It will be hot. It’s safe to say that folks will be dancing their asses off. For the beat-heads in attendance, Coachella has a wide range of selectors and electronic artists ready to lay down a funky-ass bass line. Oh, yes, the stories you’ve heard are true: everyone in Southern California is attractive, and those in the steaming dance tents will be dressed to a minimum. (Actually, people of all ranges in aesthetic quality will be wearing bikinis or basketball jerseys, so just come for the music and consider anything else along the way a secondary benefit.) ~Eric Solomon
Carl Cox: There’s a reason his name’s on the third line from the top. If we’re throwing around labels he’d catch the house designation, but with sets that draw on soul, jazz, hip-hop and breakbeat, he’s sure to put on a scorcher of a set.
Ladytron: True story: Coachella organizers originally had Alison Goldfrapp on the bill but were afraid her pale countenance might spontaneously burst into flame in the desert sun (Ed.: We’re pretty sure this is not a true story). The organizers settled on Ladytron, whose longevity and breadth of dark-tinged synth and guitar pop has outlived those halcyon days of, oh, 2003, when electro-clash was poised to take over the world.
Tosca: With any luck, Tosca will play at dusk as the air turns sweet and caressingly warm, as you savor the scene and gather your energy for the night’s closing acts. With down-tempo maestro Dorfmeister (of Kruder & fame) and Rupert Huber, Tosca will provide some soporific grooves for your swaying pleasure.
The Juan Maclean: Even a hater of superfluous definitive articles will have difficulty resisting the Juan Maclean‘s appeal. His DFA pedigree, the Church of the Handclap and Cowbell, stands out, but the Juan Maclean tweaks a sound by turns delicate and stark, like a fey robot hosting its first intergalactic dinner party. Good to hit if you get squeezed out of the Daft Punk tent.
Imogen Heap: Cut loose from the trip-hop pairing that was Frou Frou, Imogen Heap continues to provide a breathy voice over various electronic soundscapes. Bring your date or someone you just met and clasp your arms around one another as you hear what can be either complimented or insulted by labeling it Sarah MacLachan with an edge.
Shy FX and T Power: Back in ’99, Roni Size played Coachella to an enthusiastic tent (Gobi … or maybe it was Sahara. It was damned hot, anyway) and killed it. Oh, how the fickle gods (or critics) of electronica trends have treated drum ‘n’ bass. For the holdouts out there who want some authentic jungle from the U.K., Shy FX and T Power bring the beats with a career that’s ranged from the hardcore stuff to fusions with jazz and funk.
Coldcut: These guys only founded Ninja Tune records, produced the most famous seven-minute hip-hop remix of all time (Eric B. and Rakim’s “Paid in Full”) and turned a credo of “Fuck Dance, Let’s Art” into a guiding principle for electronic music steeped in hip-hop, funk, jazz, breakbeat, and whatever else seems suitable at the time. Meh, they’re probably not that good live.
Louie Vega: A little bit of Monica in my life … damn, you’re thinking of Lou Bega. Don’t sweat it. You’d think being part of the famed Masters at Work production team and dropping the Little from his moniker would earn Louie Vega some respect. This house deejay will be putting in work and undoubtedly gaining much respect coming all the way from New York to rock the Cali crowd.
Mylo (deejay set): Comparisons to Royksopp aren’t entirely off the mark. For folks who like their burbly house leavened with melodic, orchestral movements, Mylo keeps things fresh and varied, though the Coachella overlords warn us that this is a deejay set, which clearly means all bets are off.
Jazzanova: As legend has it, sometimes when a bedroom producer finishes a track and collapses into sleep, six German men sneak in and remix the freshly minted tune, with an array of jazzy electronic beats. Put to work by electronic labels such as Om, soul/hip-hop issuers BBE, and the illustrious jazz foundation Blue Note, Jazzanova packs such a prodigious musical acumen that it should not be watched directly; better that you stare into the sun during the set.
Gilles Peterson: Don’t call him the poor man’s Tim Westwood — he effin hates that. Actually, while they both reside on BBC’s Radio 1, Gilles Peterson‘s sets are on the more eclectic side, blending hip-hop, house, soul, dub, and jazz on his play lists. A purveyor of musical profundity, Peterson won’t just be dropping knowledge, he’ll do so with an accent.
Michael Mayer: You have to love a guy who’s visionary enough to say, “The only thing I predetermine is that I play 4/4.” [Ed.: this is from a third- or fourth-hand source, and probably mistranslated]. It’s a scientific fact that German techno is just engineered more solidly, so when you’re bored by down-tempo, out of balance from jungle, and spacey from meandering trance deejays, you can get some serious house from Michael Mayer.
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Coachella 2006 (Part 6): The Sleepers: Why not take a chance?