Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Album Review: Andrew Rayel - Mystery of Aether

Andrew Rayel is one of the fastest rising star in Trance music. He’s on the top of his game at the moment and what a great time to release his debut compilation. When he posted on his Facebook and Twitter about this first compilation, I got all giddy and excited. I've been following the style of this neophyte and there's no sign of him slowing down. Especially now being backed by the world's four-time DJ Mag #1 DJ Armin van Buuren, he is being tagged as the AvB's protege and even the modern-day Mozart. 

The 21-year old talent is known for his very own, distinctive sound, bringing trance a refreshing, new sound. That sound, loved by many, myself included, can now be found on Andrew’s very first compilation Mystery of Aether.

It hasn't been more than 24 hours since I have gotten my hands on my copy of this compilation and I have been bumping it all day. The initial impression I got upon first few listens is that the compilation brings the sounds of Andrew Rayel, in full effect. From the most touching, emotional twists to stumping beats, hard-hitting bass and quieting breaks, this is Rayel doing what he does best. Through the tracks of Airbase, Dash Berlin, Armin van Buuren, Alex Wackii, Orjan Nilsen, Alexandre Bergheau and of course himself, Andrew moves you, by unfolding Mystery of Aether beat by beat. It was also good that it includes a continuous mix of the whole compilation for a more dramatic, emotional, and tranquil journey into euphoria.

This guy truly lives up to what trance music is, as I have mentioned previously in my blog entries, and even in a contest I have joined for the Loudbasstard promo for the Andrew Rayel in Manila gig, the guy gives a dramatic, existential, majestic titles to his tunes that somewhat describe the feeling when listening to his work, ergo Mystery of Aether.

Track list:

01. Airbase – Modus Operandi (Andrew Rayel Intro Radio Edit) (03:52)
02. Tasadi & Aryas – Lost Garden (Faruk Sabanci Dirty Rock Mix) (05:58)
03. Andrew Rayel – Zeus (Radio Edit) (03:27)
04. Tenishia – Pantera (Radio Edit) (03:37)
05. Bogdan Vix – Stella Maris (Radio Edit) (03:28)
06. Maarten De Jong – Wave Glider (Radio Edit) (03:19)
07. Armin van Buuren & W&W – D# Fat (Radio Edit) (03:15)
08. Alex Wackii – Marianne (Radio Edit) (03:48)
09. Fisherman & Hawkins – Apache (Official Radio Edit) (02:50)
10. Dash Berlin & Alexander Popov feat. Jonathan Mendelsohn – Steal You Away (Radio Edit) (03:00)
11. Klauss Goulart & Mark Sixma – Rio (Radio Edit) (03:38)
12. Orjan Nilsen – Violetta (Radio Edit) (03:15)
13. Alex M.O.R.P.H. feat. Sylvia Tosun – An Angel’s Love (Andrew Rayel Aether Radio Edit) (03:32)
14. Alexandre Bergheau – Damavand (Original Mix) (08:06)
15. Bobina with Andrew Rayel – Sacramentum (Andrew Rayel Aether Radio Edit) (04:14)
16. Andrew Rayel – Musa (Radio Edit) (03:35)
17. Andrew Rayel & Alexandre Bergheau – We Are Not Afraid Of 138 (Radio Edit) (03:28)
18. A.R.D.I. – Beyond The Time (Radio Edit) (03:51)

19. Andrew Rayel – Mystery Of Aether (Full Continuous DJ Mix) (78:09.00)

Feel free to share your comments...

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Official Video: Katy Perry - Roar

Katy Perry releases the official video for her infectious song Roar.

I love the message of empowerment by song. The video captures the emotion it wants to get across while being in a fashionably tribal and primitive get-up.

I'm loving Katy's outfit as the female Tarzan. Jungle Jane or The Queen of the Jungle.

Last month she did release a lyric video for the same song

What do you think?

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Bigfish presents Innovation Black featuring Jaytech and Nitrous Oxide

Jaytech and Nitrous Oxide's sets were absolutely wonderful - they dropped Inception and Walter White and everyone loved it. Everyone - except me because sadly I.Was.Not.There.

Despite that, I still created this blog entry for my love of these Anjunabeats artists. I was confident that both of these acts will surely deliver even though many, during the line up's announcement, were apprehensive and skeptical whether if the event will be a success. They were wrong - with all the kind of feedback and reaction I have been getting from friends and social media, the event was more than a success. In fact, it was tagged as one of the best events that Bigfish ever threw. 

This was my second time to have missed out on Innovation Black since 2008. I have learned to realised by now that Innovation Black is the sure fire best event of the year in terms of line up. I should know because it has been consistent that way. Looking 3 years back, it was Ferry Corsten, Alex M.O.R.P.H, Tritonal, Jerome Isma-e, and this year were Jaytech and Nitrous Oxide -- all had been a success and outdid it's Innovation White counterpart. Cream however, is a different case because I don't really pay attention much on the line up - Cream is about the costume.

Although I was not physically present last Saturday, my mind was with the community. I was also listening to my NO2 sets especially the mix he did for Anjunabeats Worldwide 04. I didn't feel that I missed out on anything because for me it was a daily thing listening to both of these artists. The only thing I may have missed, perhaps, was sharing the experience with my trance buddies. But we did catch up after the event and continued to bask in the momentum that the it created, so it was still all good.

Below are a few snaps I grabbed from some friends. Credits are given to respective photo owners:

 The Black Hole crowd with the manananggal as the center (photo courtesy of Jason Tomas)

with the Cha sisterhood (photo courtesy of Jay Miraballes)

How was your experience???

Friday, August 23, 2013

Album Review: Trance Nation 2013 (Remixed by Lange)

Recognized as one of the most influential Trance artists of the past decade, Ministry of Sound welcomes scene-wide legend and genre-founding father Lange to the mix of the acclaimed Trance Nation series. 

Joining its esteemed compilation mixing DJ legion (which to-date has included luminaries such as Above & Beyond, Cosmic Gate, Andy Moor, and Rank 1), I say that Stuart Lange’s mixes have delivered a new high for Trance Nation. Drawing on more than a decade’s knowledge of ahead-of-the-curve sounds & styles, catalysed by exacting drops and epic lifts, Lange brings his inimitable and distinctive take on the genre to two sun-summoning Trance Nation mixes. Characterising the lifeblood of trance in 2013, it sees Lange innately compile and harmonically mix music from across its broad stylistic range.

