‘With You’: Dirty South And Electronic Music’s Artistic Milestone Of The Year
How did Dirty South go from EDM golden child and honorary Swedish House Mafioso to directing, producing, writing, and composing the music for his own short-film?
Producers wrapped up in touring the live EDM circuit are, more times than not, bogged down by the influences of its stages. Not Dirty South.
Dirty South’s trajectory as an artist has been undistracted by the chaotic yet stale white noise of the routine EDM lane; his growth, remarkably natural in relation to artists he’s been associated with in recent years.
A Lead Worth Following
It draws out pretty openly. For the better part of a decade, Dirty South stunned with individual singles and remixes when they were in their greatest demand — arguably the best in his class from 2009 to 2012. (And, just for the record, his delivery of “Messiah” was one of the best and most underrated remixes of 2013.)
On pace with the natural progression of changes to be made from electronic artists, he took a thematic approach with his debut artist album in 2013. Speed Of Life offered self-expression to an audience that had previously been exposed to very little of such, and even the idea of a cohesive, full-project was refreshing at the time.
Over the course of the following year, audiences wouldn’t hear much from Dirty South. EDM’s formulaic routine kept chugging along, and new stage acts would plug themselves into festival lineups and news cycles. These rookies had all the attention, keeping fan bases entertained with viral sideshows that revolved around eating burritos, growing out weird-looking facial hair, or who really gives a sh*t. However it sounded, or whatever standards were being kept, it must’ve been funny.
Now is the time for Dirty South to take his last laugh, though no laughing matter, as his next project has been set in motion; he picks up where he left off with Speed Of Life, in regards to fluent artist evolution and filling every subsequent career chapter with precision as if a literal novel.
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See The Album, Hear The Movie
Playing to a more relatable level of synesthesia, Dirty South writes and produces his sophomore album as he’s scoring his directorial debut. With You is cinematic beyond its being as a short film, but in the experience that comes along with the pairing of visuals and music, in that order.
With You, at its core, is about design. The short-film’s imagery and the music it’s linked with are two artworks as one, designed to intertwine at its audience’s behest. One viewer can watch With You through its entirety, maybe shrug off its plot and simply take away forty minutes of entertainment. The next can digest the artistry — the colors, shapes, and romance with the accompanied score — and utilize the space to anchor its emotion with the music
That’s where Dirty South sets the stage; architecting sight and sound in a way that the audience will perceive them together with personal sentiment rather than physical senses. This being the ultimate purpose of music videos, but on a greater, more intimate scale. Put into perspective: most artists have enough difficulty satisfying this concept given four minutes, let alone forty. But With You gets the job done.
Once the short-film is digested, the journey of listening through the album is unlike that of any other: actually being a journey, one deliberately paved. It’s beauty, outside the realm of artistry, is how experiencing the project in full means being at the drivers seat of that journey. Completely at the eye of the beholder, With You is to be interpreted with each own’s individuality.
Through one’s listening session, different pieces of the record bring out different feelings — they’re feelings not easily identified, but that’s the point. That’s what the film did. Opening track “Run Run Run” brings something out that’s touching, some sense of having cried through the entire song albeit having nothing to cry about. Sonic tears; not sad or joyous. Something else. The pair of tracks that follow carry similarly — the significance of the vocalists’s roles in doing so, at this point and throughout, isn’t to be downplayed.
Energy picks up with “Freefallin” before the lofty embrace of “Tunnel Vision,” one track that could transport anyone to a fictional state and have them feeling like a bad ass. Every time.
Keeping steady in an alternate universe psyche, With You follows with each track weaving aesthetics into the next. None more extreme than previously being made felt like pulling out tissues (“Run Run Run”) or f*cking sh*t up (“Tunnel Vision”), but all aesthetics, all on an more open-ended plane.
Once the album has brought its listener to aforementioned highs and lows, and everywhere in between, concluding tracks “With You” and “Unbreakable,” together, capture its journey-ending purpose with a rewarding send off.
The project buzzes with a “see the album, hear the movie” dogma — which is spot on, though should come with a disclaimer: experience the movie first, experience the album second, and be prepared to feel something.
See The Album: iTunes
Hear The Movie: iTunes