Tiësto’s iconic ISOS series has been resurrected by Gabriel & Dresden, Andy Moor, & Markus Schulz in the most powerful of fashions [Album Review]

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Tiësto’s iconic ISOS series has been resurrected by Gabriel & Dresden, Andy Moor, & Markus Schulz in the most powerful of fashions [Album Review]In Search Of Sunrise 14

Back when Tiësto was still “DJ Tiësto,” the trance pioneer, he created what soon became one of the most iconic compilation series in the genre’s history: In Search Of Sunrise (ISOS). Each release, meant to take listeners to each location that inspired its creation, earned wide acclaim for its impeccable track selection and mixing.

Richard Durand took over in 2010 following Tiësto’s departure from the series, steadfastly holding its unadulterated ethos in place until he too went on an indefinite hiatus in 2015. Trance fans all over mourned its loss, recalling memories built around its early days.

Sometimes, however, a break is needed to realize the importance of continuing down a certain path. Through its struggles, passion from fans, its label SongBird (owned by Black Hole Recordings), and artists who ISOS inspired over the years have catalyzed its rebirth. The task of ushering in its return fell upon Andy Moor, Gabriel & Dresden, and Markus Schulz, each of which mixed a disc that expressed their vision of the compilation and where they’re at musically. Though each of these names are heavyweights with proven skills across long careers, apprehension was certainly mixed in with excitement. Could these three live up to ISOS‘ name?

They certainly did a formidable job, in our eyes. In fact, as the journey unfolds, not only is trance in its current age defined and diligently manifested, but the overall caliber and aural signature of the compilation is a hopeful one that firmly states, “trance is back.” It feels like the ever-resilient genre is once more getting in touch with its original ethos and more nuanced facets, while simultaneously distancing itself from the more commercial sounds of late that have made it lose credibility a second time in the eyes of quite a few.

ISOS 14 opens with Markus Schulz’ contribution. Though higher in energy and euphoria than the proceeding Gabriel & Dresden, his effort makes sense in its placement. He does a pretty well in curating a batch of progressive-leaning tracks with subtle hints of uplifting that entice the senses and fit in with the ISOS sound. However, we felt there was a bit of room for improvement in terms of the story that could have been told with the chosen records, and the smoothness of a number of transitions. These minor areas of opportunity ultimately didn’t overshadow the mix in the end, though, and Schulz offers up a dreamy exclusive in the form of a collaboration with his fiancée titled “Breathe Me To Life.”

Gabriel & Dresden explore the deep side of trance in their mix, winding through pathways of progressive and tech with polished expertise. They carefully lead listeners into a different dimension, crossing through euphoric, bittersweet, and cunning soundscapes along the way. The arrangement is cohesive and driving, as the duo whisk their subjects breezily forward from track-to-track with flawless, celestial transitions. A real climax ensues toward the one-hour mark, with an explosive “Breathe (Timmo Rework)” kicking things into high gear for the remainder of the trek Gabriel & Dresden laid out. Indeed, it’s nice to see the pair translating what made them great into a forward-thinking canvas.

Finally, ISOS 14 closes on a truly stunning note with Andy Moor’s disc. While Markus Schulz and Gabriel & Dresden did well in their posts, their artistic visions and a look into the series’ potential future were prominent. Moor’s, on the other hand, is most closely representative of the series’ deep personality, in our opinion. He opens on a toned-down, ethereal note, before building the BPM up to the mid-130s with a number of tunes that raise goosebumps with expertly-woven melodies and subtle, yet warming pads.

This isn’t the “cheesy” trance that one might expect when hearing the word, but rather, Moor’s selection reflects the same elements that touched so many in its heyday, yet feels refreshed in its aura. Heavy anticipation has been bred as to what’s in store for ISOS, and trance as a whole, in the coming years; the CD also serves as a salute to the artists that have stayed true themselves and fought hard to restore its name.

Reviving a series with a reputation like In Search Of Sunrise is an arduous task. Luckily, Black Hole displayed keen in trusting that it would be in good hands with Schulz, Gabriel & Dresden, and Moor. Each prolific artist brings a unique flavor to the table, which, together, capture ISOS‘ most profound nature while also coaxing the listener to open their mind to where the series can be pushed moving into the future.

