Desire (Audiophetamine Edit)
After taking some time away last year, Audiofreq has returned more powerful than ever, with a slew of hard hitters and an unpredictable genre-absent approach to the harder styles. This latest track takes the Freq’s hardstyle anthem from yesteryear and injects a powerful shot of "Audiophetamine". For the uninitiated, this means pumping the energy levels to 11. It's 170BPM, with a new thumping kick and bassline that will make this the perfect dancefloor destroyer for happy hardcore DJs, or a memorable set finisher for hardstyle DJs alike.
S3RL, Outforce & Hartshorn
'And I'm Like'
Here we have a true worldwide collaboration, as iconic Aussie happy hardcore producer S3RL teams up with UK hardcore rising star Outforce, and Denver-based producer Hartshorn. Each inject their own flavour to the mix, and the end result is a straight up dancefloor track focused around a stomping bass, quirky, sampled vocal syncopated to the beat, and a powerfully clean kick. No need for an epic melody on this one, it’s purely designed to keep the people on the dancefloor moving.
'Do You Feel The Rave'
This is kind of a weird one to review, as it’s not really hard — rather, a new old skool style production, paying homage to the roots that developed into the hard sounds of today. My pick from the four-track EP dedicated to the sounds of 1991 rave offers a slow tempo, with a chunky rolling breakbeat, pitched vocals, sampled stabs and classic M1 pianos. Perfect to add some fresh sounds to an old skool set, or just a great track to find and reminisce to.
'Oxygen (Clockartz Remix)'
'Oxygen' is absolutely my favourite Bass Modulators track, so I was rather excited to see a fresh version of this to drop into my sets. However, with great opportunity comes great responsibility, and the pressure of remixing such a hit can weigh heavy on some producers' shoulders. Clockartz take this challenge in stride — the first break offers little change, keeping the beautiful vocal intact and building to a new, much techier first drop. The second break, however, opens up more, with the melody and climactic second drop. A light handed refresh of a track that didn’t require any more than this.
I’m a fan of this guy because of the consistent originality of his productions. This one sits somewhere between trap, EDM and hardstyle; it provide tasty ragga vocals, weighty 808s and bouncy, overdriven kick drums. I’m hesitant to use the nonsensical genre term “freestyle”, but if you’re aware of this predominantly Dutch sound, you’ll instantly know what to expect. Great work again.
This Italian producer, despite having a presence on the scene for many years now, seems to be hitting his stride, with regular and consistent releases in his trademark sound offering a fun approach to the classic Italian hardstyle vibe. With an energetic mid intro section, euphoric break and powerful main drop, this isn't one to be slept on when looking for new beats. Check this one out for sure.
Now here is a name that piqued my interest a lot. Trilok was part of a duo, Trilok & Chiren, way back in the early hardstyle days when Showtek ruled the scene and D-Block & S-Te-Fan were just a young aspiring duo. Trilok & Chiren were much shorter-lived than the aforementioned names, and after several solid tracks seemed to drop out of the scene — so I was intrigued to see one half of this duo resurface after so long. 'Still Rollin' captures the dark and sinister vibe of the early productions, and yet surprisingly doesn’t miss a beat when it comes to the modern production techniques. I don’t think this first comeback track will set the scene alight, but it's a solid release and leaves me very interested to hear where he goes from here.
The South Coast-based, UK rawstyle producer has shot up the ranks over the past few years, since signing to the Dutch powerhouse label Nightbreed. Yet what sets Crystal Mad apart from the other artists on the label is his non-purist attitude to the rougher end of the hardstyle spectrum. 'XTC' is a happy party track with a hypnotically repetitive vocal, raw yet bouncy kick and a summertime, uplifting melody. Such a refreshing track, in among all the horror movie sample-based raw tunes.