Severin feat. Rama Duke – Too Good

So the new year started, and I’m still behind with my writing schedule. This year seems very promising for an awesome amount of talent in the dance/edm scene, and while digging through all those submissions on my desk, the newest track of Severin and Rama Duke instantly stuck to my head. So, without wasting more time, let’s have a look on some outstanding dance material, shall we folks?

Singer/songwriter Rama Duke came up with the song and did those seductive vocals. Teaming with amazing producer Emil Severin they created a dance track full of surprises you wouldn’t necessarily expect. For instance, there are some elements used that are reminding me very much of chiptune, the vocals are blended into the whole track perfectly, and the melbourne-typical changes are done in an outstanding manner. Severin did an awesome job in using many tricks he has up his sleeve without overloading the whole track, my personal favorite being those complete cuts except for single tracks, like vocal one-shots or something. Goosebump guarantee when heard on a main stage.
“Too Good” delivers a very fast-paced, raw high energy along with the music. You feel like having to move even when sitting at your desk while listening. Although there’s a ton of real good female vocalists out there, I think Rama Duke stands out of the rest and brings something special to the table. It’s not easy to describe, but it’s a perfect mix of seduction and sassiness in those vocals. Those vocals are topping this piece of cake with some icing, so to speak.

Both of the involved artists have some accomplishments on their resumee so far, but that’s really not important to me. My focus always lies on if or if not the music triggers something in me. Accomplishments don’t mean squat if your music isn’t kicking, right. And, “Too Good” does the job, ladies and gentleman. This is a great dance track made for getting people moving, and I can see that big dancefloor filled with boys and girls going crazy on this one.

Noréll – Damage Done

Today’s pick is a lightweight scandi-pop tune which makes you groove, smile and maybe even look at everything in a different way.

What attracted me the most with this track were those female vocals you won’t hear everyday. The danish trio Viktor Hagner, Marìe Louise Persson Bjarnarson and Nichlas Malling, better known as Noréll, took a pop based idea with a defensive and clean synth line and also clear bass synth layers, and they layered those awesome crisp, slightly high pitched vocals on top of it. This alone makes you lift your head or raise an eyebrow. See what just happened? You got curious. That’s creating signature sound 101, folks. Inventing something no one else comes up with is already half of the bargain to be successful out there. Also, the official video coming along with this track is dance oriented, and although this isn’t really my cup of tea, so to speak, it is sticking to my head since I saw it yesterday. See? That’s creativity at it’s best.
The mix of the track is solid. The vocals are placed front and center, and all additional effect layers and one-shots are not disturbing the flow or anything. The created room reverb (put on headphones, guys) is chosen with great sense of detail, one bit less, it would have come out flat, too much, and you got a too big cave effect. This track is something to make you move, although it’s more of a groove feeling than a dance feeling, at least for me. Base theme is happy, I almost was reminded of some japanese pop I heard recently, but without the hectic drive attached to it.

Overall, I found myself listening to this track on repeat, constantly moving my head from left to right. Noréll brings their signature sound to the table, and the lightweight track “Damage Done” is a multi-purpose track no matter where you are or what you’re doing. Take your time to check out their other works on Soundcloud or Spotify as well, it’s really worth it. Attention, competition out there: those guys are a force to be reckoned with in the pop genre.

Plastic Funk – Ever

Too bad the summer is leaving the helm, handing over to autumn. I found a track which easily could make the next summer hit out there. Anyway, this one really made me think about rescheduling my plans for tonight, going to go to a club instead of staying home with my cat. “Ever” is really something that makes you wanna dance, and here’s why that is.

The main concept of the new track of the german duo Rafael Ximenez-Carrillo and Mikio Gruschinske, better known as “Plastic Funk”, is not new – I encountered several elements that belong into the category “been there, heard that”. But, what makes the track stand out from the rest is the intelligent combination of the known elements. The drum/bass combination is taking you steadily throughout the whole track, the vocal chops are pitched and and cut in a manner that’s never boring at all, and the breaks and buildups are done with a level of experience that simply shows that the guys of Plastic Funk knows what they are doing. Of course they do, being very busy with producing and playing big dancefloors for some time now. Producing, DJ-ing, you name it – those guys have an extended skill set, and therefore its only the logical next step they came up with this floor filler anthem which was distributed under the label Armada Deep.

This one’s a track Rafel and Mikio like to put into the genre what they call “bliss house” – for all you out there who serious feel the need to dance. If you think THAT one makes you move, I recommend heading over to Plastic Funk’s soundcloud page, they have a load of other tracks for you to check out. Now excuse me…I’ve got to tell my cat that he has to stay home alone tonight, because I will be searching for a club that plays this song.

Ronin – Fight Club

Besides an irrestistible drive that makes you wanna move your body, this one somehow goes deeper than the usual dance tune.

