Ran-D ft. Skits Vicious – No Guts, No Glory (Defqon. 1 Anthem 2015)

Published on Beatsmedia 17/3/2015: http://beatsmedia.com/ran-d-ft-skits-vicious-no-guts-no-glory-defqon-1-anthem-2015/

Ran-D’s recent achievements as a solo producer and as one of the producers of the Gunz For Hire project have definitely earned him a legendary rank in the Hard-Dance scene. This year, he has managed to incorporate everything you’d associate with the word “anthem” into one track, and it will be unlike anything you’ve ever heard before. Thank goodness Q-Dance asked him to produce the anthem for Defqon.1 this year!

There are several things that I love about this track, though the most noticeable original element is undoubtedly the melody. Every note that’s sustained creates the most insanely uplifting atmosphere – and with phenomenal impact. The kick produced is quite well-balanced. Despite its higher pitch, it doesn’t end up sounding too bouncy or childish. The chants towards the end of the piece add to the war-like and rebellious connotations, contributing to the way this track encompasses and/or represents the spirit of every Hard-Dance lover.

Ran-D has reached a level that no other producer has reached before – and as a result, produced one of the most memorable Defqon.1 anthems of all time. Listening to this and watching the trailer is giving me a strong urge to relive my experiences of Defqon.1.

Are you going to get tickets to the Netherlands version? Or will you go for the Aussie one?

The Outside Agency – Prepare To Die / Borrowed Time

/Published on Beatsmedia 17/3/2015: http://beatsmedia.com/the-outside-agency-prepare-to-die-borrowed-time-%E2%80%8Eep/

The Outside Agency have proven themselves to be the pioneers of innovation in the Hardcore music scene with their latest releases “Borrowed Time” and “Prepare to Die.” Unlike most Hardcore tracks, the kicks do not rely on loudness or cliché sounds to achieve their shock value. Instead, the drum and bass influences are far more pronounced and every element or layer in each track comes together to form a brilliant coherence.

For those who enjoy mysterious, intense, and dark melodies, “Borrowed Time” offers more than enough mystery to leave you breathless. Echoing female vocal snippets in this track add a brilliant psychedelic touch. In fact, the piano and guitar melodies are so hypnotic that one might not realise that there are ghastly wails in the background until the second play through. It’s almost as if listeners will be able to hear something new each time they play the track.

“Prepare To Die” has a much more pronounced kick, yet the way it scatters and spreads is simply astounding despite its subtlety – especially in the introduction of the track. If the vibrations can lightly massage my ears through my headphones, I imagine this would sound immensely euphoric when played live.

The Outside Agency’s “Borrowed Time/Prepared to Die” EP was released March 2nd, 2015 and is currently available in both vinyl a/nd digital formats.

Klingande feat. Broken Back – Riva (Restart The Game)

Published on Beatsmedia 12/3/2015: http://beatsmedia.com/klingande-feat-broken-back-riva-restart-the-game/

Klingande’s ‘Jubel’ managed to stay in the club charts for 22 weeks and received a lot of radio plays in Australia. This month, the French producer has returned to music stores with another instrumental House track, titled ‘Riva (Restart The Game)’. Although it has some tropical percussion as well, the atmosphere is vastly different from the rebelliousness in ‘Jubel’, which goes to show Klingande’s versatility as a producer.

The guitar components seem to have a Spanish musical style, combined with harmonica melodies filled with the vibe of the wild west. It’s amazing to see how all these different styles and elements can come together and produce a track that flows so well. It paints a picture of a beautiful sunset on a deserted island, where everyone can cast all their worries aside, relax, and get along with everyone. Perhaps this is yet another release that we’ll be hearing on the radio for a long time, too.

Klingande’s ‘Riva (Restart The Game)’ was released through Neon Records on the 3rd of March, 2015. You can purchase it here on Beatport.

Overall rating 10/10

Kasparov – Infected by Madness (F. Noize and System Overload Remix)

Published on Beatsmedia 12/3/2015: http://beatsmedia.com/kasparov-infected-by-madness-f-noize-system-overload-remix/

Kasparov’s ‘Infected by Madness’ was first released on the ‘This is Hardcore’ album, part of the campaign with the same name. It’s Neophyte Records’ way of compiling the best songs from their top artists with the theme, in order to introduce the best of Hardcore to new listeners. After the track’s release, Kasparov launched a remix contest so that producers could be featured on a special ‘Infected by Madness’ remix EP. The EP will also feature remixes from Neophyte’s artists Amnesys, SRB, and F. Noize & System Overload.

