Last week an anonymous artist subtly leaked an original cover/mashup (whatever you will) of Outkast that went viral and took the internet by storm. Titled “Moves Like Ms. Jackson,” the record combined four classic Outkast tracks with original covered vocals and was rumored to be the work of Disclosure. The result was an incredible deep house/ nu-disco-ey rendition which spread like the plague – no seriously, coverage included heavy hitters like MTV, HypeTrak, ThisSongIsSick, Do Androids Dance, YourEDM, Dancing Astronaut, Earmilk and many more. It charted in the top 5 on Hype Machine and apparently, Sol Republic was feeling it too:
Why This Is A Bigger Statement
This week, the artist whom the intrawebz have dubbed as “Z,” released another anonymous original called “Superfriends.” picking up right where he left off. The question remains though: How (and why) can an artist who won’t even reveal his identity stir up the conversation on such a massive level?
Let’s take a moment to compare this to the Martin Garrix “Animals” stunt (read and review here). While Spinnin’ was at the helm of control behind it all, Garrix’s track was hosted on a channel with over four million subscribers. There was no risk involved…it was never a question of “Will this get exposure?” They accidentally mislabeled it as a collaboration between Hardwell & GTA, only to create another story by retracting their misstep. Smart? yes. Substance? no. It’s generic and wouldn’t have stood a chance without dance music’s “top label” co-signing. Is their even a fair argument for that statement?
“Unknown Artist Z” didn’t host his release on a channel with guaranteed traction. Instead, he sent it into the wild (for free we might add), seemingly with the hope that the music would speak for itself…and it did just that; no label, face, or brand to skew the way listeners perceived the music. THIS IS THE MENTALITY DANCE MUSIC NEEDS. As our culture continues to digest unoriginality driven by platforms backed with a large following and established authority, the substance of the music and it’s artistic message is beginning to fade.
Garrix is a relevance created by a machine, while “Z” is building a foundation that is both organic and birthed by nothing more than good music. We respect and appreciate this and it seems the internet did as well; suggesting that there is an alternate formula after all.
Why It’s Resonating
The roots of dance music are no longer held as truths today. A genre that grew up on a unique conceptual aesthetic has been flipped on it’s head. The original mystique rested in dim lit clubs where the focal point was the energy, both your own and the connection between the other frolicking bodies all moving in unison. The DJ was simply the orchestrator.
Fast forward to 2014. The DJ and his/her mass marketed brand are now the focal point, while the music and energy seem to be taking a backseat. At one time it was natural to turn your back, but now we scrap for any piece of rail front property available. Our eyes are feasted on the person behind the decks – a complete reflection of blatant consumerism dominating the market.
Here’s to believing everything is cyclical, and that mystery artists like “Z” will help return dance music to the purity it was built on; a place where the music can be judged without influence, for exactly what it is…or isn’t. Whether we realize it or not, that’s the reason this story is resonating with us all. Our subconscious feels it, even if our minds refuse to make the connection.
This Is The Internet Reacting
To “Z’s” single release today, for those of you who are visual people.
Here’s The Track Everyone’s Buzzing About
(uploaded to a random soundcloud account)
So What’s Next For The Enigma Known as “Z”?
Because this story is too good not to speculate a little bit…
- He’ll drop a surprise album Beyonce style.
- He’ll continue to release tracks and we may never know who he is.
- He will reveal his identity and become one of the biggest stories of 2014.
- He will be a flash in the pan only known for his amazing Outkast cover.
- He’ll wind up collaborating with Outkast at some point.
We want to know your opinions so please, comment below. As dance music soars to popular heights, it’s only natural that a grassroots revolution is imminent…a revolt against the corporate players looking to monetize and exploit every corner possible – i.e. the repetitive sounds of success we are all frustrated by.
Or are we just being too dramatic? Discuss.