Bass Modulators – Our Dreams

The melodic sounds of Bass Modulators are sensational and at times, hypnotizing. Their most repeated track on my iPod of all time is their ‘Anthem of Summer’. Even in the coldest winter’s nights, the track can instantly make me think of warm rays of sunlight. Today, I noticed that they were responsible for composing this year’s Dream Village 2015 anthem. After listening to a whole lot of monotonous Hardstyle releases, this certainly gave me some much needed relief.

I adore the free, adventurous and positive theme of this song. The wording of the lyrics were well written and chosen. That is, if you exclude the slight disconnection between the lyrical declaration “I will never ever give you up” and “we’re running wild…”. It really suits the vibe of an outdoor festival, where everyone can dance to their hearts’ content in a huge, grassy field. Definitely worthy of being sung by a huge crowd.

Although their ability to compose wonderful melodies and lyrics does not leave room for much doubt, there was a down side to the track: There were re-used high-pitch notes and synthesising techniques between the vocal parts. All you have to do is compare it to the choruses of Atmozfears’ ‘Release‘ (released a few months before ‘Our Dreams’), Adrenalize’s remix of ‘Starlight‘, and Bass Modulators’ very own ‘Oxygen‘. It even reminded me of Code Black’s releases ‘Starting Over‘ and ‘New World‘.

Is this recycling phenomenon good news for all the DJs who want to link tracks in a set? Are the producers just following a formula of success? Is it just a trend that will pass? Or, if it will pass, how much longer do I have to wait for it to evolve? I don’t know. Maybe, remembering too many details of Hardstyle tracks like this makes me an absolute party pooper. After all, ‘Our Dreams’ is not bad to the point where I’d walk away, so I can still convince myself to enjoy it. Not to mention, I’m sure the people who love getting drunk at festivals all the time won’t even notice, right? Maybe some people would hope so.

Mad Dog - Not My Tempo

Mad Dog – Not My Tempo

This title is the best phrase that can be used to describe the feeling I get when I’m in the mood for Hardcore and no other genre satisfies that craving. It instantly drew me in and when I finally found the time to press play, I was in for the ride of my life. It’s as if Mad Dog himself could read my mind.

Although it wouldn’t be surprising for anyone to hear crude lyrics in a Hardcore track, Mad Dog still managed to deliver the shock value. This is because, while some tracks rely on such narratives to make dull melodies sound edgy, Mad Dog’s sounds were just as violent as the sound bites that were used. The track has random yet well-timed tempo changes that can make hearts drop from the fall and make heads explode from the surprises. Also, the parts that were between 180BPM-200BPM just instantly puts a stake through my heart and allows all of my frustrations to evaporate into thin air.

Mad Dog’s release is jam packed with drama and entertaining from start to finish. I would advise anyone who loves Hardcore or Mad Dog’s creations to resist listening to this online and wait until you hear this live from the producer himself, especially if he tours in your area often. If Mad Dog ever played this track exclusively in a performance, I can only imagine how crazy the crowd went and envy them, from this indoor environment I’m currently writing in.

‘Not My Tempo’ has been released on Traxtorm Records.

Brennan Heart – Hard Bass Junkie (Digital Punk Remix)

Hello to the darkest corners of the internet! I’ve been super busy with some commitments in real life, so I’m struggling to find more time and inspiration to write more frequently. I’m basically taking full advantage of my urge to express my feelings about Digital Punk’s release right now, before I collapse on my cosy bed.

There was a time when I really liked Digital Punk’s style, particularly back when he was still releasing tracks through Tillt. However, after ‘Bringing The Funk’, I felt as though he delivered less than what I had been expecting. During the last time I saw him live at Sydney’s Bass Control, Digital Punk relied on playing several G4H tracks in a row, which was kind of disappointing. Don’t get me wrong. I don’t hate G4H or raw Hardstyle, but playing tracks from the same artist too many times in a row isn’t exactly the most creative way to play a set.