In this review, I will be focusing on F. Noize’s & System Overload’s remix. I’m a high-speed tempo junkie when it comes to Hardcore music. In fact, it’s one of many reasons why I love F. Noize & System Overload’s version of Kasparov’s track. F. Noize & System Overload gave me just the rough kicks I needed with a tempo that I can jump to vigorously. Halfway through the track, there’s an excellent breakdown where the pace changes slightly, with muffled wobbles reminiscent of Dubstep influences. I also love the way the screeches are twisted in the breakdown. Yet, despite this slight change in pace, the darkness and suspense of the track hardly subsides, so the breakdown can really serve as an excellent break point for ravers on the dance floor.

Unfortunately, the weakness of this remix is quite similar to the original it was based on: The flatness of the melody. If I heard this track played once in a set, I would love it to pieces, but I probably wouldn’t put this track on repeat for too long.

Kasparov’s EP of ‘Infected by Madness’ remixes will be released on the 12th of March.

Kicks 10/10
Suspense 10/10
Melody 7/10
Overall 9/10

Keep Rockin and Telraam

Published on Beatsmedia 26/02/2015
http://beatsmedia.com/keep-rockin-telraam/

I came across two tracks from two labels that sounded very similar to one another with slight differences in the atmosphere that their melodies create. Although I must admit that both tracks have very catchy melodies, they’ve been repeated too often throughout each track with hardly any variations at all. It’s nice to hear these tracks chipped into a set for a brief moment, or played once in a blue moon, but putting these tracks on repeat can make people feel rather nauseated while sober. To describe it in another way, it would be like eating too many sweets and sugary things at once. The more people have too much of a good thing, the sooner they’ll get sick of it and move on to something else.

‘Telraam’ has little hints of disco inserted here and there. Each instrumental component is modified slightly to give it a fresh sound and the staccato makes things very light hearted. They complement each other extremely well. Yet, although ‘Telraam’ is just a cut-off preview, I just cannot bear to have the same melody repeated for 1:53 minute(s) straight. On the other hand, ‘Keep Rockin’ might sound a little bit better with different melodic variations. However, there’s hardly anything new in the percussion or in the way the track builds up and breaks down.

If you ever feel like having some sort of guilty pleasure, these tracks will offer some short-lived satisfaction. But if you’re looking for something to put on repeat, maybe you’ll end up looking for something else. Riggi & Piros’ ‘Keep Rockin’ was released through Armada and Zonderling’s Telraam is now available on Spinnin’ Records.

Originality 4/10
Harmony 5/10
Chorus 6/10
Overall 5/10

Blasterjaxx feat. Rosette – No Place Like Home

Published on Beatsmedia 25/02/2015
http://beatsmedia.com/blasterjaxx-feat-rosette-no-place-like-home/

It takes a lot of work to make something that sounds simply beautiful rather than simply dull. In fact, Blasterjaxx and Rosette’s ‘No Place Like Home’ is nothing short of daring. Featuring organic and natural instrumental components and sexy beats, this piece is an absolute pleasure to listen to. Expect this to be a hit at festivals that take place on the beach or in parks.

It starts off with a popping bass and a compressed melody that gradually decompresses and increases in volume. Elements of this track sprinkle and scatter to create a very exciting sensation for the ears. Then, a smooth transition is made as the track goes into the breakdown. After a brief silence, there’s nothing but the crisp sound of the guitar and the soothing female vocals of Rosette. The guitar strumming works surprising well with the digital elements when merged, which is a pleasant surprise. Although the cliché build up might be a bit too sharp, the drop isn’t too intense or destructive at all. Thankfully, most elements were well balanced.

One may not expect to hear electro house tracks to sound groovy and relaxing or nostalgic at the same time, but ‘No Place Like Home’ is a ground-breaking and exceptional case that brings people back to basics. The track was released on the 20th and is now available on Beatport.

Overall rating: 10/10

Digital Punk & Frequencerz ft. MC Nolz – We Still Don’t Give A F_ck

Published on Beatsmedia 21 February 2015: http://beatsmedia.com/digital-punk-frequencerz-ft-mc-nolz-we-still-dont-give-a-f_ck/

The Hardstyle gangsters have teamed up on Scantraxx Recordz to bring the darkest, rawest track I’ve heard from Scantraxx this year. This collaboration features artists: Frequencerz, who are among the most popular Hardstyle duos in Australia previously signed to Fusion Records, and MC Nolz.

