Contemporary Electronic Dance Music (EDM) is in a rather strange period in which its artists and producers are experiencing something of an existential crisis over the genre’s sound and presentation. After all, for the better part of generation critics, fans and others have asked ad nauseum – what is it that you actually do and what is it that makes it really musical? 

Interestingly, there’s been a trend over the last year or so in which several EDM artists and producers have been experimenting with some degree of live instrumentation to prove to critics and naysayers that they’re more than  morons plugging away at laptops, sequencers and synthesizers. Certainly, live instrumentation along with the use of analog recording and sampling techniques manage to add a gritty texture and a level of musicality that can’t be denied by those who have (at times, rightfully) criticized the genre. But perhaps intentionally, the addition of live instrumentation to an EDM artist’s set also creates a dynamic and visually appealing live set. 

Detroit, MI-based producer (and saxophonist) GRiZ is at the forefront of that trend as his sound is comprised of smoothed out old school-sounding beats beats, guitar and saxophone squawk. In fact, live and as you’ll see during this live KCRW Morning Becomes Eclectic footage, GRiZ manages to play saxophone and switch back and forth between various computers, sequences, synths and other devices to create his sound as his band plays around him. 

Most of the footage is GRiZ playing his smoothed out, funky and gritty brand of EDM, including “Hard Times” and “Getting Live” off Rebel Era, an album, which managed to capture the attention of the blogosphere. Some of the footage includes an interview with Jason Bentley, in which GRiZ reveals his recording and live show process; talks about how he got into the saxophone; and more. 

that you’ll hear on his latest single off Rebel Era, “Hard Times” — and it’s done in a way that makes the material sound both contemporary and as though it could have been released in 1985 or so. 

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