The Future Of Trance In Action

The Future Of Trance In Action
Loveevolution in Oakland, California - Photography by Larry Eiring

Friday, December 30, 2011

One Amazing, Blow-The-Roof-Off Night – Dash Berlin at Ruby Skye

OK, I’ll admit it, I love Dash Berlin. When I first saw him live in March of this year, I tweeted out that Dash Berlin “was the future of trance.” I saw him play live again in October at the Lovevolution Afterparty in Oakland where he whipped a crowd of over 20,000 into full frenzy. I voted Dash Berlin as #1 in the world in the DJMag Top 100 poll (where he rose to #8 overall!) and then proclaimed him “amazing and hands-down the most energetic DJ in the genre.” When I prepared to see him live at Ruby Skye in San Francisco on December 21, I thought how could this guy top his previous performances? The answer came that night. As I stood in the mezzanine of the packed-to-the-doors club, the lights went down and the signature intro started, I realized this was going to be an amazing night. I have seen the “greats” of trance live before – Armin van Buuren, Paul van Dyk, Above and Beyond – but only one DJ has ever been able to hold a club crowd in his grasp and literally control them from start to finish. That DJ is Dash Berlin. Seeing Dash Berlin live this time went far beyond his previous awesome performances. On this night, Dash Berlin took us on a ride - a ride like no other. The closest analogy I can give is that it was like riding the one, great thrill ride at the amusement park that you just never want to get off of. His mixes, including the chart-topping “Disarm Yourself”, the emotional “Better Half Of Me”, the beautiful “This Night” and the mesmerizing “Sanctuary” blew the roof and walls off of the club. Adding in such new “classics” like DJ Shogun’s “Lotus” and Cosmic Gate’s “Be Your Sound” brought a new, fresh future-forward vibe to the dance floor. By turning down the vocals at points and allowing the crowd to sing-in is not only brilliant, but connects each of us to him and the music itself. For two solid hours, I and everyone else within the walls of Ruby Skye were in synch with every move, every note, every word of what Dash Berlin played – not just “to” us, but “with” us. It is a connection with a DJ that is not only rare, but unique in the realm of trance music today. So, I’ll say it again…Dash Berlin IS the future of trance. If you want to experience more than just hot music in a club, more than a fun night on the dance floor, make seeing Dash Berlin a priority. It is not just an event, it is a mind-blowing, beautiful and memorable journey that you will feel and relate back to for the rest of your life.

Links are to videos by Larry Eiring on my YouTube Channel.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Shogun Delivers an Explosive Remix of Better Half of Me

It goes without saying that the previously released mixes of Dash Berlin’s Better Half of Me are amazing - they are still topping the charts across the globe. But waiting has it's rewards. DJ/producer Shogun has now delivered a remix that can only be termed as explosive, heart-thumping and full of raw energy. Dash Berlin feat. Jonathan Mendelsohn - Better Half of Me (Shogun Remix), off of the new Dash Berlin feat. Jonathan Mendelsohn Better Half of Me, The Remixes, Part 2, drives the sound straight to the dance floor with pounding bass beats that unabashedly mix into and play off of Jonathan Mendelsohn’s beautiful vocals from end to end. The level of energy Shogun gives the track is so totally powerful – you can feel the club floor pulsating even sitting in your chair at home – there is enough electric here to light up all of L.A.! In mid-track, swirling strings rise above melodic waves, beautifully dancing around the vocals ending with an incredible return of bass-beat that grabs you with the signature power-sound Shogun has made his own. If you were waiting for a knock-the-walls-down remix of Better Half of Me to dance to, then this one is it. There is no doubt Dash Berlin will be spinning this remix in the clubs and blowing the walls down across the western U.S. this week. I’m hoping the energy of this remix will be unleased tomorrow and Thursday nights when I see Dash Berlin LIVE in San Francisco and Costa Mesa. – I'll be sure to let you know what it felt like on Friday – right here on my Future Of Trance blog!

