Weekend Rewind: Zedd’s debut studio album ‘Clarity’ turns six

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Weekend Rewind: Zedd’s debut studio album ‘Clarity’ turns sixZedd Press Photo

“2012 was the best year in electronic music” is a statement that has become somewhat of an epithet in veteran dance music listeners’ discussions of the evolution of EDM. To bookmark 2012 as one of the preeminent chapters–or even the preeminent chapter–in the history of electronic music is not to disavow or turn a deaf ear to the strides that the genre has made in the ensuing six years, but to reflect with particular fondness on EDM’s gradual breakthrough into mainstream culture, a piercing of the commercial veil enacted with genre defining fervor.

Back track to 2012, wherein Skrillex had become a household name, and would go on to release the first Dog Blood EP–Next Order/Middle Finger–that August, as Swedish House Mafia prepared for their worldwide live farewell, One Last Tour, after announcing their imminent disbandment in June. Avicii, Calvin Harris, Skrillex, and Swedish House Mafia had all secured Grammy nominations for 2012’s Best Dance Recording as Swedish House Mafia’s “Save the World,” Harris’ “Sweet Nothing,” and Alesso‘s “City of Dreams” began to exert a hold on the charts. In the midst of it all, a Russian-German DJ by the stage name of “Zedd” would drop his debut studio album, Clarity. October 5, 2012 is a date significant in that it then marked Clarity’s arrival via Interscope Records. Now, the date represents not only the sixth anniversary of Zedd’s inaugural extended production, but a specific and isolated moment in the history of electronic music at which point the genre would be irrevocably influenced by the transcendent work of an artist still relatively new to the scene, a moment that can perhaps only be fully recognized for its impact on EDM only years later, retrospectively.

The highly anticipated project from the former OWSLA signee seamlessly melded Zedd’s background as a classical musician with his acute ear for original electronic sound constructions, resulting in a 10-track showing led by the Matthew Koma assisted single, “Spectrum,” and the namesake, reigning electronic classic, “Clarity.” Arguably one of the most readily recognizable electronic songs to ever gain a release, “Clarity” would go on to become Zedd’s very first gold record, and two-years later, would earn the 23-year-old producer his first Grammy Award for “Best Dance Recording.” Although “Clarity” has aged exceedingly well following its 2012 debut, the album favorite only tells a fraction of the story that is ClarityClarity was–and remains–noteworthy for its engagement of a series of different electronic subgenres, including electro and progressive, with dabbles in electro house, progressive house, and pop likewise evident. The diversity of sound embodied on Clarity bespoke Zedd’s determination to push the envelope to consequently gift 2012 EDM a meticulously constructed and exploratory concept album.

While many major 2012 dance albums surfaced as packages of standalone singles marketed as one comprehensive multi-track offering, Clarity composed a sonic narrative. Clarity’s status as a concept album materialized not solely in the technical repetition of vocal-centric track stylings–“Spectrum,” the Ryan Tedder feature, “Lost At Sea,” “Clarity,” the Ellie Goulding and Lucky Date powered “Fall Into The Sky,” and the Bright Lights vocalized “Follow You Down”–but in the sharp attention to detail that Zedd exhibited on the album, where no detail was too minuscule to evade the producer’s notice. Take for example album concluder “Epos’”subtle transition into a closing blend of chords and melody, the very same amalgamation of chords and melody with which Zedd begins the album on Clarity’s opening song, “Hourglass.” “Epos’” fade out, only to fade into the introductory chords and melody of “Hourglass,” creates a full circle, closed loop album effect, while underscoring Zedd’s careful and deliberate structuring of the album.

The ticking sound evocative of a clock that appears in Zedd’s 2017 single “Stay,” and 2018’s “The Middle” surfaces at the beginning of “Hourglass” to figuratively set Clarity in motion, and again reappears in the pacing of the synth work of “Epos,” just past the tune’s two-minute mark, where the rhythm of the synth takes on a sound akin to that of a ticking clock. Not to be overlooked is the end of “Epos,” which adopts not only the chords and melody of “Hourglass,” but the very same ticking noise which conveys to streamers that while they have now listened to the album in its full extent, they can just as easily begin listening again, given the smooth transition from Clarity’s final to opening song.