Anyway, let’s leave the past in the past. At this moment in time, I declare a change of heart. My doubts about Digital Punk were cleared after I heard his remix of Brennan Heart’s Hard Bass Junkie. For those of you who haven’t heard the original piece, play the clip below and you’ll hear the squeaky cheekiness combined with a catchy melody. It’s certainly one of the most addictive Hardstyle tracks that brings out the feelings within every Hardstyle fan.

In the remix, Digital Punk’s kicks are deep yet crisp and impactful, which makes things devilishly satisfying. This remix of Brennan Heart’s ‘Hard Bass Junkie’ cuts to the chase. Every kick acts like a blade that stabs straight into the toughest core. Nothing like Digital Punk’s collaboration with Hard Driver in ‘Crash ‘n Burn’, which seems to take too much time in building up to a chorus that doesn’t really hit the spot. I was also reminded of similar techniques that were used in my favourite track titled ‘We Still Don’t Give A F*ck‘, especially when I heard the compressed breakdown cause the vocals to sound like it was combined with a whispered version.

Digital Punk’s kicks are, without a doubt, among one of my favourite Hardstyle sounds right now. I’m looking forward to hearing what Digital Punk will come up with next and I’m going to pay close attention to his next original mix.

Sub Sonik - Go F*ck Yourself

Sub Sonik – Go F*ck Yourself

Sub Sonik has released a raw track titled ‘Go F*ck Yourself’ under its sub label WE R Raw. I would usually consider this label to be one that has its forte in more melodically uplifting styles, so this is quite a surprise for me. Though, perhaps the fact that I didn’t know about the sub labels until now probably means I’m just slightly out of the loop. Heh.

In segments where there are repetitions of three notes, operatic chants, taunting messages and a temporary slowdown of the kick tempo, the track really projects the picture of a gangster crew, confidently strutting down the middle of a deserted road and facing the enemy they’re about to beat up. The chorus primarily consists of ascending chords, contrasted by descending chords in the breakdown. Although the techniques used are not new, they have all been combined and timed quite well to create suspense.

On the other hand, although I am a Hardstyle fan who loves these raw elements, upon repeating this release, things gradually moved towards dullness. For starters, as Kronos seems to have hinted in one of his Instagram videos, lots of artists rely on repetitious profanity to add attitude to their Hardstyle track. Also, although the track reminds me of rebellious attitudes, as the title indicates, the entire track is focused on musically interpreting the phrase ‘go f*ck yourself’ and verbally repeating the phrase. This causes elements of this track to heavily hone in on one premise, rather than allowing different elements to be ever so slightly and subtly unique in its own way.

In my opinion, Sub Sonik have applied the techniques and arrangement very well in this piece. Unfortunately, the lack of originality made this track lose its charm after a few plays.

Requiem – The Consequence

This electrifying release has remained at the back of my mind after just one play on the 22nd of May. Like a ghost, it haunted me for days, and today, I finally get the chance to sit in front of the computer, play it one more time and describe how much I love it. Including this track, Requiem has had about five releases on Fusion Records. Considering how he has the ability to leap forward to such a monstrous standard of innovation in a short span of time, he certainly deserves a lot of attention in the Hardstyle scene. In fact, ‘The Consequence’ was played on episode 26 of Digital Punk’s radio show ‘Unleashed’ (thanks for the info Midshifter, a.k.a. 1/2 of Fanatics). For some reason the artist was listed as ‘ID’ in Digital Punk’s track list. How odd. Anyway, let’s get back to the topic in the next paragraph.

