. flanked by two desk lamps illuminating his minimal instrumentation. The no-frills setup stood in stark contrast to the rest of Coachella’s superabundant setups, and allowed onlookers to focus solely on the beats floating out into the pitch black Mojave tent which remained eerily still without the constant onslaught of lighting.
Four Tet tugged on heart strings as he opened his set with his remix of Bicep’s “Opal,” followed by raw, bionic transitions and scratching that led into originals like the Nelly Frutato sampling 'Only Human' under KH moniker. Exploring every tempo and soundscape imaginable, he dove into Dog Blood’s forthcoming ID featuring TY Dolla $ign, sandwiching it between pounding kicks, ambient symphonies and harmonious chords. He closed out his landmark performance with an unidentified vocal sample of a woman explaining “It really shocks me to look around and see so much ignorance and racism in the world. I just wish people could accept each other for what they are on the inside, instead of judging each other for what they look like on the outside,” before turning the desk lamps on himself and then into the crowd, suggesting that we are all forever intertwined through that communal experience, and embodying Coachella’s spirit of using music as the great connector.
We collected our top tracks of Coachella for you to relive the magic, so take a listen
Nocturnal Sunshine 'U&ME'
Bicep 'Opal (Four Tet remix)'
KH 'Only Human'
SOPHIE 'Whole New World / Pretend World'
Lubelski 'Dip Into A Dream (ft. SOHMI)'
Nora En Pure 'Come With Me'
Walker & Royce feat. VNSSA 'WORD'
Tara Brooks 'Conscious Dream'
RÜFÜS DU SOL 'Underwater'
BENZI 'Whatcha Gon Do (feat. Rich The Kid, Bhad Bhabie & 24hrs)'
LP Giobbi 'Amber Rose'
AYZO x Underoath 'Wasted Space'
Lost Desert & Lee Burridge 'Vutuka (feat. Junior)'
Lee Foss, Eli Brown, Anabel Englund 'Brazil'
Gryffin 'Remember (with ZOHARA)'
NGHTMRE & A$AP Ferg 'REDLIGHT'
WHIPPED CREAM 'Time (feat. DeathbyRomy)'
Anna Lunoe & Wuki 'What You Need'
Dog Blood 'Turn Off The Lights'