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.
Robin Schulz will be releasing his new album Uncovered on September 29th, and he has dropped “I Believe I’m Fine” ahead of the full album release. The single, which is out now via Atlantic Records, features Hugel’s smooth vocals juxtaposed with an upbeat, progressive backdrop. “I believe I’m Fine” is fast paced compared to Schulz’s previous releases, indicating the German producer has some interesting things in store on Uncovered.
Legenary duo Way Out West have been making quite the comeback on Anjunadeep, to their followers’ heavy contentment. In addition to providing global dance audiences with their hypnotic and well-rounded sets, members Nick Warren and Jody Wisternoff have also taken time in the studio to create some contemporary gems in the progressive realm.
Who better to remix Way Out West’s latest effort “Tuesday Maybe” than fellow titan Guy J? The Israeli producer got right to work on the original’s central hook and breakdown, embedding these already ethereal efforts nicely into a firm, deep, soundscape entirely his own. A grooving bass-line vibrates through the remix like a central artery, joining dynamic percussion and techy accents to take “Tuesday Maybe” in an after-hours direction — this of course is Guy J’s specialty.
Guy J’s remix to “Tuesday Maybe” is out on Anjunadeep on September 8.
Part of Henry Saiz‘ success thus far in the progressive and tech realm has been his unrelenting passion for his craft, and his willingness to travel outside the beaten path for musical inspiration. Take for instance his groundbreaking Balance compilation in 2011, where the Spanish pioneer recorded its entirety through cassette tapes.
Now, he rides full gear into the third quarter of 2017 — a landmark year thus far for him. With a second Balance compilation under his belt, his label’s landmark 10th anniversary, and a busier tour schedule than ever, the next step for Saiz is the forthcoming release of his audio-visual live album which he successfully crowdfunded in 2016.
This album is set primed to meet high expectations, given the fact that Saiz traveled across the globe and recorded each track in a different location with his band in tow. To give a little preview of the diverse and electrifying sounds that are likely to ensue, Saiz fashioned a brand new EP first, which he dropped off at the Californian label Culprit.
In The Distance opens with a glorious title track that naturally shows off his expert skill at sonic manipulation. Far-out melodies strummed by airy keyboards and synths flow effortlessly over subtle string accents and exotic percussion, immediately instilling a trance-like effect in the listener. Saiz doesn’t stop there, peppering in fluttery arpeggios in a minor key and crafty vocal edits to fully manifest “In The Distance’s” psychedelic effect.
Take a journey with In The Distance on September 8.
The name “Fairchild” might have a familiar ring to it — this is because he’s worked under Kaskade’s mentorship the past couple years as flourishing talent on Arkade. Having captures his well-established boss’ attention with sultry deep house cuts, he first made waves on his new home label with a grooving, “I Just Want You.” Afterward, the Arizona native continued to explore the depths of dance music, entering into progressive territory with his debut EP, Touch The Sun.
Fairchild adds a refined, polished flavor to Arkade, putting out work that is not only consistent in its quality, but also showcasing his grasp of melodic manipulation and sonic arrangement. While Kaskade mans the main stage arena, Fairchild rules the underground aspect of the label, earning support from the likes of Guy J, Henry Saiz, and more.
The burgeoning producer is truly coming into his own, securing his first ever headlining slot in California with Fortitude, a premier promoter in LA that strives to bring high-caliber talent to the city. In celebration of his upcoming gig, scheduled for August 19, Fairchild has kindly put together an exclusive Radar mix packed with eight new original works of his, in addition to some other gems lighting up the progressive world as of late.
“Last time I was here, I had the honor of playing at the Hollywood Palladium alongside Kaskade for his Redux show. What an incredible evening to look back on. Very very excited to be back in LA, this time as the headliner for Purgatorio. I have so much new music I can’t wait to show off. You can hear some new ideas in this mix!” – Fairchild
Techno Tuesday is a feature on Dancing Astronaut documenting the culture of underground dance music. We’ll bring you exclusive interviews, tracks, and narratives from artists within the techno, tech house, and deep house world in an effort to shed light on some of the best talent outside the world of mainstream dance music.
Originality, diligence, and authenticity are the cornerstone elements of being a successful artist — elements which Spanish progressive composer Henry Saiz possesses in spades. Having impressed his more established peers on with his ingenuity and ability to manipulate sound into breathtaking melodies and complex soundscapes, he established his label Natura Sonoris in 2008 as an outlet for his own music and to help cultivate careers of other artists he knew and shared a mutual vision with. Since then, Saiz has charted many successes under his belt, from having his label showcased at reputable global events, to high-charted singles and remixes, to putting together his ground-breaking audio visual album which is due come the end of 2017.
