As the most popular trance DJ in the world, Armin van Buuren has very, very difficult job: to make music with widespread appeal while retaining the core values of his genre. Some of his productions over the last 5 years done that better than others have, but his new remix of Kat Krazy’s “Siren” nails it. In this blogger’s opinion, it’s his best production since 2010′s “I Don’t Own You” with Carrie Skipper.
Apparently the original got big via Sirius radio’s BPM channel in the US, but I didn’t hear about it until I heard the remix in A State of Trance a few weeks ago. It caught my attention and actually made me pause from my book to look up the track name, something I don’t do very often.
Anyway, about the track. After a short, gunshot-like, marching cadence intro, the familiar rolling bassline sets in. From there on out, Armin’s done a fantastic job of creating a track that gradually builds for 7 minutes with 2 breakdowns thrown in the mix. A couple of highlights of the track:
Classic, euphoric trance pads that slowly become noticeable during the first climax and then take center stage during the second
Gated vocal chops during the intro and outro (Orkidea’s “Unity”, anyone?)
Marching cadence during the buildup, a great alternative to a standard snare roll or pitch bend
Vocals! I have no idea who elkka is, but her voice is smooth and great for dance music. No gaudy diva stuff here.
My only slight gripe is that the stabby “Sun & Moon” synth during the breakdown is getting a bit overdone, but Armin makes it work well in this track.
“Siren” is currently sitting at #1 on the Beatport trance chart, and for a good reason. If you haven’t grabbed it yet… do it!
For a while now, we’ve seen trance tracks gradually get louder, shorter, and often less “trancey”. Though the underground remains a reliable provider of various kinds of deeper trance, it’s always refreshing when a pioneer of the genre steps forward with a track that just does things a little differently. Enter Rank 1, who basically wrote the book on anthemic Dutch trance, with their latest “13.11.11″. Piet Bervoets and Benno de Goeij usually let their music do the talking, but occasionally they give their tracks cryptic titles with subtle messages embedded. Their new single runs at a specific 131.111 BPM, lasts 13 minutes and 11 seconds, and guess what? It’s out today, on this 11th of November 2013.
“13.11.11″ kicks off with a dry beat and pulsing synth line that grows and eventually reveals its euphoric trance lead early in the track. Albeit classic-sounding, the track is not as retro as January’s “Elements of Nature”. Following the first climax, a long, deep, percussive interlude along with some clever pads carry the track into its next phase, a reprise of the first segment with even more power. The main lead’s rhythmic pattern has slightly altered, subtle detailing you’d only get from musical perfectionists like Rank 1. Around the 9 minute mark, the elements of the track slowly fade into a sleek instrumental outro that carries the track to completion. The stellar simple-yet-effective padwork and layering has an almost cinematic feel to it.
“13.11.11″ might not be the most complicated track ever, but there is beauty in simplicity. Throughout the track you can hear slight influences from previous singles like “Floorlifter” and “Elements of Nature”, but this very much brings something new to the table. 2013 shaped up to be an excellent year for Rank 1.
This track is definitely one of the highlights of autumn. It’s available now for purchase via Beatport on High Contrast Recordings.
Ahead of tomorrow’s release of “Full On Fluoro, Vol. 01″, a new compilation on Perfecto Fluoro, we briefly caught up with Psymon aka Simon Patterson to discuss his new sound and the Open Up concept, which encompasses techno, trance, psy-trance, breaks, and more.
FTD: 2013 has been a hugely transformative year for you: a change in musical direction, a new weekly radio show, a residency on Radio 1, a jam-packed tour schedule, a new website. Was this all cleverly premeditated, or did all the pieces just happen to fall into place this year?
SP: No, it was just hard work by all the team. It’s been non-stop this year. I haven’t worked as hard before, and thankfully it’s starting to pay off.
FTD: For the readers who still know as the “F-16″ and “Bulldozer” guy, describe the Open Up sound in your own words. How does it differ from the pre-2013 Simon Patterson?
SP: It’s fresh, non-formulaic, and risk taking. I felt I needed to be a leader in a scene, and Open Up brings everything that I am into under one umbrella. Whilst the majority went commercial, I decided to do the polar opposite.
FTD: What precipitated this style change?
SP: Boredom. I got bored of hearing the same tracks rehashed over and over again.
