Archive for 2012

Aruna Exclusive

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     Equipped with an angelic voice and a degree from Berklee, the versatile singer, songwriter, DJ and pianist who goes only by her first name has been impacting the dance music world since 2007. Three years of vocal accompaniments for the likes of Filo & Peri, the Thrillseekers and Ronski Speed preceded the debut of her Velvetine project, a collaborative effort with Myon & Shane 54. It was in October of that year that her first solo project was released to the masses. “Let Go” was a monster hit, featuring on Anjunabeats Volume 8 and warranting remixes from trance heavyweights Nic Chagall and Who.Is. This year, the American songstress’ most successful to date, saw the resurgence of Velvetine, another solo single and vocals for the most popular single off of Ferry Corsten’s latest album. Earlier in 2012, Aruna talked to The Hawt about women in dance music, her new role as a DJ and her relationship with Myon & Shane54.

Where are you from, how long have you been in music and what is your claim to fame?
     Aruna: I'm from Flemington, NJ. I've been a musician since I was about seven but didn't start pursuing it professionally 'til i graduated Berklee and moved to LA in 2001, and didn't fall into EDM ‘til about 2007. My "claim to fame" as you put it would vary depending on who you ask. To some it's having written a song for Hannah Montana. To others, it’s probably my recent track with Ferry Corsten "Live Forever" as that was far and away my most successful dance release to date. 

We were pleasantly surprised to hear that you picked up DJing over the past year. How have you been received as a female DJ? Do you still get booked as a vocalist? Do you ever perform both as a singer and as a DJ? We’ve never seen you live; what are your sets like?

     Aruna: It's been interesting so far, lots of very diverse reactions. For some reason it seems EDM is still in the 1950s in terms of the way it views the role of women. Honestly there have been some moments where I really felt pushed down, as if certain entities/individuals (not naming names of course) viewed it as some kind of threat to themselves or to some established order or I don't know what, it was very strange to me and of course very frustrating.  I think especially since I became known as a singer first and only stepped into the role of DJ not that long ago that oftentimes there's a bit of skepticism at the outset but usually once they hear my sets they're pleasantly surprised and really into it from that point on, case in point my Trance Around The World guest mix. I got literally hundreds of thousands of new subscribers to my podcast, The Hot List, in the months after that, so I must have done something right! Girls especially have been extremely supportive and encouraging. It seems they really love seeing a female in that role. Its very empowering for them. They need a cheerleader in this scene, an ambassador, someone with a visible presence and a brand, not someone who's merely relegated to the sidelines as 'featured vocalist'. DJing has been great for live performances cuz it really gives me a solid block of time up there with my fans to showcase my taste and take them on a nice ride, and yes every show I do they always want me to sing, so lately I've been doing both, usually spinning for an hour or so and then closing with a few live songs. My sets tend to be pretty high energy, trance of course but on the techy side with some house elements but always very musical,  that’s the most important thing to me at the end of the day. Even when it's banging, it still has to be tasteful.

What tracks have been the biggest in your sets thus far this year?

     Aruna: Pretty much any of Maor Levi's remixes work really well. He's a perfect example of someone who can knock it out HARD in his productions and really get people jumping but what he does always makes musical sense. I LOVED what he did with Leon Bolier's US. I played that in El Salvador and the place exploded. And of course when I play my own tunes people get pretty excited too. I remember dropping the Shogun mix of Live Forever in Vancouver and people were singing louder than the record, it was great! 

With EDM continuing to rapidly gain popularity, it seems as though more artists are being swayed into mainstream tendencies. Do you think mass popularity hinders quality?
     Aruna: Very interesting question. I don't think being popular or even trying to make something become popular means that it has to be bad, although it might mean a more simplified, predictable structure. Some of the most mainstream tracks on the radio in my opinion are actually quite good. Because there's so much money there, they can do whatever they want in terms of working at the best studios, working with the best writers, etcetera. However I think people that get into it only for the success and the money and the chicks and everything else that comes with it, well…you can kinda hear it in their work. There's just no love there, and you can tell they're not musicians. But I don't think those people will be around long. The amount of passion and enthusiasm required to keep things going, if thats not there, then I don't think ego and greed is enough to sustain you long term. Most of the people that I know personally who are at the top live and breathe music, and they genuinely love it, they love the creative process and are always striving for excellence. Those are the people who have built an enduring brand for themselves, and will continue to evolve as necessary to stay relevant and keep things interesting for themselves.

What can you tell us about Save The Day?

     Aruna: The writing of "Save The Day" started a little over two years ago while I was staying with Myon in Hungary for three weeks. It was a really creative period for both of us. We were working on three different tracks at once, "All Around You", the one that came out on Cosmic Gate's album and also another tune which will be Myon & Shane's next single, out in early 2013. I came up with a chorus that I LOVED and showed it to Myon for their single. He felt it was a bit too commercial for theirs but said it could be great for mine. So basically I built up the whole rest of the song around that chorus. The lyric basically describes a failing relationship, that moment you realize that the magic and love is just gone and that it's more or less unfixable. For me that moment was always the saddest point in a relationship, the actual breakup is just a natural extension of that. Strangely I wasn't in any sort of situation like that at the time I wrote it, but as fate would have it I ended up there right around the time the track was released. So it was incredibly prophetic, almost feels like I wrote it to my future self, never had anything like that happen before. 

Which came first; Myon and Aruna or Velvetine? Did either of those partnerships cause the other? We promise that’s our only quasi-personal question :)
     Aruna: Hahaha! The musical relationship came first, and yes it definitely fuelled the personal relationship. It's a very intimate thing, creating music with someone, especially when the chemistry is there on so many levels, as it was with us. And of course the personal relationship affected the musical relationship too, sometimes in good ways as I've written quite a few songs about him by now, "The Great Divide" being one of them, but also in not so good ways, like if we had a fight it would definitely affect our ability to work together. You can't just shut those feelings off and say "OK, its time to work now". So yea, you take the good with the bad. It was a great experience and I don't have any regrets, but I'm also glad we ultimately decided to call it off and go back to just being friends. It was a hard decision but I think in the end it's the best thing for our musical relationship, it keeps things very steady that way. But the feelings are still very strong on both sides, and probably always will be.

