Since I am working super scientifically here, I will start alphabetically, with the suspiciously named Afrojack. I’ll also be honest- he was dead and buried as soon as I saw that most of his Youtube output is shared with Martin Garrix. I did give another song a go, also a collab, with someone named Fais, the video of which starts ominously with a vibrating mobile, so you automatically reach for yours, just in case, drop the headphones for a few seconds and those prove to be the best seconds of the song. The genre should be electro, but it’s boring and forgettable. Next please.
And as a next step, we might as well sink into the murky waters of national stereotypes: I immediately felt better about Boys Noize, given that he hails from Germany, and German electro always gives me pleasant Autobahn vibes. And indeed there is a brainy machine music whiff about his work, also mostly collabs and remixes- Starchild feat Poliça being particularly enjoyable. He will definitely not become my next playlist staple, but a pass nevertheless.
I was secretly hoping Carnage are the miraculously reformed Swedish death metal act, but then again, the presence of such heavy genres belongs to a foregone era of Sziget- and indeed, Carnage is seemingly, obviously, a Guatemalan DJ. I immediately sensed a Latino disturbance in the force when, instead of the sounds of doom and gloom, as I’d hoped, I was greeted by somebody rapping like Pitbull. And Pibull has absolutely maxed out the number of people allowed to rap like Pibull who should co-exist on this planet, so the farther I am from Carnage (DJ) the better.
All things are delicately interconnected: the most popular Dillon Francis song on Youtube is a duet with DJ Snake (can’t anybody make music on their own these days?!), which sounds like a bad version of everything Diplo ever stole from MIA, and oh yes indeed, DJ Snake collaborated with Diplo on Lean On. There is also profuse twerking in the video, much high art, such fun, next please. (Youtube promptly obliged and skipped to, yup, Lean on. Which I listened to as I was making my tea.) DJ Sliink is not even on Wikipedia, which I took to be a bad omen, and he then proceeded to thump my brain into a pulp. The unworthy of mentioning category indeed.
DVBBS sound exactly like an ad for Canadian toothpaste, in which the protagonists wash their teeth frolicking around the house and then drive out into the sunset with major grins, with the wind caressing their golden locks. In an amazing development, the video for Never Leavelooks exactly like that, minus the toothpaste, which is a shame.
This is a conspiracy, and my brain will burst, Dyro is Dutch and sounds exactly like Hardwell, Tiesto and/or Martin Garrix. In a meditative take on the state of things in the world, is Dutch, erm, music so internationally beloved, or are we inflicted these people because the Dutch nation, bless their hearts, loves Sziget and moves in hordes from one end of the continent to the other come August? I am almost afraid to know the answer.
At this point I was starting to lose hope of ever being a sensible human being again, since I basically knew none of the acts coming up in the alphabetical list. And then Excisiondropped the base in the most vicious Skrillex-like manner, and when evil of such proportion comes from the loveliest of lands, Canada, you know all hope is indeed and truly lost.
I was therefore absolutely delighted to discover that FIDLAR are Californian skate punkers and sing about pivotal stuff such as cocaine, Chinese weed and most importantly, cheap beer.Order of the universe restored to some degree- skate punk is normally pretty low on my list of priorities, but there comes a point when it turns into the sweet sound of redemption, and this is it.
JAIN(you guys, we get it even if it’s not capitalized) is a French singer-songwriter, which is indeed another gust of fresh air in our playlist. Some African vibes are added to the basic French guitar serenade type music- she’s lived in the Congo (which, let’s be honest, is something totally exotic to add to your biography) and is partially of Malagasy descent, so we’ll say she’s entitled to ride the African bandwagon.
It seems we’ve finally totally escaped the Dutch electro hell, which is a blessing, but there’s something decidedly mind bending in Movits! delighting us with swing in Swedish. Somehow a voice deep inside me insists Swedish was thought up more for organizing the landing of a marauding ship on foreign shores or halfheartedly explaining IKEA catalogues (or perhaps halfheartedly explaining the structure of a marauding ship.) Nevertheless, in the scorching heat and with a glass of cold cider the whole endeavour might seem like the most natural thing in the world, as opposed to assembling the LACK coffee table, let’s say.
The lead singer of Oscar and the Wolf seemingly had a rather unsuccessful stint at the Belgian Eurovision Junior preselection, and the first song Youtube threw at me sounds exactly like the entry finishing 17th in the competition. He’s sure to have some starry eyed fans with ages ranging 7 to 12, so here’s to parents chaperoning their kids on Sziget having a good time at a safe distance from wherever Oscar and the Wolf are belting out their teenage angst.
Tourist is a Brit doing a rather minimalist electro, which could be borderline pleasant if I weren’t on the comedown from a wild ride of oomphs and bass dropped randomly for the heck of it. In a totally random connection, Travis Scotthas a song called Tourist, but I definitely felt better about him before I found out he sometimes writes his name with a dollar sign, which is being totally groundbreaking and unique, isn’t it. He’s probably someone’s cup of tea, and that someone is a hip hop fan, and therefore not me.
And back to hell we are- Troyboi is one of Diplo’s many cronies, and true to form, he has some slightly oriental beats going on. The most exciting thing about him seems to be the collaboration with someone or something called Flosstradamus, which made me chuckle for two seconds, those being two more seconds of emotion than what Troyboi could elicit from me.
Vinai sound Dutch but are Italian- I don’t know whether that makes them better or worse, but they helped me in identifying the axis of evil which is Spinnin’ Records, a Dutch label which has harboured at some point almost all of the vile knob fiddlers on the festival circuit. In a more objective take, that kind of makes them wonderful at what they are doing, but they’d better do it out of my earshot.
I always go more easily on Brits- they’ve produced enough guitar music right up my alley to compensate for weirder meanderings, and Wilkinson has a pretty cool video for Afterglow. I mean, it involves a CAT, what more do you want from life these days, really.
And thus we’ve reached Zedd, whom I wish had a Pulp Fiction connection, but doesn’t. He’s Russian-German though, which is some sort of scary, come to think of it, and you won’t guess it, but he produces electronic music and collaborates with basically everyone. This round of guinea pigging being done, please excuse me while I go and, well, in the state I am, I might even ponder kissing the sky, but maybe I’ll just listen to The Last Shadow Puppets instead.