The EDM Dictionary: ID – ID

Definition: ID is used as a placeholder in tracklists and setlists for unknown information, such as the track name or artist. When neither the song title nor the artist is known (or not able to be revealed on the tracklist), it is written as ID – ID.

Tracks that are released in this way are called “IDs.” (Not to be confused with government IDs, i.e. identification cards.) ID is technically shorthand for “identification,” though you’ll never see it written out that way.

Sometimes tracklists are updated later on to reveal the IDs, after the person compiling the tracklist has had a chance to find the missing information, or after the song or artist is eventually revealed by the DJ.

Track or artist names can be unidentified for a number of reasons. In sets, mixes, and podcasts, some DJs may choose not to identify a song or artist because the song may not be finished, or doesn’t yet have a title; because the DJ may not have permission from the artist to play the song; because the artist has not yet debuted the song; or another reason. Sometimes DJs play unidentified tracks to “test drive” the track and gauge reaction to it. If the track goes over badly, they can scrap it without any damage done to their brand as a DJ or producer.

Of course, if the person compiling the tracklist is not the DJ, but instead a fan or someone not affiliated with the DJ, you may see IDs in the tracklist just because that person isn’t familiar with the song or artist.

Further Reading: Max Graham has a great explanation of his use of IDs on his Facebook page, laying out other reasons a DJ may choose not to identify a song.

Show Review: Max Graham at Audio SF | March 21, 2015

The light wall at Audio.

The light wall at Audio.

Back in December, Max Graham played a 5 hour set at Audio in San Francisco. Though I was excited for the show, I ended up passing on it, for one reason or another.

That was a mistake.

For weeks afterward, I watched on Twitter as he and the attendees of that show glowed about the incredible atmosphere that blossomed that night. Max went so far as to immortalize that evening in his profile pictures on Facebook and Twitter. (He posted part of his set from that performance as episode 185 of his weekly show, Cycles Radio.)

Max Graham at Audio.

Max Graham at Audio.

When it was announced that he was coming around to do it all over again, I made it my mission to attend.

Max’s set on Friday totally lived up to my high expectations. While the music selection was, of course, excellent (more on that in a bit), I think a big part of the magic came from the club itself. Audio is arguably the best venue in San Francisco. It’s small in an intimate way, gorgeously decorated with a truly sublime wall of lights that pulses behind the DJ, and a crowd that tends towards more discerning music fans, rather than casual clubbers (perhaps attributable to the excellent roster of performers they bring in). The audio quality is also fantastic, as it rocks a Funktion-One sound system. In short, it’s an environment perfectly suited for just the sort of dreamy techno and house that Max Graham specializes in.

When I arrived at 11, the dancefloor was full and grooving, though happily not crowded. The crowd swelled gradually until about 1, but for the most part kept its relaxed and respectful character. All night, Max kept the tunes deep and smooth, fostering a dreamy, friendly vibe that made time flow by like water in a hot shower.

IMG_8652_2I go to a lot of shows to hear songs that I know; I came to see Max for the opposite reason – to get lost in the beat without wondering about the artist name, song title, or other trivia that I’m always half-thinking about when I go out. In fact, I could only name a handful of songs that he played, most of which came later in the night. (I made a deliberate effort to keep off of Shazam, although I caved a couple of times. Some songs you just have to pocket so you can relive them later.) At one point, I was surprised to hear Andrew Bayer‘s “Bullet Catch” slinking into the set, since its harder set-opening sound didn’t match with the sound Max had been crafting all night. However, he merely plucked out the beautiful piano breakdown, mixing out before the song ramped back up into high-energy territory. Other tracks I recognized included a remix of an old Above & Beyond track, “No One On Earth,” and a couple selections from Cycles 6. New to me was “Trommer Og Bass” by Andre Bratten, which I thought recalled Shiba San‘s huge tune from last year, “Okay.” The beat practically set the room on fire.

For a deep set, it had more drops than I was expecting. Max spiced up some of the builds by playing around with the high pass filter, creating an effect not unlike sticking your thumb over the speaker of your iPhone. It’s kind of a cheesy tactic, so I prefer to see it done sparingly, but the audience was definitely feeling it.

Max Graham at Audio.

All in all, it was an excellent night full of smooth and entrancing beats. Max himself compared the atmosphere to “a living room house party 👌👌.” If dark and groovy house music is your jam, you won’t want to miss this man the next time he returns to San Francisco – which doubtless won’t be too long.

Update, March 29th: Max posted the first two hours of his set from this night on Soundcloud, so in case you missed out, you can experience some of the magic for yourself.

Show Review: Above & Beyond at Bill Graham Civic Center | March 14, 2015

Above & Beyond at Bill Graham Civic Center. Photo credit: Drew Ressler/

Above & Beyond at Bill Graham Civic Center. Photo credit: Drew Ressler/

There’s one element that makes an Above & Beyond show more than just an EDM concert.


Photo credit: Drew Ressler/

Photo credit: Drew Ressler/

Newcomers and veterans alike will attest that the energy at an Above & Beyond concert is unlike any other. Friendship, compassion, and goodwill all combine into a sort of gravity that pulls the crowd together.