Congratulations on having “The Great Divide” become a worldwide trending topic! Despite its lengthy gestation period (TATW 400, right?), did you ever expect the track to reach such levels of hype before its release?
     Aruna: Seeing as Safe, our first single together, did really well, we knew we had some big shoes to fill and that the anticipation, especially amongst the Anjuna crowd, would be massive. We all knew we had a really sick track on our hands, and we knew Anjuna and Above & Beyond would push it hard, but at the end of the day even with so many cards stacked in your favor, you never REALLY know how something is gonna do. We were very happy with the way it was received. 

The last Velvetine track came out way back in 2010. “The Great Divide” already being a huge success, do you envision giving this alias more importance? Or will we have to eagerly wait another 2 years for the next release?
     Aruna: Hah! I sure hope it wont be another two years! We already have a good jump on our next single, and have even discussed plans for an album, its just a matter of all of us making the time for it. Between crazy touring schedules, making radio shows and doing other projects and collaborations, that can be more difficult than it sounds. I think the bigger Velvetine gets, the more it will continue to become a priority for all of us, especially once we start doing official Velvetine Live shows. So far we've only done Myon & Shane 54 and Aruna shows, Velvetine Live will be a very different format and experience.

Finally, do you have any plans on coming to Montreal anytime soon?
     Aruna: I would love to! I've never been and it would be a great opportunity to practice my French! Nothing's planned though, so for anyone who wants me there, make sure to tell your local promoters! Believe it or not, most of them pay close attention to what (and who) fans want.

Aruna Official
     I’m typing out these words with one hand and dialling Circus Afterhours with the other. Happy New Year from all of us at The Hawt!

Change of Heart

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mad weed

     Whenever I listen to a song for the first time, I usually have to give my initial impression a week-long grace period, because I have a tendency to change my mind. As my closest friends will tell you, my musical opinions are quite polarizing; I either hate a song, or I love it. So when I say that I change my mind, I go from totally disliking a track to being absolutely enamored by it. This week’s tunes have gone from bad to great and I sincerely hope they stay in my good graces as they are all sublime pieces of music. Let’s dive in, shall we?
     Originally, this track had not a single chance of joining my iTunes library. When I downloaded Todd Terje’s “It’s the Arps EP” in January of this year, it was for the incredible “Inspector Norse.” I very briefly skimmed over the other tracks, almost instantly dismissing each one as a piece of garbage.  It was not before mid-November that I took another look at the release, more specifically “Swing Star pt.1.” Despite being listed as 107 BPM, the low-pitch bassline, the beautifully crafted rapidly firing synths and the numerous hi-hats give an ear pleasing illusion of fast-pacing that make the rest of the release worth checking out.

Todd Terje – Swing Star pt.1 (Original Mix)
Released on January 10th on Smalltown Supersound Norway
BeatportJuno Download

     I think what turned me off to Julio Bashmore’s “Battle for Middle You” was the album art, which is quite plainly a legless woman made of pink gelatin reaching for her shoulder blades. Not only did I not (and still don’t) understand the connection with the music, but I let the image hinder my love for genre crosspollination and subtly powerful basslines.

Julio Basmore – Battle for Middle You (Original Mix)
Released on January 10th, 2011 on PMR

     After I had fallen for “Skyward,” I went on a lengthy Internet journey to find other Masoud tracks that sounded similar. You can imagine my disappointment when I discovered his tendency for the mainstream Trance sound. Fast forward to 2012, when a YouTube sidebar thumbnail draws my attention and takes me to the Iranian’s remix of Dave Emanuel’s “Four Noble Truths.” Unique in its own right, Masoud’s remix features a long melodic breakdown and an uplifting drop that is somewhat reminiscent of the previously mentioned “Skyward.”

Dave Emanuel – Four Noble Truths (Masoud Remix)
Released on May 31st, 2010 on Arisa Audio

     To cap this week’s acoustic treats, here’s a recent 2-hour mix from Jeremy Olander, containing 17 of his own unreleased tracks, 16 of which are still unsigned. It features his popular “Malensa,” the Carl Cox approved “Tenfifteen,” a remix from young Montreal hotshot Richie G and a track from Jeremy's next Pryda Friends release.

     Montreal’s holiday events schedule is a who’s who of the major players of most of EDM’s subgenres. On Friday, December 21st, while Stephan Bodzin and Sied van Riel respectively play Stereo and Circus, the undeniable legends that are Kevin Saunderson, Derrick May and Stacey Pullen entertain what is likely to be an older and more knowledgeable crowd at the Telus Theater. The following night brings Montreal native and turntablist extraordinaire Alain “A-Trak” Macklovitch to New City Gas, who will be scratching just prior to the Martinez Brothers’ set at Stereo. Things slow down for family time and pick up once again on Thursday the 27th, when Skrillex brings his Full Flex Express tour to New City Gas (sold-out). On December 28th, Sebastian Ingrosso and Borgore take to New City Gas for an irregular dubstep and house combination. On the 29th, it’s Porter Robinson and Hard Rock Sofa’s turn to play the overused Griffintown showroom, which closes its doors until New Year’s Eve, when Third Party, Max Graham and Nic Fanciulli take to the stage. Also on New Year’s Eve is Nicole Moudaber’s visit to Stereo and Circus’ yearly Odyssey party. Leon Bolier, Orjan Nilsen, Basil O’Glue, Raneem, Omar El Gamal, Mr, Jean Louis, Etienne Ozborne, Jay Lumen and Koen Groneveld will all provide Montreal’s finest afterhours establishment with the grooves necessary to properly ease all attendees into 2013. Montreal’s dance music community is given less than 24 hours to rest before the party continues on new year’s day with Ben Gold and Nic Chagall at Circus and Chus & Ceballos at Stereo.

     This week’s video comes from the UK town of Bristol. Last year, Resident Advisor began a video web-series called “Real Scenes” where they explored the underground dance music happenings of a chosen city. The reason I chose to include the episode from Bristol is because it features producer Matt Walker, also known as Julio Bashmore, who prominently figures in this post.

