EDM, aka electronic dance music, may be huge in the clubs at the moment but it hasn’t spawned many waves outside the dancefloor and radio. Unlike previous youth movements, from Beatlemania to hip-hop, it has yet to produce many films in its wake.
Under the Electric Sky, a documentary about the 2013 edition of Las Vegas’ sprawling Electric Daisy Carnival event, aims to help change that. Though not a great documentary and essentially a colorful, 3D commercial for EDC, it works as both an introduction to a subculture many may be unfamiliar with and as a beat-heavy scrapbook for those who were there.
Filmmakers Dan Cutforth and Jane Lipsitz view the mega-festival, which attracted upwards of 300,000 people over a long weekend, through the eyes of several attendees who have different reasons for going. There’s the group of guys getting over the death of a friend, the couple in a long-distance relationship who share a passion for dance music, and the wheelchair-bound young man who uses EDM as a release from the stress of his daily life.
In between, there are performances from some of the biggest names in the genre — Calvin Harris, Above & Beyond and Hardwell among them. What the filmmakers don’t do is give much background in terms of dance music or dwell on the negative aspects — such as arrests and overdoses — that often make the evening news when the subject of EDM comes up.
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UNDER THE ELECTRIC SKY
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Directors: Dan Cutforth and Jane Lipsitz
Cast: Calvin Harris, Avicii, Tiesto
Rated: PG-13 (suggestive material, partial nudity, drug references, and brief strong language)
Running time: 85 min.