Dash Berlin feat. Jonathan Mendelsohn - Better Half of Me (Shogun Remix) - Aropa (Armada)

This one will be out exclusively on Beatport December 26th and on other portals on January 9th!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Trance Enjoyed A Strong, Evolving Year In 2011 – The Future Of Trance Top 25 Tracks of 2011

With global music revenues predicted to rise by 7% this year (source: Gartner) it would seem wholly appropriate to put aside all of the talk about the fading of trance music as a major musical genre around the world. In fact, the year 2011 saw trance push its global momentum with increasing speed in such locales as the United States and South America. This is not to say that the trance music of 2011 is anything like that of a couple of years ago. In fact, today’s trance continues to evolve with many more producers mixing in house beats and still others embracing vocal trance as a way to get the clubbers out on the dance floor. Does this mean that trance as we once knew it is becoming too mainstream?  Some may say yes, pointing to the rise in popularity of the likes of David Guetta, but I for one would put forth that trance is in a natural evolution just like any other musical genre. I would further add that this is a good evolution. Trance music has become more accessible and now reaches a broader audience which can only help sales and strengthen the genre’s foundation into the future. So now, let’s talk about this past year in trance!

Would anyone deny that 2011 was Dash Berlin’s year?  The dutch DJ/producer rocketed up seven notches in the DJMag Top 100 DJ chart to an impressive #8. With a solid schedule of touring and instantly recognizable tracks like “Disarm Yourself” and “Better Half of Me”, Dash Berlin used 2011 to build his base across the globe. When I first saw Dash Berlin early in 2011 in San Francisco, I immediately tweeted, “I have seen the future of trance, and it is Dash Berlin.” In my Future Of Trance Top 25 for 2011, Dash Berlin deservedly takes spots #1 and #3.

And what a year it has been for the beautiful Australian vocalist Emma Hewitt! At just about every weekly turn, her wonderful voice was being featured on a new track.  Working with the likes of Dash Berlin and Cosmic Gate, Ms. Hewitt has risen to global super stardom in the genre.  Her vocals in Dash Berlin’s Disarm Yourself make it arguably one of the best vocal trance tracks since John O’Callaghan and Audrey Gallagher gave us the classic Big Sky. With the continued popularity in vocal trance and with every top DJ looking to have her work with them, there can be no doubt that we’ll see even more of Emma Hewitt in 2012.

2011 also saw strong, even great, efforts from rising star DJ/producers Cosmic Gate (which produced my #1 trance album of the year in Wake Your Mind), Aly & Fila, Blake Jarrell and Shogun.  Core trance DJ’s such as Gareth Emery, John O’Callaghan and Armin van Buuren also gave us solid, often surprisingly evolutionary tracks to move to on the dance floor. All of which made attempting to select just 25 top trance tracks quite a challenge. Certainly not everyone will agree with my choices as listed – that’s expected. Assuredly, my list below contains some of what you will expect, but I’m betting some of my selections may surprise you as well. Take for instance my choice of Bryan Kearney with Ong Namo (Neptune Project’s In Search of the Mayans Remix) at #7. I found Neptune Project’s remix to be an effective mix of “old” style melodic trance and future-forward progressive overtones with sensual vocals driving the tune right to your heart. It’s just the type of trance mix that is becoming the foundation for the future of the genre. Another surprise may be my choice of Tristan D’s intensely energetic Interstate 5 (Original Mix) . From the first beats to the explosive end, you feel like you have a rocket strapped on your back. If you’ve never driven on Interstate 5 (and I have many times) one listen to this track will let you know exactly what it is like! Love the track big time!

I now invite you to take a look at my Future Of Trance Top 25 of 2011. Then take a listen to the tracks - if you haven’t heard them before. Who knows, you may come across something that surprises you and curiously invites you to dig just a bit deeper into this amazingly beautiful, technically exceptional music of today and tomorrow. Trance IS the future and it’s here NOW!  

The Future Of Trance Top 25 Tracks of 2011
(as listed by Larry Eiring)

Honored Mentions (All excellent tracks, I just had to place them somewhere!)
>Right Face –Deep Impression (Adam Nickey Remix)- Enhanced Recordings

Thanks for reading through! Please...send me your comments and/or subscribe to my Future Of Trance blog here! Have a great New Year and I'll see you at the club and on the floor in 2012!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Shogun Keeps Up the Momentum with Space Odyssey (Original Mix) and Lotus (Original Mix)