On his Trance Nation compilation, Lange said: It’s an honour to have been invited to mix this album. For over a decade the Ministry of Sound Trance Nation series has become legendary, a snapshot of our ever-evolving scene, and I follow in the footsteps of some of it’s most respected artists

It features music from Ferry Corsten, Arty, Cosmic Gate, Andy Moor, Orjan Nilsen, Bobina, Shogun, and a lot of others. It also includes 5 massive exclusives, hot from the desk of Lange’s own studio and Lange Recordings label.   

Now as I am listening on hi-def earphones while typing on this space, here's my sort-of blow-by-blow take on this latest TN Mix from 'Langend'....

The first mix embarks on the vocal gleam and shimmer of Yahel & Liya’s I Dive, Passenger 75’s Contact, and Kyau & Albert with Stoneface & Terminal’s We Own The Night – all wowing the opening minutes. Conscripting filmic strings, vibrant drums, and dreamscape harmonics, they form the gateway to an uplifting atmospher. The tech-ish recoil of Arty’s Believe In Me, Rank 1’s electro-grinding Floorlifter, and the hyper-uplift of The Way You Want from flying Finns Super 8 & Tab creates lyrical captivation from Betsie Larkin. As Lange’s skilled hand master-crafts the tone, the pulse rate spikes again as Alchemist from Tomas Heredia and Rikkaz’s The Great Migration shape its climactic minutes.

Naturally, Lange’s TranceNation comes fully loaded with a wealth of his own exclusive, purpose built production and remix material. In and amongst the trance highways and progressive byways of the mixes are his 2013 rebuild of Follow Me, as well as the smash Destination Anywhere, and IMO, a future massive tune Unfamiliar Truth.

Nearly over sixty minutes had passed and the second half of the remix picks up on the tech-ier side of trance. It marks another launch point as The Man Who’ll Save The Earth’ from Alexx Rave, ilan Bluestone & Jerome Isma-Ae’s infectious collab Under My Skin, and Mark Eteson’s Aventus blaze the trail. The shattered stabs and riffs Heatbeat’s #BOOM live up to its title, while Ferry Corsten's F The Bull$h1t  is the shit and no definitely no B.S., and LNG's downright ballistic Harmony Will Kick You In The Ass spy the stratosphere. Rex Mundi’s Seek & Destroy intermixes a more minimalistic prog-trance sort-of to the flow, before hitting the final straight. Orjan Nilsen’s heat-seeking Violetta, Hold That Sucker Down, and the sublime mash-up of Supernova and Afterglow (merging Shogun and Ana Criado & Ronski Speed’s latest productions) see to it this second mix breaks into the upper atmosphere.

Personally, these mixes meet my hunger for a familiar and genuine yet a not-so commercial sound of my beloved sub-genre of dance music. The second disc mix, in particular, made me feel I was an astronaut embarking on my first trip to space. As I take off the ground and break into the atmosphere, it leaves me high and floating in space with the rest of the heavenly bodies so majestic yet seemingly tranquil - just like how trance makes me feel as always.

Track list:

Disc: 1
1. I Dive - Yahel & Liya
2. Contact - Passenger 75
3. We Own the Night - Kyau & Albert with Stoneface & Terminal
4. Our Brief Time in the Sun - Lange
5. All Around You (Feat. Myon & Shane 54 & Aruna) (Alexander Popov Remix) - Cosmic Gate
6. The Way You Want - Super8 & Tab
7. Floorlifter - Rank 1
8. Believe in Me - Arty
9. Crossroads (Feat. Stine Grove) (Estiva Remix) - Lange
10. Love Again (Andrew Rayel Radio Edit) - Andy Moor & Betsie Larkin
11. Unfamiliar Truth (TN Edit) - Lange
12. No Substitute for You (Andy Duguid Remix) - Bobina & Betsie Larkin
13. Alchemist - Tomas Heredia
14. Destination Anywhere - Lange
15. The Great Migration - Rikkaz
16. Absolute ResuRection (Lange Mashup) - Planet Perfecto Knights vs Craig Connelly
17. Follow Me (Feat. The Morrighan (2013 Rework) - Lange

Disc: 2
1. Man Who'll Save the Earth - Alexx Rave
2. Omega - Tangle & Matuesz
3. Sirio (Feat. Simona Barbieri) - Lele Troniq
4. Sirio - ilan Bluestone & Jerome Isma-Ae
5. Aventus - Mark Eteson
6. Mars One - Stephen Kirkwood
7. Leave Me Behind (Feat. Invi Tado) - Alex Larichev
8. #BOOM - Heatbeat
9. F the Bull$h1t - Ferry Corsten
10. Storm Chaser - Cosmic Gate
11. Seek & Destroy - Rex Mundi
12. Harmony Will Kick You in the Ass (Chris Schweizer Remix) - Lange presents LNG
13. Arigatou - Daniel Kandi & Jack Rowan
14. Supernova Afterglow (SaF Mashup - Lange Edit) - Shogun vs Ana Criado & Ronski Speed
15. Violetta - Orjan Nilsen
16. Downtime - Stuart Mclellan
17. Hold That Sucker Down - Lange

What do you think???

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Album Review: Anjunadeep 05 Mixed by James Grant and Jody Wisternoff

Anjunadeep 05 has finally arrived after a few release date push backs!   I have been eagerly anticipating this album for quite some time, and have now had a few weeks to listen, re-listen, and assess this massive compilation. 

For those that don’t know, Anjunadeep 05 is the fifth installment in a series of compilation albums; these are done more or less annually by both Anjunadeep and its parent label, Above & Beyond’s Anjunabeats.  This year, putting together the two mixes are none other than Anjunadeep label boss James Grant and the legendary Jody Wisternoff, who debuts as an Anjunadeep compilation mixer with this beautiful outing.

