Canadian Producer Felix Cartal, known for his progressive house tunes, is back with a new single. Entitled “Hold Tight,” this track marks a different direction than previous releases in that there is no vocalist driving the core of the song. Cartal commented on producing the song.
“My last few releases have had more traditional structures and are quite lyrically driven. With ‘Hold Tight’, I wanted to see if I could make something as emotionally powerful, with little to no lyrics.”
He has certainly done what he set out to do with “Hold Tight” whose upbeat energy and elaborate combination of synths achieves what any vocalist could. Cartal’s last solo release “Get What You Give” was a mainstay on various dance music charts, and “Hold Tight” certainly has the capacity to do just the same.
Kicking off with deep and dark vocals, the tune soon progresses to an extraordinarily energetic buildup that unleashes havoc with melodies, slippery synths, and incredible chord progression. Bassjackers, Breathe Carolina, and APEK take things down a bit after the first chorus to emphasize a filtered pluck that leads us into the next drop. “The Fever” is all about buildups, synths, and festival vibes and is a head rush you’ll actually enjoy.
Dutch duo DubVision know their way around the block, having been one of Netherland’s staple big room acts for the past decade and one of the spearheading acts during the Dutch big room invasion in 2012-13. Although the EDM scene has undergone some massive changes, the duo has successfully altered and evolved their sound—managing to stay in the limelight in the process.
Their latest track, “Paradise” exemplifies how far the duo’s sound and the progressive house genre have come. Gone are the rolling chord progressions from their tracks of yesteryear, replaced instead with pitch warped vocal and piano samples, aided by their timeless drum samples and big, airy synths.
“We spend some of our in between gig days in and around Miami,” said the duo of the track. “Everybody knows this place because of MMW and Ultra. Its super hectic then, but Miami is actually very chill and super tropical and relaxing later in the season.”
“We stayed there for a couple of days, swam with sharks, kitesurfed, ate cuban food and drank the most tropical cocktails you can imagine just walking around in flip flops and listening to the ocean. We stayed there in our own little paradise. That was when we came up with the melody one night. It was only logical to name this track ‘Paradise’”
“Paradise” is more than just a regular track, it is a statement that DubVision are truly all in on the new era of EDM.
Nicky Romero is back with an absolutely hectic main stage fix on his newest release with Teamworx called “Champion Sound,” out now via his own record label Protocol Recordings.
“Champion Sound” builds into an electric drop with synthesized vocals aiding throughout. The track represents what fans have come to love most about Romero’s sound, a high-energy number than flexes in the space between big-room staple and festival heater.
“It’s a really amazing feeling when you get to see an artist grow from release-to-release,” said Romero of the collaboration. “It’s one of my favorite parts about running a label. We’ve put out several of Teamworx’s tracks on Protocol over the years and I’m thrilled to finally collaborate with them on this latest record Champion Sound.”
The producer has had a packed 2017 with a multitude of releases on top of a festival heavy tour schedule and if “Champion Sound” is any indication, fans shouldn’t expect Romero to slow down any time soon.
It has been eight long months of releases and teasers, but as of midnight EST on September 21, the wait for Illenium‘s sophomore album is finally over. Nick Miller, the man behind the productions, is undoubtedly known as one of the more prolific producers of our era, thanks to his consistent output and meteoric rise. While Miller has carved out the future bass genre and helped define its sound, this LP proves he has the ability to transcend genres and appeal to a wide variety of fan bases. This is no small feat that is becoming an increasingly difficult road to navigate as a producer in a day and age, where electronic music fan bases are becoming more fragmented as the industry continues to commercialized.
Awake will only further his prominence as a producer with its 13-tracks ranging from feel good music to intense bass laced drops. Miller even dabbles within the indie electronic genre, showcasing his ability to diversify his oeuvre while still maintaining his signature style.
There is no stronger start to an album than “Needed You” featuring Dia Frampton. The song, which is opens to flowing vocals that melt into an incredible bass drop, resonates in the listener’s mind far past the song’s close. The track combines Illenium’s mastery of mystical elements and sounds as well as powerful bass juxtaposed with unique vocals. Should there be one song selected to describe the tone for the entire album, “Needed You” could certainly vie for this position.