The introduction itself refuses to spare a moment, so don’t expect to be gently led into this track. Even while the melody is compressed, listeners can feel the intensity that refuses to be tamed. In the breakdown, the rattling, the modification of Nolz’s vocals, the tinkling chains…These Hardstyle producers take every opportunity to build and maintain dramatic suspense. The lyrics are simple and MC Nolz starts off like he’s having a conversation with a fellow raver, before he begins to make loud and powerful declarations. It adequately represents the atmosphere of a Hardstyle rave and the rebellious attitudes of each raver. In fact, Nolz’s words are still audible despite the powerful growls and screeches of the synths and melodies. Evidently, the track is well mastered.

This is not for the people who like cheesy tunes and most definitely not for the weak. This is for the Hardstyle ravers who want to have their heads explode at a rave where the volume is loud and vibrations can be felt flowing through every vessel.

‘We Still Don’t Give A F_ck’ will be released through A2 Records on the 18th of February.

Overall rating: 10/10

D-Block and S-te-fan, and Rebourne – Louder

If you’ve been listening to Hardstyle for a while, you’ll know that D-Block and S-te-fan have been around for quite some time. Their recent releases are alright, but their latest collaboration with Rebourne on Fusion Records really captured my attention. These producers have made some pretty nice melodies, even though I typically associate their style with roughness. For me, it’s an unexpected combination and the result is just as surprising.

The producers have really excelled in melding both of their styles and strengths together. Once the track starts, it flows so well that you’ll feel as if you don’t want it to end. Both the vocalist and the melody share the spotlight, complementing each other from start to finish despite their differences. Everything is so solid and steady that none of these melodic elements are fighting for attention. The track never fails to build suspense after each breakdown and the part with the kicks just keep you going. The producers manage to maintain momentum with simplicity rather than over-dramatization.

Despite slight grammatical errors in lines like “you can’t turn this energy aside”, the lyrics describe my feelings for this track quite well. No Hardstyle fan can resist dancing to this. Enjoy the continuous waves of empowerment!

Louder will be released via Fusion Records on 23/2/2015

Gorgon City ft. Jennifer Hudson – Go All Night (Freemasons Remix)

Gorgon City released an album in December 2014 and it appears that a few of their releases will be lifted off the album and released in the form of multiple singles. I received the ‘Go All Night’ remixes in my inbox today. Seems a bit late, but better late than never!

Firstly, let’s start with the original mix. Unfortunately, it was plain and just like any other House track. I didn’t hear any new sound effects, cool arrangements or interesting moments that made me go wow. No transitions that led to anything more exciting or original. Gorgon City really seemed to be holding back a lot or staying safe.

On the other hand, every element in the Freemasons remix was considerably amplified, edgy and filled with attitude. Those descending bass lines were simple yet complemented Jennifer Hudson’s vocals perfectly. Freemasons were not afraid to be bold with twangs while adding classic, funky elements here and there. This remix strikes the perfect remix between the old elements and the new. Not to mention, I really liked that creepy, echoing component towards the outro. It was quite a cheeky move.

I tried to find the release date of the Freemasons remix, but it wasn’t really clearly stated anywhere. I went on iTunes via the Global PR Pool link, but it said the release wasn’t available in Australia. I do know the original mix was released in December 2014, but I wasn’t sure if these remixes were released afterwards. Anyway, if you know the date, feel free to tell me in the comments and I’ll update this post.

Watch out for the Freemasons remix!

Urbanstep – Stronger

Published on Beatsmedia 11/02/2015
http://beatsmedia.com/urbanstep-stronger/

Urbanstep’s releases are regularly featured on one of my favourite Dubstep channels on YouTube, so the name certainly does capture my attention whenever I see an upload. In fact, most of Urbanstep’s releases, including this one, would be released as a free download. What a treat!

The instrumental components in ‘Stronger’ sound quite unconventional, but that also what makes this track so exciting. Regardless of how emotional, ballad-like elements and intense urban sounds seem like opposing, contrasting elements in isolation, they also work together due to excellent arrangements and transitions. One can clearly hear how much of a challenge it must be to produce a track that flows so well. The wobbles are intermittent, yet the synths and compression levels make it fully charged with energy. Despite its power, it doesn’t upset the balance of the track at all and is not too loud, so the way this track has been mastered is absolutely amazing.

‘Stronger’ is now available as a free download on Urbanstep SoundCloud’s page. Feel free to grab more free tunes while you’re there!