Real Scenes: Bristol from Resident Advisor on Vimeo.

     Since this is the last post before Christmas, I’d like to wish all our readers a very happy holiday and new year on behalf of Fred, Nikhil and myself. Have a great week!

Ear Tears

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From the sweat of my brow, I have worked to please the education gods, slaving over the finals exams that just about brought me to tears (I did okay). As the clock hit noon, and thousands headed home to a good old joint, the first people I thought of were my readers (lies). The duties I have taken to keep a consistent outflow of beautiful music, which brings the ears of many to tears, was a responsibility I was not about to turn away from. Many people have started their top of 2012 list; however, do not expect this from me until the very last day of the year, for there is a lot of great music to come within the following weeks! Under the influence of Mariah Carey's Christmas album, and from the comfort of my home, allow me to please you, musically, of course.

     Get your ears pumped for the JETS's FACT mix which was released a few weeks prior.  For the uninformed, JETS is a collaborative project between Travis Stewart, more properly referred to as Machinedrum, and Jimmy Edgar. Within their sound, one can distinguish the peculiarity of Travis's fondness over relatively spontaneous upbeat sounds, while Jimmy brings a relative balance to the overtone of it all, with the use of his paced synths, wondrous sampling as well as some crisp percussive sounds. Consequently, it is logical to assume that if you are a fan of either of these artists, you should take a listen to their self-entitled EP; and while it's loading, I was thoughtful enough to include what has been called "the mix of the year" by many right below. Also, the playlist to the mix below comprises songs that are mostly unreleased, giving this mix an extended shelf life. Expect to be hearing this for many months to come!

     Coming to you from Canada, the collective King's Deluxe is celebrating it's second anniversary in the business, and what better way to enjoy the start of a third year than to release a free album for all to listen to! Amongst the many names appearing on the track list of this rather varied work, I wish to bring your attention to a piece by Alphabets Heaven, remixed by Kwala Headshotboyz. Alphabets is an artist who seems to draw inspiration from his video-game saturated childhood, and this is reflected through his sound. Allow yourself to live vicariously through the life of Sonic, Link or Donkey Kong as the following song sets the tone for your upcoming adventure.

     While the video-game soundtrack is on lock, down in Los Angeles there are two twin brothers who have been wrecking havoc as of recently. Having worked on the production of Earl Sweatshirt's latest hit "Chum", Taiwo and Kehinde Hassan have brewed up a musical concoction under the alias of Christian Rich. Entitled XIX, and premiering on their upcoming album, this song is something between Jamaican dub, intricate glitch and trap hop. Basically, these guys took a bunch of pretty cool genres and stuck them all together to make a rather breezy sound. The vocal sample is ambient yet necessary, and one feels as though the homogeneous nature of it all is required to capture the entirety of your simultaneous day-dream.

     For the video of the week, I bring to you a tune from UK producer Max Cooper in collaboration with the Canadian BRAIDS. If I could sum this piece up, I would have to say it is rather progressive, but for all the right reasons. As the song intensifies, the many layers begin to cumulate and take effect. Additionally, the effect does not only comprise of ear-tearing; the video seems to grow with respect to the song. In it, well, um... I can't really describe what the fuck is going on, other than that it is quite awesome. If you enjoy existentialism with a grain of LSD, feel free to embark on this audiovisual experience.

In the Past, Artists Were “Discovered”; In 2012, they Win Remix Competitions

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remix contest seven lions

     Remix competitions are nothing new to the world of dance music. It seems as though there is a new contest to enter every week, and while running through the submissions may cause one to weep for the future of our beloved genre, there are always a few reworks that are noteworthy and ultimately, good enough to launch a career. Take Seven Lions for example. No one had heard of the California native until his remix of “You Got to Go” won Above & Beyond’s competition back in 2011. Roughly a year later, he’s still remixing Anjunabeats tracks, touring with Gemini, Koan Sound and Bassex, releasing his originals on Skrillex’s OWSLA and not surprisingly, hosting his very own remix contest on Beatport. Now let’s forget Seven Lions and move on to Lindsay Lowend, who’s tweaking of “Days to Come” is undoubtedly one of the strongest submissions to this competition. The word tweaking doesn’t best encapsulate what the young songstress has done; she’s taken the original in a whole different direction, turning it from a dubstep-infused progressive house banger to a casual chill out ballad. In making the shift to the more relaxed subgenre, Lindsay has slowed the song down considerably, fitting it a captivating 3-note reverberating synth sequence, scattering hi-hats throughout the production and bending the vocals to match the faint buzzing bassline.

     For the sole purpose of using the word “literally” in the following sentence, I timed myself to see how long it would take for someone to vote for Lindsay Lowend’s remix of “Days to Come.” It LITERALLY takes 5.3 seconds to vote. Literally. The polls are open until December 10th, so don’t screw around, VOTE NOW.

Seven Lions ft. Fiora – Days to Come (Lindsay Lowend Remix)
Seven Lions - Days To Come Feat. Fiora (Lindsay Lowend Remix) by Lindsay Lowend

     In June of 2011, Josh Gabriel and Meredith Call released an album as Winter Kills, their collaborative vocal trance project.  In late September of 2012, they brought the album back, organizing a remix competition for the 11th track, “Forward Facing.” I’m assuming the submissions were scarce, because not even a month following the contest’s announcement, 2 reworkings were chosen as winners to be released on Different Pieces. Considering “Josh Gabriel presents Winter Kills” came out in 2011, I find it odd that Group Therapy Radio has been spinning the original mix as opposed to the Walsh & McAuley remix that has been stuck in my head for a while. The duo from Northern Ireland has kept the integrity of the track alive, keeping the melody somewhat the same and instead fidgeting with the breakdown and climax. The drop is laden with synths and cymbals as a new melody then takes over, turning the track into a true uplifting bomb.