Five singles from the album have been released this year including the second track “Crawl Outta Love,” whose subtle intro with Annika Wells’ vocals and piano deceivingly put the listener at ease. The track hits listeners in their core with its heightened tempo and all-consuming drop. “Fractures,” “Feel Good” — co-produced with Gryffin — “Sound of Walking Away” and most recently “Leaving” make up the rest of the tracks from Awake that were previously released. Representative of Illenium’s talent and engaged fanbase, these five tracks combined have already amassed nearly 83 million streams combined on Spotify alone.
The third track, “No Time Like Now,” although short, is where we see Illenium begin to swerve from his established style into a more indie electronic sound, with guitar forming the backbone of the song. It is a good segue into the fourth track “Free Fall,” which delves back into the resonating bass intercut with melodic vocals.
“Where’d U Go” showcases a collaboration between Miller and his roommate Said the Sky, otherwise known as Trevor Christensen. The upbeat track immediately draws the listener in with a catchy beat that falls almost immediately into an intense drop. As the track continues, vocal layers of a children’s choir lightens the track before submerging the listener back into the hard drop that would resonate with dubstep, future bass, and progressive fans alike. “Where’d U Go” is one of the more upbeat tracks of the album, so those looking for a workout anthem or night out tune should look no further.
Illenium stars to venture into more commercial territory with the second half of the album, although this is far from sellout as the tracks still maintaining a distinct edge. “Lost” with Emilie Brandt veers into a progressive house vibe, with the catchy vocals carrying the track. As with all of Miller’s version of “commercial” music, “Lost” is still far different than anything one would hear on the radio.
“Taking Me Higher” wouldn’t be out of place on Passion Pit record. The track is an interesting juxtaposition of sounds, synths, and styles that melts into a perfect tune for a relaxing afternoon.
Prized vocalist MAX — who has recently collaborated with Rain Man, 3LAU, as well as Flux Pavilion — is featured on Awake‘s penultimate entry,titled “Beautiful Creatures.” Guitar once again is used as the foundation for this track and paves the way for MAX’s vocals to be the centerpiece of the song. It can only be described as melodic with a hint of mystical, and is likely to be a radio hit.
Illenium finishes the album on “Let You Go,” a collaboration with Ember Island. An orchestra compliments the vocals on this downtempo affair, and serves as a beautiful, fitting ending for a beautiful album.
While many call albums an outdated form of releasing music, we can only be thankful that Illenium ignores this and decided to create a masterful full-length in Awake. The producer has left another imprint that further solidifies his prominence in the electronic music community. It is no secret that Miller is a breath of fresh air within a genre that is receiving increased skepticism for turning pop, to say nothing of stale, and, indeed, his music has the unique ability to be played on a radio without compromising its integrity.
Audien’s latest release is finally here in the form of a stellar 3 track EP, Some Ideas. The EP shares styles and sounds that both new and long-term fans can easily be turned on to.
Audien isn’t calling this an EP because he didn’t have enough for a full length album (like too many do), rather, these are tracks are clearly experimental given his track record and packed full of diversity. “Message” is the reassuring stick-to-the-roots single, “Rampart,” a collaboration with Gammer, is a jaw-dropping bass track that surprises, and “Resolve” givesthe EP a continuum aesthetic by seemingly combining the soft and hard elements of the last two songs into one here.
Moby, otherwise known as Richard Melville Hall, is one of the founding fathers and most influential figures in dance music. Many say he is the reason dance music found popularity in the U.S. and the U.K, thus catapulting electronic dance music to the global phenomenon it is now. The American musician recently wrote a memoir Porcelain: A Memoir, where he dedicated a chapter to his experience remixing his song “Go.” In honor of this, Moby has asked a wide range and some of the most respected music producers of today to remix four of his most seminal tracks “Go,” “Why Does my Heart,” “Natural Blues” and “Porcelain.” Over 40 artists will release their remixes of one of the four tracks in the spirit of creative spirit and collaboration. The project is called Black Lacquer.
Few are more versatile than progressive house and trance producer Arty. The Russian DJ and producer, whose real name is Artyom Stolyarov, was drawn to music at a young age leading his grandmother to enroll him in music school at the age of eight. Originally a pianist, Stolyarov graduated from music school at the age of 14 and decided to forego becoming a professional pianist because his passion for the instrument had faded. What did not fade, however, was his passion for video games and electronics, which thus led him to discover electronic music production.
