Over the last half decade, Steve Angello has undergone an incredibly intriguing artistic progression, shedding his former Mafia member status, then delivering an exceptionally personal debut album Wild Youth, and now rolling out the follow up, Human. The Size Records executive has introduced his sophomore concept in three installments, or acts, each uniquely tempered with it’s own distinct sonic characteristics. Now Angello has delivered the third act, titled Paradiso, featuring two new tracks from the upcoming LP, “Break Me Down,” and “Dopamine.”
“Break Me Down” leans slightly closer to Angello’s previous output, coming together as a notably more seasoned, aged take on the anthemic progressive house that the Swedish legend has built his name upon. Expressive vocals and rousing rhythms on “Break Me Down,” are directly contrasted on “Dopamine,” featuring sharp vocal work from UK singer/songwriter Barns Courtney.
Melancholic and pointed, “Dopamine” bears more of Human’s dark, cooling aesthetic, with eerie, driving tech house-inspired synth arrangements making for a fitting final preview ahead of the album’s full release in 2018. For now, celebrate Steve Angello’s immanent return with Paradiso.
Chicola has spent over two decades as a DJ helping cultivate the progressive genre. Now, the time has come for him to capture the breadth of his sound through his first-ever artist album.
Could Heaven Be is thus a deeply personal look at the Israeli legend’s artistry. Released on prominent progressive label Lost&Found, the LP spans twelve tracks that explore the romantic, melancholic, and euphoric realms.
“Backstabber” exemplifies the darker side of Could Heaven Be, taking a turn from what one would usually hear from Chicola. It takes on a more brooding, minimal tone, lacking in the lush percussion patterns and melodies he favors and instead utilizing titillating arps and heartier kicks to create an impact. Listening to “Backstabber” is more or less the aural equivalent of entering a dystopian plane, shrouding the mind in a shadowy veil that demands attention on the dancefloor.
John Monkman has proven himself one of house and techno’s most capable producers. From two standout EPs on Crosstown Rebels, to snagging a Beatport #1 with his enchanting remix of Anaphase’s “Disconnect,” the UK producer has raised the bar for himself in 2017 and doesn’t appear to be slowing anytime soon. In fact, in what may result in his biggest release of the year, Monkman is primed to join Sasha’s Last Night on Earth imprint this week with a brand new three-track EP titled Make Noize.
“Mad Hatter” from the EP, which Dancing Astronaut is exclusively premiering, is the kind of enchanting progressive gem which has become a staple of Monkman’s catalogue. With darker tones and a mesmerizing central arpeggio, it’s bound to become a favorite in the arsenals of many of the underground’s more mystically-inclined artists.
Monkman said of the new EP: “Inspiration for this EP came from the incredible energy felt from all the dance floors this year…I keep getting blown away. From a technical/production stand point, I was fortunate to borrow a Yamaha CS-80 for a few days..what a beast. This is where the main arp in ‘Mad Hatter’ is from.”
The CS-80 of course is the legendary analog synth famously employed by Vangelis on the original score for Blade Runner. On “Mad Hatter,” it proves to be the central element that elevates the track into one of Monkman’s top contributions of the entire year.
Listen to John Monkman’s “Mad Hatter” below, and pre-order his new EP on Last Night on Earth here.
Despite headline-grabbing releases and sold-out headlining appearances, Eric Prydz remains rather reclusive. It’s his deep dedication to craft that leaves the Swedish house juggernaut in the highly enviable position of appealing to both dance music’s underground purists and the main-stage masses alike.
On Nov. 13, Eric Prydz debuted the first-ever EP under his Tonja Holma alias on his newly minted Pryda Presents label. The four-track project broadens Prydz’s diverse, progressive exploration of the house music spectrum and introduces fans to another fresh sonic perspective that is as minimalistic as it is monumentally forward-thinking in terms of its sound design.
Gabriel & Dresden have returned in a momentous way. Announcing their first album after eleven years with the release of their touching progressive trance record “With Closed Eyes,” the duo has released the next chapter in their forthcoming project in the form of Waiting For Winter/ White Walls.