Josh Gabriel pres. Winter Kills ft. Meredith Call – Forward Facing (Walsh &McAuley Remix)
Released on November 19th on Different Pieces

     It’s quite obvious, what with the prominence of names like Justice, Daft Punk, Fred Falke and Madeon, that France has lots of talent in disco. Joining the ranks of these future legends is Douze, with his recent remix of Henry Saiz & Cora Novoa. As if it were an episode of Pimp My Ride, the 23-year old Frenchman’s take on “Golden Dawn” is a completely different one than that of the original. The 119 BPM of the original seems to be too fast paced for Douze’s taste, so he slows it down 110, structures the track to a nu disco setting, peppers soft chords and wailing vocals throughout, places an unusually active bassline in the meatiest parts of the tune and installs a pull-out flat screen in the back seat. In all seriousness, it is excruciatingly tough to find more than one similarity between the original and Douze’s remix. Regardless, this is definitely a must have for any modern disco fan.

Henry Saiz & Cora Novoa – Golden Dawn (Douze Remix)
Released on November 5th on Natura Sonoris
Henry Saiz & Cora Novoa "Golden Dawn" Douze Remix by Henry Saiz

     Time is running thin, so just have a listen to 4 Strings and Ana Criado’s newest vocal trance anthem.

4 Strings ft. Ana Criado – Breathe Life In (Original Mix)
Released on November 26th on Liquid Recordings

     For those of you looking for something to do this weekend, be sure to check out Dubfire at Stereo on Friday night. If your Saturday evening is still free, you’ve got a tough choice to make between Armand van Helden at New City Gas, Alex Metric at La Mouche and the legendary Frankie Knuckles, who plays alongside David Morales at Stereo. The next night you should set aside is Thursday December 6th, when Boys Noize brings his Out of the Black tour to New City Gas. If you’re planning on going and haven’t purchased an entry yet, test your luck by following this link to I Love Neon’s ticket giveaway on Facebook. Friday, December 7th will see Stereo attract a large crowd as the club welcomes France’s best techno export, Popof. December 8th is another extremely busy night, with shows for DJ Hype at Le Belmont, Morgan Page at New City Gas, Roger Sanchez at Stereo, Jacques Greene at the SAT and Étienne Ozborne at Circus Afterhours. Finally, two weeks from now, on Thursday, December 13th, Simian Mobile Disco will be appearing live at Club Soda. As always, if you want to plan more than two weeks ahead of time, be sure to check Montreal Nightclubs’ events page.

     Finally, here’s an insanely entertaining music video I found a few weeks back. When I introduced this segment, I made it clear that the chosen clip did not have to be specific to dance music. This week’s end of post video comes from a metal band called Nekrogoblikon, who’s short film for their track “No One Survives” is even more badass than a Chuck Norris/Tom Selleck mustache competition.

Want more? Watch the goblin shoot some hoops here

Netflix. Pornhub. Hypemachine.

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Every now and then I muster the motivation to rise from the comfort of my bed to venture the world. To say the least, the internet is quite a comfortable place. It can be tailored to your tastes and likes. You want to watch a movie? Netflix. Fancy some porn? Pornhub. Any new music as of recently? Hypemachine (also known as the mother of all blogs). In this rather brief segment I will illustrate the numerous finds that have stimulated my mind enough to keep me from falling into depression coming into finals. Cue unrelated tumblr photo (*insert shameless promotion here*).

1. Cashmere Cat:

Norwegian born producer, quite a mystery (I believe her name is Belinda, although I am not entirely certain), and most notably known for a song entitled "Mirror Maru", we note an ample amount vocal samples, and eclectic sound kits in her arsenal. She recently unveiled a 4 track EP to which the title is revealed above. Listen up, for this artist is a notable up and comer in the makes. In fact, she made it to #1 on Hypemachine a few hours ago. Pretty decent for a cat, wouldn't you say? Additionally, "Mirror Maru" was featured on Rustie's essential mix. She is on the right track. 

2. Machinedrum:

You have to hand it to the LuckyMe group, they house a wide array of artists. Machinedrum is no exception. Quite an old producer, he brings juke to an entirely different level. Also, he has seen little sleep recently; in the past month, he released a handful of tracks, opened an entirely new project with Jimmy Edgar under the collective alias "Jets", and has been destroying dance floors.

3. Seth Troxler:

An American native who simply preferred the other side of the pond, he now resides in London and has been pleasing Europe for many months now. His career started when he was rather young, and has grown into a sound which one can say is rather upbeat. Although he peaked in 2009, he is in no way out of the game; a constant flow of events and some new releases keep us wanting more.

4. Kyodai:

Kyodai is a japanese term to which the english translation is "brothers". A relatively new project from two unknown producers, the result is phenomenal. Although their musical origins remain shrouded in mystery, we can be certain that their music is reputable, and with good reason. With a string of good EPs and releases behind them, the future looks bright for these two. As well as being included in Kerri Chandler's RA podcast, they have been requested to remix a handful of songs which will drop sometime in the next few months. As of now, here is a tune off their 6 month-old EP "Breaking".

5. Ital:

The video of the week goes to a video directed by Planet Mu for Ital's piece entitled "Boi".

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.

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     Bam! I'm back once again. After having been beaten to the ground by the fine establishment of academia, I present to you this week's finds.

     First of all, Maths Time Joy has released his 3 track EP entitled Hideaway. To say the least, his Facebook page deserves much more than a thousand likes. Every single tune within the EP had me nodding my head, swaying in the layers of smooth and sharp synths, the original percussion-work, as well as the hypnotizing nature of warm vocals. Although they are all distinct from each other, each track possesses a certain progression; starting out slowly, they begin to peak and as a result produce a powerful emotional sensation within. One listen of this EP really took me on a journey, and should most definitely do the same for anyone with a sane ear.

     Moving over to the wonderful Jacques Greene, I must say he has been impressing the masses over the past year. Although still with LuckyMe, his decision to create his own recording label with Joseph Coghill was a rather bold move. However so, Vase is seeing a growing amount of attention from listeners around the world. This is most probably due to the niche in which they place themselves. Their music is extremely unique, and never ceases to sustain interest. This being said, Jacques Greene was unknown to me up until earlier this year when I saw him perform at Piknik Electronique. His set was ravishing, and I have been loving him ever since. He recently released a remix of a song by Jesse Boykins III & MeLo X entitled "The Perfect Blues". Oh, and it would also be important to note that the EP "Another Girl", released last year, has been on repeat my entire week.

