The state of dance music today is confused. Whether it’s on the shoulders of past icons, the Â laurels of the niche underground, or the clubs overlaid with palace level luxury for the mainstream, the constant, shifting tide of dance music during the past few years – let alone the last 18 months – leaves much to be desired. In a reality where artists are now being forced to play to both the lowest common denominator as well as their own personal exploration into what their capabilities are, rising to the top of the heap while maintaining our personal identity is a struggle. Few artists have succeeded and even fewer have had that success from the start.
Autograf, after a string of notable remixes and original singles over the span of their career thus far, has released their first official EP of original material. An act that came about a few years ago, rocking the mallets and tropical sound before the oncoming of artists like Kygo, Autograf has always been about two things: first, the thirst as artists to adventure into their own headspace to discover their intricacies and motivations as musicians; and secondly, an unrelenting, almost stubborn attitude about making music that feels pure for music’s sake, not for popularity. In what could only be described as emotive feel building, the trio of Chicago based musicians and artists has consistently delivered on their promises and has refused to compromise for their sound. Eventually, their legion of supporters would come, they’d climb the internet charts, they’d sell out shows, and they’d get the reputation which now suits them incredibly well.
In going to an Autograf show, one witnesses individuals from all walks of life: the IDM-loving, electronica intelligencia; the bro’d out, tropical shirt wearing dude with Sperry Top-Siders; the millennial youth with wide-brimmed hats and even wider brimmed Snapchat stories. But their fans aren’t jaded. And that’s because the music isn’t jaded.
Future Soup, their new EP, is the combination of hard work and a nod to their road so far. It’s as if EDM took a chill pill and had an opportunity to soak in some sun between good food and good people. And that’s not to sayÂ Future Soup falls under the mantle of the attention deficit feeding frenzy of mainstream dance music because it absolutely does not, but it does supply the much needed antithesis to that kind of thinking. Autograf so far has worked faithfully to instill good nature into their sound and experience, wistfully taking their fans to uncharted areas of their mental habitat to find warmth and peace. But their latest EP does have an edge: acid does appear in the EP’s opener, the vocal number and title track with up-and-comer Patrick Baker; traces of light Anjunadeep stylings arise in both “Horizons” and “Heartbeat”; the closing track, “Ocean Glass,” is an enchanting, singsongy traipse through downtempo, deep house.
Autograf isn’t hip because they try to be, but they are a product of their own creation and the culture that helped craft their success much like Andy Warhol’s Campbell soup painting (which Autograf, very lovingly, alludes to in much of their art). They’re relevant now because we celebrate the act of relevance in our culture and the act of being relevant – something many try painstakingly hard to achieve, but only the true believers are able to find success in. AndÂ Future Soup is a success because it’s honest, truthful, and a solid remark on an artist’s voyage to where they are and where they aim to go.