Category: Artists

Here is a nice interview with DJ Tiesto, put together by Dutch TV station KRO. It focuses mainly on Tijs’ life throughout his career, starting from his teens all the way up to his current position. What I enjoyed the most are the truthful answers that Tijs provides when asked about his pilgrimage through the DJ world. He isn’t afraid to admit that he has changed, especially following his commercial success. While it may sound pretty douchey when he states he can now do whatever he pleases and can buy anything he wants, it’s hard to blame a guy for revelling himself when he started off with nothing. I also found it interesting (although a little neurotic) how he says Tijs is insecure as a person, but Tiesto is not. The bottom line is money does change people, and everyone has their own ways of adjusting to the fame and popularity. Tiesto used to care about others’ opinions about him, and now he does not. There are lots of cool comments from Ferry Corsten, Sander van Doorn, Fedde le Grande, and the legendary Ben Liebrand, as they all provide additional input from the DJ perspective. Whether you like him or not, Tiesto has definitely paid his dues, and he has earned the right to play whatever music he wants.

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Estiva – Perfect Ten

Enhanced Recordings has been releasing some very beautiful tunes over the past six years, and many of them have come from one of their exclusive producers Steven Baan, better known as Estiva. This talented Dutch artist has proven again and again there is hope for melodic trance with his stunning productions and remixes. To showcase some of his work, Enhanced has come up with this Perfect Ten idea, which comprises of a voting system where listeners choose their favorite songs from that artist. After voting is completed, the feature artist will rework the most favorite track as well as compile a mix of the top ten songs. This is an interesting concept, but it makes me question if they will follow through with the results. They have released the results of the top-ten selections, but I have yet to see the rework of I Feel Fine and the compilation mix. It’s okay though, because all ten of these singles are great by themselves. Strangely one of my favorites Fading Freedom is not found on this list, but I am happy with his two remix of November Lovely and Autumn Leaves making their way into the top 10. Check out the amazing creativity and unique sound of Estiva below.

10 Estiva – Strawberry Fields (Original Mix)

09 Estiva – Friends & Enemies (Original Mix)

08 Estiva – Lifting Leaves (Original Mix)

07 Estiva & Temple One – November Lovely (Estiva Mix)

06 Estiva – Les Fleurs (Original Mix)

05 Estiva – Next Level (Original Mix)

04 Estiva – Festival (Original Mix)

03 Temple One feat. Hannah Ray – Autumn Leaves (Estiva Remix)

02 Estiva – The Kingdom (Original Mix)

01 Estiva – I Feel Fine (Piano Mix)

Erick Strong

Damn, I have been seriously lagging on these artist exhibits, I think I have only done a couple in the past year or so. Is trance getting boring or is there just a drought of young, auspicious talent available? It’s always nice to hear some new music, so here is fresh new kid on the block who has been putting out some really solid stuff. You may have heard him on Sander or Markus’ radio shows, which is how I got introduced to his work. I don’t have much information about this guy, but that just shows what a recent bloomer this talented producer has become. He’s so new that I only have three of his released tracks, with most of his stuff being distributed by Spinnin Records (or sublabels of Spinnin’). His style, which I like to describe as a mix between Sied van Riel and Dakota,  fits perfectly into their catalog. My favorite track of his so far is The Monster, but the rest of his songs are also top notch. I am definitely excited to hear what he can do on the decks, and if his mixes are anything like his productions, then he has a very promising future ahead of him. Who knows, this may even be an alias for an already established producer, but either way the tunes are massive. Don’t take my word for it, check out these awesome productions below.

