I’ve recently been in that mood where all that I want to do is listen to music that reminds me of Lollapalooza and skiing. I keep trying to relive one of the greatest musical experiences of my life and trying to emulate the professional skiing compilations on YouTube that skiers and snowboarders make with GoPros. With that said, I’ve been turning to the wonderful works of Diplo – including Major Lazer – to fulfill those needs. Diplo, or Tomas Wesley Pentz, a producer from Philadelphia, specializes in the electric subgenres of dubstep and trap. He really creates a unique sound by starting many of his songs out slow and developing them with layers of sounds. By the time the mix peaks, you have vocals, plenty of bass, and a quick tempo. He’s unique in the vocal he uses and the way he plays with the bass treble. For him, it’s less about the coveted “drop” and more about maintaining the energy throughout. In fact, he’s been nominated at the 55th Grammy Awards this year for Non-Classical Producer of the Year. He’s a truly talented guy.
Now on to Major Lazer. Major Lazer is a side-project consisting of Diplo and (originally) Switch – London’s Dave Taylor. The duo – now trio of Diplo, Jillionaire, and Walshy Fire – has come up with some interesting mixes. They really embrace the “drop” more than just Pentz does alone. I’ve heard from many sources that their dubstep-trap subgenre goes by “digital reggae,” in my opinion, aptly named. Like Pentz’s individual work, the collaborators use many vocals that seem to be primarily Caribbean. Listening to some of the songs almost makes me feel a little more cultured per se. The duo is frequently mixed and sampled by mainstream artists and other producers alike. Beyoncé heavily samples “Pon de Floor” in her song “Run the World (Girls)” and the Chicago-based Flosstradamus have an extremely well-known remix of “Original Don.” When I hear Major Lazer, all I want to do is celebrate the different cultures that it embraces. I like hearing the Jamaican chants mixed with the heavy bass line mixed with the occasionally (yet tastefully) thrown-in sound effects. I’m a fan. Diplo suffices, but Major Lazer takes it to a new level.
“GO” – Diplo ft. Oliver Twizt
“Jah No Partial” – Major Lazer ft. Flux Pavilion