Yes, this track indeed is related to David Finchers movie “Fight Club” released in 1999 because it’s using audio excerpts out of it. Another similarity in my opinion is the unusual approach to the audience. The idea of the track is quite simple and minimalistic, but the implementation of all the little bits and pieces is done outstandingly.
The intro is a bit long, taking away about a minute for the first buildup. I read in the track description that the track was used as an opener for a outdoor event, keeping that in mind the long intro makes sense. But when I finished hearing the track I immediately was thinking about remixes of this track. I definitely would want that track to be remixed in at least three different versions. It totally see (or better: hear) that happening, but those ideas have just to be developed.
For now, after the intro you are hit with a genius minimal drum/bass combination alongside a crisp synth line. I love when tracks are not overdone in any way, many times the main synth melody is a very complex, arpeggiated track, but in this case Caleb Smith aka Ronin shows how it’s done with sufficient, but still minimal melody usage. For the breaks the mix is stirred up with several pitched vocal layers. Those are helping the track to gain momentum before you’re hit with the next beat section. While you are listening, close your eyes for a second. See that? Main stage, light effects, fog, exstatic people dancing… there’s the magic happening, just like that.

Ronin is not a newbie on the scene. It just shows in his productions that he has experience in producing and spinning the turntables as well. Being resident DJ in several locations over the last years, with producing “Fight Club” he just added another great track to his arsenal. If you have some time on your hands, you should give the tracks on his soundcloud account labeled as “Ronin Radio” a listen. Those are compilations of Ronin the DJ (where he also sneaks in his own productions, of course). But be warned: there’s some serious dancing involved if you do.

/ˈlo͞osid/ – X-Ray (ft. Lyon Hart)

Describing the latest track of /ˈlo͞osid/ in detail will be a hard thing to do. I’ll do my best.

Let’s start with the attribute “uplifting”. This track makes me feel good, it’s a great dance tune although there are changes happening every other second. But I like this unsteady behavior of music, of course only if it’s done properly. The guys of the US project “/ˈlo͞osid/” have the right sense to mix up steadiness with unexpected things. Everything falls in line, and the flow never gets interrupted by anything happening in the track. There is a quite fat bass track used – first I thought this was a bit too much, but /ˈlo͞osid/ managed to build in several breaks and calm pieces where you actually start to miss that fat distorted bass line. Also, they found a great balance between adding male vocals and concentrating on the driving melody/drum combination. In other words: I wasn’t able to sit still when listening to that track.
In the end you can say that the style of /ˈlo͞osid/ has many elements of many styles in it, I hear various stuff in there – edm, electro, house, dubstep… you name it. That’s the make-up of their original sound, and that’s what makes it so hard putting them into a specific genre. So, if you want me to name the genre of this group, I’m gonna name it “lo͞olectro”.

The group itself remains sort of a mystery. /ˈlo͞osid/ keeps their identities and their background information strictly confidential. Although this is quite a nice gimmick, for me as a writer it’s bugging me. I gotta admit I was searching the net for some snippets on them to find, but wasn’t able to do so. There you have it, raising interest through withholding information. Job well done, guys. I’m sure you not only got my attention with that PR stunt, hehe.
Anyway, for this track /ˈlo͞osid/ teamed with Lyon hart, a New York based singer/songwriter. Since I’m lacking additional information here regarding who-did-what, I just can say that this team works out very well. So, finally there’s to say that with “X-Ray” the world got a great dance tune for mainstages. Not too aggressive but quite addictive. I’m curious what comes next from those guys.

Irishjohn – Juno

Until today, I never imagined that the work of the Jupiter polar Orbiter could be peaceful, happy and fun.

Do you even know Juno? Besides originating from greek mythology, that’s the name of an orbiter module packed into the running NASA new frontier program, and it’s mission is to collect data from Jupiter. Dublin based producer Irishjohn now set up a electro/edm track, picking up Juno as a concept for this track. What I first expected to be a dark, uncomfortable environment (after all it’s deep space, right?) turned out to be a very nice and soothing track everybody can enjoy and dance to.
The beat and bass combination is pretty minimalistic and steady which acts like the foundation of the whole track. Due to the fact that it’s a great alternating baseline, combined with an arpeggiated synth for the main melody, this track is just making you move a bit, and with several changes happening there, like a break or a slight change in the arpeggio of the synth, the track brings the last missing piece of the puzzle to the table – that would be creative arrangment.
To compare the track itself to the Juno mission: it’s doing its job steadily and like it’s supposed to be. (I guess it wasn’t that expensive to produce though, haha.) There aren’t too much exciting things going on, but that’s really not necessary. Irishjohn found a main melody that works just fine, and managed to combine it with all the things necessary to make people move. To state the major negative thing in the track, it’s that changing synth sweep done with high tones. In my opinion that happens too often, being too present in the high eq band. Besides that, this one is an all-purpose tune for clubs as well as background music in bars or something like that.

Irishjohn did another track obviously from the same run called “The Cassini Divison” where he used basically the same elements and instruments he did with “Juno”, this one is another track worth checking out. Also, you’ll find a bunch of other tracks on his soundcloud acccount.

Diego Bacar – Distant Love

Imagine a foggy morning. Jogging on a trail above the big city. Keeping your mind clear and your focus steady. Running down the miles easily with this track on your headphones. It just doesn’t get better than this. Believe me.