More recently, Saiz was invited to contribute a second compilation to the widely-revered Balance series — a rarity for the company, which has only invited a select few artists back beyond their debut contributions. Their recruiting of him was only natural, given his breathtaking first mix on the series in 2011 which saw him saw him recording the majority of his music in the field and through reel-to-reel tapes. His second Balance compilation is extra special: a hommage to Natura Sonoris’ tenth birthday. Fittingly, the dynamic mix takes place across several parts of varying energy. Each exclusive track and remix within is expertly weaved together by Saiz to create a proper, emotional journey through all shades on the label’s spectrum.
Dancing Astronaut had the privilege of delving into the world of progressive with Saiz right before the compilation’s release for this edition of Techno Tuesday, where topics including live performance, his vision for Natura Sonoris’ next chapter, and his creative inspiration were discussed.
Remaining true to yourself is generally important for us as human beings and for career longevity just as much, especially in the ever changing music business. Unfortunately over time the pressure of the scene can cause a lot of damage for artists and their creativity, making them do things the way the industry, the label, or the management dictates. This is reality, we can’t escape that. What we can escape though is compromising our integrity. Getting involved in the music industry a musician has got to understand what he does and why he does that in the first place. Music is an art, it’s a form of self-expression. If you don’t have what to express or come here to express someone else’s self – it’s not going to last, people who are here for the music will spot a fake from miles away. Yes, taking easier paths can be quite tempting at times, but in the long run in order to succeed in this fiercely competitive industry you have got to keep your intentions pure, stay true to yourself, your authenticity and your originality, ignore limitations and focus on doing music that is deeply honest.
Did you select artists to make songs specifically for this compilation, like Hernan Cattaneo did for his most recent Balance contribution?
When shaping up the main idea for this compilation I wanted to create a mix that would showcase the spirit of the label, highlight its aesthetics, evolution and musical variety. I knew I wanted to feature some of the old tracks, but to just do that wouldn’t be much fun, so I decided to select some favorites and get them reworked by the artists I thought would fit that spirit and those aesthetics. With the original material it was pretty much the same approach, it was either from people we already have released on Natura or were planning to. There were so many more I wanted to get involved, but unfortunately I had a time limit for the mix hehe.
Touring around with a band and adding a “live” element has been a cornerstone element of your performance. Can you talk more about your roots as a metal band member and musician at a young age?
I started playing bass when I was a teenager and I was involved in a couple of bands of different genres at that time. But my most important project was exactly that black metal band that Luis and Eloy were also parts of. Actually we won the best black metal band award in Spain with it, and also the best bass player, so we were kind of cool haha. But anyway, that didn’t last very long and three of us left the band as we wanted to go a bit more electronic way with it, you know, to experiment with sounds, keyboards etc, which the rest of the band wasn’t really into and so our paths with them diverged. Then the three of us started experimenting with electronic music and that’s what we’re doing up until this day! Although the musical direction has changed, we’re still trying to reflect that kind of energy nowadays as well. Maybe some day we’ll get back to it and produce a proper black metal album too, who knows. 🙂
Your label is turning 10 already – wow! Where has the time gone? Of this journey thus far, what has been the hardest struggle you’ve dealt with in this swiftly changing industry, and your biggest triumph as a label boss? And, what do you see for Natura Sonoris over the next 10 years?
I know, right? When I look at the label, it’s like I just launched it but it’s really been 10 years. 10 fruitful years of good music and lasting friendships. This was the initial idea when I started this label. I wanted to make a platform for any musician who thinks in music to just come and speak to the world with exactly that – their music. No labels, no limits to a specific genre – just truth and honesty in terms of music. That’s the approach the label has followed for these 10 years, that’s the approach the label will keep following hopefully for another 10. A wonderful thing is also that we’ve managed to establish positive and lasting relationships with every artist so now it feels like one big family, that’s also very important. As to the struggles, well, just casual things like for every independent label: some support from bigger acts and exposure from media outlets would never hurt, because even though the main idea is to provide the audience with unique and honest music, it still needs money to function properly, so that’s where the going gets a little tough sometimes. But I’m positive we’ll get there eventually. 🙂
On another note, last year you stunned audiences with your audiovisual show which was a great crowdfunded project. It seems more artists are taking this direction as well. Do you think this is the future of electronic?
I can’t say if the future, but at this point quite a challenging turn of events for sure. Which can either lead to the expansion of artists’ creativity or to just another non-lasting hype until the next best thing happens. Incorporating an audiovisual component can get tricky. If more and more artists start taking this direction, it will get competitive and in order to stand out they will have to work twice as hard to deliver something truly memorable, that will attract attention and something that will stick. No one needs another commercial salad of images, or another making-of. I mean, yes it’s a nice insight but it’s boring, you won´t attract a lot of people with that. The point of the audiovisual concept is to make the eye listen. To create a story where the visual component enhances the audio one and not overshadows it. So there’s quite a lot of things to consider when conducting a project like that.
What are some of your favorite natural spots that you like to go to to seek inspiration for a track?