Waiting For Winter/ White Walls induces bittersweet euphoria across two tracks. Its opener, “Waiting For Winter,” employs Jan Burton’s warm vocals within an sentimental underlay, carrying the listener in an upward direction with soft note progressions and happy melodies. “White Walls” takes on a similar tone as well, albeit just a touch more poignant. Sub Teal’s voice sings of returning home, flowing freely over twinkling chords and moving synth arrangement.
Both tracks are a reminder of Gabriel & Dresden’s unique sonic imprint, one that plants itself firmly in the human psyche as one to follow.
Eelke Kleijn deepens his bond with the Armada family as he brings his ethereal progressive sound into the label’s fold. This time, he lands on Bearded Man for a short, but sweet re-work of Shelter Point’s “Fuse.”
The veteran wraps a minimal, yet emotive canvas around the original’s vocals, enhancing its haunting feel through poignant piano chords and soaring synth melodies. That said, despite its more somber undertones, it listens as quite a euphoric piece as a whole — one that allows listeners to get lost in its hypnotic fold and put their hands in the air.
Long-serving Canadian producer Adam K found his feet during a turning point for electronic music. Finding a sweet spot between the melodic finesse of progressive house, the uplifting properties of heyday trance and the vocal prowess that came to spell the genre’s footsteps into mainstream culture, the Toronto native called the likes of Kaskade and Funkagenda collaborative peers whilst consistently executing tracks crucial to the genre’s now widespread appeal. Back on track this month alongside recurring peer Soha, “Lost In Twilight” remains music to the ears of anyone who fell in love with the Adam K sound as early as 2008, building steadily and flowing seamlessly whilst never overstepping its punch or muddying its softer progressive stamina. You don’t come to Adam K for top 40 bangers, you come for intricately woven club music with an unparalleled sense of soul, and almost a decade since his inauguration the Canadian still delivers.
Katdrop may not be a household name quite yet, but with the release of his latest product, the emerging Chilean beat maker may have found his stride. Dropping off a melodic new dance piece, “Holding On,” Katdrop ropes together evident sonic influences from Porter Robinson and early Skrillex house fare on his latest single. The track brings emotive house elements together into a dance floor designed, radio-ready electro cut polished by infectiously catchy vocal arrangements.
“Holding On” comes by way of European house imprint, Tasty, which has proven to be a fitting home label for Katdrop’s growing catalog. Recalling the progressive house that dominated main stages at the turn of the decade, Katdrop’s newest piece suggests the young producer will be ready to ride the genre’s immanent resurgence.
Autumn is in full force, which means it’s time for the arrival of the prized annual Anjunadeep compilation. 2017 brings about the ninth iteration of the series, mixed by the usual stalwarts James Grant and Jody Wisternoff.
Both producers have proven their chemistry countless times, and do so once more in their curation of Anjunadeep 09′s 36 tracks. James Grant puts forth the first disc, per tradition, which serves as a light introduction to some of the gems that have caught his attention since the last compilation’s release. One such example is Dusky’s special edition re-work to their ambient/breaks song “Square Miso.” “Wake Me Up Tomorrow,” a new gem by Luttrell also features, while a Kaskade-supported Fairchild debuts on the imprint with “The Light In You.”
Wisternoff’s mix is equally palatable, kicking off with an ambient collaboration alongside Grant titled “The Flame,” and slowly building into pieces like “Nous” by Kora and a euphoric “Hypno Seq,” by Martin Roth. 16-bit Lolitas also provided Wisternoff with a previously unreleased re-work to L. Doblado’s “Lie Alone” — a supremely touching progressive cut that embodies the elements that draw so many to Anjunadeep. Meanwhile, “Cinematic Fireball,” a collaboration between Wisternoff and Tom Middleton, add a touch of energy and lightheartedness to the overall vibe.
Nicky Romero has teamed up with Florian Picasso on his latest single “Only For Your Love,” out on Protocol Recordings. Where many collaborations have obvious divisions of each artist’s style, Romero and Picasso’s sounds merge seamlessly to create an enhanced version of their initial sound.
The radio edit opens with an old-school techno vibe, which falls into a more progressive build. Vocals serve as a compliment to the unique production, but are not the focal point of the track. The extended mix has a more elaborate synth combination serving as the backbone of the song with a more drawn out build. “Only For Your Love” is reminiscent of older school electronic music, and the departure from the producers’ usual styles is a refreshing twist.