Since this is a fairly lengthy album, with the two mixes clocking in at a combined two hours and forty minutes, I decided to stick with my usual style of writing -- it is best and most fun if I would just throw on the mixes non-stop and basically commit to writing a running commentary about the music as it progresses over the 29 tracks. 

James Grant's mix officially takes off with this fourth track in the mix called Back To Love from Bekwith feat. Catherine Porter. Porter’s infectious vocal addition on top of an anything but boring melody really ups the tempo of the mix in a traditional deep house way: with a dark yet energetic groove. The mix then goes into a very liquid-groove for a few minutes, with songs blending together to form a musical fusion that lulls your mind into serenity. Dusky's Nobody Else, an absolute favourite on this compilation, is a massive deep house track that is bordering minimal yet still melodic in nature. With several weeks as the #1 song on Beatport’s deep house chart, it is no surprise it has made it’s way onto this compilation. Between this track and the previous Bekwith offering, Anjunadeep 05 is starting to fire on all cylinders. Fifty five minutes through this thing and WYV AUW CHU has become another favorite on the mix. Tom Middleton's catchy track title is an attention-getter and boy, it is worth the time you will give it. The tune is slick, and the vocal usage is interesting when compared to the name of the track (WYV AUW CHU = without you, duh!), and the groove is just intoxicating.

Andrew Bayer, obviously is one of my absolute personal favourite dj/producers. His It’s Cool remix sees Bayer join forces with the man behind this entire mix, label boss James Grant. The song is extraordinary - or it could possibly be that I am just biased. The vocals are infectious and really set the tone of the track, along with those powerful piano chords behind it. The track has been featured on Group Therapy numerous times in the past month, and I have been in love with it ever since hearing it for the first time several weeks ago. 

Suddenly, the first half of the mix concludes. I noticed that I was too zoned out to say much about the Solarity (Dusky is at it again! The duo used to go by the name of Solarity, and they dusted off one of their older tracks specifically for this album) track; all I know is that the mix ended beautifully, and I couldn't wait to get into the second half.

And then suddenly it's time for the second half, on which Jody Wisternoff has reshaped/retouched/edited almost every single track. The only thing I am aware of going into this side is that the reworked Alchemy will be one of my favorite tracks, no exceptions. I know that this is very biased, again. But trust me, you'll listen to what I'll play and you'll love it - that's all you need to believe in. 

As the last tune from the James Grant mix fades out, it's now time for the legendary Jody Wisternoff. I've been a fan of his works - I only follow a few acts on the deep, melodic house sub-genre and Jody's one of them. I am just thrilled he is debuting as a contributor on this slick collection. 

His mix kicks off with his remix of Ich Lass ́Dich Nicht Zurück from The Peacemaker Project act. The opening track is definitely solid! The saxophone melody later on really reminds of mild James Zabiela tracks, which are amazing for just that reason. This Jody Wistermoff edit of Lane 8′s Be Mine is one that fans of Anjunadeep will be quite familiar with, as it was showcased in a minimix preview some time in June. The dubby fun Wisternoff describes as being his edition to the track is indeed wonderful, and is a key highlight to the range of sound that can be found on Anjunadeep.

Once more the mix takes off on an understandable lull, which is in no way a bad thing. Jody is taking us now on a journey with this mix, and part of that is including tracks that perhaps blend a little more into the background of the experience, as opposed to popping out. It’s ridiculous how many layers every song has. This sentence is being typed after a re-listen of the second side.  So many little bits and pieces pop out at me after running through this again.  Small, almost pad like percussions that rattle through This Way went unnoticed during listen one, but now pop out at me and envelope the track in an entire new layer of sensations. We Are Heroes is enticing and infectious. The first time I heard of this track, and Pete Josef commands a soulful and sultry voice that is just slick and polished.  The bassline and drum pattern are dirty. Again, the mix takes off -- some form of Dusky is everywhere on this compilation, and Kuza by Alfred Taylor is just another example of the strong production coming from one or both of that duo (FYI -- Alfie is one half of Dusky).

Finally, here comes Alchemy. I have looked forward to hearing Jody's take on this rather heart wrenching, earth-staggering A&B original. It receives a deep house rework that does the original justice in every way. Jody gives the classic track a darker undertone that still perfectly highlights Zoe Johnston’s beautifully haunting verse. The trancey feel of the original is completely replaced with a deep house vibe that even takes on a dubbish tinge in its synth usage halfway through. It’s glorious and easily one of the crowning tracks of this compilation. 

As it looks, I glazed over some, paid way too much attention to others, zoned out here and there, but in the end, I came up with the conclusion that this is one of the best albums of the year in terms of enjoyability. Whether or not you are into this sort of style/sound of house music, I guarantee you will find the compilation generally pleasing at the very least.  If you dig deep style intertwining with melodic beats and piano chords, this compilation is for you. 

The negatives against this compilation are very  few and far between, and they mostly center around the fact that deep house simply isn’t a genre for everyone. There are lulls in the mix. Some tracks on a 29 track outing are simply going to be less interesting than others.  On the other hand, I am quite confident that music fans from every background can find tunes that they absolutely love here.  And this is the brilliance of Anjunadeep; some variation of the deep house sounds found on this album will resonate with people from all walks of taste.  

Noteworthy tracks include

Track list:

CD 1 / James Grant

1. Croquet Club "Cardigan" 
2. Vincenzo & Aram "Let Go"
3. Andrew Bayer & James Grant "Living"
4. Beckwith feat. Catherine Porter "Back To Love"
5. Universal Solution "Yukon"
6. Universal Solution "Osheen"
7. DAVI "The Time Has Come"
8. Jody Wisternoff & Jonathan Mendelsohn "Out Of Reach" (Alfred Taylor Remix)
9. Dusky "Nobody Else"
10. DAVI "The Bay 6"
11. Tom Middleton "WYV AUW CHU" 
12. Dusky "Mr Man"
13. Matt Lange feat. Tania Zygar "Way You Know"
14. The Presets "It's Cool" (Andrew Bayer & James Grant Remix)
15. Solarity "Symbols" 

CD 2 / Jody Wisternoff

1. The Peacemaker Project "Ich Lass´ Dich Nicht Zurück" (Jody Wisternoff Remix)
2. Lane 8 "Be Mine" (Jody Wisternoff's Deep 05 Reshape)
3. Skanna vs. Jody Wisternoff "This Way"
4. Jody Wisternoff feat. Pete Josef "We Are Heroes" 
5. Alfred Taylor "Kuza"
6. Beckwith "Townsend Sling"
7. Above & Beyond feat. Zoë Johnston "Alchemy" (Jody Wisternoff Remix)
8. Rashid Ajami "Coming For You" (Jody Wisternoff Remix)
9. Kahwe "Driving Me Wild" (Jody Wisternoff's Deep 05 Reshape)
10. Leftwing & Kody "Deep In" (Jody Wisternoffs Deep 05 Reshape)
11. Meramek "Feeling"
12. Jody Wisternoff "Macbeth"
13. Matt Lange "Only You"
14. Andre Sobota "Move Into Tokyo Dawn" (Jody Wisternoff's Deep 05 Blend) 

Comments appreciated....