 

 

Order a copy here

 

Tracklisting:

 

Markus Schulz

01. Markus Schulz & Jam El Mar – Hymn of the Replicant
02. Ben Böhmer – After Earth
03. Pavel Khvaleev – Rainbow
04. Above & Beyond featuring Justine Suissa – Cold Feet
05. Dylhen – Illuminate
06. Markus Schulz presents Dakota vs. Arkham Knights – Something About You
07. Dave Neven presents Ocata – Travelling
08. Anske – The Light In You
09. Hazem Beltagui – You Before Me
10. Solarstone – Midsummer Nights
11. The Thrillseekers presents Hydra – Affinity 2018
12. Ferry Corsten & Paul Oakenfold – A Slice Of Heaven
13. Markus Schulz & Emma Hewitt – Safe From Harm (Markus Schulz In Bloom Mix)
14. Dennis Sheperd & Bjorn Akesson – Memoria
15. Markus Schulz featuring Justine Suissa – Perception (Johan Gielen Remix)
16. Arkham Knights – Into the Fire
17. Moogwai – Viola (Elevation Remix)
18. Markus Schulz & Adina Butar – Breathe Me to Life

Gabriel & Dresden

01. Naden – Submersion
02. Eelke Kleijn – Home
03. Lucas Rossi – A Part of Myself
04. Cioz featuring Collopio – Fury
05. Estiva – Space Dust
06. Gabriel & Dresden featuring Jan Burton – Underwater (Tinlicker Remix)
07. Dirty South – Night Walks
08. MR.MNT – Pause
09. Dirty South featuring ANIMA! – If It All Stops (Gabriel & Dresden Re-Rub)
10. ADNT – From Now On (Max Cue Remix)
11. Above & Beyond – Is It Love? (1001) (Gabriel & Dresden Remix)
12. Clint Stewart – Breathe (Timmo Rework)
13. Gabriel & Dresden featuring Josh Gabriel – Over Oceans (Gabriel & Dresden Club Mix)
14. Gabriel & Dresden featuring Sub Teal – Only Road (Cosmic Gate Remix)

Andy Moor

01. Aly & Fila vs Scott Bond & Charlie Walker – Shadow (Paul Thomas Remix)
02. Clameres – Soundwalker
03. Peter Steele – Zen
04. The Thrillseekers – In These Arms (Stoneface & Terminal pres. Gundamea Remix)
05. Lange & Sarah Howells – Out Of The Sky (Omnia Remix)
06. Ariscan – Amberfall
07. Airbase – Vermillion
08. Andy Moor featuring Becky Jean Williams – The Real You
09. Digital Energy – Living the Dream
10. Mike Saint-Jules – Beacon
11. Andy Moor & Alex Ryan – Reflection
12. Neptune Project – Proteus (The Thrillseekers Remix)
13. Neptune Project – Bioluminescence
14. Neil Bamford – They Are There
15. Supernal – Supernal

NMF Roundup: Keys N Krates remix Diplo, Zedd releases ‘The Middle’ remix package, and many more

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NMF Roundup: Keys N Krates remix Diplo, Zedd releases ‘The Middle’ remix package, and many moreOasis17 9 16 17 AJRphotos DA 103

The most important day of every week: New Music Friday. As each week brings a succession of new music from some of electronic music’s biggest artists, here’s a selection of tracks that shouldn’t be missed.


Kyle Watson adds a low-toned, mystery-filled house beat to ZHU and Tame Impala‘s seminal “My Life.”

Swedish producers Dimitri Vangelis & Wyman know festival season is in full force as they deliver anthemic-feeling “Phantom.”

The Aston Shuffle give ‘everything they’ve got’ on piano driven house heater, “Everything I Got.”

Inverted alien embellishments make for an eerie take on house, as Malaa returns with new single, “Bling Bling.”

Airy synth work leads to a saxophone climax on Spencer Brown‘s “waves.wav,” taken from Brown’s Illusion of Perfection EP pt. III.

Mandy Jiroux effects rhythmic bliss on vocal-centric new single, “Running Out Of You.”

Autograf add an electronic vibe to Family of the Year’s “Hold Me Down” with their laidback rendition of the original.

Bondax tap vocalist Andreya Triana for this soulful, groove-filled original.

Fabian Mazur leans into future bass-style production in this smooth offering, featuring Nevve on the vocals.

The remixers got the message, and now, on this New Music Friday, they’ve met Zedd, Grey, and Maren Morris in “The Middle.” The remix pack for “The Middle” sees revamps from Maliboux, Curbi, and more.

