Another lap around the sun sees the predictable onslaught of attempts at new EDM genres. But what about this Future Rave? With each producer trying to be “first to market” with the latest hot sound, new genres have long since come and gone as fast as the popularity of the Island Boy.
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Nu Rave, Vomitstep, Nu Disco, Tropical House and more are done and dusted off, but Future Rave seems to have lingered longer than expected. But a recent festival booking put a lot of things into perspective, the main one being that Future Rave is here to stay.
Hardwell’s return to the festival circuit after a five-year hiatus was a show and a half, and to say he hosted a Future Rave clinic would be an understatement. So, before diving into the nitty-gritty of what I would call Future Rave, I suggest you take a lesson by going through the video below.
With that sound set in mind, let’s dive into what Future Rave is and isn’t.
What is Future Rave?
A year ago, when I first heard the phrase Future Rave, my instinct was to say it was a remake of the EDM classics of yesteryear. Big synths and big bass drums that make the DJ jump more than the crowd.
But listening to Hardwell’s set from beginning to end gives a bit more clues about the nuances of the sound and lets you know there’s a little more going on than just rehashing Big Room House (if it’s just a little).
While the Ven diagram intersection between older early 2000s EDM and Future Rave can be substantial. Big Room EDM was characterized by 4×4 kicks that left little room for syncopation outside of monotonous stomping and jumping and its additional synths and sounds all worked to help facilitate that rhythmic, pounding groove.
What sets Future Rave apart is a slight shift in syncopation, which makes all the difference.
There’s an added level of syncopation to the percussion that creates a slightly more mature, rolling groove that’s intertwined with the same aggressively programmed synth hits that propel the tracks forward. The sound palettes haven’t changed, but the timings and grooves have corrected too much in the early 90s and the sound is all the better for it.
This leads to rolling, energetic grooves from start to finish that lead to massive builds and explosive drop sections that are naturally pockmarked by euphoric vocal moments and anthemic breakdowns typical of many mainstream genres, or should I say from the main stage.
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TL; DR – Future Rave brought the groove back to all the best parts of old school EDM and added a portion of melodies that add a mature touch to the sound.
Future Rave DJs
Hardwell by no means pioneered this genre of music, but his latest Ultra set in 2022 certainly made it clear that Future Rave is definitely a thing.
So let’s dive into some of the DJs who have been playing this sound for a year or more in hopes of gaining a better understanding of what exactly constitutes the sound.