Trance 'til Dawn and Twelve presents: United Under Dance featuring Andrew Rayel

Trance 'Til Dawn & TWELVE Malaysia: UNITED UNDER DANCE featuring ANDREW RAYEL! Catch the new Armin van Buuren and Top DJ #77 at TIME in Manila on SEPTEMBER 14!

Trance 'Til Dawn & T W E L V E Malaysia present UNITED UNDER DANCE featuring Andrew Rayel

Often called "the new Armin van Buuren", catch the Modern-Day Mozart of Trance at TIME in Manila, SEPTEMBER 14.

Along with TTD DJs Nampu Kawamoto, John Odin B2B Cammy V in the main room; and Nomad Massive at The Roof. SMS 09167777229 for inquiries.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Twelve presents: Tenishia (06 July 2013)

Malta's most successful dance act duo, Tenishia visited Manila for a night of 'proper' trance as how some of the people I know would coin it. 

Joining them on the decks are one of the local dance scene's hot names: Cammy V and John Odin. Cam and JP will be opening and closing, respectively for the main acts. 

The duo, Joven Grech and Cyprian Cassar dropped their uplifting mixes and drove the crowd wild. With so many hits after hits, I could not even remember all, but anthems like DB's Waiting, Tiesto's Love Again, AvB's latest offering This Is What It Feels Like were among that the crowd experienced, Tenishia version. 

It was an unexpected fun, crazy, sweaty night of trance, joy, euphoria, and friendship. It was my last weekend before I start a new module for my post-grad studies so I decided to party the night away and it was a great decision that I did. 

A few snaps taken from my camera phone:

 a photo op with Cyprian Cassar (my right) and Joven Grench (my left) collectively known as Tenishia

the boys working the decks of 7th High


Friday, July 5, 2013

Bigfish presents Innovation White featuring Jochen Miller, Rank 1, and Ana Criado on vocals

It was a rainy night but the show must go on. Not even a storm could stop me from seeing one of my dj/producer crushes in person -- Jochen Miller -- not mention, a closing set delivered by one of the most underrated trance acts Rank 1. So I marched on with my #TrioTagaPayong friends and reveled the night away.

When Jochen took over the decks, the crowd just went ballistic, started jumping, throwing their hands up in the air, and just losing in his heavy basslines, epic riffs, and Bigfish's fantastic laser light shows.

I did feel the crowd of Bigfish is getting younger as years go by, well that only means that my generation is ageing as well. Jochen Miller's energy was channeled by the crowd and as he drove us to edge of his infectious beats, he still manage to throw that smile that even led the girls and the boys and practically everyone else crazier. As he built, smashed, drove, and threw the crowd high up, it was time for the duo Rank 1 to take over, keep the aerial momentum and eventually land the crowd safely. Oh, and somewhere in between was Ana Criado singing. I didn't feel much of her presence really, so I don't have anything else to say. 

It was a night of redemption for the Innovation White series. I could remember the last great Innovation White was during the Above & Beyond 2010, not even Cosmic Gate or Chicane could top it but with Jochen and R1', I can say it is now back on track.

And it gets better, there was an after party at Club Haze where Jochen spinned some more. His energy is just encompassing and with all the riffs he's been doing while flashing his white-teeth smile, was just a monumental.

A few snaps from that night:

 Paul, Justin, Van, Jase, Marx, Jay (photo courtesy of Jason Tomas)

 Jochen Miller working the deck of Bigfish at World Trade Center (photo taken via my camera phone)

 Jochen Miller working the deck of Club Haze during the after-party (photo taken via my camera phone)

Your thoughts please....

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Album Review: Ben Gold - The Sound of Garuda: Chapter 3

The Sound Of Garuda has always been one of my most look forwarded to mix compilations. The first Sound of Garuda was released in 2009, with Chapter 2 following it 2 years later. And now, another 2 years have passed and another new mix compilation is set to be released.

The Sound Of Garuda: Chapter 3 that was released last May 2013 was mixed by rising star Ben Gold. Garuda label head Gareth Emery has passed on the mixing responsibilities to one of the rising stars in trance, that is Ben Gold. Gareth had previously mixed the first two Sound of Garuda mix compilations, but felt it was time for the reigns to be passed on to someone who is helping to bring the name of Garuda to brand new heights. That is exactly what Ben Gold has been doing and he could not be more excited about it either

The compilation is packed with gems by Gareth Emery, Ferry Corsten, Ashley Wallbridge, W&W, Arty, KhoMha and more.

I felt honored when Garuda approached me to mix the 3rd chapter in ‘The Sound Of Garuda’ series. Being the next ambassador of this compilation after Gareth Emery makes me really proud, Ben Gold said.

With my repititive listening in the past few weeks, the weaving of the mix takes the listener through a flashback of unforgettable tunes that are sure to ignite memories of sandy beaches and strobe-induced nights on the dance floor. I am glad to be following this compilation because I could relive the euphoria that can only come from the sound of the world’s best trance and progressive artists.