Upon entering the music production world, Arty quickly created a name for himself, and in 2009, the producer was signed to Anjunabeats. Stolyarov creates under two different monikers– Arty for his progressive house hits and Alpha9 for his Trance anthems. Still with Anjunabeats today, the producer was asked to remix Moby’s “Porcelain,” which he considers to be one of his all time favorite songs. Arty comments on not only how honored he is to be given the opportunity to remix an iconic song, but how difficult it is to change something that many consider to be “perfect” as is. Arty’s take on the song is a slight variation of the original with its addition of a few upbeat chords and a vocal layer. Arty discusses Moby, his influence on himself as an artist, and his creative process when approaching this legendary remix.
Read Our Interview with Arty below.
What does this track mean to you / why did you choose this track?
“Porcelain” was the first record that I heard from Moby since this track was the part of huge commercials on Russian TV back in early 2000’s. From then I fell in love with it, so when Moby’s management reached out to me about the remix opportunity, I could only think of “Porcelain.” Having a chance to remix your childhood song is not something you want to miss out on. It’s a huge responsibility, but at the same time, a great opportunity. I just tried to do my best.
How has Moby impacted not just this industry, but you as a musician? What does Moby mean to you?
He shaped the dance music industry and has always been a huge inspiration for many generations of producers. He has been able to make all sorts of styles by putting his signature sound behind his productions and songs. He is an Iconic musician.
Can you tell us about your creative process and why you made the decisions you did in your remix of this song?
Since this song means so much to me, I didn’t want to take too far from original. So my remix is more of me revisiting the record and trying to imagine how it would sound nowadays. As easy as it sounds, making this remix was quite challenging, plus you unintentionally put so much pressure on yourself because of the status of the song. But in the end I was happy with final result.
What will Moby’s musical legacy be?
I’m sure that his music will stay forever in many people’s hearts, and it will inspire more musicians in the future, since, in my personal opinion, his music is timeless.
You can only listen to one version of “Porcelain” for the rest of your life. Is it your remix, another remix, or the original?
It would definitely be original song, since none of the remixes would beat it.
If Moby were to remix one of your songs, which one would you want him to remix?
If this dream would come true, I would ask him to remix “Kate” or “Last Kiss,” cause those are probably the most meaningful and personal songs I’ve ever made.
Audiofly are experts in putting together deep, eclectic rollers that work as well on a windy desert as they do in the club. Meanwhile, Patrice Bäumel has been carving out his niche in the progressive and tech scenes for keen ability to balance emotive melodies and arrangements with a driving underlay.
The two acts have combined their talents for their first time under the Crosstown Rebel fold, and as one might expect, work exceptionally well together as a team. “Atacama,” the name of their joint record, sweeps the mind off to a distant and futuristic. Subtle vocal samples and titillating note progressions bounce around the speakers, creating a three dimensional effect that is pierced by ethereal synth work and lush percussion. Its breakdown is long and introspective, injecting a sense temporary release and haunting beauty by way of orchestral sampling before all of “Atacama’s” elements come back to surround the ears in its echo chamber of sound.
Both the original version of “Atacama” as well as a re-shape by Damian Lazarus will be available on September 15. Pre-order the EP here.
Agents of Time is an important name to note in the contemporary progressive/techno scene. Their music has already infiltrated the scene in a subtle, yet powerful way. “Obsidian,” for example, made it into sets by DJs ranging from Maceo Plex all the way to Feed Me.
Three minds truly meld into a superhuman force in their case. Members Andrea, Fedele, and Luigi are all talented live artists in their own right, whose synergy when performing as a team is seamless and hypnotic. Captivating their audiences with a setup that looks almost alien to the untrained eye, the trio works in tangent to pull off dark, driving sets with the finesse of an experienced band. This display of raw talent is precisely why Agents of Time are already in high demand despite their relatively newcomer status — the outfit has already been booked for several prestigious festivals throughout 2017, including BPM, ADE, and Off Sonar.
