With apologies to "Portlandia," the dream of the '90s is alive in the Coachella dance tents this year.
Both the lineups and sonics Sunday were indebted to Clinton-era sounds and that decade's mix of smarts and populism in dance music. In the Sahara tent, acts new and old mined that era for inspiration.
German producer Paul Kalkbrenner owed debts to Underworld for his rousing but spacious and emotional house. His single "Sky and Sand" in particular built heady storms of soulful vocals punctuated by big liftoff moments and sad minor-key chords. It was party music, but a reminder of what we escape by partying.
Immediately after him, '90s titan Paul Oakenfold reasserted his case for why his many decades in dance music have been some of its most fruitful. His stylish but hard-hitting productions essentially wrote the play book for what EDM became, and his deft samples of spy-noir guitar and herky-jerky drum edits are of their time, but now again entirely contemporary.