The 9th Annual Decibal Festival - The Cannabinoids featuring Erykah Badu, Orbital, Shpongle just added!

I have just been informed by The Confluence that the  9th Annual Decibal Festival in Seattle, Washington has added The Cannabinoids featuring Erykah Badu, Orbital, Shpongle and many more to their lineup! See the flyer below for more performers (more still being added!) and click here to get tickets. This fantastic festival will be five days long beginning September 26th and end on the 30th. 

As I reflect on the 2012 Decibel Festival line-up, it is clear to me that our creative scope is continuing to expand along with our audience. This being our ninth program, I must also look ahead towards our monumental 10th edition in 2013, and what that could mean for us as an organization. One thing is for certain, I've never been more excited to unveil what I believe to be our most adventurous and complete line-up to date.  Before I do so, I'd like to highlight a couple key cultural developments that have brought us to where we are today. 

In recent years, electronic dance music or “EDM” has been riding a wave of success unlike any we've ever seen in North America. Though Decibel has benefited from and even played a role in this growth over the years, the majority of our audience were supporting electronic music long before it reached the mainstream. In fact, it was the lack of acceptance that provided impetus for me to found Decibel in 2003.  Putting together this year's line-up, I made a conscious effort to avoid jumping on the bandwagon and instead focus on a diverse  selection of artists that I feel have a unique and influential voice that spreads will beyond the  current hype. This was a calculated decision on my part and one that I feel will lead to lasting relationships with both our audience and the artists we support. 

Another trend I was conscious of this year was that excessively loud, over-produced sound design. In many ways this trend has bridged the gap between teen-angst and music technology. Though I find it to be a fascinating cultural development, creatively I simply can't relate to the music and experience as I once did. What has been resonating with me is the evolution of soul, hip hop, pop, disco and world music via contemporary electronic music. The beauty and raw emotion conveyed in so much of the music I've discovered over the past year signals a change, much of which I attribute to women playing a more active role as electronic music producers, deejays, performers and fans. As I mentioned in my previous correspondence, this is our most diverse line-up both in terms of the amount of countries represented and the amount of female performers (22 countries and more than 20% feature female performers). 

Though we still have much more to announce (e.g. complete program, schedule, dB Conference, after parties, boat parties, updated partners and dB films to be announced on July 25th) the creative direction of this year's festival should be abundantly clear based on the line-up presented here. I encourage you all once again to explore our new website and actively participate in social media exchanges over the next three months. September will be here before you know it!

Until next time,

Sean Patrick Horton

Decibel Festival Founder and Curator  

The first electronic dance music CD I purchased was Orbital's "2" back in 1993. Unlike the industrial music I was listening to at the time, what struck me immediately with Orbital was there were no vocals. The emphasis was entirely on the sound design and composition, which were unlike anything I had ever heard prior. Orbital has always held a special place in my heart both as producers and performers. They were one of the first purely electronic live acts to headline major festivals and tours globally, which pushed the idea of live electronic music  performance into the forefront of early rave culture. As Decibel curator, I have taken the stance that live electronic music performance is crucial to the Decibel brand and no performance duo in history is more relevant to me personally than Orbital. It's worth noting that 2012 celebrates the 20th anniversary of my discovery of Orbital and it is with great pleasure that I announce they will be one of the headliners for the 2012 Decibel Festival.

The Cannabinoids feat. Erykah Badu 
Neo Soul is a term that has been thrown around since the early 90s. It was used to describe a shift away from the often corny, commercial world of Top 40 R&B and gave dozens of disenchanted songwriters and performers a chance to pay homage the music they grew up listening to. The subject matter was honest and heartfelt and the music possessed an organic quality that was rare in contemporary urban music at the time. Jump ahead 20 years and Neo Soul artists like Adele and John Legend have brought back traditional soul music to young and old alike. However, there's no other artist in Neo Soul that has had more influence and longevity than Erykah Badu. Not only did she take her cues from some of hip hop's most important figures, she broke the mold with what it meant to be female African American artist in the United States. Known as The Queen of Neo Soul, she made her own rules, created her own fashion, spoke her mind politically and did so with complete confidence. Constantly re-inventing herself, Erykah has now embraced a technologically-driven musical collective that can only be described as "the sensational reaction created when the synthetic combines with the organic". Her work with The Cannabinoids marks the next phase of her development both as a composer and performer. Consisting of 9 laptops, 3 turntables, 6 keyboards, 4 drum machines, a Theremin, live projections and over a dozen performers, The Cannabinoids are quite simply the ambitious performance we've ever hosted at The Decibel Festival. Like Parliament-Funkadelic for the digital age, The Cannabinoids have given Erykah Badu a new digital platform on which to transform her classic Neo Soul material into a full audio/visual experience. 

Orbital will be performing Thursday September 27th at the Paramount Theatre. The Cannabioids feat. Erykah Badu will be performing Friday September 28th at the Paramount Theatre.  Tickets for both events go on sale Friday, July 13th at 11AM PST. For more information on these and other 2012 Decibel Festival events, stay tuned to and (full program coming July 25th). 
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