     George Fitzgerald has been up to some pretty cool stuff as of recently. A remix of JessieWare's "No To Love" has been stirring up the internet, and with reason. His signature sound seamlessly accompanies the foundation to JessieWare's song, and creates something new and captivating. Featured in Scuba's Fact mix in late October, it has been officially released approximately a week ago.

     Also, Baikal has remixed Ian Pooley's "CompuRhythm", and it is quite a piece! Seeing a release november 19th through Innervisions, this song is most definitely worth the listen.

     Lastly, I would like to direct your attention to global warming. You all knew where I was going with this post, save me the conspiracy theories. Do you like ice? I know I do! To be more specific, Geiom's "Row2Land" music video displays a vast array of glaciers and ice crystals, all with the sole purpose of educating us on our effect on the planet. All jokes aside, reduce reuse and recycle.

P.S.: You know trap music has gone mainstream when Lady Gaga is in on it. For those who aren't aware, she came out with a trap track, to which the video will be directed by the infamous Terry Richardson. Check it for yourselves! I refuse to tarnish this blog!

Excuses Excuses

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     I’m not going to bore you with the elaborate reasons why there was no post last week. Instead, let’s dive right in to this week’s tracks. Time constraints, bla bla bla, short post.

     New track from Sir Bob Cornelius Rifo, teaming up with vocalist Greta Svabo Bech to give life to some great electro house. Notice how big a contrast the chorus makes with the rest of the song, giving listeners the chance to rest in between fierce head-bobbing and roof-raising arm movements.
The Bloody Beetroots ft. Greta Svabo Bech - Chronicles of a Fallen Love (Original Mix)
Released on Ultra Records on October 22nd

     Chris Malinchak brings forth a soothing and catchy tune on French Express. Synths are great, vocals are fantastic (love the background work) and the melody is simply blissful, resulting in an track worth the free download.
Chris Malinchak – So Good to Me (Original Mix)
Free for download below (Click the down pointing arrow on the right edge of the SoundCloud clip)
Chris Malinchak - So Good To Me by FRENCH EXPRESS
     Played during TATW 447, then chosen as the web vote winner for 448, Vintage & Morelli’s bootleg of “Ashes” by Above & Beyond’s Oceanlab project is a clear favorite among trance fans. Fitting the original with some extra percussions and a stealthy bassline, he brings an oldie up to 2012 speed.
Above & Beyond pres. Oceanlab – Ashes (Vintage & Morelli Bootleg)
Free for download below (Click the down pointing arrow on the right edge of the SoundCloud clip)
Oceanlab - Ashes (Vintage & Morelli Remix) by Vintage & Morelli

     Last offering this week comes in the form of a mix from David La Melza, a.k.a. Tropicool. Somewhat similar to the Zimmer Summer Tape from a few weeks ago, Tropicool’s Dopamine Dreams is a chilled out, disco-infused hour of funky beats perfect for an afternoon of hammock lounging. Transitions can sometimes sound weird, but this is still worth a listen.
Tropicool – Dopamine Dreams
Free for download below (Click the down pointing arrow on the right edge of the SoundCloud clip)
Dopamine Dreams by Tropicool (official)
     Quick events update, legend Danny Tenaglia is at Stereo and Max Vageli & AN21 and Junior Sanchez are at New City Gas on Saturday night. Dennis Ferrer comes to Muzique on Tuesday (pay at the door) while Birdy Nam Nam and Kill the Noise take the Telus Theater on Thursday. Friday the 16th is Cosmic Gate night at Circus and the following evening is Victor Calderone’s at Stereo and Sky Blu and Sidney Samson’s at New CIty Gas.
     Last, but certainly not least, here's a video to get you through that treacherous last weekday and start your weekend off on the right foot. This week, the clever clip from Duck Sauce’s follow-up to Barbara Streisand, “Big Bad Wolf.”

     I can’t even begin to imagine how awkward it must’ve been to film this.

YMCMB speaks to the soul.

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     Music can serve many purposes. If you belong to YMCMB, you are probably divulging your overpaid salary, and the luxuries you can consequently afford. If you aren't writing about women, cars, money and other concepts which demonstrate the depth of your being, chances are you haven't made it in the contemporary hip-hop industry. For those of you who stray away from hip-hop, and, for the sake of this blog, take pleasure in the electronic nature of music, there are many who use music with righteous reason.

     Matter of fact is, genres such as trance, house and all its sub-genres, and everything else within the entirety of the electronic sphere seem to differ from the other genres. Excluding those indie songs that describe your feelings in a bizarrely accurate method, the melodic aspects regarding most of the material released these days seem to lack the mental affiliation we feel to certain musical compositions. This is because very few are able to speak to a generation and give them a better understanding of themselves and their surroundings. 

     Attempt to speak your mind in a sentence. How are you feeling? What is rage, sorrow, happiness? My point being that it is almost impossible to describe how one feels within themselves. However, no need to fear, since there are many musicians who specialize in this grey area, and will aid you in the quest of emotional description and exploration. 

     If you are in need of some depressively passionate music, look no further than Cyril Hahn. The Vancouver native is acclaimed for his remix of Destiny's Child hit single Say My Name, released at the start of the year. However, his recent material has been rather solid. A remix of Solange's Losing You has proven that he still has the ability to convey emotions like a champ. Additionally, he released a mix from GottaDanceDirty. These are both worth checking out, and will provide you with emotional support in the unfortunate case of a breakup, or whatever troubles your heart.