Clarity duly strived for and achieved cohesion, and in the process, revolutionized electronic dance music in its presentation of a highly innovative and cerebral collection of tracks threaded with common technical themes. Clarity in turn produced a distinctive kind of clarity in that Zedd’s sonic vision for his debut album became progressively more perceptible during the listening experience, as each successive track listing built off of the preceding one, to render Zedd’s then budding expertise similarly increasingly conspicuous. The irony inherent in the title of Zedd’s debut album resides in the reality that the depth of the influence of a release that will later be branded “highly influential” can only be observed in its full extent much later, after that release has exerted said influence. The six years that have followed Clarity’s 2012 arrival evidence the album’s longterm impact on electronic music, to in turn shed the clarity that Clarity not only would, but has forever changed the landscape of dance music. Happy birthday, Clarity.

Zola Jesus releases atmospheric remix of Zedd’s ‘Middle’ featuring Maren Morris

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Zola Jesus releases atmospheric remix of Zedd’s ‘Middle’ featuring Maren MorrisZola Jesus Zedd The Middle

Zola Jesus, who also goes by Yung Zeej, Lil’ Zoji, and Baba Yaga Balladeer, has released a celestial, slowed-down remix to Zedd‘s #5 Billboard chart-topper, “Middle,” featuring Maren Morris. From the original’s 107 bpm, the remake slows everything down to around a melting 85 bpm. The vocals are doused in reverb while melodic bass and deep percussion lay the foundation, creating a zero gravity atmosphere. Strings are introduced at the chorus, evoking cinematic sensations.

On Soundcloud, she writes “i’m losing my mind, just a little.” At speeds that slow, there’s time to take in each and every detail from the static noise to the purposefully-placed acapella anomalies. The entire song carries a beautifully tortured sentiment through its emotive harmonies and longing delicacy.  Fingers crossed Zedd approves this as an official remix.

Zedd’s ‘The Middle’ smashes Billboard’s Hot Dance/Electronic Songs Chart record for most weeks at No. 1

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Zedd’s ‘The Middle’ smashes Billboard’s Hot Dance/Electronic Songs Chart record for most weeks at No. 1Screen Shot 2018 01 02 At 1.39.22 PM

Why don’t you just meet Zedd…at the top of Billboard’s Hot Dance/Electronic Songs Chart? He’s been there for awhile–28 weeks, to be exact.

Zedd, Maren Morris, and Grey‘s joint hit, “The Middle,” moved into its 27th week atop the Billboard chart, collecting a total of 10.3 million U.S. streams in the week ending August 9, as Nielsen Music reports. The single fronts Dance/Electronic Digital Song Sales for the 25th week, selling 8,000 units.

“The Middle” surpasses formidable occupancies at the top of the Hot Dance/Electronic Songs Chart previously held by The Chainsmokers‘ “Closer,” which peaked for 27 weeks in 2016-2017. Avicii‘s “Wake Me Up!” spent a comfortable 26 weeks in the number one slot in 2013-2014. Not far behind, The Chainsmokers and Coldplay‘s collaboration, “Something Just Like This” logged 25 weeks in 2017, while Major Lazer and DJ Snake‘s “Lean On” enjoyed a consecutive 23 week run in 2015-2016.

“The Middle” now becomes the newest record setting track within the context of the Hot Dance/Electronic Songs Chart with 28 weeks in its rearview.

H/T: Billboard

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

Zedd, Maren Morris and Grey Perform “The Middle” On The Ellen Show

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Since dropping “The Middle”, Zedd, Maren Morris, and Grey have had their world flipped on its head. The song is an international hit and the world just can’t get enough of the pop-infused dance track. No strangers to the spotlight these artists have been all over the place with promotions and commercials including a Target

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WATCH: Zedd and Maren Morris finally perform their hit ‘The Middle’ together for the first time

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The stars are aligning. After months of radio play ZeddMaren Morris, and Grey’s hit collaboration, “The Middle,” has finally received its highly anticipated live rendition.

On Saturday, April 28, Morris joined Zedd onstage at the OMNIA Nightclub in Las Vegas and absolutely stunned the crowd with her verses, later commenting on Twitter that it was her “first time hearing the song this loud.”

“The Middle” is currently sitting at No. 5 on the Billboard Hot 100, and has been on the charts since its January debut.