Spinnin’ Records heavyweights Merk & Kremont add a layer of infectious funk and a heightened bpm count to Addal’s original, “Lies,” making for a spirited rework.

Pucker up, Benny Benassi and Sofi Tukker fans: the two dance music dynamos link up on new single “Everybody Needs A Kiss.”

This Birdfeed Exclusive will have all streamers wondering “Who’s That?” The same-titled EP arrives courtesy of Floridian producer and long time Dirtybird fan, C.H.A.Y.

It’s a good week to be a progressive house fan as Grum and Fehrplay co-release “Spirit” on Anjunabeats, an atmospheric tune that melts from one second into the next.

Diplo, Lil Yachty, and Santigold‘s viscous collaboration “Worry No More” gets the Keys N Krates treatment as the Canadian electronic trio release a chilled-out take on Diplo’s original. Keys N Krates hit sonic sweet spots with a beat swap and the occasional yet effective percussive addition.

Stripped down sonic seduction materializes in mellifluous form on smle‘s debut EP, Love Notes, released on Lowly Palace.

House music fans will find J. Worra‘s Mark The Beast collaboration, “Hourglass” to be a tasty, groovy treat.

As part of Afterlife Recordings’ latest vinyl and digital offering, Italian trio Agents Of Time have crafted “Paradigm,” an ethereal techno original.

Re-envisioning a Markus Schulz production is a formidable feat, but Giuseppe Ottaviani rises to the challenge in his “Safe from Harm” remix, a take that plays the original’s soaring vocal off of the track’s quintessential trance beat.

Vulpey gets electronically experimental on “Recovery Quest,” a track defined by its disjointed construction and resulting edge.

Funky Craig puts forth a trippy take on psytrance in aptly titled new release, “WestPSYde.”

 

Ramon Tapia puts a dark, driving spin on Midmood’s “Sely Ho,” transforming the original into a certified techno thumper with rumbling percussive accents.


Featured photo by Andrew J Rauner Photography

Greenhaven DJs make impressive Wake Your Mind Records debut

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Nicolas Mendoza-Conner and Trevor Haimes of Greenhaven DJs are known for their tech infused trance music. The duo have been gaining considerable momentum in the trance scene as of late, and will only continue on the heels of their two new releases, “The Unexamined” and “The Hall of Records.”

The duo spoke to DA about both of the tracks, commenting on their unique inspirations for the songs.

“‘The Unexamined’ took a lot of inspiration from the movie “Blade Runner 2049” and the work that Hans Zimmer & Benjamin Wallfisch did. From the start we wanted to make a tech trance track with a danceable rhythm that would work on the dancefloor. Something dark and dystopian sounding, but at the same time providing a sense of hope and yearning. It took us 1 and a half years to complete this track.

The amount of time that went into the production of this track is apparent with its drawn out build into an elaborate chord progression. It’s dark influences compliment the commanding drop making it a great live performance track.

“‘Hall of Records’ is the followup to our hit ‘Portal.’ We started it in 2015 and it is easily the most complex track we have ever finished. Three years and we estimate over two thousand hours to complete. We would describe the tune as a dark/progressive/tribal sounding dance track with a middle eastern vibe. We chose to call it “The Hall of Records” after learning about a tale of late American prophet Edgar Cayce who predicted we would find a library containing knowledge of the Ancient Egyptians and Atlantis in a cavity underneath the Sphinx.

“Hall of Records” features vocals by Brooke Tomlinson, who Trance fans will recognize from previous tracks with Markus Schulz. This one has radio potential, and it combines many unique elements to create a hit whole. Both releases along with their extended versions are out now on Cosmic Gate‘s Wake Your Mind Records.

Insomniac fills out robust 2018 EDC week with over 25 artists and 14 new shows

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Insomniac added over 25 new artists and 14 events to the fifth annual EDC week in Las Vegas, coinciding with the festival’s 22nd annual installment. 

In doing so, the festival welcomes 14 signature party experiences during the week of May 16–23, including the hardstyle focused Basscon Pool Party and two dubstep-fueled Bassrush parties, along with a variety of diverse headliners throughout the week. New programming includes a vast array of parties across the cities hottest nightclubs, including Elephante, Porter Robinson, NGHTMRE, Gryffin, Hot Since 82, Illenium, Yellow Claw, and many more.

Full programming details, more information, and tickets are available here.