With “Distant Love”, the newest track of Diego Bacar, everything falls in line. Using an excellent arpeggiated synth line as a main theme in different variations, Bacar abducts your ears to a place where everything seems crisp, clear and where it should be.
Starting with a somehow familiar heartbeat-like intro, the track serves you a flat and easy going beat/synth combination which doesn’t give away too much right away. The producer did a masterful job in changing pace within these 6 minutes of track. When you get used to the main theme, he puts on the breaks so to speak, giving the stage to a warm, slightly distorted piano along a string instrument, reminding you that the connection between classical components and deep house or trance is just depending on several key elements. I love it when an artist is able to switch quickly between genres, showing the listener the way to actually drop prejudices against other genres. It’s an artform not mastered by many, similar to a real good magician. Whenever he does something you never saw or heard before, you always wonder: how the heck does he do that? Well, Diego Bacar is that magician.

Following his work for a couple of months now, I noticed a major upgrade in his mixing and mastering skills as well. After this track it has gotten quiet around him – I really hope that he’s just working on the next track by now. He’s got the tool set to produce big ones out there.

Trizzoh – Heavy Metal (Vocal Mix)

Finally – I found a great one today! We’re talking serious dancing here. Not some lightweight, soda sippin’ background stuff with twelve people on the dancefloor – this one’s more of a major floor anthem.

Long Island resident Joey Petrizzo aka Rizzoh used a distorted synth as a main element in this track. After a standard DJ-friendly intro he lets you know right away that he is serious this time, striking your ears with that mean synth sound, somehow driving you mad but getting your head moving at the same time.
Over the whole track, Rizzoh is playing with several styles of the main theme, be it a long played and slightly reverbed fat sound or a short, arpeggiated version of the same melody with softer synth. This mixture keeps the track alive, and combined with several great drops in there I can imagine the club crowd go wild when hitting them with light effects and the good, old fog machine.
The track even comes with a choice, Trizzoh decided to upload another mix where he left out the vocal oneshots which also is a nice fit. I think the vocal mix is better though, since the additional interesting vocal stems lift the track up to be mainstream material. The overall mix seems solid, I didn’t notice any glitches or bad eq choices of the production.

I admit it, I just love fat distorted synth bass lines. Those are what keep people moving out there in my opinion. It’s that drive, that raw feeling that just makes me feel good when listening. With that momentum-creating drive, Trizzoh’s new track even would fit a workout routine music… So, if you’re up for something that makes your body move, this one’s for you!

Gerjo – Deeper Love (Crowd Version)

A main melody can carry a whole track by itself. Dutch producer Gerjo Hamer shows us how it’s done.

The beat in this track is pretty basic, steady going. When introduced to the main synth melody, I wondered where the artist was going with that, so I went on listening. Gerjo mixed up several synth tracks together along several one shots and effects. I gotta admit that that the overall mix does indeed sound a little too compressed and crisp in my opinion, but what made me recommend this one was the intelligent usage, mix and merge of those synth lines. First you have this somewhat catchy main melody, then you get this dancy chopped tune later on that just makes you wanna dance… at this time I feel like I stumbled over the next late summer blockbuster for the clubs, if there were e.g. some vocal stems in it. I really like the flow of the song. When you got used to that dancy grrove, Gerio mixes in additional percussion elements (in thtis case, sort of conga beats), making the track even more moving than it already is.

Although Gerjo in my opinion is missing that special something to go big on stages right now, I felt like letting you guys know that there’s another producer out there who just tapped into the seriousness of making dance music. Gerjo knows what he’s doing, and I’m sure I’m not the only one being curious with what he’ll come up next. There are a couple of tracks available on his soundcloud account which give you insight of the special ‘musical attire’ Gerjo is working towards.

Allena – Mon Amour

With basic music elements and a beautiful voice it’s possible to attract the ears of many. Magdalena Urumova aka Allena shows with her new track “Mon Amour” that she’s got everything needed to go big on the stages out there.

The song itself is pretty 101, there can be found a calm synth and a basic drum, combined with several one shots and reverb effects along arpeggiated piano stems. The vocal tracks were partly produced with quite excessive use of auto-tune, which can kill a track on the spot – but not this one. Although the singer doesn’t need auto tune effects or pitch correction at all, the track stays interesting with that mixture of original voice track and auto-tuned tracks.
All hardware, pitching and effects aside, what really makes me love this song is the vocal ability of Allena. She has a calm, clear and crisp singing voice which shows that she has a lot of power behind that, but for this track she restrains herself due to the topic of the song.
The belgian singer with russian roots cannot hide a certain accent when singing english – but in my opinion it’s exactly that accent that gives her that special something. We all have heard native singers a lot, but as a listener I just like when you hear someone singing, thinking “I wonder where he/she comes from and what his/her story is”. Mixing the lyrics between english and french in this track, it gets even more interesting, trust me.

Allena proves with this track that she wants to go big out there in the business. In my opinion, she has the tool set to do so, with the right management and producers on board this won’t be the last we heard from this outstanding talent. Browsing through her soundcloud and youtube accounts, you can find additional tracks and clips from the beautiful uprising talent.