2:30 a.m. vibes. @Zedd , you throw a damn good party! : Joe Janet

A post shared by Maren Morris (@marenmorris) on

Zedd & Maren Morris Debut “The Middle” Together for the First Time

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Whether you’re a Zedd fan or simply listen to mainstream radio, you’ve definitely heard the smash hit “The Middle” featuring the electronic duo Grey and country-pop star, Maren Morris. This track nearly exploded when it was released back in January, climbing all the way to the top of Billboard‘s Dance Mix/Show Airplay charts and hovered

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The genealogy of a hit: the complex crafting of Zedd’s ‘The Middle’ [Watch]

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From his Grammy-nominated Alessia Cara feature to his comparatively more recent release, “The Middle,” Zedd makes music production look easy. The mastered singles that infiltrate radio air waves, though, bespeak layers of complexity that are not immediately perceptible to listeners. “The Middle’s” seamless amalgamation of Maren Morris’ vocals with chord progressions outside of Morris’ country aesthetic effects a smooth pop listening experience that has resonated with many listeners, even those who normally eschew electronic music. Yet the fluidity of “The Middle” masks an intricate developmental process leading up to the single’s official release, one that notably almost never reached conclusion.

In what might arrive as a surprise to fans of the Zedd/Morris collab, “The Middle’s” origins extend well beyond Zedd’s studio. “The Middle” that listeners both know and belt in perfect synchronicity today was originally conceived as a demo by the Monsters and the Strangerz, a Los Angeles studio group and 23-year-old songwriter, Sarah Aarons. Aarons’ name doesn’t appear alongside Zedd or Morris’ on the track, but it was Aarons who would type out the lyrics and melody to “The Middle” on her iPhone. She then headed into the booth to record the demo of the song, which would later fall into the laps of electronic, silver haired duo, Grey. Adding what they call a “medieval axe whipping noise” to the demo — in other words, the sound that you hear in between the lyrics “baby” and “why don’t you just meet me in the middle?” — Grey would then forward the still unfinished track to Zedd.

“They played it for me they were like what do you think, and I thought if done right, this could be a huge smash,” Zedd said of the demo. To be “done right,” the track necessitated the right vocalist, and tracking down the choice voice for the song was quite the feat.  “There were months where we almost gave up, because we couldn’t a vocalist,” Zedd revealed. 14 demo vocalists later, including the likes of Bebe Rexha and Demi Lovato, “The Middle” had found its vocal match in Maren Morris. “I had never heard her music until I heard her demo,” Zedd noted, “I was like who’s Maren Morris? She sounds really good.”

“The Middle” currently enjoys the success that an approximate year of production effort, and a team of “no fewer than eight collaborators” warrants, but as the making of “The Middle” video clearly conveys, crafting a hit single is anything but simple, and oftentimes requires some meeting ‘in the middle.’

Via: The New York Times

Ryan Browne smashes remix of Zedd, Maren Morris & Grey’s ‘The Middle’

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ryan browne

When Zedd, Maren Morris and Grey‘s “The Middle” came out at the beginning of the year, it quickly garnered millions of plays and views across platforms. The sugar-sweet dance/pop original featured Morris’ charming vocals over catchy production from Zedd and Grey, making for a surefire hit for all three artists.

Over the months since its release, countless remixes have surfaced on SoundCloud — but perhaps none as heavy as this latest one from drummer Ryan Browne. Browne has been making a name for himself by doing percussion-infused takes on songs like Krewella‘s classic “Alive” and Alison Wonderland‘s “Messiah.” With accompanying videos to demonstrate the hard work that goes into these remixes, Browne’s multi-instrumental skills shine. His remix of “The Middle” is backed by hefty guitar riffs and bass and is led by a fast-paced drum & bass rhythm. He’s taken the tidy pop elements of the original and worked them into a more rugged, passion-packed remix.

It’s nearly impossible to sit still for this one.

Prince Fox Releases A Chill Cover To Jimmy Eat World’s “The Middle”

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We all have that specific song or artist which holds a special memory in our hearts. From the anthem you and your friends had on repeat on a road trip, to the song that got you through a breakup; music is a powerful tool. For Prince Fox, Jimmy Eat World’s album “Bleed American” carries that

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