It’s no secret that I am unconditionally and irrevocably in love with Canary Islands, and Lanzarote in particular. My first album was produced there, there’s going to be a track representing that place in the new album as well. That island is very dear to my heart and it’s like no other, you’ve got to see it yourself to fully understand how special it is. Then last year’s visit to Joshua Tree National Park, which, by the way, is also going to be covered in the new album, has been quite a trip as well.
You see, with the job I have I am lucky to get that inspiration from pretty much everywhere I go as every place has its unique and special atmosphere that one way or another can and does influence a creative mind.
Who are some rising progressive acts that we should be keeping watch on?
Just as I don’t like to put labels on my own music, same goes for someone else’s. It either speaks to me, or it doesn’t, simple as that. It’s the only criteria I recognize. Last year preparing for the gig I came across this track that instantly got my attention for its emotion, and, you know, honesty; something that is a little too rare to find on the scene these days. It was ‘Shelter In The Sky’ by the dutch producer Joep Mencke. Since then I’ve been watching the guy and now I also have him contribute a track to my new Balance compilation and we’re going to have his release on Natura Sonoris as well. So I’d probably recommend checking him out. And then a good friend RIP Bestia, whose solo EP we already released earlier this year, is also working on new stuff I hope to get my hands on!
Mike Williams and Felix Jaehn have teamed up for their infectious new single “Feel Good.” The duo have been teasing the track at festival appearances all summer long and it’s official arrival has been hotly anticipated by both fanbases.
The song blends the best of progressive and tropical house with the vocals leading to an upbeat drop. ‘Feel Good’ has both festival and radio potential, and is sure to be a hit for progressive and tropical house lovers alike.
After building a legacy as a primary member and purveyor of the All Day I Dream sound, it’s time for Hoj to move onto the next chapter in his artistic career: launching his own label. His vision has now officially come to fruition under the name Tale + Tone, with the label debuting its 6-track Storybook EP as a vinyl only release on July 21.
The caliber of the music thus far indicates that Tale + Tone will soon be a revered institution. Take for instance its inaugural EP through digital platforms — Letter For Poly, by none other than the enigmatic Cornucopia.
It opens with a stunning title track that sees Cornucopia targeting bittersweet emotions with a metallic, yet full-bodied synth progression that stays in the mind long after the record reaches its end. Unfolding at a gradual pace, listeners are taken through ethereal soundscapes which bring almost nostalgic, longing imagery to mind. Its addictive and entrancing nature is precisely why a number of artists have rinsed it numerous times in their sets for well over a year now.
This emotive approach to track production is one that Cornucopia has demonstrated keen mastery over since the secretive artist began appearing on the progressive circuit with a debut self-titled EP and a hypnotic remix to Guy J’s piece “Temporary Sanity.” Furthermore, it makes Letter For Poly an ideal opener chapter for Tale + Tone’s story
Letter For Poly officially releases on August 4, with more EPs from Storybook artists to come.
BPM’s inaugural launch at its new home in Portugal is getting closer, and hype is beginning to bubble up under the surface. Having already released the first long list of artists appearing at the festival, organizers have now added onto that with the second phase lineup, which doubles the current artist lineup and additionally boasts a whole new batch of established acts in the house and techno realm.
Art Department, Ida Engberg, and Danny Tenaglia, make up just a few of the bigger names to grace this year’s phase 2 lineup, in addition to Eats Everything, Richy Ahmed, and more. To balance out the harder acts slated to perform, BPM has also booked its usual suspects of Chaim, Bedouin, Behrouz, and more to bring their dreamy and melodic brands of house and tech into the mix.
Finally, guests are now able to catch a glimpse of some of the showcases happening as well. Lee Burridge will be hosting an All Day I Dream event, while ANTS will also be in tow with a host of stunning talent. BPM will also be bringing back its concept Ya’ah Muul party with Deep House Amsterdam as its sponsor. A full list of showcases can be seen below the artist lineup.
Oliver Lieb created a piece highly ahead of its time in “Netherworld,” and it continues to stand as one of the most iconic trance and progressive singles in existence. Its first incarnation, written under Lieb’s L.S.G. moniker, was released twenty-one years ago, quickly becoming a favorite among Sasha & Digweed and helping to influence many other artists since.
A new renaissance of progressive and trance unfolding makes timing ideal for a brand new re-imagination of “Netherworld.” Lieb adds a refined progressive touch under his own name for this version, which follows his trancier re-work of the piece in 2005, tantalizing the ears with hypnotic bursts of bass under intricate percussion samples. Though “Netherworld (2017 Main Mix)” has a completely different foundation than its predecessors, one thing remains: its ethereal, unforgettable hook which any fan of the music will recognize instantly.
Lieb’s remix finds its way onto Bonzai Progressive for its release, and is joined by another stunning remix by Rise And Fall. Download them here.