Track list:

Disc 1
Juventa – Bitsmash – not exclusive
Ben Gold – Where Life Takes Us (Juventa Remix) – exclusive
Ferry Corsten – Rock Your Body (Arty Rock N Rolla Remix) – not exclusive
Emma Hewitt – Rewind (Mikkas Remix) – not exclusive
Ashley Wallbridge – Yin-Yang – not exclusive
Luke Bond – 1UP – out May 20
W&W & Ummet Ozcan – The Code – not exclusive
Thomas Ulstrup – Disco Fever – exclusive
Mark Eteson & Luke Bond – 4 Days Out (Tom Fall Remix) – not exclusive
Russ James – My Mind (Rafaël Frost Remix) – exclusive
Ben Gold feat. The Glass Child – Fall With Me (Tom Fall Remix) – not exclusive
Lange & Audrey Gallagher – Our Way Home (Noah Neiman Remix) – not exclusive
Eximinds – Mainbeat – not exclusive
Fast Distance & Rikkaz – Cruise Control – not exclusive
Ben Gold – Amplified – exclusive

Disc 2
Gareth Emery – Layers – exclusive
Eximinds – Ganesa – exclusive
Ben Gold – Mesocyclone – not exclusive
Ben Gold & Tritonal – Apex – not exclusive
Rob Naylor – Yes – exclusive
Solis & Sean Truby – Meerkat – exclusive
Fisherman & Hawkins – Apache – not exclusive
Gareth Emery – Tokyo (Ben Gold Remix) – not exclusive
DJ Eco – Borealis (Solis & Sean Truby Remix) – not exclusive
Skytech – Out Of Nowhere – not exclusive
Raneem – Carousel – exclusive
KhoMha – Vapor – not exlusive
Ashley Wallbridge – Mumbai Traffic (Ben Gold Remix) – exclusive
Craig Connelly & Christina Novelli – Black Hole – exclusive
Lee Osborne – Beautiful Trouble – exclusive

What do you think?

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Album Review: Andrew Bayer - If It Were You We'd Never Leave

April 22, 2013 was when the best album of the year (IMO) so far was released on Anjunabeats. And unless you are an Anjunabeats devotee or trance geek, you probably missed it. 

Andrew Bayer’s If It Were You, We’d Never Leave is a monumental album for electronic music.  With all the recent surge in news regarding the staying power of the dance music scene, the so called 'EDM bubble' and the constant chatter revolving around DJ’s having little to no originality in their Beatport top 10-laden sets, Andrew Bayer’s career-defining album is a breath of fresh air.  Even though it has been released for quite some time, given the current commotion about the necessity for innovation in electronic music, I felt it appropriate to revisit, hype up, and dissect this absolute masterpiece of an album, along with introducing those that are not familiar to the genius that is Andrew Bayer.

A major contributor to the Above & Beyond’s powerhouse label, Anjunabeats, he is perhaps best known (currently) for his massive trance tracks i.e. Anjunabeats favorites Keep Your Secrets featuring Molly Bancroft, In and Out of Phase featuring Kerry Leva, and England have solidified the Washington D.C. native as a major player in the trance world.  Bayer’s tracks have received consistent playtime on the likes of A State of Trance, and of course, Above & Beyond’s Group Therapy radio. Considering this, perhaps the most interesting observation about this phenomenal producer is that his two studio albums, It’s Artificial (2011), and the album headlining this article, If It Were You, We’d Never Leave.

With influences from hip hop, hints of glitch music (glitch-hop), downtempo beats, and ambient music, this album is a step away from everything that has begun to define electronic music. There are no bangers, yet there are tunes that pop out at you with incredible emotion.  There are no pointless tracks that simply take up space for the sake of taking up space.  There are no generic formulas being followed.  If It Were You, We’d Never Leave is a sixteen track experience, a journey through a rocky, post-apocalyptic, yet serene, tranquil landscape on the surface of Andrew Bayer’s mind.  It's good to note this is not an album you play to light up the dance floor, but one you listen to warm your soul with the full range of human emotion.

I won’t be reviewing and describing every track in great detail in this piece, as that would be doing the album an injustice. It is not meant to be listened as sixteen separate pieces of music. But rather I can try and take you on a journey, get you to places, imagine lucid elements as how this masterpiece did to me. While tracks such as Lose Sight, You Are, Need Your Love, and Echo are phenomenal as stand alone tracks, they are exponentially more impressive as pieces of an intricate journey that spans the entire album. 

Andrew Bayer has mastered the art of sequencing his music in order to achieve a roughly one hour long electronic symphony. The slow, fairly mellow yet dark glitched synths, coupled with a piano melody found in Opening Act meld into the even darker, urgency building, glitch-hop-esque Doomsday. The track oozes of true feeling. One can almost reach out and touch the sense of doubt, anger, and uncertainty that’s wrapped tightly around the track, like an enshrouding veil. All of a sudden, the veil is every so slightly lifted; the urgent build up dissipates, and a slight reassurance builds as female voice quietly begins to echo over a still foreboding piano on It’s Going To Be Fine.  The feelings of doom and urgency, so carefully crafted in Doomsday, are slowly swept aside, as Bayer conveys a sense of reassurance to the listener.  His progression of emotion can really be seen in this track. The beginning still carries the feelings that were created in Doomsday; however, by its end, as it progresses into Let’s Hear That B Section Again! (one of the noteworthy tracks and a personal favourite), there is almost none of it remaining. The grittiness of the opening two tracks are completely swept away. B Section is completely devoid of a drum beat. Instead, it conveys its message of calm with inorganic sounds and scratchy, oscillating, harp-like synths.  The listener is finally brought to the first true single of the album, Lose Sight featuring Ane Brun. An R&Bish (Andrew Bayer’s twist), poppy, uplifting track with a catchy drum beat, acoustic guitar chords, and an absolutely ingenious, yet simple, piano melody that can’t help but stick with you.

As Lose Sight wraps up, one can only smile that the journey is only a third over, and another eleven tracks remain. I don’t want to ruin the experience of forming your own little world with the building blocks that compromise this one hour long masterpiece, so I will leave it up to you, to listen to the rest of it. It is incredibly difficult to describe with words exactly what  Bayer is employing throughout this album, in terms of a specific sound or synthesizer. The organic chimes in tracks deeper in the album, such as All This Will Happen Again, transport the listener to an open field on a sunny afternoon, somewhere in the world that Bayer has so carefully constructed.  The harshness and dance floor-geared themes that are all the rage in EDM production these days are nowhere to be found, yet their influence can still ever so slightly be felt, thanks to Bayer’s mastery of blending his entire range of ability.  It is an experimental, unique, album that illustrates the abilities of a true master of audio at work, as he tries to tell a story through a never before heard combination of sound, melody, and composition.  