Futuristic-focused trance/progressive producer Shogun spins off a pair of real melodic trance gems with Space Odyssey (Original Mix) and Lotus (Original Mix).
SpaceOdyssey (Original Mix) is one of those trace tracks that not only you can’t ignore, but you want to hear more of. From the slow melodic entry complete with voice-over and countdown, through a paced build up and increasing bass, to what can only be called the “take-off point”, Shogun keeps you captivated from the very start. Then the real ride begins. Wavering melodies play back and forth with pounding bass that can only be described as a real interstellar journey! This is one track that really comes forth as its title describes!
First revealed as part of Armin Van Buuren’s Universal Religion Chapter 5,  Lotus (Original Mix) is one beautiful track.  I have always enjoyed the warm, future-forward sounds produced by Shogun and have marveled in seeing his sound grow more and more unique with every new release.  With Lotus, Shogun’s redefining of melodic trance in his own style has reached a new milestone. Starting with a pounding bass-line and building into the signature Shogun melodic style, a perfect vibe rides us on an easy-to-feel wave that slowly builds with energy. It is almost as if you can see the lotus bloom rising out of the water with a determined air about what it is going to accomplish. Then, just as you expect a major explosion, Shogun gives us the opposite. A gentle rising melody with soft vocals tell us to “breathe…” and watch the lotus "rise and revive."  That's exactly just what happens. The melody rises up and the lotus rises with you into a powerful and thrilling bloom of bass and melodies. This is one amazingly beautiful track with all of the rich feel and sensations that Shogun has become known for.

If you want to know what it means to “dream the trance dream” then Space Odyssey (Original Mix) and Lotus (Original Mix) will let you know exactly what it is! This is what I mean when I say "this is the future of trance!"  I know I’ll be listening and dreaming to this pair of tracks a lot over the coming weeks!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Cosmic Gate Gives Us An Instant Classic

It is a rare occurrence that an album from any artist in any genre can be said to be so exceptionally conceived, so end-to-end complete and so well produced that it is considered an “instant classic”, but such it is with Cosmic Gate’s recent release Wake Your Mind. Not since Armin Van Buuren’s Imagine, has one artist (or in this case a pair of artists) produced a trance classic in which every track can stand on its own yet be played together next to every other track with amazing ease and nonstop flow. Nic and Bossi’s pairing of some of the best vocal talents in trance today, including Emma Hewitt, Alana Aldea and Cathy Burton with perfectly fitting melodies and flowing rhythmic vibes pushes this effort to the very top of the list as best trance album of 2011. Ms. Hewitt’s amazing and seductive voice gives the chart-topping “Be Your Sound” raw emotion and depth like nothing we’ve seen since Audrey Gallagher’s “This Night”. The perfect paced “Never Apart” featuring the beautiful voice of Alana Aldea will not only give you goose bumps, but probably have you shedding a tear or two as you close your eyes and let the melodic riffs carry you to that wonderful place you cherish. On “Calm Down”, the boys pair Ms. Hewitt with the perfect trance beat to once again showcase the incredible vocal range and depth of musical passion that has catapulted her to trance superstardom over the past year. “Drifting Away”, featuring the lovely vocal talents of Cathy Burton is simply melodic-vocal trance honed to perfection. The album’s title track, “Wake Your Mind” supported by the Cary Brothers vocals brings with it an irresistible dance/rock beat that rises with an energy that ultimately will explode the roof off of any club. In summary, if you had been hoping for a totally complete and satisfying trance album that will leave you wanting more, then Wake Your Mind is the one. There's no doubt, this effort shows that the future of trance is very much alive and growing.

For me personally, I can’t wait to hear many of the tracks played live when I see Cosmic Gate on New Year’s Eve at Countdown: NorCal's NYE Massive in Pleasanton, California – just 20 miles from my home!  Who knows, maybe I’ll even get the chance to thank Nic and Bossi in person for giving us a new instant classic!

Top Tracks:
Be Your Sound
Wake Your Mind
Never Apart
Drifting Away
Calm Down

Cosmic Gate – Wake Your Mind – Black Hole Recordings
Release: October 28, 2011
Available on iTunes

Monday, December 12, 2011

Exostate Sends Us A Driven And Emotional Effort In Without Warning

The collaboration between Bissen and singer/songwriter Jeza that is Exostate has produced an exceptional new effort called Without Warning, one to which my personal favorite remixer Suncatcher has added even more depth of melodic emotion. The track begins with a soft melodic piano overture which seductively leads into Jeza's beautifully sensual vocals. As if without warning, a rising bass-line creeps in to the mix, ultimately driving the beat to the floor, pulling you up off of your seat. The bass beat and piano melody play off each other as the energy of the track reaches a massive scale, ensuring full-on trance emotion that will lift you up and away. Beautiful, emotional and driven to the core of your heart, look for Exostate’s Without Warning (Suncatcher Remix) to be widely played as a new essential for the clubs.