Simple, but Hardstyle

I briefly scratched the surface of some of the more recent Hardstyle releases through both my inbox and YouTube today. That allowed me to find two releases I’d like to mention here: One from D-Block and S-te-fan, and the other from Da Tweekaz and Neilio. The reviews of these tracks will be combined into one post for two reasons: One, because both are considered to be melodic tracks; Two, both of them still manage to make decent tracks just by keeping things simple, which is something I think any budding producer should learn how to master.

Let’s begin with D-Block and S-te-fan’s ‘Higher’. Personally, I felt as if the introduction built up to the climax more slowly than the other Hardstyle tracks I’ve heard. However, this also allowed for any variations that followed to stand out. Specifically, when the low-pitched vocals said “let the music take you higher”, snippets of the ‘er’ syllable get repeated, then tuned into notes that form a melody, merging itself into the rest of the composition. This was followed by alternations between chord notes and notes of the main melody. Very blissful indeed. Unfortunately, the biggest weakness of this release is repetitive lyrics. Catchy and addictive, but repetitive. I would have loved to loop this more if there were better lyrics.

The next track by Da Tweekaz and Neilio, titled ‘Freedom’, is an attempt to make something that Hardstyle lovers can dance to gloriously. I used the word “attempt”, because although I did enjoy the melody, I felt as if the words carry a lot of weight. Those lyrics may be more suited to something rougher or tougher, like Ran-D’s Defqon.1 2015 anthem. However, I didn’t find it difficult to let that slide, because if anything, this track can still make people feel something on the dance floor: It’ll make people want to celebrate. The octaves in the kick-chord-kick-chord alternations sounded like a carnival theme. Combined with a twinkling melody and synth twists, you can’t help but imagine colourful lights flying past your eyes.

If you’re a producer looking for some introduction to the very core of what makes Hardstyle work, but don’t want to dive into the depths of ancient history, these new tracks are certainly worth looking into. ‘Higher’ has been released through Scantraxx Records and ‘Freedom’ from the Dirty Workz label.


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

Published on Beatsmedia 3/5/2015:

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