The main attraction the entire piece lies in the multiple kick variations contained in one track. The introductory kick is deep, punchy, not too sharp and produced in a masterfully sophisticated way, as though the subtlety is intentionally foreshadowing the emergence of more intense effects. The second type of kick drum, which is lighter and acts as more of a supporting role, is so fresh and addictive that it blew my mind away. Provided that most people tend to think that everything raw has to hit things aggressively all the time, I don’t think a lot of Hardstyle artists would even dare to include something soft like this, so this is a pretty daring move. Fortunately, as a result, Requiem managed to create a pleasant contrast and highlight well-mixed elements that accompany the kick drum. Throughout this piece, you will able to hear the more eerie effects, such as the piano notes and choir chants, very clearly. The third variation of the kick comes through in the chorus, with a more melodic twang. For a prolonged period of time, twangy kicks would sound a bit annoying, but Requiem withdrew this effect in a smooth transition with excellent timing so that the track wouldn’t fall into staleness. I’m also going to put a spotlight on how Requiem included some subtle bass notes to accompany every note of the main melody, which really helps to makes this track more addictive than it already is. I love these added bits of bass to pieces because the vibration that I feel through my headphones is very comforting to a Hardstyle fan like me.

Now, allow me to make a comment on something that’s not included in the brief, uploaded previews of this track. In the full version, there is a fair amount of speeches delivered in a hasty manner by a female voice, which probably should have been slowed and scattered in more segments. I wouldn’t want the snippets to be excluded from this dark track completely, because I certainly love the way it adds to the suspense and has hints of sorrowful regret. However, the speech just flies past far too quickly without leaving time for me to mull over things and immerse myself in its embedded storyline. Of course, it might be just my personal preference. I do know that there are people out there who hate these narrative segments, but I think there should have been a way for Requiem to balance it out a bit more. It would be great if Fusion could release both an original and instrumental edit, like what they did for Donkey Rollers’ ‘Dream Machine‘. That way we could have the best of both worlds.

Requiem’s ‘The Consequence’ will be released as part of the ‘Rebellion’ EP on the 21st of May.

PS – Check out how cute Requiem’s promotional Facebook post about his track was. :P

Darren Porter and Manuel Le Saux - Loud Noises

Darren Porter and Manuel Le Saux – Loud Noises

Published on Beatsmedia 5/7/2015: http://beatsmedia.com/darren-porter-manuel-le-saux-loud-noises/

Tytanium Recordings, a sublabel of Black Hole Recordings, have recently allowed two talented trance producers—namely, Darren Porter and Manuel Le Saux—to collaborate on a piece titled “Loud Noises.” However, contrary to the title of the track, it probably wouldn’t be something anyone would consider too loud at all. In fact, it would probably sound quite pleasant to most trance fans’ ears.

I really love how the entire track seems to pulse with every thump and how the light, airy melody creates a contrasting effect. The flurry of notes that pitter-patter their way in every now and then makes things quite exciting. Additionally, the gradual and simple build-ups really help make this track shine.

The release date for “Loud Noises” has yet to be announced, but trance fans will certainly make loud noises when it does come out.

Overall rating 8/10

Blasterjaxx & DBSTF feat. Ryder – Beautiful World (D-Block & S-Te-Fan Remix)

Published on Beatsmedia 3/5/2015: http://beatsmedia.com/blasterjaxx-dbstf-feat-ryder-beautiful-world-d-block-s-te-fan-remix/

I noticed that D-Block and S-Te-Fan (a.k.a. DBSTF) had released something on Revealed Recordings quite some time ago. In fact, it was probably way back in January. I wasn’t really into that original mix, so I didn’t pay much attention to it. But I never, ever expected D-Block and S-Te-Fan to revisit that track and create a more melodic, hardstyle-oriented remix. I do not regret clicking play on this at all!

When you first listen to this track, you probably won’t realise a major difference and think: “Oh, it’s just a sped up version with kicks added to it.” Things start to get a little interesting before the breakdown when the kicks change their pitch, then a new melody kicks in. Ladies and gentlemen, this new melody [after Ryder’s solo], is exactly what was missing from the original mix. It adds the much needed oomph to compliment the joyful lyrical content and makes everything so much more relevant to the theme of the track, which is unlike the descending chords of the original mix that tried so hard to be cool.