In closer proximity, however, is Morocco’s underground-inclined Oasis festival, where they are set to play alongside Maceo Plex, Charlotte De Witte, and more on September 16. The group kindly took some of their time to discuss their upcoming performance, along with a brief look into their musical background, and their thoughts on live performance. Their Boiler Room debut also surfaced a couple weeks ago, making for a pleasant listen whilst perusing the interview below.
Your specialty lies in live performance. Would you agree it’s important for electronic musicians to keep the art of using hardware and more organic production alive? We couldn’t agree more. This comes especially from our love of hardware equipment ,and also by the fact that there are three of us on stage. How boring would it be if we were all stuck on our laptops the whole performance? Every live set is different from the other — it never gets boring as we constantly have to adapt ourselves to every event we play.
Do you see electronic performance heading in a potentially more live direction as people get sicker of pre-recorded or lifeless sets? What sorts of updates do you make to your set up to keep things fresh and futuristic?
There is always a demand for live performances, it takes a lot of effort (long soundcheck, being on the road with +120kg of equipment and so on) but we couldn’t work otherwise. Beyond following trends and fashion, we do things the way that feels right. We always integrate new gear, remove some and keep looking for the perfect setup. We came to concluding such a thing doesn’t exist, it has to be in constant evolution to keep things interesting.
Have you ever produced songs on the fly as you’re performing?
Always. A big part of our live performance is based around improvisation. It happens many time that we create tracks while playing, then we try to reproduce the week after in our studio. Sometimes it works sometimes it doesn’t.
How did you three arrive at electronic production and live performance?
Everything started for fun. Fedele and Andrea were already making music tighter but in the meantime Luigi, a friend of our was in Berlin and we both promised ourselves to meet up when he was going to come back in Bari, our hometown.
In the end without thinking about it, all three of us started making music together. We were comfortable being in the same studio, and afterwards were happy about the results so we started this crazy trio. Obviously for our concept and love for machines and (we’re Mathew Jonson super fans!), we couldn’t do anything else without a huge live setup full of synthesizers. Of course a DJ trio only would have produced nothing that special.
What is your process for creating tracks, since there are three of you? Do one of you write a base, and the other two pitch in? What do each of you contribute most to a track?
We follow our standard live set format mostly. Fedele plays all the rhythms and grooves, Andrea provides all the bass lines and atmospheric elements, Luigi plays all the melodies and the sequences.
Sometimes we would change positions and do different things and this is really important to make it more fun and special.
You just launched a new label, Obscura. What artists do you hope to work with the most, or is it primarily going to be used as your own platform to release your music?
We started Obscura for both reasons: being able to release our own music, at our terms, with our own deadlines and also to be a platform for forward thinking musicians who can be established names or newcomers. Only the outcome matters, the music itself.
Right after the Various Artists compilation we’re putting out end of September, we’ll have a beautiful album from an artist we love — pretty far from dance floors, but we couldn’t take the chance to miss it.
What excites you the most about playing Oasis festival? Have you played in Morocco before? How does the scene there compare to others?
North Africa has always been good to us, the crowd is very young and energetic, which is often the case in a new market. We’re very happy to see that great events such as Oasis are now happening in the area. See you there!
Tim Penner has had nothing short of a monumental year thus far, and his momentum is showing no sign of slowing down. He returns to his breakout label of JOOF Recordings seven months after his last ethereal release, The Temptress, with yet another stunning two-tracker.
The Gatekeeper sees Penner exploring new realms of sounds and breaking away from the status quo. Its eponymous opener is indeed multi-dimensional, opening with subtle, haunting melodies that line a prominent bass-line and cheeky percussion before blooming into a celestial masterpiece pumped with futuristic synth-work. It beauty lies in its development, which twists and turns through never-ending peaks and valleys that keep the ears engaged through its entirety.
Where “The Gatekeeper” is euphoric and emotional, “The Keymaster” offers a counterbalance of brooding intrigue. Simple, yet dynamic, the composition creates a tense atmosphere with gritty bursts of notes that are underlined by almost sinister arpeggios. Penner ensures this sentiment is carried on in greater degrees with each tier, building “The Keymaster” into a multilayered roller built for the darkened, afterhours’ dance-floor.
It’s safe to say the burgeoning Canadian act will only continue to build strength as his tenure within the underground realm lengthens. Having cultivated his Slideways label and podcast into a successful entity, he’s fully primed to take on the progressive scene as its next major talent.