Armin van Buuren has been helping to shape electronic music into the commercial force it is today for over 20 years. In addition to releasing music that has pushed the boundaries of the genre’s sound, he started what is arguably one of the most successful independent music labels in the world with Armada Music.
Today marks a landmark for the veteran producer thanks to the release of the 1500th track on Armada’s sublabel, Armind. “Stickup” by van Buuren himself, is the track that has been chosen for this coveted release spot in honor of the label’s continued success.
The heightened BPM drives the track into trance territory from the outset, and a robotic vocal line tells listeners to ‘put their hands up’—giving them a brief respite from the speedy kicks driving the piece forward. The song’s energy ebbs and flows as it goes on, creating a rollercoaster ride reminiscent of his earlier work during his trance days.
“Stickup” has been a mainstay in van Buuren’s live sets long before the track’s release date. The song was first played at A State Of Trance 900 in Utrecht, and it is now featured prominently on van Buuren’s new A State Of Trance, Ibiza 2019 album.
Flux Pavilion has teamed up with Next To Neon and A:M for an upbeat and airy new single “Surrender.” The light melody is a definite change of pace for Flux Pavilion, who has foregone his heavier style and instead has co-written a more Seven Lions-esque, melodic dubstep piece with a smooth flow and euphoric progressions. Next to Neon’s touch is apparent in the production, and “Surrender” ultimately proves to be the type of song one could play in any situation or mood. It’s out now on Circus Records.
Recently, Flux Pavilion has been on an experimental tip, keeping fans on their toes with a mixture of his classic aesthetic and crossover-friendly releases. His versatility as a producer is exactly what has kept him at the top for so many years.
Gorgon City and MK are two artists who have mastered the integration of vocals and house music, and now they have finally come together in the studio for a white-hot new single, ‘There For You.’
While the lyrical message may be typical and formulaic, Gorgon City and MK rarely deviate from simple themes because they always deliver them in fine style. Piano rhythms on ‘There For You” are smooth rather than foreboding. The vocal harmonies are uplifting and serene. The drums are tight and succinct.
Those who have been following Gorgon City and MK knew it was only a matter of time before they collaborated, and “There For You” more than lives up to what’s to be expected from these two house purists.
Octopus Recordings head honcho Sian just made his debut on mau5trap earlier this year, but he’s already making huge waves on the label. His first stamp on the Canadian imprint was Ultraviolet 1.0, a six-track EP that was released in May. Not long after, he’s followed up with the second installment in the Ultraviolet EP series, featuring three tracks: “Planets,” “Opium,” and “Nitro.”
Like in his first EP, the skilled artist demonstrates his mastery of the shadowy realm of electronic music, taking his listener through an eerie jungle of industrial, electro, and experimental elements. His sonic presence is commanding, instantly drawing listeners in with pounding basslines and impeccable sound design.
In addition to his slew of new releases over the past few months, Sian is also touring with the mau5trap founder himself. Catch Sian opening for deadmau5 on The Cube V3 tour Sept. 20 and 26 and Oct. 11-12. Tickets still remain for the Oct. 12 stop in San Jose; get yours here.
A delicious collaboration between Whethan and The Knocks has materialized in the form of a plucky, laid back summer anthem that deserves to be listened to with a full car of friends, windows down, en route to enjoy the enduring summer sunset.
“Summer Luv” also features cool and collected vocoder vocals from Spanish trio, Crystal Fighters. The three-pronged effort blends the effervescent, upbeat nature of each group in attendance for “Summer Luv,” to create a new and even more fiercely vibrant color out of three distinct shades. Whethan lays down his spunky, off-kilter pop production, while The Knocks bring the soulful, funkier accents. This one is best enjoyed poolside or beachfront sipping drinks beside a summertime sweetheart.
Diplo seems to have begun a release streak. After collaborating with Good Times Ahead for their “Milky Cabrera” release, the iconic producer is back with a brand new original work—this time under his new moniker Thomas Wesley.
“Heartless” is a country fusion tune fit for radio play. It’s also a fitting next step for Diplo, who DJ’d Stagecoach’s 2019 edition and later remixed Lil Nas X’ groundbreaking “Old Town Road.” It features the twangy vocals of Morgan Wallen, which shine on top of the minimal production beneath. Could this be Diplo’s first entry into the country charts, and is this the signal of a new country/EDM revolution? Only time will tell.
Big Gigantic is the latest act to ride on the last waves of summer with a compelling release, and they’re here to prove they’re still king of the game. After a period of silence, the Boulder duo returned with their first single in three years, “You’re the One” with Nevve in June. Now, Big G has followed up with another anthem—”Friends” with Ashe—delivering their beloved signature combination of breezy vocals, brass, and feel-good messages. According to Ashe, the group performed “Friends” at Coachella 2017, only to see its release to fruition a couple years later.
Beginning mellow with layers of plucky strings and soft shakers that build, Ashe sings about a breakup that won’t let go. The melancholy tone quickly shifts when horns crescendo into an uplifting blare and momentous beats. Big G lets the horn take the lead on a symphonic interlude that transforms the lyrical connotations into a carefree jazzy ensemble. Embracing the easy-living mindset of summer, “Friends” waxes summer poetic on its double meaning for both listeners and Big Gigantic.
“Through life’s ups, downs, makeups, breakups, and everything in-between, you always count on your friends,” the duo said in a tweet about the tune.
Dexter’s Beat Laboratory is a weekly collection of songs from DA managing editor Robyn Dexter. With a taste that can only be described as eclectic — to say nothing of a name that lends itself to punnery — DA is happy to present a selection of tracks personally curated by Dexter for your listening pleasure.
On a recent synthwave binge, I stumbled across a group by the name of Lebrock. It only took one track (“Runaway“) for me to become completely hooked, and I was thrilled to see the release of a new tune called “Takes All Night” on Aug. 8. Soak it up in all its retro glory.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Oliver Nelson and Tobtok are a dream team. Their latest piece of work together is no exception, and they add their groovy touch to Wilder Woods’ “Supply & Demand” with ease. A steady-rocking bassline and the original track’s vocals work in harmony for a blissful remix.
UK drum ‘n’ bass aficionado Kove has proven himself force to be reckoned with in 2019 with releases like “Echoes” and “BEARCLAW.” He’s returned in the heart of festival season with a new Drum&BassArena heater, “Motor,” which grinds with all the ferocity of, well, a powerful motor. It’s an epic piece of work.
Aug. 16 marks the release of HEYZ‘s first EP since his Schedule 1 compilation on mau5trap, and the three-track Human 404 is in a league of its own. Tracks like “In My Arms” clearly demonstrate a new sonic path for the producer, and it’s exciting to see. Read my Q&A with him here.
Sullivan King‘s rock-infused touch has been far-reaching in the electronic music sphere since his appearance on the scene, and he’s made a name for himself by continuously demonstrating his versatile skill set. His latest is a cover of Excision and Illenium‘s 2018 collab, “Gold,” and the musician’s vocals work flawlessly with the version he’s created.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: The new Oso Oso is oh so good. Long Island emo maestro Jade Lilitri — who, save for drummer Aaron Masih, is basically a one-man operation — has outdone himself with Basking In The Glow, the follow-up to 2016’s widely loved The Yunahon Mixtape. More »