The Cosmics have had a pretty good run of it in 2010 thusfar... No, in fact make that a mighty good run of it… A pair of IDMA nominations (for Best Remixers and Best Trance Track) and a Best Selling Trance Artist win at the Beatport Awards have sped Bossi & Nic on their way to another standout threesixfive. Throw in an assignment from Atlantic Records to remix James Horners’ ‘I See You’ (perhaps better known as the theme from that small, little-seen art-house movie Avatar) and you can conclusively say that its a year that's lived up to expectation!
So to this S.O.T.T. Deluxe Edition then... what’s the rub there? Well it probably goes without saying but Sign of the Times has gone double-disc in order to accommodate a major musical expansion pack. In addition to the 13 original tracks you’re now getting all the mixes of all the single smashes to date. ‘Not Enough Time’, ‘Sign Of The Times’, ‘F.A.V.’, ‘Flatline’, ‘Under Your Spell’ and the latest, ‘London Rain’ (which, with no small amount of irony, and despite it being August, is exactly what T.I. can see outside the window at this point in time!) now come fully loaded with reworks from Markus Schulz, Andy Duguid, Sied, van Riel, Wally Lopez, Kyau & Albert, Duderstadt, Myon & Shane 54 and others.
Additionally there are some newly-prepped reworks from Russian melodic maestro Arty, US house-turned-trance supremo George Acosta, as well as Cold Blue, Steve Brian… well the list goes on. If all this sounds like it could be up your strasse, well we might be able to help direct one your way! We’ve got three and one could be yours simply by telling us the name of you favourtite CG track!
Cool… It’s word that hangs quite comfortably around the necks of Messers Eloranta and Mansnerus. They come from a cool – cold even – country, produce cool music and now they’ve come with a inaugural album with an-as-cool-as-you-like title, and a cover that’s, well... ah, just see for yourself!
Since the Fins went in permanent team-up mode in 2005 the pair haven’t put a foot wrong. ‘Empire’ though isn’t about history-past... Floor firebrands like ‘Suru’, ‘Elektra’ & ‘Helsinki Scorchin’ are not to be found... wisely being saved, no doubt for a 'The Greatest Hits of…' outing.
What you do get is a fluff-free, tight-as-you-like, 11 strong run of tracks on which vocals are in profusion. Anton Sonin has already dazzled on recent single ‘Black is the New Yellow’, and the likes of Julie Thompson, Alyna and new-scene-darling Betsie Larkin all shine bright. Once producers find a voice that’s a real ‘fit’ for their sound, it only folllows that they’re going to feature them time and time again. Such seems to be the case with Jan Burton. His first (and only) previous brush with Planet EDM was on Gabriel & Dresden’s 2006-er ‘Dangerous Power’. He’s now lending vocals to four (count ‘em!) 'Empire' tracks including current single ‘Mercy’ and slow-mo album kiss-off ‘Free Love’. Thus it’ll probably be his voice that in years to come you most closely associate with ‘Empire'.
TI: Welcome along John! Now your new project Editions is a kick-back against “the commercialized state of dance music culture”. On a 1–10 scale how annoyed with it are you!!? J00F: 10000!!! Clubland is on it's knees at the moment. Just look at the UK - where have all our clubs gone? The handful of 'superclubs' we have left are struggling to sustain monthly events. You want me to vent? TI: We want you to vent! J00F: People have been brainwashed into believing they have to see a celebrity DJ when they go out, but this comes at a cost, hence the inflated door price. Clubbing was never about this, we trusted the name above the door of the club. The promoter used to have to power to program his nights musically, we trusted him and supported weekly clubs regardless of who was playing. We all went to enjoy the sense of community and comradeship of enjoying the music in a likewise environment. TI: What aspects of the commercialized state have particularly got your goat?! J00F: The self-conscious DJ's and agents controlling the scene for all for the wrong reasons. They set out to become famous, become divas and cause so much trouble within the scene. We don't need people like this in the industry. The scene needs to split into two again, the divas can then do their thing on the commercial circuit (taking the drama with it), letting the underground scene rebuild itself to let new clubs, music and talent come through. We desperately need this... TI: What is Editions going to offer to wean the clubber off the “props, pyrotechnics and faux VIP’s” nature of the scene? J00F: When I'm in the mood for a serious clubbing night, I have no care for the aforementioned, I just care for the music. The less visual distractions going on, allows me to concentrate on the story the DJ is unfolding with his music. The better the sound system, the more I feel that story. This is exactly what I'm doing at my own JOOF Editions nights. I strip away all the props etc, and upgrade every sound system. I also ensure the lighting guys works with each and every DJ creating the ultimate music lovers dream. TI: How long is the average J00F Editions set going to run? J00F: The longer the better to be honest. It all depends on the license of the club. I much prefer playing longer sets allowing me to express myself musically and dip into all the music I love. That has always been the job of a DJ to use your music as a tool to unfold that story. TI: You’re starting it at bass-camp in Brighton – what’s the plan in terms of taking it from there? J00F:: Not quite, no... Brighton will be our main hub but we've already tested it in Manila, San Francisco, Sweden and Argentina and with a 100% success rate. People were hungry for this and are wanting change. People came out the woodwork for these events; it's amazing!