Erick Strong – Orchids

Erick Strong – The Monster

Erick Strong – Joker

Erick Strong – Italian

Erick Strong – Cairo

Erick Strong – Hopeless

Mr. Pit

It’s been way too long since I have done an artist showcase, so here are some tracks from Adrian Ivan, better known as Mr. Pit. Working from Timisoara, Romania, Mr. Pit has steadily advanced his career to the impressive point he is at now. Known mainly as a producer, Mr. Pit has created many monsters which have destroyed dance floors all over the world. He is the label owner of the respected Well-Mixed Records, which is an independent Romanian label company. Also working closely with Coldharbour and High Contrast Recordings,  Adrian puts out techy tracks which almost always have hard hitting basslines. His melodies are usually pretty thick, and the riffs that he constructs have a hypnotic feel to them. I have rarely heard of him traveling as a DJ, but he does have his own podcast, titled Universal Selection (which is currently on its 18th episode). One thing that keeps me on the lookout for his work is that it’s constantly improving, as I will try to show you with the following songs.

Mr. Pit – Insolarium
This is the first Pit song that I ever purchased in 2007. He started putting out releases in 2004, but it took me a while to catch onto his stuff. The worthy bassline of this track is a good indicator of Mr. Pit’s potential.

Mr. Pit – Shana/Love You More

This is probably Adrian’s breakout release. This single contained a lot of great versions of Shana, including a solid remixes by Duderstadt and DNS Project. Love You More got overshadowed a little bit, but it can definitely hold its own. It was released in 2008 on Coldharbour.

Mr. Pit, Jochen Miller – Perfect Chase
Here’s a nice collabo between two rising producers in 2008. This track didn’t receive much airtime, but I love the brainstorming between these two guys. Nice release on High Contrast.

Marcel Woods – Lemon Tree (Mr. Pit’s House Parade Remix)
There aren’t too many remixes made by Mr. Pit, but this is a good one. The main portion of the song remains unchanged, but the beat gets a house reconstruction.

Mr. Pit – Unchanged/Deluxe
These two tracks are a pair of really good fillers used in building up a mix. Mr. Pit tends to make a lot of these, and the style really fit in with what Coldharbour was trying do in early 2009.

Mr. Pit, Jochen Miller – Melodee

These two guys did not miss a step with their second collaboration. This one was released on High Contrast Nu Breed, and I like this one a little bit more than the earlier Perfect Chase.

Mr. Pit – This Room Is Not Big Enough/Simplicity

This EP was written especially for Markus Schulz’ Las Vegas 10 compilation. This Room is the hard-hitter of the single, with a complete, speaker-blowing bassline. Simplicity is more chill, with some nice strings and a great melody.

Mr. Pit – Low Altitude/Sky Traffic
Here is the latest single which has received a lot of good looks. I still haven’t gotten sick of Sky Traffic despite Markus playing it in every set possible. If Mr. Pit continues to make tracks this impressive, he will have a very promising future ahead of him.

Check out his website here

Gareth Emery – Northern Lights

Ok, maybe I lied when I said there were only two trance-artist albums I was looking forward to this year. There were actually four of them, and this is one that actually lived up to my expectations. It took me a few listens to really get into it, but I definitely found some quality tunes along with a great deal of potential for some nice remixes down the road. This album is only the second CD released on Gareth’s Garuda label, with the first being The Sound of Garuda released last year. Nevertheless, a debut artist album always calls for a celebration, and Gareth certainly has something up his sleeve planned for his fans. To ceremonialize this album’s release, Gareth and Digital Society have joined forces to throw the Northern Lights Concert at the O2 Academy in Leeds, England on October 8th of this year. Gareth will be playing a special 4 hour set (his longest set to date in Europe), complete with live vocalists and tons of special effects. The night will also feature guest DJ sets by Orkidea (a stand-alone legend), Sean Tyas, Ben Gold, Greg Downey, and Mark Eteson. This formula for album launch parties has seemed to work so well with many other producers, so why shouldn’t Gareth join in on the fun? It will be a great night for trance music as the lucky crowd gets to celebrate Gareth’s accomplishment with him. Now onto the CD review…

