Voices Part II
This guy is one of the most exciting producers to break into the scene because not only is the production of his music exceptionally good, he has zero respect for the boundaries that have been established — making every release an exciting surprise. 'Voice Part II' is a euphoric, melodic and chopped vocal affair in the break, but the script is flipped on the drop with a raw kick and techy screeches. This track is so far outside the box it’s very hard to describe with words. I can only recommend that, whatever style of music is your preference, you check this one track out to see an example of how creative hard music can be!
'Are You Ready'
The Aussie anthem machine is back with another dancefloor killer. This makes the perfect intro track with dramatic vocals and build on the breakdown, featuring a countdown from ten to one in the build before releasing the drop of super-cool techy beats and raw screeches. A very simple track on paper, but as with all the best dancefloor tracks, simplicity is its genius. Expect to hear this at the start of many a DJ set for the next few months.
'Craving (Michael Phase Remix)'
I was a huge fan of the original of this experimental hard track from the futuristic Dutch producer Geck-o, but it was more of a ‘listening track’ than a dancefloor hit. Here, Michael Phase reworks it into a heavily dubstep-influenced hardstyle banger. Bleep and bass drums are the feature of the mid intro section, peppered with dubstep and breakbeat fills. The main break takes things more euphoric with the ultra-catchy triplet melody from the original followed by a more traditional pitched kick hardstyle section. Great remix, leaving me excited to hear more Michael Phase original tracks going forward.
Deni & Chaser vs. Faizar
'Fairy World '
Superb modern-day take on hard trance with a hardstyle flavour from this collaborative group of great minds. It features a quick key-descending riff melody reminiscent of Jurgen Vries' classic ‘The Theme’ but adding a lot of intricacy in the complex layering of other melodies around it — creating sheer euphoria. It all blends well together with tight beats and uplifting hardstyle sounds. Superb release, which I’m sure will pick up some great support across the board here in the hard dance community.
D-Block & S-Te-Fan & Frontliner & Hard Driver
Even just on paper this looks like an epic collaboration, and the good news is that it delivers even more in audio from this huge team-up. Combining the melodic writing skills of DBSTF and Frontliner together (which you can hear in the lead melodies) with Hard Driver’s beats and drive for one monstrous release, with an infectious catchy melody giving it that uplifting twist interlaced with solid hard beats.
The Sickest Squad
I’ve always been attracted to The Sickest Squad's music because, despite the 200+ bpm beats they produce, there is always something a little deeper than chaos on the surface. 'IN93', a track from their recent 'Sickcore 3.0' album, has a dreamy classic trance-like quality with beautiful strings, chord progressions and piano arps, leaving the trademark high-tempo kick and bass to rather move the track along than being the dominant feature. Think Frenchcore Robert Miles and you won’t be far from the mark.
Digital Punk vs Alpha 2
'Loud As F#ck'
Exciting collaboration from A2 Records head honchos and rawstyle pioneers, the Alpha Twins. One of the biggest headline acts on the raw scene right now, Digital Punk feature a well-chosen vocal from a rock band in the main breakdown — building up to a sinister melody. It drops with some epic key-changes, keeping lots of power on the drops and some nice screechy patterns on the outro. Accessible rostral for the masses here — A2 Records know how to deliver!
'People Of The Nile'
X Bone Records
I’ve received so many great promos from this label over the past few weeks featuring breakthrough hardstyle producers, and this is my pick of the punch due to the original sounds and arrangement used. It features energetic kick and bass sections, bringing the power to this track before leading into an Egyptian-style harp main breakdown pattern, building into powerful synths ahead of the main drop. Nice and refreshing sounds from this label — always scouting new talent to push the scene forward.
'Shooting Star (DJ Dreem & CLSM Remix)'
The original of this track from back in the '90s is arguably the most defining happy hardcore anthem of all time. However, in the years to follow, this track got so over-played that most DJs would rather put hot pins in their eyes than reach for this ‘get out of jail free card’ yet again! With almost two decades now passed since the original release, has the dust settled long enough to warrant a remix? In simple terms, yes. This is more of a refix than a remix. Keeping all the elements from the classic intact, this remix simply updates the production to a more modern sound and plays with the arrangement just enough to make it interesting.