As I mentioned in some of my blog work, this unique blend of genres/styles that are often unheard on the mainstream is not for everyone. However, if you decide to keep an open mind and expand the boundaries of your musical palette, then please listen away. What I've written above will start to make more sense when you listen to the album and read my blurb at the same time. You will not be disappointed. One simply doesn't get the same experience as listening to every minute of this Album-of-the-Year worthy piece of music. Get out your favorite pair of headphones (preferably hi-def), sit back, and relax.  Let the music wash over you until you never want to leave. Welcome to the world of Andrew Bayer.

Some snaps from Andrew's Facebook page prior to release of this album. I included these snapshots as they were true to testament about the album. He wasn't just hyping it up or what, he was just telling the simple truth:

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

A State of Trance 600: The Expedition


The Expedition is a worldwide celebration of ASOT's 600th episode (12 years) and this is such a milestone, a feat that only very few radio shows are able to achieve. The celebration is monumental as The Expedition embarks on a journey to 10 cities around the world. This is yet to be the biggest and longest celebration of A State of Trance

With Armin van Buuren leading the troops, he gathers the world's renowned and upcoming dance acts from all over the world. 

For an avid follower of the show and a trance head myself, my OCD kicked in and I wanted to at least tuned in to every city stopover. And when it was announced that ASOT600 will have a stopover in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia - I could not contain my excitement. I immediately tweet and posted about this to know which friends are going whom I could go with. Unfortunately, because of work conflict I was forced to let go of this opportunity. 

My journey with the expedition started with the Pre-party Celebration in Madrid, Spain on 14 Feb 2012 (around after midnight time in Manila). Because of my apparent sleeping problem, I tend to wake up in the middle of my sleep - that's normally from 2AM to 4AM depending what time in the evening I dozed off. This problem became beneficial for me during this time because I got to wake up in time for the streaming of the #ASOT600MAD over on I listened away, maybe falling asleep in between and waking up back again, but definitely I was bed raving to the sets of Lange and Ronski Speed which, I think are the best sets of that night!

Only after two days, the real celebration of ASOT 600 commences and the first stop over was in Mexico City, Mexico on 16 Feb 2012 (mid-morning to afternoon time of 17 Feb in Manila). I have spent the night at a friend's house as I was too wasted to get home on my own. Just before I took a cat nap, I already set my app, tuned into the trance channel so even if I was still asleep, the #ASOT600MEX will begin to stream when it starts. I woke up to the banging beats of W&W, that were consistently followed up by Markus Schulz who is known to be a floor destroyer with his uplifting riffs, and while he concludes his set, it also served as a smooth ground work to make way for the main man himself, Armin van Buuren. My friends and I were tuned in from breakfast to lunch time raving and jumping as if we were in the venue as well. It was one of the best Sundays! 

Two weeks have passed and the expedition marches on to its next stop over on 01 Mar 2012 in Sao Paolo, Brazil. Brazil has largely becoming a preferred country for dance music festivals. Although trance music isn't as popular in the country compared to house and techno, it has a growing community that AvB and ASOT team only felt right that Sao Paolo should be included in the stopover. 

It was afternoon time of 02 Mar in Manila, and I was at a friend's house doing a despedida party. It was very timely that I remember to tune in to #ASOT600SAO via It was just right on the tail end of AvB's warm-up set when I got to tune in. It was also very timely as one of my good friends was leaving the country and we are doing a sort-of going away party for him. It was only fitting to tune in. As the it progressed, we were introduced to the local Brazil trance act Tomas Heredia and the up-and-coming Ruben de Ronde. Both sets were impressive and on par with the renowned acts that they were opening for. As both acts' sets ended, the real party began as Orjan Nielsen released his banging, uplifting basslines where as if a chug-chugging-coal train is approaching. This went on for the next hour and little we noticed, it was already Markus Schulz on the decks, again setting the mood high with interludes of serene breaks, dark and edgy beats, and an overall epic trance set. As AvB was raving on the radio booth, he exclaimed Markus Schulz was destroying Sao Paolo. Now, it was time for Armin to drive the crowd and the only thing I could remember was the mental vibe his set gave off - imagine a 2 hour set just filled with blissful piano chords, majestic synths, and epic breaks - which only few like AvB can delivery. Finally, we thought it was over but it was far from over as Jorn van Deynhoven picked up from where AvB took off and equally delivered a massive, monumental set. This stopover by far was the best!

Because I was forced to forego this opportunity due to work conflict, I talked with some friends who were also just in Manila to help me arrange a listening party. Since Kuala Lumpur has the same timezone as Manila, it was not a problem to arrange the listening party. I also told my TTD buddies to represent us in KL and that we will be with them in mind, heart, and spirit. Malaysia is quite a conservative Muslim country so parties like this need to start early because they will need to end early due to a 2AM curfew. The broadcast of #ASOT600KL on 15 Mar 2012 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia started with AvB's warm-up set - a set which makes listeners to have second thoughts whether it was really Armin's. Yes, it's is. The feel of the warm-up was very loungey, almost like a serene, beach front ambiance. It happens to be one of my favourite sets on the tour. After the crowd was warmed-up, and literally warm because of KL's humidity, even Armin was saying that it was so humid in KL and that he was sweating. Meanwhile, back in Manila, I have just gotten home from the office in time for the warm-up set. My party mood was all set for the first act that was Ben Gold. He is up and coming trance act and a personal favourite because of his ambitious styles and techniques. 

As I had made dinner plans that evening, I was unable to tune in to the sets of Super8 & Tab, W&W, and the first half of Cosmic Gate. When I finished my dinner date with some friends, I immediately went to my friend's pad which was the venue for the listening party. They have not began yet since I was also the tech guy to set up whatever we'll need - in short, they need my phone, my app so we can tune in to It's not like they can't do that themselves, right?