As I mentioned before, it did take me a few listens before I really immersed myself in the album. The CD opens up with a great collaboration with Jerome Isma-Ae on the intro track, and then it moves into a classic-Gareth style track titled El Segundo, complete with stuttering vocals and a solid bassline. Gareth features a few vocalists on his CD, including Lucy Sanders, Mark Frisch, and even his own sister, Roxanne Emery. The track with his sister (Too Dark Tonight) is very raw, with minimal productions and nice piano work, which I think is a great foundation for a killer remix. Another surprise song is Arrival, which features the Jazz-funk band Brute Force. You can hear their influence through what sounds like some sort of end-blown flute, possibly made out of wood or bamboo. You have probably heard one of the two Lucy Saunders  tracks on this album, so you already know how popular Sanctuary has become. However I actually like the other Lucy Saunders song, titled Fight the Sunrise, a little bit more due to the better lyrics and its use of the piano. Being a piano player myself, I always appreciate tracks which incorporate some nice keyboard work, and Gareth’s classical training really shines in this one. My favorites tracks are Full Tilt and Citadel, which are both 100% Emery and pretty much ready to do some destruction on the dance-floor. I also enjoyed his collaboration with Activa on All Is Now, as Activa piggybacks his harder style with Gareth’s smooth flows. Overall the end product here is a nice mix of vocal and non-vocal tracks. Gareth does a great job of expanding his sound range while keeping his signature style in place. The album is officially released today, so go grab your copy from Garuda. The digital version contains 4 bonus tracks, including a nice one with Emma Hewitt. I have uploaded the entire CD in one long mix to share with you, check it out below:

Gareth Emery – Northern Lights (Garuda CD002)

01 Stars (feat. Jerome Isma-Ae)
02 El Segundo
03 Too Dark Tonight (feat. Roxanne Emery)
04 Arrival (feat. Brute Force)
05 Into The Light (feat. Mark Frisch)
06 Full Tilt
07 Sanctuary (feat. Lucy Saunders)
08 Citadel
09 Fight The Sunrise (feat. Lucy Saunders)
10 All Is Now (feat. Activa)

Super 8 & Tab – Empire

Super8 & Tab’s Empire is one of the two artist albums I have been patiently waiting for this year, the other being Markus’ Do You Dream release. Miika Eloranta and Janne Mansnerus have come a long way in their careers, and they have now reached a great milestone with the release of their debut artist album. The overall feel is just what you would expect: great melodies mixed with bouncy basslines and techy grooves. A lot of these tracks carry that Anjuna-sound with them, and they really show off the style that these two Finns have been creating. If you compare this album to some of their older stuff, you can clearly hear the evolution of their work as their productions sound cleaner, tighter, and more refined.

The album starts off with a chill song featuring the vocals of Jan Burton. Jan actually lends his talents in 5 tracks on the album, which tells me that he is very close with Janne and Miika. Seven out of the total eleven tracks are accompanied by vocals, and the other vocalists include Betsie Larkin, Julie Thompson, Elina Laasonen (Delusion), and Jan Burton. The CD also gets production help from Anton Sonin (a fellow Finn) on Black Is the New Yellow, as well as some guitar work by Jere Mansnerus (I’m assuming he is Janne’s brother) on Good Times, but other than that, the rest of the CD was produced entirely by Super8 and DJ Tab. The title track, Empire, took a few listens for me to like it, but it is my favorite vocal track on the album, and it is also beyond any doubt stuck in my head. You have probably already heard the tracks Black Is the New Yellow, Mercy, and Irufushi, so you should be  familiar with the high level of production that Miika and Janne put into their work. Besides for these monster tunes, I also enjoy the track Bliss, which seems to be a continuation from Irufushi due to their similar styles. Eternal Sequence is also another favorite of mine, which incorporates a sweet walking electro-melody and a Cosmic Gate-style riff. Free Love and Perfect Day are complete chill-out tracks that show off the cool side of Super8 & Tab.

