Best Live Acts Series: Disclosure
In this weekly series, EDM.com picks the best live acts working in electronic music today. These producers abstain from DJ sets and opt to use live and electronic instrumentation to give their performances a more grounded sound. From the saxophones heard by GRiZ and Big Gigantic to the rock-inspired sets from The Prodigy, this series explores all types of live electronic music. Read our pick for this week's best live act below:
Best Live Act of the Week: Disclosure
Photo Credit: Disclosure
It's quite rare to see a pair of musicians take over an entire genre as quickly as the Disclosure brothers did. Hailing from the United Kingdom, Disclosure initially followed the post-dubstep trend that was dominating England in 2010. They released their debut single, "Offline Dexterity," in 2010 and put out two additional tracks in 2011. In 2012, the two began to craft their now-ultra-signature sound, reintroducing elements of house music to electronic dance music and finishing it with a future garage twist. From the beginning, Disclosure has been making a valiant effort to use their concerts as an opportunity to perform live rather than doing traditional DJ sets.
Disclosure met critical and widespread acclaim in 2012, releasing a remix of "Running" by Jessie Ware and collaborating with Sam Smith for the eventual pop smash "Latch." They maintained momentum in 2013 with their debut album Settle, an LP that is considered a modern classic by pundits and dance fans alike. With Settle, Disclosure brought high-hats, the house 4/4 beat and deep grooves to the forefront of electronic dance music, precipitating the deep house movement. While their recorded music may not project a live sound, their sets bring it to life with instruments and electronic controllers.
The Disclosure live set has evolved significantly over their relatively short career, but the key elements remain the same. The two brothers divide the roles equally and strive to recreate elements from the recorded tracks to fit the live setting. Guy, the older brother, plays percussion and samples, while Howard, the younger brother, serves up the chords and subs. Guy uses a bass guitar to play the chords heard on "When A Fire Starts To Burn," for example, while Howard mans a Moog Little Phatty to play the synths on "White Noise." Guy also plays drum pads, which he uses to trigger drum samples. Holding it all together is a version of Ableton running on a laptop, which is responsible for the sounds the brothers cannot reinterpret live.
In addition to using instruments, the Disclosure duo also sings live. Their soft croons make tracks such as "F For You" spring up more than a recording would. The two have also become famous for bringing their collaborators on stage whenever the opportunity arises. If Sam Smith happens to be playing the same festival, you can bet that the pop singer will make an appearance to sing "Latch" live. This sticks out as Disclosure's greatest live achievement, separating them from their contemporaries and giving their anthemic songs even more weight.
Disclosure has retired their live show for a bit to concentrate on their second album, but the two still continue to innovate with DJ sets and the Wild Life concert tour. Lucky attendees of Miami Music Week will get to see the brothers perform two Wild Life events throughout the week. Fans may clamor for the return of the live set, but the wait for its comeback will surely be worth it.
Cover Photo Credit: Youtube