Just after setting up, it was Cosmic Gate halfway through their set. A little bland at this point or maybe because I was so full that I was getting food coma. After CG, AvB was up and as delivered quite a substandard set compared to the other set he had in the previous stopovers I mean, his warm-up set was even a lot better than his main set. Keeping our hopes up, we just wanted to make the most of the listening party. Aly & Fila took over and the mood was waning. Because when the duo spinned in Boracay for the SummerNRG 2012, their set was quite dull and uninteresting and only picked up when the party was about to end. We had a similar expectation but still keeping our hopes up. And it paid off as Aly & Fila redeemed the whole party mood with their ethereal synths, uplifting riffs, and the blending or airy, siren-like vocals. It was surprisingly the best set of the night. Even our friends who were physically in the venue agree with us. 

It's spring break season and we all know what it means - time for Ultra Music Festival in Miami. The annual dance festival gathers the worlds renowned and up-and-coming acts across the Electronic-Dance Music genre. Since it is that time of year, it was only fitting that The Expedition's next stopover would no where else be than Miami. The #ASOT600MIA held on 24 Mar 2012 in Miami, Florida was broadcasted over on early morning of Monday. Of course I tuned in as soon as I woke up which was around 6AM. Since of most of the big guns act of this genre are in town, the line up for this event was just overwhelming. From the neophytes W&W, Tritonal, Dash Berlin to trance legends like Paul van Dyk, Ferry Corsten, Cosmic Gate, Markus Schulz, ATB, Above & Beyond, and of course the main man himself Armin van Buuren. I was so energised, which is quite a rare scenario on a Monday morning. 

 While preparing for work earlier that day, it was already Tritonal working the crowd. I was immediately lifted and transcended in the same atmosphere of the Miami crowd. With Tritonal's signature raunchy, uplifting style, I couldn't help but rave in bed and while eating my breakfast. W&W followed and I saw myself swaying my head and throwing my hands up in the air in the shower. As the sun rises in Manila, so does my energy and thanks to this duo, my Monday morning has never been this energised. Thoughout the morning towards the afternoon, and yes while working, I was tuned in. Though occasionally I would be distracted to do some actual work, I still manage to tune in the background. I was planning to tune back in to ATB's set but was unable to due to a meeting. I was only able to tune back in while working at the time A&B was banging the decks. Then AvB came on, and then Ferry Corsten. While doing work, eating lunch on my desk, and occasional tweeting, I couldn't help but feel the energy of these live sets. I was really transcended as if I was not in the office crunching on my Monday deliverables. As a finale, PvD stepped in. I was a little zone out already because I had so much on my plate and my deadline was looming. 

In between all this, I was interacting with everyone on Twitter sharing the same vibe we were all channeling that time. Boy, I could multi-task!

As we reach the final stopover of The Expedition, the biggest, monumental, overwhelming line-up ever done, I for one could just let this pass by without tuning in live. Due to the success of our previous listening party, I have again convinced my friends to do another listen party and this time for both nights of that weekend. The final destination of this 12-city, 7-week celebration is in Den Bosch, The Netherlands on 06 Apr 2012. #ASOT600DB has a total of 4 tents and a line-up of acts almost 30. The four tents are consisted of the Main Stage, Who's Afraid of 138?! The Expedition, Make The World A Dancefloor. Because of broadcast limitation, only the Main Stage was primarily broadcasted over on with the occasional switching to WAO138 tent. It was apparent that the big trance acts like Markus, Ferry, and some of the up-and-comings like Andrew Rayel will be in the main room whilst the more uplifting acts like Aly & Fila, Artic Moon, and Orjan Nilsen are in the WAO138. AvB had sets in both Main Stage and WAO138. Because the primary broadcast was the Main Room, the only option was to make do with what we have. 

My friends and I rendezvous'd at our host's place around midnight just in time to kick off the Main Room broadcast. The acts that stood out on the Main Stage were Andrew Rayel, Simon Patterson, and Shogun. It was refreshing to hear from these acts as we have been hearing repetitvely from the big guns. In between were glimpses on the WAO138 tent where at times we could sense Aly & Fila's set was truly banging, Artic Moon was also delivering, and even AvB's set on this tent was better than the one he had on the main. 

This listening party took around 8 hours and even as we ate breakfast we were still in a party vibe channeling the energy of the atmosphere in Den Bosch. 

That concludes my personal journey and experiences on The Expedition. What was yours? What do you think? 

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Album Review: Above & Beyond - Anjunabeats Volume 10

Mental is probably the best word to describe Anjunabeats Volume 10. It was mixed by Above & Beyond features 30 exclusive tracks from Arty, Andrew Bayer, Norin & Rad, Jaytech, Super8 & Tab, Maor Levi, and many more, as well as the brand new instrumental anthem from the trio - Walter White.

As we all know, Anjunabeats is one of the strongest dance music labels in the world today and all their compilations can be taken as proofs why is it so, that they belong to one of the most respected music companies. We probably wouldn’t find too many similarities between the original Anjunabeats Volume 1 and this year’s Volume 10, but how could we? Music has changed so much during the last 10 years, yet Above & Beyond still keep up the pace and may it be them as DJs/producers or the whole Anjuna label, it’s really something to bow to!

Disc one kicks off in a more emotional way with A&B’s own Small Moments, beautiful instrumental track which takes you completely off this world, especially when you combine it with a deep video or those visualizers on Windows Media Player. What comes next, is a favorite of mine for 2013 so far and I’m talking about Audien and his Wayfarer. It is something that puts a smile on your face from the first beats, throwing your hands up in the air spontaneously and of course a bass line that will get you up from your chair. What surprised me at first but insured me when I looked at the track list was track 7. Jaytech comes in with a new banger Inception. Usually a contributor for the Anjuna's deep house sister recording company, it's refreshing for this artist to finally break through the trance side of his genre.