    Another artist with the same tendency for emotional expression is none other than Ryan Hemsworth. His recent EP entitled Last Words, which released earlier this year, is without a doubt a great piece of work. Every song seems to tell a story, which is a rare feat in the musical industry. Not only is he able to put together amazing tunes, but his ear for music is on point as well. A recent release from FACT magazine draws many influences, from grimy hip-hop reworks and some heavy trap (courtesy of Baauer) to the ambient musical scenery of Sigur Ros. He also seemed to have emitted many of his very own creations into the mix as well. Take a listen through the link below:

     In other news, Flume seems to be releasing some consistently good stuff this past month or so. The Sydney radical seems to push the limits as to genre definition. In a track released on his Soundcloud the other day, he blends a vocal sample from Odis Redding, simple cymbal percussions and some harmonious synthesizer usage to create something that belongs in our eardrums.

     Musically inclined Berlin duo Nod One's Head (Charlotte Buhler and Bommert Moritz) have seen a track off their EP (Eponym) rise to the forefront of the blogosphere, and with good reason. This minimal track really seems to get us nodding our head. Hilarious, I know.

     For those of you wondering where I have been the past two weeks, I have been faced with many exams and a few too many nights out. However the seas have settled, and you should be expecting more from me in the near future. Before I leave, I am going to link you to a few songs that have caught my eye over the past while. Firstly, a groovy house tune from Tom Shorterz. Secondly, a seriously dark tech-house from Aimless Audio. Thirdly, a preview of what is to come from a deep house producer by the name of Ore. Lastly, Steaming Waterfalls: need I say more? Who needs introductions anyways? "No room for introduction", as I always say.

     For those of you fortunate enough to have inhaled the vapors of any mind-altering substance prior to this reading, prepare yourselves for the music video below. Although it does not pertain to electronic music, it is most definitely noteworthy. True Vulture is the lovechild of alternative rapper Death Grips and Director Galen Pehrson, and it will blow your mind. Take note of the Nietzsche-quoting crow.

A Festivus for the Rest of Us


     I’m not really sure what to write for this week’s introduction, but for some reason, I feel the holiday spirit. So allow me to air my grievances towards my position as a division manager for a youth basketball league and my ridiculously boring job, responsibilities that have prevented me from talking trance with a friend of mine. Ben Gold would’ve been there too. Enjoy the pole below.

     Finally, a preview for this track! The Estiva remix of “Love is Strong” achieved moderate success on Enhanced’s 5th instalment of the Digitally Enhanced mix compilation series, but I can only wonder what kind of attention would have been drawn if C-Systems, Jo Micali and Hanna Finsen’s original mix had been featured instead. Built upon the solid foundation of Mrs. Finsen’s voice is a tune that is as delicate as it is energetic. The emotion-filled synth work layers nicely with the breakdown’s piano and the chorus’ subtle claps, all  feeding the buzzing lead that comes full circle to give more importance to the song’s lovely vocals. A definite purchase for all progressive trance fans.
C-Systems & Jo Micali ft. Hanna Finsen – Love is Strong (Original Mix)
Released on October 22nd on Enhanced Progressive

     Until recently, I had never heard of Danny Chen or Statement! Recordings. However, the aptly named label has made a statement, releasing a magnificent production from a relatively new member of the trance family. Putting a capital ‘U’ in Uplifting, Chen easily communicates a happy feeling throughout the tune, staggering rising sounds with a quiet wandering synth in the intro and a reverberating bassline that follows the lead of the 5-note piano sequences that drive the chorus. With “Sunny Days” being reviewed in DJMag Italy, it’s clear that Danny Chen is a name to look out for in the future.
Danny Chen – Sunny Days (Original Mix) Statement! Recordings.
Released on July 16th on Statement!
Danny Chen - Sunny Days [Statement!] by Danny Chen

     If had a record of the week, this would be it. Apart from featuring the best bassline I’ve heard a long while and a vocalist who seems to change gender mid-song, Disclosure’s latest single is filled to the brim with clips that could run a track on their own. Whether it’s the quick succession of notes forming the afternoon delightful melody (see what I did there), the  separate vocals that yelp every now and then, the sublime kicks, claps and stabbing cymbals (attack, decay, sustain and release are so short, this element sounds more like chopsticks hitting together) that congregate to form the percussions, the aforementioned incredible bassline or the perfect isolation and/or interweaving of these layers, there’s something in this song for everyone. Having reached the 22nd spot on the UK singles chart, I’m obviously not the only one to think this song is amazing and I hope you join me in supporting Disclosure by purchasing this future classic.
Disclosure ft. Sam Smith – Latch (Original Mix)
Released on October 8th on PMR

     Getting it’s first play during Pete Tong’s Essential Selection on October 12th, the Larse remix of “Love is All I Got” is a deep house tune that is sure to attract a different kind of audience than mau5trap is used to. Originally a collaborative effort between electronica/folk band Crystal Fighters and electro wunderkind Feed Me, the track gets a calmer and groovier take with the help of another fantastic bassline and somewhat minimalistic percussion sounds. It’s hard to downplay how wonderfully the German producer has used the vocals in this track as it seems that he himself recorded the lyrics to specifically go with his instrumental. Along with identifying the track’s mood, the singing gives life to certain parts that would have otherwise seemed endlessly repetitive. Another vote of confidence for German engineering, the Larse remix of “Love is All I Got” is a mandatory buy for all those interested in the softer styles of house.
Feed Me & Crystal Fighters – Love is All I Got (Larse Remix)
Released on November 18th on mau5trap
iTunes Pre-Order
Feed Me & Crystal Fighters - "Love Is All I Got" (Larse Remix) by Larse

     It’s no secret that I have a broner for Eric Prydz and by proxy, anyone he makes music with. Andre Sobota is a producer who falls into this category, having released a 2-track EP on Pryda Friends in July of this year. His Prydz-like music is not what attracts my attention this week, however. Hiding in the rough of the Brasilian’s SoundCloud page was this diamond, a remake of Sasha and Krister Linder’s “Cut Me Down.” Under Sobota’s tutelage, 2011’s IMS anthem transforms from melodic tech house to acoustic electronica and it sounds absolutely fantastic. While musicians like to take listeners on a journey through their albums and productions of longer length, Sobota possesses the rare capability of doing this within the span of a single track, inserting slightly downtempo d&b percussions and elongating Linder’s vocals to serve his purposes. Transitioning his reconstruction to Sasha’s original lead at the end beautifies the production even more and makes this song well worth a listen.
Sasha ft. Krister Linder – Cut Me Down (Andre Sobota Remake) Acoustic, Electronica.
Sasha - Cut Me Down (Andre Sobota Remake) by andresobota