Compilation spotlight: Digital Society International Vol. 3
They’ve outgrown the 'best kept secret' & ‘bright young hope’ tags, left ‘next big thing’…’ trailing in their wake and now – by our measure - they’re speeding, inexorably towards ‘new cornerstone of UK clubbing’. Give it up for Digital Society then; the best cotton-pickin’ society there is… well in England at least! Entry qualifications for D.S., well they're pretty simple… A willingness to hit northern fun-palace Leeds and a healthy desire to see some of the best trance DJs in the world - Above & Beyond, Sander van Doorn, Gareth Emery, Cosmic Gate, Andy Moor and John O'Callaghan to name but a few – are all that's really required. Sometimes though (and Digital Society understand this) there are barriers to getting there... Incarceration, incapacitation & living the other side of the planet are just three perfectly valid reasons why you might not make through the door of the north’s best trance night. Being the typically facilitating lot they are though they're about to bring – once again - the sound of the Society to you. This time out, on the mix of the twin discs, they have A&A …Entirely different to A&B and nothing to do with breakdown assistance, it is in fact local lad Activa and from just a bit lower down the country, white-hot Ashley Wallbridge. Between them they’re constructed two discs that bristle with big names, rapacious bass & beats and synths that matter. Big names you say? Try Max Graham, Andy Moor, Ronski Speed, John Askew & Lange... and that's just for starters.
Dutch supremo Sander van Doorn does it again! He's surpassed even his own incredibly high standards with the brand new monster-massive track, ‘Daddyrock’. Classic euphoric trance powder-packed with chunky beats, huge stabs and a main riff that makes it impossible not to feel a laser-kissed high... No need to spell it out, but we’ll do it anyway: A.N.T.H.E.M.!
Mark Sherry – Fractured 2010 (Take Me There) part 2 [Reset]
Three tech trance heroes take Mark Sherry’s anthem to the next level in this second part of ‘Fractured 2010 (Take Me There)’. Starting with Maarten de Jong, he puts on maximum force with immense techy drive and filthy synth sounds. Second in line is Fabio Stein. He chops up the original vocal and creates a fat dub mix with some genuine shuffle and raw electro synth lines. Thirdly, BRK3 goes techno all the way, leaving the vocal intact and adding an utterly massive arrangement. EPIC!
Q-Bass – High Voltage [Couture]
Claudia Cazacu can spot talent like no other and proves so by signing this track by Q-Bass. ‘High Voltage’ is trance the way we like it. High-impact, big snappy beats and even bigger melody. Great uplifting trance record on the Couture imprint!
Leon Bolier – Phantasma (Artist Album) [Streamlined]
A very special moment has come for Leon Bolier. He is releasing his second artist album: 'Phantasma'. With 'Phantasma' Leon presents his self as more than just a great dance floor producer, he goes way beyond it. Naturally there are true big room anthems like the epic 'That Morning', which was released on Leon's own label Streamlined. But there's a lot more. This album is all about, as Leon likes to put it; "music that can be enjoyed wherever you are". Which resulted in a number of songs that show coherence and tell a story that fluctuates between reality and imagination, thus the title of the album: 'Phantasma'.
Album spotlight: OO.db - Angels & Demons
00.db - the illustrious pairing of John 00 Fleming and The Digital Blonde (aka Ricky Smith) - have just released their third album together on John's own label J00F Recordings. An evolution of the pair's previous Heaven & Hell releases, Angels & Demons showcases a deep progressive sound strongly influenced by aspects of multi-angle trance, and not a little chillout.
Fleming himself describes Angels & Demons as "a serious, purer version of the trance genre" and one that "varies between a very deep and progressive 125 beats per minute up to a full-on pounding 145." The second disc is, in the tradition of the Heaven & Hell albums, 100% chillout. John describes it as a "movie-length emotional musical odyssey in which we set out to write one chilled track, not realising it would run for one hour! It really embodies us as producers and demonstrates another side to what we can do away from dance music." The producers aren't abandoning the club of course, far from it... The primary drive behind 'Angels' was, in Fleming's words, "to create an album where you could play a whole DJ set sourced from the its tracks": Angels & Demons meets this challenge quite brilliantly.
00.db break new ground in more familiar dance BPM range as well as chillout with their commitment to creation from the ground up: "Ricky and I create each and every sound ourselves, making our tracks unique" explains John. "We're from a generation of producers who create sounds from scratch. We don't use sample libraries or pre-set banks. The result is an album that's as fresh as it is across-the-board atmospheric... Perhaps though we'll leave the final 'word' on A&D to Sony. The entertainment giant have signed up tracks from the album for an upcoming iPad/Playstation space simulation game... You probably couldn't underline the word 'atmosphere' more if you tried! 'Angels & Demons' is out on DD, CD and limited edition J00F USB stick on August 31st.
