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HARD DANCE: AUGUST

01 August 2011
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HARD DANCE: AUGUST

COMPILATION OF THE MONTH
Various: Riot! in Ibiza (Riot!)

Even as I write this there is sun beaming through the windows, but the true measure of summer’s arrival is the release of Riot!’s annual Ibiza compilation. The usual format is present and correct – two CDs, mixed by the ubiquitous Scott Attrill and one of the major forces in European hard dance, Luca Antolini. The album is crammed full of exclusives from UK artists with many up-front tracks on Traffic and Riot! given an airing by Scott, while Luca allows a bit more running time for his own productions from his recent ‘Mastermind’ artist album and United Styles imprint. You should know what to expect by now: thumping, cutting edge current and future anthems from the brightest stars in hard electrik, tech dance and European hard dance and trance scenes, with enough of everything from soaring breakdowns and soothing FX to crunchy basslines and rattling percussion to satisfy lovers of the harder styles out there.
Highlights
Scott Attrill ‘The Puzzle’
Organ Donors ‘Subtle 5ths’
Joe Rogers ‘Drenched’
Luca Antolini feat Candyman01 ‘Rewind’
5/5
Buy & Download here

TUNE OF THE MONTH
Leon B
Zillatron (Traffic)

Leon is really doing the business at the moment with a never-ending stream of forward-thinking, euphoric-then-nasty bangers which you will have read a review or two of before. ‘Zillatron’ takes the all-encompassing and global hard electrik sound and lobs a dash of Tabasco in to the mix, with maybe a few extra chillies to finish. It has a techier feel to the percussion and drums than Scott Attrill’s productions, and despite a bit of
groove – or what might be called funk in other circumstances – to the bassline, the grittiness takes it somewhere else entirely.
5/5
Buy & Download here

Kevin Energy & Nick The Kid
Live Your Passion (BK’s Hardstep remix) (Tranzlation)

Another genre-bender from BK (see also his massive ‘Ching’ released this month) which combines a bit of a dubstep element with his trademark pumping techno tinge and the mighty riff from the original to great effect. If you’re after more straight-up euphoria, head to the original hard trancer. Kevin is sadly winding up
Nu Energy on a massive high and taking a break from DJing after 16 years at the top – one of the most talented musicians in hard dance.
4/5
Buy & Download here

NXT.WAV
Smalltown, USA (Cultivate)

The brand spanking new label from Phil York and Fausto kicks off with this heavyweight tune from the intriguingly monikered NXT.WAV. The label was set up to cater for the burgeoning global tech-dance scene, and hits that particular nail square on the noggin here. An almost old-skool, trance-like bassline (but with a bit more spine) carries the track along and complements the full, simple side-chained riff and edits well. Something tells me this isn’t their first production.
3/5
Buy & Download here

Robbie Muir
Buzz Tribute (Tidy)

The follow-up to the huge Tidy Weekender Anthem ‘Bodyrock’ is here, and I’m happy to report that it doesn’t disappoint. A rework of a classic trance tune doesn’t really describe what Robbie has done. The result is a full-on hard house number with more balls than Wimbledon, which still retains an engaging euphoria over the raucous synths and will ignite any dance (or bedroom) floor.
4/5
Buy & Download here

Tom Brown
Not A Virus (Bionic)

This is easily the best track I’ve heard from Bionic this year. Very original and sitting somewhere between hard-style, tech dance, hard trance and more European sounds from the likes of Andrea Montorsi et al, ‘Not A Virus’ has a bit of everything in it. Riffs, syncopated rhythms, sawtooth basslines, cuts, fills, and even an old-skool hoover make an appearance before the drop catches you out with its pitchbent bassline and unsurpassed bosh factor. Tom is one to keep your eye on.
5/5
Buy & Download here

Pradera
This Moment (Dutch Master Works)

A tasty slice of what Headhunterz say doesn’t exist – nustyle – on the prolific DMW next, with this anthemic effort from label regulars Pradera. I’m not sure what else it should be called, since it’s so different from old-skool hardstyle, and it all sounds so... similar. But I digress. ‘This Moment’ is a touch formulaic, but well produced with a half-decent riff and a female vocal that isn’t heavily accented English but actual English – which rather bucks the trend.
3/5
Buy & Download here

Ian M
Bang Yer Mind (Vicious Circle)

You read that right, Ian M has once again hit the studio and come up with some dance-floor destroyers: first was ‘Crank’, then ‘Where R Da Drums’, and now this beaut on Vicious. Each has that certain god-knows-what that set his productions apart when he first started releasing in the heady days of Trade: a particular drive and energy. ‘Bang Yer Mind’ is no-nonsense hard house at its finest – just right for finishing a club full of people off.
4/5
Buy & Download here

Joe-E
Decadance (Virus Audio)

Virus Audio has pumped out some big tracks of late, on the disgusting/heavyweight tech-dance tip, with some excellent lighter material appearing on the Virus Audio White sub-label. ‘Decadance’ is an old-skool piano and slamming techno hybrid that’ll have floors gyrating. It’s a smidgen on the ridiculous side for my techno tastes, but hey, I’m getting old.
3/5
Buy & Download here

Alex Kidd & In2ition
Wasting Time (Kiddfectious)

More evidence that Alex Kidd doesn’t like hardstyle. FACT. And while that statement isn’t true, he’s certainly moved away from it with his own productions. ‘Wasting Time’ rides the techy wave away from hardstyle beach just enough that you don’t really notice the influences too much, which have been combined with some fresh sounds and ideas to create this new sound. A good deal softer than some of his previous works on the label – perhaps he’s getting old too.
4/5
Buy & Download here

Valex & Andy Farley
Dr Dot (Nitrox)

A handy collaboration from one of the most in-demand new producers around, and a scene stalwart. ‘Dr Dot’ has been a standout track in both their sets for some time, thanks to its meat content. You might think Dr Dot was an Aberdeen Angus farmer but the name actually comes from a vocal loop. Set around a devastating bassline and two very simple riffs, it’s yet more proof (if proof were needed) that less can be more.
3/5

Kutski & BRK3
Lamp (ASYS Remix) (IHDS)

I’ve raved about ASYS on this page before, and with good reason. Like Andy Farley, Sam Punk or Scott Attrill he’s been at the pointy end of the scene for years, and never ceases to drive the sound forward. The original ‘Lamp’ was good if mental and jittery, and this remix takes that disturbing aural imagery, gives it an extra twist, and adds a flow that raises the bar.
5/5
Buy & Download here

TAGS: ALEX KIDD & IN2ITION / DAVE CURTIS / HARD DANCE / IAN M / JOE-E / KEVIN ENERGY & NICK THE KID / KUTSKI & BRK3 / PRADERA / ROBBIE MUIR / TOM BROWN / VALEX & ANDY FARLEY

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