In terms of shows, the next 2 weeks are booked solid. On October 19th, Raneem will be playing an extended 7-hour set at Circus for a live episode of Drop Zone, his radio show, while Calvin Harris plays his unique crossover style at New City Gas (sold out). The most overused showroom in Montreal opens itself up once again on the 20th to host veteran Bob Sinclar. Let’s fast forward to the 24th, when dubstep supergroup Nero take over Telus Theater for a bizarre Wednesday night show. Friday the 26th begins with Ferry Corsten and Gabriel & Dresden at New City Gas and ends with Ben Gold and Dennis Sheperd at Stereo. The following night is another doubleheader, with Tim Mason at New City Gas (best costume wins $5000), spinning a solid opener for James Zabiela, who pays a rare visit to Circus. On All Hallows’ Eve, New City Gas opens it’s doors yet again, this time for a costumed night with legend Erick Morillo and Third Party.
Finally, I’d like to introduce the new end of post segment that will be featured from now on. Every Thursday, posts will be capped off with a video related to music. It could be a music video, a documentary, an intervew: anything really. This section has nothing to do with songs and artists we like (we don’t necessarily dislike them either), but rather the actual video. This week, the video for Ben Gold’s next single, “Fall With Me.”

Boy, that escalated quickly. I will not apologize for that.

No need for introduction.

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Let's get right into it. Digital Society resident Paul Pearson is releasing a two track EP in the following week, and it has quite a prominent support group. In fact, his debut has seen the light of day from the likes of Above&Beyond as well as Cycles Radio. Of no importance, what matters is that this release is quite simply a brilliant start to Paul Pearson's career. Eternally features a structured approach to traditional trance bass lines and a melodic composition which seems to speak to the soul. However, this moment of bliss is short lived, as we plunge into the intensity of the following song, entitled Always With Me. Although contrasting in style, we never seem to lose the connection established at the very beginning of the first song, giving this EP a certain fluidity. Briefly said, this is worth a listen.

Due to the electronic nature of this blog, I feel like deadmau5's new album is in need of at least a brief review. The return to his original style is much appreciated, since it was one that he did with quite success. Songs of the likes of I remember spring to mind, one to which my spine would shiver whenever the harmonious breakdowns came into effect. This being said, it's good to see Joel going back to his roots when he began all these years ago. 

Additionally, another well known artist has released his long awaited album. Zedd's Clarity features an array of electro/progressive house with collaborations from the likes of Ellie Goulding, Ryan Tedder, Mathew Coma and others. This album is a clear demonstration of Zedd's classical background, as well as his prowess in the industry. There are not many artists in the electronic scene that come to release full length albums in which the songs flow into each other. However, Anton Zaslavski has created a rather unified piece of work.

For the old-school house lovers out there, NY Stomp, more publicly known as Gerd-Jan Bijl, has exactly what you need. The dutch producer released an EP at the beginning of this year, entitled Can You Feel It, and it is amazing, with good reason of course. Gerd has been producing radical electronic music for the past two decades, and has quite a diverse musical foliage. Associated to labels ranging from Clone all the way to Virgin and EMI, the dutchman is well travelled. Consequently, it is of no surprise to discover that he has worked under myriads of aliases in many musical genres (liquid ambient, abstract techno, deep house, etc.).

Lastly, I would like to steer your ears to an artist that a friend of mine discovered many weeks ago by the name of Leon Vynehall. A native UK producer with a passion for all things eclectic, he released an EP in May entitled Mauve. Whereas Mauve and Homage bounce along the stereotypical synth stabs and bass lines of underground house music, Picture Frame slows everything down, and is completely stripped of the dark atmosphere which was omnipresent in the two previous tunes.

While we're at it, it would be important to note that his most recent EP released a few months ago, and although the mood is relatively more industrial, it still maintains a certain signature element of Leon Vynehall's music. This being said, Gold Language is definitely worth a listen.

Until next week!

Retro Raving, Part 1: Sweden Wins at Life

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File:Flag of Sweden.svg
      Dynamite, the Nobel Prize, Vikings, Minecraft, the Pirate Bay, the Millennium Trilogy, Swedish meatballs, and of course, Swedish women. These are only a few elements that make Sweden awesome, music being the important one missing from this short list. Here are a few old tracks from Swedish producers that I’ve been avidly listening to these past few weeks:

Faithless ft. Cass Fox – Music Matters (Axwell Remix)

     Originally released on Sony BMG back in 2007, re-released alongside Rollo & Sister Bliss, Peter Heller and Mark Knight remixes on Toolroom in 2010. I have a soft spot for anything remotely Faithless.

Dada Life – We Meow, You Roar (Original Mix)

     Also from 2007, back when Dada Life wasn’t popular enough to occupy both faces of a vinyl. The A-side of this record is a Rob Mooney track with “We Meow, You Roar” taking the B-side. Sidenote: Dada Life recently announced their new studio album, “Rules of Dada.” Pre-order it here.

Carl B – Social Suicide (Original Mix)

     Profuse records gave life to this old-school big room trance track back in 2006, only Carl’s second release to date. This guy is quite inspiring to young producers, because he was able to break into the dance music scene without any prior music education whatsoever.

Axwell & Sebastian Ingrosso – Together (Original Mix)

     The first release on the now famous Axtone record label, Axwell and Ingrosso’s 2005 collaboration was and is an amazing one. It was subsequently featured on many house compilations, including the soundtrack/compilation to SHM’s documentary, “Take One.”

Eric Prydz – Slammin’ (Extended Mix)

     One of my favorite tracks of all-time is this Eric Prydz classic. Is came out on Feel the Rhythm in 2003 and it was one of the gems that propelled him into the house music spotlight. It still sounds amazing today. Sidenote: He recently did an edit of Adrian Lux’s “Teenage Crime” that I can’t get enough of.