Overall I was very impressed with this album, even though many of the tracks were previously released. Super8 & Tab have created a unique sound, and there is no better way to showcase that than with an album. It has certainly been a busy year for them, but I hope their success doesn’t slow them down. Congrats to Janne and Miika for their ascension to the top, as well as to the Anjuna-crew for their great release. I look forward to more wonderful productions in the future!

Super8 & Tab – Empire (Anjunabeats 2010)

01 Slow To Learn feat. Jan Burton
02 Empire feat. Jan Burton
03 Black Is The New Yellow feat. Anton Sonin
04 My Enemy feat. Julie Thompson
05 Perfect Day feat. Alyna
06 Eternal Sequence
07 Good Times feat. Betsie Larkin
08 Mercy feat. Jan Burton
09 Irufushi
10 Bliss
11 Free Love feat. Jan Burton

Check out the music video for ultra-catchy Empire:

Check out some older Super8 & Tab tracks here

Check out some even older Super8 & Tab tracks here

Super8 & Tab (pt. 2)

It’s been awhile since I shared some tracks from a single artist (or group of artists), so here an update for a previous post on a great trance duo. Since their last expose back in September of last year, Super8 & DJ Tab have produced enough notable tracks to deserve another showcase. Actually, they haven’t produced that many more new ones (compared to busy artists such as Arty or Stoneface & Terminal), but their work has always been quality and there is one song in particular which has recently been turning my brain into jello. Listen below for some of their older tracks I missed last time as well as their latest hits.

Super8 & Tab – Won’t Sleep Tonight feat. Ben Lost (Moody dub mix) (2006)
Here is an OG track which was Super8 & Tab’s first attempt at a true vocal production. If you haven’t noticed yet, a lot of their earlier work was produced in the same key, so this song sounds very similar to the likes of Helsinki Scorchin and Needs to Feel. I have uploaded the dub mix which I prefer over the vocal version.

Super8 & Tab – Needs to Feel (2007)

This track is also very similar sounding to the previous Won’t Sleep Tonight, partially due to the reappearance of Ben Lost. There is also a nice little remix by Wippenberg that was released in this single.

Paul van Dyk – New York City (Super8 & Tab Remix) (2008)

Before their remix of PvD’s Nothing But You, S8&T remixed this song. I like their work on Nothing But You more, but this one is pretty decent as well.

Martin Roth, Alex Bartlett – Off the World (Super8 & Tab Remix) (2008)

Here’s another great piece of remix work by S8&T. This version and the Gareth Emery remix are my favorite of this Vandit release.

Super8 & Tab – Irufushi (2009)
Catchy leads are pretty much expected in S8&T productions, and this song is of no exception. The piano riff in the chorus is also very notable, and the emotion of the song really makes you feel like you are on the little island of Iru Fushi. There are also remixes by Ashley Wallbridge and Sean Tyas if you can’t get enough of this song.

Super8 & Tab – Black is the New Yellow feat. Anton Sonin (2010)

While this track doesn’t touch the magical-ness of Elektra, their first release of 2010 has proven to be a good one. This one also features stuttering vocals with a great melody, and there is an Activa remix which ups the energy and speeds up the tempo.
Super8 & Tab – Mercy feat. Jan Burton
Here is the latest original production by S8&T, with the help of Jan Burton on the vocals. This is the lead track off of their much-anticipated artist album, Empire. Remixes by 7 Skies and Andy Dugiud can be found on the single, to be released within the week. Hopefully a dub version will also be released.

Markus Schulz – Perception (Super8 & Tab)
Last but not least, here is the track that has been on repeat in my car. This song is the reason why I decided to make this post in the first place. The remake found on Markus’ new album was already a high-point of this year, but this remix takes it to a whole new level. With a faster tempo and more driving breakdown, Super8 & Tab have clearly outdone themselves on this one.

