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COMPILATION OF THE MONTH
Mixed by Andy Whitby
This Is AWsum! (AWSUM)
With one or two rather risqué vocals, this isn’t the album to buy your nipper for Christmas – but don’t let that put you off. This is AWsum pretty much as you’d imagine it would be – a quick-fire romp through the very cutting edge of today’s UK hard dance scene, showcasing its many and varied guises.There are big wind-ups into twisted electro drops, passionate hard trance riffs, filthy synth-led bangers and a hint of a donk here and there. There’s more than a touch of cheddar mixed in there as well, but it is fun, energetic music with more originality than most will give it credit for, all mixed together in Mr Whitby’s sought after, super-fast style. If you aren’t a music snob, then you could do a hell of a lot worse than grabbing this.
Andy Whitby ‘U Ready?’ (Technikal remix)
Andy Whitby & Technikal ‘Rumble’ (Karlston Khaos remix)
TUNE OF THE MONTH
Child Of The Guillotine Act 2 (Technikal remix) (METAMORPH)
You would have to be a complete idiot not to have realised the talent of Alf Bamford by now, but even so he can still surprise you every now and then by getting something so right. He had a pretty good track to start with, in fairness, but his remix has elevated this hard trance beast
to a gritty-yet-euphoric, solid-kicked cheeky dancefloor destroyer, perfect for today’s hard dance clubs and the new generation of fans out there who like their hard beats happy.
JP & Jukesy
Make It Boom (DEPRIVATION)
This DJing and production duo has come up with some great tracks over the years, but ‘Make It Boom’ might just top it for me. There’s not a lot more to it than a cracking old-skool riff, a sweet vocal in the excellently programmed breakdown and a truck-load of hard house bits and bobs filling in the gaps – but it’s not what you’ve got, it’s what you do with it, apparently. This isn’t groundbreaking, but who cares? It isn’t trying to be, and it rocks.
Cally Gage & Gammer
Breakneck (BASTARD N-GAGED)
Aiming straight for the hard dance jugular with this release are Cally & Gammer, aka Matt Lee. Blending the hardcore vibes which have made him one of the top producers in that scene with Cally’s hard dance nous, ‘Breakneck Bastard’ has to be one of the best hard dance tunes I’ve heard this year. It’s got an absolutely thumping electro bassline with a great, recognisable melodic hook in the breakdown and perfect production values – what more do you need?
Anticipation (Perfect Poise remix) (DIRECT DRIVE)
Nostalgia brings a tear to the eye. Perfect Poise is a relatively new name to the scene with a smattering of releases over recent times – notably on Tidy Trax – but there will be plenty more to come on the strength of productions like this. The original is an energetic trancer, but this remix is a Tidy Two-style monster. It’s uplifting and full of energy, but without that slightly horrible shininess which has been the downfall of many a half-decent melody.
Monotone (Organ Donors remix) (HIGH CONTRAST)
First they remix Sean Tyas on Armada, now Marcel Woods on High Contrast. What’ll be next for the Donors – Leona Lewis? It must be a tough job balancing hard dance with a label that rarely exceeds 135 bpm, but I think they’ve done a sterling job here, getting their trademark sound across while turning in a true remix of what’s an iconic release in Marcel’s discography. It can only be a good thing getting harder beats exposed to fresh ears in this way.
Just ignore the vocal Preposterous vocal aside (“Suck my motherf...” – you get the idea), Kiddfectious have turned in another cool and unusual track here, maintaining their recent direction in the new genre of ‘slightly out there’. Steering clear of the hardstyle yet again, ‘SMD’ has a whole lot more going for it, including an infectious groove to the dirty bassline, a whopping riff in the breakdown and some neat production touches and crazy riffery after the drop, which keep the ears pricked.
Psycloud & Frank Farrell
This ever-original pair have come up with a slightly bruising (but masochistically pleasurable) eight minutes of rumbling hard house power on the impressive Slingshot. It’s been one of the standout tracks at nights I’ve been to recently, thanks to two factors: it might be hard but it’s still darkly melodic, and it boasts a particularly memorable sound that isn’t a million miles away from a cat miaowing – but a lot better than I’ve just made it sound.
Ehh Yeah (THERABYTE)
Outdated filth brought up to date. This sounds like it should have been made about 15 years ago (albeit with the improved sound quality that comes with modern productions). It has that techy, ragged, Kaylab-esque, early hard trance sound with deep, rolling, gritty synth riffs and the kind of structure you don’t really come across much these days. Nice to hear that sort of music dragged kicking and screaming into the 21st century.
Nomad vs Wragg & Log:One
There I was, sitting down perfectly happily listening to some tracks, when all of a sudden I was on the floor with concussion and the most phenomenal bassy riff was blasting out. There’s little warning of it, and no real reason for it to be there at all – though it does set this European hard trance track apart from the crowd and adds a certain I-know-exactly-what to the breakdown. The rest of it isn’t bad, either.
Too Many Artists
Get Exact Blackout (DISCOVER DARK)
If they just played music like this at trance nights, I’d be there twice a week. Too Many Artists is the brainchild of Indecent Noise, the black sheep of the trance family who beats the others up. It’s essentially a mash-up of a few big Discover tracks, including John O’Callaghan & Bryan Kearney’s massive ‘Exactly’, which takes care of the break-down. The rest of it’s made out of sticks and stones, basically.
Thilo & Evanti
Reflections (Josh Lang remix) (IHDS)
A little bit weyyyy, a little bit werrrr. I’ve heard a few tracks from Josh recently, and this isn’t his best. It morphs between sections with a hugely distorted kick and bass, and sections without. Add an intentionally detuned/pitching riff to the mix and you have something that doesn’t really float my boat. Head for the original mix or Josh’s ‘The Rush’, also out on IHDS around now.