by Casey Moffitt
photo by Reuben Wu
Zedd sets himself apart from his cookie-cutter contemporaries by using his ability to construct thoughtful EDM songs. It’s not just that he finds sweet melodies. Nor is it his uncanny ability to run the gamut of emotions in his songs from joyous to heartbreaking. What’s more interesting is how Zedd builds unusual chords and progressions not typically found in dance or pop music to unlock exquisite harmonies within them. This shouldn’t come as a surprise, knowing Zedd was classically trained as a musician after his family emigrated to Germany from his native Russia. His graduate-level understanding of music shows in all of his work. Although Zedd will throw musical curveballs, his transitions don’t sound jarring as he incorporates many familiar elements in instrumentation, tone, beats and polyrhythmic breakdowns. If you focus past the intense light show and obligatory volume, you’ll mine nuggets of actually interesting EDM music.