SNBRN talks family love, new tech house EP ahead of Groove Cruise [Interview]

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SNBRNNewPortraitsFall-2300

After hit release “Raindrops,” Kevin Andrew Chapman’s career took off thanks to his house hits and dynamic live performances. The LA-based producer, who is more commonly known as SNBRN, has releases that span from deep to tropical house, giving fans from a variety of genres something to like.

Dancing Astronaut spoke to Chapman about everything from his favorite book to what he has in store for 2018, and his responses prove that the producer is more than meets the eye. When he is not creating music, SNBRN is an avid reader and family guy, noting how much he loves playing in San Francisco because family is able to come to his shows.

The enigmatic producer has performed all over the world — including fulfilling his teenage dream of playing at Coachella. He is performing on the sold out Groove Cruise this year alongside the likes of Markus Schulz, Dada Life, Thomas Jack. With a new EP on the way, and upcoming tour dates with 3LAU, the house connoisseur is setting the stage for a big year ahead.

READ THE FULL INTERVIEW BELOW:
You recently tweeted “Reading books is sexy!” What is your favorite book?

Now that’s a tough one! My favorite book to gift that I’ve read a million times is Steal Like an Artist: 10 Things Nobody Told You About Being Creative‎, and my current favorite book is The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck.

 

You became interested in music and music production at a very young age. Who and/or what genres of music were some of your inspirations for this interest? 

My inspiration as a kid came from rock music- Queen, Led Zeppelin & Sublime. As I got more into electronic music, Fatboy slim and Moby pretty much became my idols.

 

Do you have a favorite city and/or venue to play at? 

I would have to say San Francisco. Always an amazing vibe, and my family comes to every show. 

 

What has been the most exciting moment for you in your career so far?

Playing Coachella last year takes the cake! That has been a huge dream of mine since I was 16 years old.

 

What do you have in store for us in 2018?

I have passion project EP of tech house coming out early this year that I am really excited about. I’m also exploring new sounds and tempos for some bigger vocal singles coming out later in the year.

Markus Schulz rings in 2018 with engagement to Adina Butar

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Markus Schulz celebrated more than the start of 2018 during early morning hours on January 1.

During his open-to-close set at Hollywood’s Avalon club, the iconic DJ became a future husband with his proposal to longtime girlfriend, Adina Butar. The crowd cheered for the beaming couple as confetti cascaded down, making for quite the romantic and memorable moment.

Butar – a vocalist and songwriter – and Schulz met back in 2014 while collaborating on a track together. It didn’t take too long for their collaborative work to evolve into a full-on partnership, with Butar becoming a prime member of the Coldharbour family.

Romance seems to have swept the professional DJ world as of late. Dimitri Vegas tied the knot with his beau in September, with Tiësto also making himself an engaged man earlier in December.

 

 

Photo credit: Dave Neven

 

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Markus Schulz as Dakota explores the path to enlightenment in new album ‘The Nine Skies’ [Album Review]

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Markus Schulz and Dakota may be one in the same, but sonically they could not be more different. A euphoric and optimistic trance producer, Schulz revealed his Dakota alias when he struggled to find an outlet for his darker side amidst the trance and commercially relevant Schulz releases. Where Schulz fans thrived on fast paced chords and enamoring vocals, Dakota’s releases projected ominous undertones with a more progressive feel.

‘Dakota’ was born in 2009 with the release of Thoughts Become Things on Armada Music. The alias garnered an enthusiastic following and turned out to be the musical counterbalance Schulz was looking for. The German-American’s paradoxical career has led to six albums as Schulz and now three as Dakota with his newest album release titled The Nine Skies.

The Nine Skies is out now under his Dakota alias, and it is the inverse of Schulz’s feel-good hits embodied by his last album (as Schulz) Watch the World. This is his first return to Dakota since 2011, and it explores all of the darker feelings and thoughts Schulz’s smiling face belies when performing for expectant faces looking to hear upbeat hits and at his energetic shows.

“I always say the Markus Schulz stuff is a reflection of my fans. I write music about my fans for my fans, but the Dakota stuff is what I am writing for me. I kind of block myself out from everything and just go and write about what is inside of me and what I am feeling.”

Dakota’s writing for himself makes it apparent to the listener that he is, simply put, a complicated man whose striving to turn inner darkness into light. Dakota spoke with Dancing Astronaut about his inspiration for the album, which stems from the pain and confusion he has internalized in response to the state of our current global affairs. The Pulse Nightclub shooting in 2016 is one moment the producer notes that really sticks out to him as a moment where he really re-evaluated his outlook on the world. This, in addition to his recent fascination with Reiki, came together as the catalyst for the album and the live show.  