Album spotlight: Leon Boiler - Phantasma
It’s been two years since Leon Bolier’s debut album ‘Pictures’ captured hearts and captivated minds, and on August 31st his much-anticipated sequel ‘Phantasma’ came out on Spinnin’ Records. Shapeshifting and otherworldy, Phantasma earns its title. Spread over 150 minutes of compilation-worthy musical succession and zero minutes of filler, Phantasma’s two discs are Bolier’s canvas to paint the best of all worlds: atmospheric, sweeping synths (‘War of the Worlds,’ ‘2099’); judiciously applied and nectar-sweet vocals from the likes of Fisher, Marieke de Kruijff and Alana Aldea (‘By Your Side,’ ‘Irresistible’ & ‘Substitute,’ ‘The Sweetest Lie’); dark, cinematic explorations of the far galaxies of prog and trance (‘Creek,’ ‘The Attic,’ ‘Saturn’); and an array of dancefloor missiles that will shake foundations and free endorphins worldwide (‘Don’t Be Afraid,’ ‘Highland Walk,’ ‘Assembly Line,’ ‘Avalanche’ & more).
Phantasma’s wide-spectrum diversity is its greatest strength: these are tracks designed to fill the full progression of an all-night live DJ set, from warm-up to peak hour to sunrise chill. But thanks to the level of details and quality of melodies on display throughout Phantasma, the album is a hypnotic soundscape that invites at-home headphone listening as readily as it does in-club play. Bolier has amassed a seriously impressive list of sound-partners for his sophomore long-player: Joint Operations (John O’Callaghan), W&W, Roger Shah, Marcus Schossow, Sied van Riel and Joop all join him for collaborations that push the album’s compositions into lesser charted trance territories.
Compilation spotlight: Ferry Corsten - Once apon a night Vol. 2
No, your eyes are not deceiving you, nor are your ears being duped… You are looking at the second double-packed, ready-to-wreck compact disc outing for Ferry Corsten’s new audio-line… in under 6 months!
When he opened ‘Once Upon A Night’s book back in March, we didn’t think the new compilation & tour concept were going to be a one-off. Few would have expected chapter 2 quite this early in the game though…Some kind of record perhaps? We must look it up…
Anyway as soon as we caught wind of a it, we charged down our usual lines of enquiry… “When’s it out?” “What’s on it?” When can we get a hold of? Can we give some away, etc !!? All was initially quiet on the Netherlands front. Then just as T.I. started to give up hope, a previously unpublished tracklist dropped into our inbox. Quickly followed by a couple of suitably-sized mp3s… Here we go then!
Both of the album’s discs are pronounced games of two halves. Those halves being: the names you know, and the ones you’re (likely) in the process of getting acquainted with. If there’s one name (aside, naturally, from Corsten’s) that has come to be associated with O.U.A.N. it’s probably Yuri Kane’s. The Russian producer opened the first chapter’s CD with a double-strength track-shot, and he’s back with the transcendentally-minded ‘Daylight’ doing much the same here. As the disc clears its overture section the first couple of headline acts roll out. Ferry’s ‘Once’ made an indelible mark on ‘Night’s first release and his ‘Presents Pulse’ for Vol. 2 is ‘Festival’. No doubt a nod to the season that’s currently upon us, its carousel-like main-line has a dark faintly-haunting fairground fresco to it.
As the mix hits mainstreet it’s BT (and by remix-proxy Chicane) who ease the mix smoothly up into its 5th gear with the ‘These Hopeful Machines’ standout ‘Always’. From there it’s left to the (excellent) likes of Audien, Black Hole stalwart Danjo and Peter Santos to bring the disc home.
Nothing plants the flag for the always-critical sound/vibe statement on a new DJ compilation series quicker than having a reliable core contingent of music producers feeding it tracks. A glance over the second disc's honour-roll tells you that that this if where Flashover production quartermasters are based; helping to sculpt & hone O.U.A.N.’s make-up. Mike Saint-Jules, Breakfast, Rafaël Frost & Tempo Giusto latest are the building blocks of the mix, and its no coincidence they’re all ‘returners’ from March’s debut.
In his July feature Pulser dropped a size-10 hint about a mystery track he’d just signed into The Netherlands... As it turns out it beamed-down to Flashover and ‘Sunstorm’ – all soaring synths and wide-open endorphin trip-switches - lives wonderfully up to its hype. Completing disc 2 - certainly the more banging yang to the first disc's melodic ying - are heavy-dancefloor-uplifters from Thomas Datt, Daniel Wanrooy, Klaus Gulart and ReOrder.
Ferry’s Premier label have ever-generously given us 10 signed copies of the album. We’re want you to win one, we really do! But we’re going to make you work for it! There’s the name of a world-famous beach ‘hidden’ (in plain sight!) on the ‘Once Upon A Night’ cover. Have a look at it and tell us which one it is!