Due to the dullness of the track‘s intro, a lot of people might actually switch to something else rather than give this track a chance. If I wasn’t into hardstyle and didn’t already know who DBSTF were, I probably wouldn’t have kept on listening until the new melody kicked in. Nevertheless, I am glad that DBSTF revisited their collaboration with Blasterjaxx and Ryder to create such an interesting remix.

The remix was released April 24th, 2015 on Revealed Recordings. You can purchase it now on Beatport.

Kicks 7/10

Melody 10/10

Arrangement 5/10

Innovation 6/10

Overall 7/10

Junkie Kid - SPKRS

Junkie Kid – SPKRS

Published on Beatsmedia 24/4/2015: http://beatsmedia.com/junkie-kid-spkrs/

Junkie Kid is an artist who has produced progressive, electro, and hard house, which is a pretty rare and impressive combination of talents. I have never heard a contemporary hard house track until I stumbled upon his SoundCloud profile, though I certainly do wish that I could hear more hard house tracks at music festivals now.

Junkie Kid’s latest free release, titled “SPKRS”, has recently been re-posted on SoundCloud by DJ Carnage. The added bass from the intro has a deep growl that is packed with attitude and adds an exponential amount of suspense to the track. Although there are very little variations between the multiple climaxes in this track and its additions are slightly cliché, I actually wouldn’t mind replaying this track a couple of times.

There’s just something about hearing this at the standard electro house tempo that makes me want to dance with my tightly-gripped fists and elbows moving in a circular motion, though it would probably be too hard for me to put them down.

“SPKRS” is now available for free. You can download the track here.

Jack of Sound - 911

Jack of Sound – 911

Published on Beatsmedia 23/4/2015: http://beatsmedia.com/jack-of-sound-911/

There are a good handful of artists at Fusion Records who enjoy incorporating sound bites you’d expect to hear from horror movies into their tracks to help set the mood. One of them goes by the alias of Jack of Sound, and he often incorporates music-box like melodies into his tracks before promptly twisting and manipulating them, which could possibly be a technique used to reflect a sense of lost innocence and disrupted peace.

Jack of Sound’s latest release is titled “911.” In my opinion, contrary to the first impression I got from the title, this piece seems to represent fear more accurately than the sense of urgency. There is a lengthy segment of sound clips in this piece detailing the scenario of a woman being threatened by a murderer, though it seems to be lengthier than usual and doesn’t really seem to flow very well. There’s also a segment toward the end where the track is unnecessarily sped up. On the other hand, however, the kick used in this piece is amazing. It sounds slightly distant and empty, so when it’s accompanied by the cries of despair, it almost sounds as if all hope for rescue is gone.

If I go by the assumption that Jack of Sound was attempting to create a sense of urgency with this piece, I would say this track hasn’t pushed enough of the right buttons. However, if I interpret the track as a commentary on the ineffectiveness of the defence force in horror movies, this track does hit the spot to some extent. What do you think?

“911” will be released on May 4th, 2015 on Fusion Records.

Genix - Lima

Genix – Lima

Published on Beatsmedia 08/04/2015: http://beatsmedia.com/genix-lima/

Genix’s “Lima” first appeared on my SoundCloud feed when it was re-posted by Above & Beyond. According to the intro, this release was also labelled as the “record of the week” on their radio show Group Therapy.

I couldn’t resist pushing the air with my arms as soon as I heard the bass in the track’s introduction. That vibration has an insanely energetic vibe. Sure, the melody can begin to sound a little bland after a while, but I can totally understand why a DJ would, at the very least, want to mention and/or incorporate the starting segment of this tune at some point during their set.

The track was officially released on April 6th and you can purchase it now on Beatport. Not bad for an Easter party!

Intro 9/10

Melody 5/10

Originality 4/10

Overall 6/10