FTD: As you said, most other artists went commercial, but you went further underground. However, you’ve been landing spots on the lineups of loads of events worldwide, including all the major dance music festivals in the USA. How do you manage to do that in a scene dominated by the big-room, festival “EDM” sound?
SP: I am grateful there is a still a market for my sound at these big events. All the Open Up shows have been a massive success in USA. The majority sold out, and next year looks even stronger. I think the concept of me doing open-to-close sets have been a massive success. Plus, I think people are crying out for something different with so many commercial sounds around.
FTD: You’ve mixed the first compilation in Perfecto’s “Full On Fluoro” series, set to release on November 8th. Talk us through the process of creating the compilation. How does it differ from making a weekly podcast or planning a live set, something that you’d give out for free on Soundcloud? Since we haven’t heard it yet, what can we expect?
SP: I find podcasts a bit easier. Sometimes it’s hard to get certain tracks cleared on compilations, so it can be a bit limiting, but I approach it the same way. It’s been hard because I have been on the road so much. I’d rather be at home in my own studio perfecting such things, but I am happy with the outcome. It showcases the best of the underground.
FTD: Besides this compilation, is there an artist album in the works?
SP: No. I made so many tracks at the start of the year that I decided to just do single releases. Means more to me.
FTD: What’s your take on the recent heavy focus on tempo within the trance community (Who’s Afraid of 138?!, Team 140, etc.)?
SP: It means nothing to me. BPM does not make a track.
FTD: Now a bit about the future. Since leaving Spinnin’ Records behind, you’ve been hopping around various Armada sublabels in 2013. Any plans to restart your own label?
SP: Not for a while. I’m happy just concentrating on getting the releases out quick, as last year was a bit slow with the release schedules. I am happy to now have an outlet to get tunes out when I want.
FTD: What’s in store for Simon Patterson in 2014?
SP: Keep things moving. Push Open Up more and more, and of course tons of releases!
FTD: In the spirit of discovering new music and new artists, what other DJs should we be checking out right now?
SP: 666 is the number of the devil. 667 is one badder.
“Full On Fluoro, Vol. 01″ lands tomorrow, and you can listen to a 22 minute preview on Soundcloud below. Make sure to follow Simon Patterson’s gig schedule on Facebook and catch him live when you can. He’s really not something to be missed!
Czech producer ReOrder and Ian Standerwick from Britain have joined forces for a new production project, SkyPatrol. Their fantastic first release, “Folding Your Universe”, is out now on Aly & Fila’s label Future Sound of Egypt.
If you’re an A State of Trance listener, you may remember this as that track Armin hummed along to a few episodes ago. That’s the pretty much the same reaction you’ll have to this track if you haven’t already. With the epic “uplifting” melodies really being overdone these days, “Folding Your Universe” is a breath of fresh air, opting for a more back-to-basics, simplistic melody. Just like in the old days, but with a modern-day production value. Sure, this may not be your peak-time hands-in-the-air anthem, but that’s exactly what makes this track stand out. Just put it on the background and let it get stuck in your head.
“Folding Your Universe” is out now on Beatport, so go grab it now. A very exciting start to what is hopefully a line of collaborations between these two producers!
We first heard “It’s in the Past” when it was signed to Perfecto as part of the Four Seasons: Spring compilation in 2012, and then again on Thomas Datt’s artist album later that year. After a year and a half of waiting, the full extended mix is out now on Discover Records. This is easily the most standout track from Datt’s album. The melancholic, atmospheric, arpeggiated melody is perfectly balanced with the punchy Datt bassline, creating the perfect mix of calm and energy that trance is all about. It’s no surprise why this is the track from the album that was included in that Oakenfold compilation and featured on A State of Trance.
The track is now on full release, so pick it up on Audiojelly, iTunes, or Beatport. There is a remix package that’s currently a Beatport exclusive, but none of them come close to the original.
Also, if you missed our interview with Thomas Datt last year, go back and read it!
It’s been a while since I heard a standout melodic trance track! This time it’s on Infrasonic’s Future sublabel from a guy by the name of Sean Mathews, who I can’t seem to find anything about on the interwebs.
I could tell this was going to be a good one by the 1-minute mark. It’s so nice to hear a bouncey trance bassline as opposed to the standard, hard, Aly & Fila-esque kick for a change. It’s one of the reasons Hazem Beltagui’s “Solar Flare” is so good. All it takes in addition to that is a solid chord progression with some twinkley effects on top, which is exactly what we get here. Take a listen for yourself and grab it on Beatport!