REVIEW: Disclosure Teaches Us How To Continue Evolving As A Culture With The Beginning Of Their Caracal Tour
How does one follow up an album that could have been admittedly, the best album of the past five years? Well--take notes, ‘cause Disclosure just schooled the debate.
2013 was a year of significant magnitude in changing the spectrum of EDM culture; and in not only the ways it would be defined, but simply in the range of what it sounded like and how it would continue to evolve. It was the year DJs could no longer mesmerize crowds with just bass lines and laser beams; fans no longer stood amazed at simply the experience of an EDM show. We wanted, we needed—more; we were due to evolve as an entire community. Dub-step and big room house just wasn’t cutting it anymore.
First came Skrillex’s ‘Leaving’ in January, an album that touched an unfamiliar array of genres for the notorious dub-step producer, from electro house, future garage and moombahton to deep house – which was just barely picking up steam at the time. The album surprised and overjoyed fans that were looking for more to their beloved sound, opening the door to experimentation for all producers alike. Followed would be Rudimental’s dynamic mesh of drum-and-bass powered by vocals you couldn’t help but sing along to. And while ‘Home’ wouldn’t resonate in U.S. fans ears until later on, the album helped prove that a meshing of sounds was achievable in the industry. That experimentation and a fluctuation of the currently defined sub-genres of EDM were not only possible, but needed.
In May of 2013, a number of heavy hitters released albums, from trance godfather Armin Van Buuren’s ‘Intense’ to Knife Party’s third EP ‘Haunted House.’ Thus in comparison, the Disclosure brothers were nobodies; if anything, one-hit wonders with a track that featured Sam Smith (who was at the time, also Grammy-less and wouldn’t release his debut album ‘In the Lonely Hour’ for another year). So on May 13th when ‘Settle’ hit unsuspecting listener’s ears – life in EDM was forever changed.
All of a sudden everyone wanted a piece of the brother’s who had officially begun to change the face of electronic music in popular culture. Several days later the evolution deepened with Daft Punk’s return and the release of their highly anticipated album ‘Random Access Memories.’ With a theme of bringing back a generation of sound that paved forth the entirety of EDM and the inclusion of unexpected collaborations (and actual instruments); the album in reality, had wavering reviews – people initially stuck on the expectations ‘Homework’ had inevitably induced. But with the swift popularity of Disclosure’s hit debut album and the exploration of sound production Daft Punk offered – the industry quickly became open to a change of the familiar sound wave landscape they were used to.
And with that - ‘Howard and Guy Lawerence’s debut collection of hits, ‘Settle’ would become history.
“In dance music, if you change tempo, you change genres. At ninety to ninety-five beats per minute, you’re making hip-hop. If you start at 180 bpm, youre making drum-and-bass. It’s weird how the genre is defined by the speed. Instead of just basing our sound around house music with that tempo of 120 to 130 bpm, we’re spreading ourselves across a variety of tempos and therefore crossing genres.”
- Guy Lawerence, GQ Magazine (September 2015 Issue)
Two years later, with the campaign for their sophomore album and worldwide Caracal tour in full swing, Disclosure have flawlessly transitioned into the one of the biggest players in the EDM world--if not throughout the full spectrum of the music industry.
Leading us back to our initial question: How does one meet and exceed expectations for a sophomore album & simultaneous tour after something as overwhelmingly successful like ‘Settle’?
After attending the Los Angeles show, the premiere to Disclosure’s entire Caracal Tour, we now know exactly how:
- Produce an album with genre-bending tracks, full of collaborations with popular artists from a wide range of genres (ie. The Weeknd, Lorde, Sam Smith, and Miguel amongst others).
- Remind fans why they fell in love with you in the first place by periodically releasing your best tracks off the upcoming album & their coinciding music videos, as you lead up to your official album release date.
- Follow your album release with even more unexpected goodies (ie. The eerily steamy “Magnets” music video featuring Lorde).
- Make sure the tour immediately follows, that it’s live (really drive this into people), and set the first date of your tour in Los Angeles at the biggest venue the City of Angels has to offer. For an added effect, stream it live so the entire world can join – making sure you have huge sponsors backing you in the escapade of course (ie. American Express). And don’t forget to hire someone awesome to direct the stream (ie. James Corden).
- And finally – prepare a setlist that highlights what we love, what you expect us to fall in love with, and features an array of special guests (doesn’t matter if they’re on their way up or a multiple Grammy winner, just make sure you had some part in the start of their careers). ‘Cause why not show off the trajectory of all of your success? With this in mind, we’re pretty sure Lion Babe is going to quickly rise following the ‘Caracal’ campaign, but only time will tell…
And that’s it! Easy enough, huh? All you have to do now is: sit back, or rather continue working your arse off, and let fans, journalists, and peers rejoice in what was a mesmerizing success.
But before we get ahead of ourselves - of course, the show wasn’t completely perfect. “For starters, just getting into the arena was a mess. Hundreds of paying fans were left stuck without their tickets at a practically nonstaffed Will Call line outside, which didn’t abate until close to an hour into the set (meaning those fans missed more than half the show). Even a venue security guard, quietly waving a reporter into the show after some pleading, admitted “this whole thing is a disaster.” The Sports Arena may be a perfectly fine supporting venue during FYF Fest, but for large-scale dance music shows like this, something has to change to get fans safely into the venue on time.” – August Brown, Los Angeles Times (9.30.2015)
And of course, the album didn’t completely resonate with everyone. “This is where Caracal fails to deliver. Lorde, Lion Babe and Nao are topical and interesting additions to the LP, but bring little in the way of earth shaking movements from a duo who owe their careers to an ability to bend rules and beckon the masses with something new. There’s less ‘Bang That’ and more ‘Brand That’ – the product being a breed of electronic pop that keeps the boat afloat without really ever rocking it. […] If the wider industry is to gain anything from the arguable sophomore slump, it’s that big name collaborators do not always equate to unprecedented results where the album platform is concerned, however accomplished the act. Disclosure never promised the world a second coming of polished club hallmarks with infectious pop teeth, and they sure as hell didn’t owe it one. Accordingly, those with little experience or expectation of the duo are likely to herald this as a roaring success. Caracal is likely one of the most important electronic records of 2015, but by no means one of its most impressive.” – Dan Roy Carter, Dancing Astronaut (9.30.2015)
But what last Tuesday’s Caracal live debut did do for our culture successfully, and undeniably so, is remind us that EDM no longer lives in a tiny box dedicated to a select few. Dance music and its culture has grown and evolved, finding homes in the hearts and places of the unexpected. We’re here to stay and as Disclosure just proved – in a big way.
“Thank you for making our first show in an arena, unbelieveable.”
Upcoming Caracal North American 2015 Tour Dates:
10/09 – Austin, TX @ Austin City Limits
10/13 – St. Paul, MN @ Roy Wilkins Auditorium
10/14 – Madison, WI @ Alliant Energy Center
10/15 – Chicago, IL @ Navy Pier
10/16 – Grand Rapids, MI @ The DeltaPlex Arena
10/17 – Toronto, ON @ Direct Energy Centre
10/19 – Philadelphia, PA @ The Fillmore
10/21 – Washington, DC @ Echostage
10/24 – New York, NY @ Madison Square Garden
Purchase Tickets to Upcoming Dates of the tour, here.