The compilation depicts suffering, growth, and the journey to enlightenment through different phases. Its journey is explored by eighteen distinct songs, and it takes only a brief listen of The Nine Skies before it becomes abundantly clear that this is not an album that was thrown together to achieve a few radio hits. Tracks range from two to seven minutes long, and each one has an incredibly unique sound. The one thing linking all of these songs together is how intricate the productions are. While each track is deserving of its own story and description, that is what the live show sets out to achieve. A few highlights are detailed.  

“Bravo On The Go” is the perfect example of Dakota in the midst of the darkness phase. It has commanding chords that propel the darkness forwards with mystical vibes interlaced throughout.

His interpretation of “Cafe Del Mar” opens to 90 seconds of trance chords that smoothly give way into orchestral undertones. Suddenly, high pitched synths break through the calm, leading to a pulsing bassline and a deeper vibe that rebuilds into the high pitched synth breaks. It can easily be broken into three thematics, which Schulz masterfully combines into a whole, and is indeed a refreshing take on the original anthem.

“Changes” is more reflective of the Schulz style versus Dakota. Catchy vocals serves as the entry point for the track, but techy trance synths make this incredibly energetic track the perfect feel good song to induce total euphoria.

“Follow Me” is less trance more electro with throwback 90s electronica chords that are upbeat and accompanied by breathy vocals. This is the ultimate club track, and has the capacity to energize any room.

Mota Mota” is one of those tracks that trance fans hear a lot of at shows and festivals, and for good reason. The mysterious thematic and commanding chords are engineered for a live performance.

While the album came out on December 8th, Schulz unveiled the entire project in May of 2017 at Dreamstate San Francisco. He originally planned on keeping the project to nine performances so as to keep it special, but after performing The Nine Skies live and seeing the incredible crowd reactions, he notes that he may want to continue to share the experience. Fans will have to wait and see if the tour is extended into 2018. 

 

 

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Cosmic Gate & Markus Schulz’s ‘AR’ remix competition offers insane prizes

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Since the September release of “AR” on the Materia – Chapter.Two album, collaborators Cosmic Gate and Markus Schulz have kept up the momentum of the track with a huge remix opportunity.

Partnering with Groove Cruise Miami, MetaPop and Native Instruments, the duo are giving fans a chance to remix the trance anthem for a shot at some huge prizes. The winner of the remix competition for “AR” will get an opening DJ slot with Schulz on Groove Cruise Miami, taking place Jan. 26-29. In addition, the winner will receive an ocean-view stateroom for two guests, a Groove Cruise Recordings schwag bundle, and a debut of the winning remix on the Global DJ Broadcast with Schulz. To beef up the winner’s studio game, they will also receive Native Instruments’ Komplete Ultimate 11 (valued at $1,199), Native Instruments’ Maschine Mk3 (valued at $599), a Native Instruments store voucher for $200, a one-year pro subscription for LANDR, and a commercial release on Black Hole Recordings.

Those interested in submitting to the remix competition have until Nov. 29 to do so, and entries may be submitted here.

 

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Ariana Grande, others speak out following Manchester tragedy

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Explosions rocked Manchester Arena at following Ariana Grande’s performance late last night in a tragic turn that made many music lovers’ worst nightmare a reality.  As of publication, 22 have been proclaimed dead with dozens more are injured after the apparent suicide bombing. The Islamic State has claimed responsibility, and a 23 year old has been arrested in connection to the attack.

The Manchester bombing hits close to home for the music community as we are reminded that even attending a concert, which is supposed to be an escape, puts people at risk at our current day and age.

Grande took to Twitter to express her devastation shortly after the bombing.

Ariana Grande TWEET

Fellow artists such as Dillon Francis and Martin Garrix are taking to social media to show support for Grande and attendees. Dillon Francis has even promised to pledge money to relief funds following the incident.

Dillon Francis Tweet
Martin Garrix

Markus Schulz, whose upcoming project “The Nine Skies” was in part inspired by terrorism, also took to Twitter to express his disbelief and condolences.

Marcus Schulz

Fans and artists alike have come together in a show of strength and hope during this sad time for Manchester victims and the industry as a whole. We are glad that the electronic music scene has banded together to provide such overwhelming support, but devastated that it has come to this.

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