This is true on most nights, but on Saturday, I found it especially so.

Jono Grant, one third of Above & Beyond, revealed two weeks ago that his sister had died very suddenly. He pulled out of the North American tour temporarily to go back to the UK. During his time there, he helmed a poignant episode of ABGT (#121), dedicating two songs to his sister: Above & Beyond’s own “Good for Me,” and London Grammar’s “If You Wait.”

On Saturday, Jono was back in the US, along with Paavo Siljamäki, to man the decks for the second night of San Francisco performances on the We Are All We Need Tour. The venue was Bill Graham Civic Center, the massive performance space just next to city hall, often graced by acts as large as Skrillex, Bassnectar, and Hardwell.

Anjunabeats newcomer 16 Bit Lolitas served as the first opener, warming up the crowd with his cool and relaxed sound. The vibe was, of course, the total opposite of the second opener, Seven Lions, who laid out a blazing hot set as if he himself were the headliner. Kicking things off with his emotional remix of Velvetine’s gorgeous classic, “The Great Divide,” Seven Lions, a.k.a. Jeff Montalvo, weaved together eclectic tracks that ranged in style from his signature melodic dubstep to big room EDM, drum & bass, and even psytrance. (That last one came in the form of his divisive one-off, “Lucy.”) I personally find his melodic dubstep sound more appealing than the patchwork of styles that he favors in the large settings where I’ve seen him perform, so I came away somewhat disappointed. Even so, watching him live is always a treat. There’s no denying the sheer intensity Jeff brings to the decks, his leonine mane swinging as he enthusiastically headbangs to each monster track he throws down.

Above & Beyond at Bill Graham Civic Center. Photo credit: Drew Ressler/

Above & Beyond dropping “Sticky Fingers” toward the beginning of their set. Photo credit: Drew Ressler/

Above & Beyond took the stage to the opening track on their new album, “Quieter is Louder,” which soon morphed into the dark and powerful “Sticky Fingers.” Their set was a predictable rundown of Anjunabeats stalwarts and newcomers, with the necessary hat tips to Ilan Bluestone and Jerome Isma-Ae (“Tension” vs. “A Thing Called Love“), Andrew Bayer (a new track from his Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep EP), and Mat Zo (“Pyramid Scheme“) – although, I was surprised not to hear any Myon & Shane 54 productions all night. Other tracks from the new album included “Blue Sky Action” (the “push the button” track), “Out of Time,” “Peace of Mind,” “Counting Down the Days,” “Hello,” “All Over the World,” and, of course, the titular “We’re All We Need.” I was hoping to hear them drop the Tony McGuinness-voiced “Excuses,” but no dice there.

Above & Beyond at Bill Graham Civic Center. Photo credit: Drew Ressler/

Paavo Siljamäki and Jono Grant of Above & Beyond. Photo credit: Drew Ressler/

The community feel was in full effect at all times. As usual, the boys kept the atmosphere intimate through through typed messages onscreen, sharing memories of the first time they came to SF – then well into their OceanLab phase – along with more generic, uplifting messages such as “You are all we need;” “This moment is all there is;” “This is your year;” etc. During the encore performance, they played the club mix of “Good for Me,” touchingly dedicated to Jono’s sister, Charlotte. (On last week’s ABGT, he had said that the track summed up his relationship with her perfectly.) Finally, they ended with the closer track on their new album, “Treasure.” The lyrics – “Treasure is measured in units of love, which means you may find you are rich beyond your wildest dreams” – although terribly cheesy, were nevertheless a nice note to end on. It’s a different sentiment, but just as impactful as the longtime unofficial motto of Group Therapy sessions: “life is made of small moments like these.”

Above & Beyond at Bill Graham Civic Center. Photo credit: Drew Ressler/

Photo credit: Drew Ressler/

And, it wouldn’t be a proper Above & Beyond concert if I couldn’t say that I made new friends at the show, with whom I expect to share many more small moments and little treasures for years to come. ✋

Above & Beyond at Bill Graham Civic Center. Photo credit: Drew Ressler/

“We Are All We Need.” Photo credit: Drew Ressler/

Jack Ü Drops Surprise New Album on Soundcloud

Last week, Jack Ü, the powerhouse collaboration between EDM titans Skrillex and Diplo, dropped their debut album with little advance notice. The ten-track collection, titled simply Skrillex & Diplo Present Jack Ü, is available in full on Soundcloud now. It includes the previously released track “Take Ü There” as well as some brand new gems. These include “Febreeze” with 2 Chains, as well as collabs with Justin Bieber (“Where are Ü Now“), AlunaGeorge (“To Ü“), and Missy Elliott (who lays down a sick rap on top of the already excellent “Take Ü There”). Some tracks, including “Beats Knockin” (feat. Fly Boi Keno), the pair had previewed at their massive Madison Square Garden New Years Eve show.

It’s an eclectic album that sits right between the styles of the two tastemakers, while incorporating sounds from trap, hip-hop, EDM, and even jungle. Particularly distinctive is the wild snare found on “Take Ü There” and “Mind” (feat. Kai). I wouldn’t be surprised if this fuller, tonal snare sound (that Skrillex says they recorded in Jamaica) catches on beyond the duo.