orbital_0.jpg
The rumors were true : UK electronic giants Orbital are headlining the 2012 Decibel Festival! HUGE! (You have no idea how happy I am that

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Orbital, The Cannabinoids featuring Erykah Badu Confirmed For Decibel Festival

orbital_0.jpg
The rumors were true: UK electronic giants Orbital are headlining the 2012 Decibel Festival! HUGE! (You have no idea how happy I am that all worked out.)

As noted here, Orbital were one of the big, crossover acts of the '90s "electronica" boom that first got me and a lot of other people into electronic music--in the same way that one redeeming factor of Skrillex, Deadmau5, and "EDM" (not to equate their relative merits with Orbital) is that it too will hopefully be just the starting point for a lot of young people's discovery of electronic music today. (Generously speaking, Decibel's pop crossover headliner Kimbra could play a similar role?) But although Orbital are undoubtedly a big name in electronic music--and back in 2012 with Wonky, their best album since their '90s heyday--their booking isn't a pandering move to the EDM crowd so much as a treat for the classic rave nostalgists. Even though they had their mainstream moment, in a way, Orbital represent a generational divide for Decibel--or even a line in the sand between techno purists and "EDM" bandwagoners.

Decibel director Sean Horton puts it like this in a letter accompanying today's official announcement (full letter after the jump):

In recent years, electronic dance music or "EDM" has been riding a wave of success unlike any we've ever seen in North America. Though Decibel has benefited from and even played a role in this growth over the years, the majority of our audience were supporting electronic music long before it reached the mainstream. In fact, it was the lack of acceptance that provided impetus for me to found Decibel in 2003. Putting together this year's line-up, I made a conscious effort to avoid jumping on the bandwagon and instead focus on a diverse selection of artists that I feel have a unique and influential voice that spreads will beyond the current hype. This was a calculated decision on my part and one that I feel will lead to lasting relationships with both our audience and the artists we support.

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As I reflect on the 2012 Decibel Festival line-up, it is clear to me that our creative scope is continuing to expand along with our audience. This being our ninth program, I must also look ahead towards our monumental 10th edition in 2013, and what that could mean for us as an organization. One thing is for certain, I've never been more excited to unveil what I believe to be our most adventurous and complete line-up to date. Before I do so, I'd like to highlight a couple key cultural developments that have brought us to where we are today.

In recent years, electronic dance music or "EDM" has been riding a wave of success unlike any we've ever seen in North America. Though Decibel has benefited from and even played a role in this growth over the years, the majority of our audience were supporting electronic music long before it reached the mainstream. In fact, it was the lack of acceptance that provided impetus for me to found Decibel in 2003. Putting together this year's line-up, I made a conscious effort to avoid jumping on the bandwagon and instead focus on a diverse selection of artists that I feel have a unique and influential voice that spreads will beyond the current hype. This was a calculated decision on my part and one that I feel will lead to lasting relationships with both our audience and the artists we support.

Another trend I was conscious of this year was that excessively loud, over-produced sound design. In many ways this trend has bridged the gap between teen-angst and music technology. Though I find it to be a fascinating cultural development, creatively I simply can't relate to the music and experience as I once did. What has been resonating with me is the evolution of soul, hip hop, pop, disco and world music via contemporary electronic music. The beauty and raw emotion conveyed in so much of the music I've discovered over the past year signals a change, much of which I attribute to women playing a more active role as electronic music producers, deejays, performers and fans. As I mentioned in my previous correspondence, this is our most diverse line-up both in terms of the amount of countries represented and the amount of female performers (22 countries and more than 20% feature female performers).

Though we still have much more to announce (e.g. complete program, schedule, dB Conference, after parties, boat parties, updated partners and dB films to be announced on July 25th) the creative direction of this year's festival should be abundantly clear based on the line-up presented below. I encourage you all once again to explore our new website and actively participate in social media exchanges over the next three months. September will be here before you know it!

Until next time,

Sean Patrick Horton

Decibel Festival Founder and Curator

And here's Horton about Orbital in particular:

The first electronic dance music CD I purchased was Orbital's "2" back in 1993. Unlike the industrial music I was listening to at the time, what struck me immediately with Orbital was there were no vocals. The emphasis was entirely on the sound design and composition, which were unlike anything I had ever heard prior. Orbital has always held a special place in my heart both as producers and performers. They were one of the first purely electronic live acts to headline major festivals and tours globally, which pushed the idea of live electronic music performance into the forefront of early rave culture. As Decibel curator, I have taken the stance that live electronic music performance is crucial to the Decibel brand and no performance duo in history is more relevant to me personally than Orbital. It's worth noting that 2012 celebrates the 20th anniversary of my discovery of Orbital and it is with great pleasure that I announce they will be one of the headliners for the 2012 Decibel Festival.
 
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