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Coachella 2011: Joy Orbison brings post-dubstep to those unaware that dubstep is over

April 14, 2011 |  4:48 pm

Who: Joy Orbison

When: Sunday

From: London

Like the video above, the Sahara Tent will look like the Main Street Electrical Parade when Joy Orbison steps onstage Sunday. Glow sticks galore. Zoologically confused girls in butterfly wings and cat makeup spinping 360s. Frat boys with popped collars beating the beat. Rave kids whirling. But by the side of the stage, the electronic music illuminati will be taking stock.

Two years ago, Joy Orbison dropped "Hyph MNGO" on dubstep powerhouse Hotflush Recordings (also the early home of Guido, Mount Kimbie and James Blake). The record detonated dance floors and sent critics scurrying for new adjectives to describe the sound. Along with its follow-up, "BRKLN CLLN," it was too colorful for the grisaille tones of dubstep and much easier to dance to.

Fusing strains of Anglo subgenres 2-Step, garage, U.K. funky, house and dubstep, the producer born Peter O' Grady ushered in the wave of what wonks call "post-dubstep," a sign that the original distinction was too limiting for his palette. Unlike most producers who can keep dance halls strong, Orbison cooks without oil and grease. His songs are full of airy vocals, mesmeric synths and stabbing drum patterns. They're never saccharine and always light enough to allow you to stay on your toes.

Writing about dance music is like dancing to dubstep: almost impossible not to look awkward. Ultimately, though, it boils down to: Is this fun? And Joy Orbison lives up to the exuberance of his name. At the onset of his career, O'Grady's already created a pair of anthems. And on his first West Coast tour, he's a solid bet to create party music with an alchemical high that never leaves you sick in the grass.

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-- Jeff Weiss

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