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15 Most Ne Plus Ultra Things We Saw at Ultra Music Fest 2014

Eric Prydz goes intergalactic, Steve Aoki goes wakeboarding and young people go wild in our roundup of Ultra highlights

Ultra music Festival 2014, Tiesto, Winter Music Conference

Ian Witlen

Nothing disabuses you of any so-called principles or pretensions or prudishness like dunking your head in the EDM end of the musical pool. Here we have the Business of Young People Partying – a three-day pass to Ultra Music Festival 2014 cost $399.95 plus roughly another $100 in fees – and anyone not guzzling the Kool-Aid is simply ass-out on the sidewalk, barred from the steamy room where the most essential transactions of Young People Partying are being conducted. I’m not complaining – except in the usual way I complain about virtually everything except the elegant poetry of Dequantes Lamar (look it up). 

Make no mistake, any opinions uttered about Ultra-plus have been micromanaged, massaged and medicated by a plucky armada of Young People Partying publicity teams, promoters, managers, marketers of every imaginable hustle, A&Rs and VPs of Whateverthetwerk, et al. That doesn’t mean it’s not possible to still write your true feelings about the EDM pageant, but only after acknowledging that the Business of Young People Partying is the only reason we’re here. And more nakedly than in any other genre, if you’re not interested in the Business of Young People Partying, then you, my friend, need to remove yourself from the pool and return to your adult lawn and kick back with some Peej.

With that disclaimer out of the way, let’s board the spaceship of the imagination that is EDM: The Ultra Odyssey, transmitting again this year (though not necessarily next) from downtown Miami’s Bayfront Park, as well as the surrounding galaxy. So, the journey begins… By Charles Aaron

Ultra Music Conference 2014, Winter Music Conference

Andrew Rauner

Old MacDeadmau5 Had a Farm

Joel "Deadmau5" Zimmerman has never hidden his feelings about EDM’s almost rabidly slobbering chase of the pop charts, so when he was asked to replace pop-crossover wizard Avicii as the main-stage headliner on Saturday, one can imagine his eyes sparkling devilishly. Of Avicii’s single "Wake Me Up," the Mau5 once cracked on Facebook, "Wake me up when this song’s over." And indeed, he had something mischievous in store: While playing EDM’s current pop splash, Martin Garrix’s "Animals," Deadmau5 replaced the song’s drop with a snippet of the children’s song "Old MacDonald Had a Farm." Then he played Avicii’s "Levels" in its entirety, as if to mock the throng by saying, "Gobble it up, kiddies, I know this is what you really want." Avicii mentor Tiësto was not pleased, engaging Deadmau5 via Twitter. But on this occasion at least, the Mau5, along with his barnyard friends, had the last word.

Ultra Music Conference 2014, Winter Music Conference

Andrew Rauner


If this was truly the last Ultra Music Festival in Miami – which I doubt, but let’s just say – then French techno provocateur and Kanye West sidekick Mike Lévy would probably be happy to perform last rites. Closing out the Live Stage on Saturday with a starkly monochromatic assault (a video of a black-and-white American flag undulated behind him), he enacted his Gesaffelstein persona, standing in a black suit behind a tomb-like DJ platform, body vibrating intensely, arms chopping the air. Deploying dying sirens and shuddering, gasping beats like he was re-scoring Martin Scorsese’s macabre memory-fuck Shutter Island, Lévy stood in a cloud of dry ice, smoking violently and hurling the butts to the ground. Hostile, nasty, no fucks given. You could imagine him muttering under his nicotine breath, "Nevermore, Edgar Allan Bro, nevermore."

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