Here is a recent interview with DJ Tab:

Here is a cool little video with footage of some live performances:

The summer theme rolls on with this latest mix compilation by ATB. Released on Kontor Records, this 2-disc album will be available in CD format on July 20th, while the mp3’s version is already available for download. The mix features 4 new tracks by ATB, including the new single Could You Belive (check out the super-hot music video). The summer atmosphere is strong in this album, and ATB maintains the feel throughout both mixes. The first disc contains a lot of older tracks, many of which are really played out, but the overall flow is good. I like the second disc a lot more due to the better track selection, and it also sounds way more like beach material. If you like cheese and want something more commercial, disc one is for you. If you’re in chill-out mode and want something to groove to, I would suggest the second mix. One can draw many similarities between the styles of ATB and Kaskade, so you will probably dig this album if you take a liking to either DJ.

CD 1
01 ATB – Could You Believe
02 Yuri Kane – Right Back
03 Tim Berg – Bromance (Aciciis Arena Mix)
04 Robert Babicz – Dark Flower (Fever Mix)
05 George Acosta feat. Fisher – Tearing Me Apart (Gerry Cueto Vocal Remix)
06 ATB – Touch & Go
07 Tim Berg vs. Oliver Ingrosso & Otto Knows – Loopede
08 LTN – One Night In Ibiza
09 ATB – Midnight Sun
10 Dash Berlin – Never Cry Again (Amurais Los Angeles Mix)
11 Nic Chagall feat. Jonathan Mendelsohn – This Moment (Prog Mix)
12 Beltek – Eclipse
13 D-Mad – She Gave Happines (Arty Remix)
14 Ferry Tayle & Static Blue – Trapeze
01 ATB & Josh Gallahan – CO 1724
02 Tiesto – The Tube (Domenico Cascarino & Luca Lombardi Elektro Acoustic Mix)
03 Sounds From The Ground feat. Nicola Hitchcock – Moving Into A New Space
04 Asheni – Sweet Suffering (Dj Sin Plomo Mix)
05 ATB – Remember That Day
06 Mylo – Emotion 98.6
07 Edward Shearmur – Taxi Ride
08 Late Night Alumni – Empty Streets
09 Sans Souci – Puro (Sunset Mix)
10 ATB – Fahrenheit 451
11 Summer Of Space – New Found Art
12 Lux – Secret Fish
13 Schodt – Cinematico
14 Royksopp – Only This Moment
15 Alpha Child – Gamma Ray (Franc Spangler Remix)

Here it is folks, the best trance artist-album of the year so far. This thing kicks the shit out of albums by Kaskade, Nitrous Oxide, Susanna, BT, and Moonbeam. Of course not all of these artists’ styles are similar, but I am basing this on the number of quality tracks found on each CD. The only other album released this year which can stand side by side with Markus’ work is the Aly & Fila album. Since the release of the Dakota album Thoughts Become Things last year, Markus has been on a tear, releasing two city compilations (including Las Vegas 2010), visiting hundreds of clubs in different cities, as well as mixing one of the best radio shows in the business. It is pretty amazing to me how he finds the time to do all of this while creating such a great third artist album.

This CD opens up with Alpha State, which is a nice little dream reference to the state of ‘aware-relaxation’ your brain encounters before falling asleep. Similar to alpha waves in your brain, this track is a perfect intro which relaxes your mind, stimulates your imagination, and prepares you for dreaming. The dream progresses with tracks Dark Heart Waiting, The New World, and Do You Dream, which have all received a lot of positive feedback from their singles release.  Eight of the tracks feature vocals from great singers, including the ultra-dreamy Not the Same with Jennifer Rene, and the catchy Away with Sir Adrian. Justine Suissa joins the fun on Markus’ modern take of the 1999 classic Perception by Cass & Slide, and Texan Jessica Riddle accompanies Markus and Max Graham on the album’s farewell track, Goodbye. Fellow Coldharbour artist Khaz also graces the album with his touch on Dark Heart Waiting and Last Man Standing. There are a couple of chill, slower tracks on the album, such as Lightwave and Surreal, as well as some bass-heavy, club bangers in 65.4Hz and Rain. My favorites from this album are tracks 5 and 14, so you should definitely check those two out. There will be at least 3 or 4 more singles from this album, so look out for those in the future as well. Very well done Mr. Coldharbour, you have proven that a complete dance album can be produced which harnesses the creativity found in the human dream.