     This Friday, Armin van Buuren and Jochen Miller play a sold-out show at New City Gas which continues into the early hours of Saturday morning, as Miller heads over to Circus Afterhours. On Saturday, you can catch Etienne Ozborne at Circus after you’ve gone to see Sultan & Ned Sheperd play at New City Gas. Sunday is a big one, as the Palais des Congres plays host to another installement of the annual Black & Blue festival. You can also go check out Felix Da Housecat at La Mouche on Sunday. A week later, on Saturday October 13th, it’s Tommy Trash’s turn to play New City Gas and Mr. Jean Louis spins another set at Circus Afterhours. Enjoy your weekend!


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What happens when spare time meets a passion for music? You get an individual by the name of Nikhil (that would be me). When I am not busy with my schoolwork, or tinkering with fruity loops, I spend most of my time rooted in the blogosphere. Consequently, like every other electronic lover out there, I begin to question the direction in which the genre is heading. The rise of dubstep to the foreground and the recent explosion of high-bass tunes makes me question how producers react to the pressures of conformity. Many have molded to the public's desires, however there are still a handful of artists that stay true to themselves, which is what, after all, drives the music industry further. One of these artists is Flying Lotus. A fundamental pioneer in experimental, trip-hop infused electronic music, Steven Ellison (aka Flying Lotus)has seen a constant evolution that strays from what we normally hear. In addition to the album he is expected to release the following week, he produced a short film to accompany it. If this wasn't enough, he is making an appearance at the SAT on the 12th of October, only a mere 10 days following the release of Until The Quiet Comes. I strongly advise anyone with an interest in experimental music to attend this event. Additionnally, npr has released the album for all to listen.


 Although the popularity of trap music is soaring, and the creativity output of the genre seems to be rather stale at the moment, Baauer comes to the rescue with his recently released EP entitled Dum Dum. This collection of three tracks are all extremely hard hitting, and will surely entertain for months to come. The timing of this release also coincides with his signing to LuckyMe, which hosts quite a diversity of artists, such as Lunice (local Montreal producer extraordinaire), Machinedrum, and many others. Here is an abridged sample to give you an idea:

Straying away from that, the lovechild of Armin Van Buuren and Ana Criado has been released approximately two weeks ago, and deserves a mention. The mesmerizing vocals combined with the signature sound of the well known dutch producer has made appearances in many of his recent sets. The follow-up tune to Suddenly Summer will be an anthem for months to come, creating a warm and uplifting atmosphere which will please any trance lover.


Lastly, I would like to steer your attention to upcoming house producer Hannah Alicia Smith, also known as Hannah Wants. Her recent collaborations with Lorenzo have yielded some rather groovy tunes. This is my first post of hopefully many on this blog, so I will keep it short and sweet. From trance anthems to deep house to hard hitting bangers, I will be keeping you posted on all the latest and greatest. Enjoy the rest of your day.

Music is not like fine wine

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It doesn’t get better.
WARNING, this is partially a rant.
Hey guys, I know, it’s been a fucking while. What I usually tell you is that I was busy, but to be honest, I’m pretty sure I could’ve squeezed a post between all the work and parties. The main reason I didn’t write was because I lacked inspiration and great music (+ motivation). Notice there that I wrote “great” instead of “good”… is it just me or every fucking track that comes out has been sounding the same lately? Trance is now almost all Trouse (Tr-House? or like Justin once told me, “Hance”, hahaha), dubstep is now almost all brostep (think Skrillex) and electro… what is electro? You mean house? What? … I won’t lie, I got caught in the “let’s all listen to house” train, like many.
Sadly, not many genres survived the mainstream "gold rush” towards electro/house/dubstep. I mean… even Tiësto is dead. My boredom towards new music lead me to listening to old DJ sets, old tracks and overall, “old” music. I’m not sure if some of you guys are old school enough to remember the old Dada Life mixes, Justice tracks, Rusko’s bedroom dubstep tracks (made on freaking Sony ACID), pre- “making an album with 10 tracks that sound the same” MSTRKRFT, Amanda Blank, La Roux (may be good or bad, depending if you liked her), Simian Mobile Disco, old-school Deadmau5, Benga, early Nero, Trance (does anyone even remember what it sounded like?), etc. I’ll be honest, I kind of miss all of the things I enumerated.
Oh and two words: Haris Pilton.
Here are “a few” old school tracks to help you remember all the good stuff we had. (Yes, download links, bite me.)
Omnikrom – Prends une photo avec moi (Le Matos Mauviette Remix)
Justice – D.A.N.C.E.
Ellie Goulding – Starry Eyed (Jakwob Remix) (My link got removed, this is not my upload link)
Amanda Blank – Might Like You Better
N.A.S.A. – Gifted (The Aston Shuffle Remix)
Lykke Li – Little Bit (Death to the Throne Re-Remix)
Dada Life – Happy Hands and Happy Feet
Simian Mobile Disco – Audacity of Huge
The Sounds – No One Sleeps When I’m Awake (VIKING Remix)
Bassnectar ft. Lupe Fiasco – Land of the Lupes
MGMT – Kids (Soulwax Remix)
Chromeo – Fancy Footwork
I have more old tracks I’d like to post, but this is already way too much downloads, so maybe next time!

The guy in the (old) picture “pon di top”, Diplo, is one of the few artists that I still respect immensely. He always tries to innovate. Whether it’s by producing Reggae music under the Major Lazer alias, moombahton or even trap, Diplo always knows how to surprise us and must be the only old school artist that properly matured. I can’t wait for his upcoming Major Lazer album, but while we’re patiently waiting, make sure you grab these two tracks.
Hot Chip VS Major Lazer
Major Lazer ft. Amber of Dirty Projectors – Get Free
And a little extra:
Three Loco – We Are Farmers (ft. Diplo)

Before I leave, here are my two last tracks. It’s two of the few “new tracks" that I actually enjoy listening. Trance and “dubstep”, respectively.
Heatbeat – Extra Bacon (Youtube link)
Foxes – Youth (Adventure Club Dubstep Remix)