Above & Beyond came up with a new track for this compilation as well. Walter White shows us how a deep and emotional breakdown should look like. However, the rest of the track is a bit strange. I understand that everyone is changing thanks to the scene, but I don’t think this is the right way for A&B. However if there is someone who definitely goes hand in hand with the scene today, I believe that Maor Levi is having the best time of his career. Having a track on this compilation is a great honor for any producer, but Maor has three tracks on this disc and that definitely proves that he delivers! ALWAYS! May it be in the calmer sounds of ethereal progressive or a bit rougher league of bass lines, this guy produces only the best - all these are worth listening: his collab with Boom Jinx and my fave female trance vocalist Ashley Tomberlin When You Loved Me; the remix on Liquid Love which is a great rework from the Tri-state album; and the ever-emotional Holding On. If someone asked me what I liked the best about disc 1, I would have to say that it is this track along with Ronski Speed and Syntrobic's tune called Pink Skye where it features the haunting voice of Renee Stahl.
Disc 2 and the half second half of the compilation is picked up by Andrew Bayer with his new tune called England. I’m not really sure how to feel about this one, though it sounds very housey yet even a bit commercial it still brings originality with itself and many other good factors as well. Knowing that Bayer has two sides of his artistry - the more commercial ones we hear on the Anjunabeats collection and the more artistic side which is what his artist album is about. L.A. by Super8 & Tab could be my favorite track off of tdisc 2.  It sounds a lot like their older more progressive stuff like Helsinki Scorchin.  The use of the small vocal synth in this track is mesmerizing.  It accompanies the bass lines and uplifting melodies perfectly.  Then after building for over two minutes the main bass lines kicks and L.A. is taken to new heights.  Aldo by Norin & Rad is another new track we are able to listen to.  It is a more up tempo trance track featuring some heavy bass lines with euphoric drops. Sinai by Ilan Bluestone is another great track.  While not completely new, this track really stands out to me on this album.  Ilan Bluestone is still an artist on the rise globally and this track is what I think can break him through to the next level.  Sinai is an amazing euphoric track with an incredible use of percussion along with vocals. May it be the exotic vocals, melodic synths or the piano parts.  is a beauty that deserves to be heard more than one time.

Nitrous Oxide teams up with 7 Skies to create something very magical together. “Right On“ is a perfect combination of strong synths we all wish to hear on a good party and a pure melody created on a piano. The instant changes in this track between the heavy parts of great beats, strong synths, and the emotional piano parts, emotions backed up by a massive drive, yes, definitely a great tune!

Next up is a track that is truly beautiful in it’s album mix, but on the contrary gets a completely different coat in the club mix. Black Room Boy from A&B is the track I’m talking about. While repetitively listening to it, I somehow discovered that the bass line is a complete floor killer and started singing along with the track in a matter of seconds. I always thought of myself as a Black Room Boy - if you get my drift.

I would like to say that Anjunabeats Volume 10 is one of those compilations that shouldn’t be thrown away by trance crowd for not being a clear trance album. My opinion is that this compilation is a very special piece that has to be heard with a calm mind, good mood, and most of all, if you want to listen to it and feel happy, you should forget about the never-ending 'war' of styles which is going on in the scene. Just sit back, press play and enjoy the music.

What do you think????

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Bigfish presents SummerNRG featuring Sied van Riel and O Jon O'Bir

Get ready for the hottest concert party called Summer Energy: The Biggest Music Festival in the Island of Boracay on March 28 and March 30, 2013 at Beachfront, Station 2, Boracay

Concert Party Date: March 28 and March 30, 2013/ Thursday and Saturday

Concert Party Venue: at Beachfront, Station 2, Boracay, Philippines

Concert Party Ticket Price:
VIP Tables – P10,000 (Good for 8 pax)
VIP – P1500 (+ 2 free drinks)
Door Charge Regular – P700

Pre- Selling Regular- Php 1600
Pre- Selling VIP-Php 1200

The  two-day music festival will feature world renowed and an award winning DJ, O Jon O’Bi with the biggest  biggest stars including Paul Van Dyk, Sasha, and Tiesto. Bigfish resident DJChris Raeuber and DJ Sied Van Riel, who won the “best new face” award for the 2008 Trance Awards will be also joining the event

This event also made possible with the support of Big Fish Residence Partners, Sol Marina Boracay,The Palms Boracay, and Diamond Hotel. MTV Asia, is the Official Music Channel, and Velvet as the Official Lifestyle Channel.

Summer Energy: The Biggest Music Festival in the Island of Boracay event is brought to you by Big Fish Manila with special partners HTC, Bacardi, and Power Horse.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Official Video: Mariah Carey - Almost Home

Mariah Carey releases the official video to the Oz, the Great and Power soundtrack Almost Home.

In the video, Mariah dons a long black ensemble standing on a basin of water to create that symmetry thus elongating her body to make her look slimmer. Not only her singing style on the song was different (and that's pretty refreshing), her usual flirtatious antics and movements were also repressed and almost absent.

What say you lambilys?

Friday, February 8, 2013

Bigfish presents TranceNRG featuring Dash Berlin

Never thought this opportunity would come again so soon - being that I missed the first gig of Dash Berlin in Manila last Jan '12, here he is again back in Manila for Bigfish TranceNRG as part of his Music Is Life tour.

Normally, my bff Jason is the one in-charge gathering all of Manila bloggers and press people for the mini media conf prior the event. This conf allows select invited guests, press people, and bloggers to meet, greet, and throw questions on the featured artist/s. However, the date of DB's second Manila gig also fell on a Lunar NYE which made Jason unavailable - I covered for him. I got to do first hand and be involved in the action of holding up a media conf, engaging the media folks whilst waiting for the artist, doing some leg work in performing logistics down to ensuring loot bags have the right stuff in and that they will be given to the attendees at the end of the mini conference. 

I became an instant fan of DB's music back in 2009 because of his melodic, melancholic, emo-trance tunes i.e. 'till The Sky Falls Down, Man On The Run, and the ever-anthemic Waiting. However, his recent works has become too emotional and commercial that they just lost their appeal and luster on my musical palette. But that didn't stop me from attending his gig, and better yet getting a chance to talk, ask him questions, and have a photo op with Jeff Sutorious. Yes, he is that guy with a modest height for a caucasian. Dash Berlin consists of three members and Jeff is the face and the front man of the act. 

Here are some snaps:

with DB's front man Jeff Sutorius (photo taken via my camera phone)

with Christmas and Ralph
(all other 3 photos courtesy of Christmas Teotico)

Were you there? Did you have fun?