Here is the album in one continuous track, if you would like the tracks individually, you will have to wait until June 8th for its release on iTunes, or June 15th for its worldwide release (both releases on Armada Records).

Markus Schulz – Do You Dream?
01 Alpha State
02 Away (featuring Sir Adrian)
03 Rain
04 Dark Heart Waiting (featuring Khaz)
05 Not The Same (featuring Jennifer Rene)
06 Do You Dream (Uplifting Vocal Mix)
07 Last Man Standing (featuring Khaz)
08 Surreal (featuring Ana Criado)
09 Unsaid (featuring Susana)
10 Lifted (featuring Angelique Bergere)
11 Perception (featuring Justine Suissa)
12 The New World
13 Lightwave (featuring Angelique Bergere)
14 65.4Hz
15 What Could Have Been
16 Goodbye (with Max Graham featuring Jessica Riddle)

Aly & Fila – Rising Sun

Out now on Future Sound of Egypt (Armada) records, this is the debut album from a pair of the best trance producers out there. It has been over 7 years now since their breakthrough track Eye of Horus was released, but that’s not to say they have had a slow career. They always seem to come out with a handful of great tunes and remixes each year, but I guess there was never enough content to put together an original artist album. The time has finally arrived for Aly & Fila to call themselves true artists with their first album release! After the first listen through these tracks, I was pleasantly unsurprised by what I heard. Aly & Fila have remained true to their style and produced an album so authentically A&F that I swear I was listening to an episode of FSOE. With help from Activa, Philippe El Sisi, and Bjorn Akkesson, three producers who share similar styles and taste, Aly & Fila have created a wonderful piece of work that sends you floating away into the world of euphoric trance. Like most trance artist albums today, theirs also features the vocals of some recognizable names, including Denise Rivera, Josie, and Tiff Lacey. I haven’t heard much from Sue McLaren, but she is also heard on two of these tracks. I am eagerly waiting for either the club versions or some great remixes of these songs, but for now here are some notable tracks from this great release:

Aly & Fila – Medellin (with Activa)
This is a great opening track for the album which sets the mood right. I like the psy-elements after the breakdown, very nice touch (I’m assuming) by Activa.

Aly & Fila – Rosaires
Rosaires was actually released last year and was featured in ASOT 2009, and we hear it again here in the artist album.

Aly & Fila – Menes
This one is heavy with that Egyptian sound… you will understand what I mean once you give it a listen.

Aly & Fila – Perfect Red feat. Bjorn Akesson
Here is one of my favorite tracks from this album. I’m not sure if it has anything to do with Akesson’s Perfect Blue, but it is a nice one. Actually, it kinda does sound similar in some parts after a few more listens. Either way, this one gets two thumbs up from me.

Aly & Fila – Without You (The Never Knowing) (with Philippe El Sisi and Senadee)
Here is Egypt at its finest mixed with a little British vocals. Honestly I think a dub version would be a little bit better in this case, but that may be on account of my distaste for male vocals.

Aly & Fila – Khepera
Here’s another track which was released last year in 2009. When I listen to this song, I can imagine myself cruising around the Sahara Desert looking for an oasis to chill at.

Aly & Fila – Breeze feat. Jass
This track was already chosen to be a future favorite on Armin’s ASOT radio show. I can’t wait to get my hands on an extended version of this song, it’s made of pure A&F quality.

Aly & Fila – Rising Sun
Here’s a nice little number to close out the CD. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a title track as the last song on the album before, but it works well here.

Here’s some remixes which have already been in circulation for a few weeks:

Aly & Fila – Listening feat. Josie (Philippe El Sisi Remix)

Aly & Fila – My Mind Is With You (W&W Remix)

Check out my original A&F review (with some more tracks) here.