Celestial- Andrew Bayer

This is in the running for my favorite track of the year. “Celestial” is a track that only Bayer could pull off. It starts off with light and airy piano notes. The reverberations make the track feel distant and like a memory. This effect was especially potent for me because I also associated these piano notes with gently falling snow in the winter.

Again, at 3:05 this track reminds me of winter. It is like Bayer opens a door to a freshly coated and sparkling snowy landscape. The chill hits me, but I don’t mind because I am well insulated under many layers The piano notes come back as I mentally begin to walk through the fresh snow. The flakes fall silently around me and accumulate on my coat as I walk.

I didn’t realize how much I loved winter until I no longer had it. Yes, it is an inconvenient, expensive, and uncomfortable, but we forget the little things that excite us in winter. There is nothing more exciting than seeing an enormous snowstorm heading your way in the weather forecast. Watching the snow begin to fall from a warm house is strangely satisfying, and it is like a surprise party when you wake up to a world remade by the blanketing whiteness of a heavy snow.

Those of you living in cold climates… appreciate your winters. Those of you living in warm climates… don’t rule out a future relocation because of “the weather”. You never know whether there is a winterphile within you just waiting to come out.

While I may have associated Bayer’s track with winter, he clearly feels that it has a celestial vibe. I can definitely see where that is coming from. Fitting in well with that celestial theme is the second new release from Maor Levi called “Neptune”. I previously posted about “Mercury“, which is a great track so make sure to check that out.

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Maor Levi: Trance to Trap

It has been awhile since we’ve seen Maor Levi on an Anjunabeats release. It was long overdue, and this track is exceptional. The energy at 1:00 is off the charts and 2:45 is breathtaking.

Maor Levi is also a member of the surging Bad Royale trap super group. I don’t like trap, but I do appreciate the diversity of Levi’s skill set. In the future, I hope he uses his powers for good and not evil.

Where It All Began

I had a pretty simple childhood. I grew up right before screens started to monopolize the attention of children. My evenings consisted of my parents throwing on some music and unwinding which means that is what my nights consisted of. One of my favorite albums that they played was “Dreamland” by Robert Miles. Without TV or video games competing for my attention, I was able to mentally and emotionally interact with the music. The music imposed on me specific imagery and emotions, and I embraced that and explored the meaning behind those feelings and why I felt them. The images and feelings that these songs evoke are still the same as they were when I was a child. It amazes me that I haven’t tried to remember them and couldn’t even if I tried. Yet if you play one of these tracks I can instantly be transported to the same place.

Released in 1996, this album was extremely popular in Europe and reached top 5 on the charts of many countries. It also had mainstream success in the US, which says a lot for an electronic album in the 90s. Let me guide you through my favorites on this early masterpiece.

Children

This opens up with what sounds like a rainstorm. Thunder rolls for a few seconds giving way to a steady light rain with chirping birds. Shortly, solitary and reverberating piano notes are introduced for one of the most famous intros to an electronic track. That bass line at 2:20 sounds dated but in a good way. There is nothing wrong with this track sounding like the decade that birthed it. We don’t except Journey or old U2 to sound modern, and we embrace the sound of the decade they are from. I think that EDM is always looking ahead to that new sound or effect and we fail to appreciate the origins of the genre.

Fable

As a small child I was infatuated with this song. I wanted to know who this woman was and why she wanted to hear a fable? She sounded so curious. Why a fable of all things? I had so many questions, and honestly I still do. Anyway…those strings at 1:00. Now that is a proper build up!

Fantasya

I honestly think this track could pass as a modern deep house track. This one is timeless.

Landscape

From 1:30 onward there is a wonderfully layering that I hope you take the time to appreciate. The song sounds like it was a very early form of the sub-genre we now call progressive.

I love the 80s

I love 80s music. I could listen to the likes of Journey and Tears for Fears all day. This track, called “1988”, pays homage to the sounds that made that decade so great. I love those drums at 1:00. Maybe I’ve always secretly wanted to be Phil Collins.

Now that I’ve got that out of my system, here are a few more tracks that have been on my radar the past few weeks.

I don’t like trap, but I like this so-called “chill trap”. This sounds like it would have worked well in the dark soundtrack for the movie “Drive”. If you haven’t heard that soundtrack definitely check it out.

Here is a great modern rework of an older track.

This has been getting some serious love on ABGT and for good reason. The whole thing is pure sonic energy and bliss. Check out 4:00.

As the name of the label suggests, Intricate Records always releases great complex progressive tunes. This embodies the sound of the label pretty well.

This track is heavy on the vocals, but I still like it because it is a all you can eat buffet for those who prefer to listen to the underlying percussive elements rather vocals.

This is a strange and dark sounding track that I just threw in because it reminds me of Halloween.

Lets close this out with some 3LAU. Favorite this compilation for the future because it’d be great for a Halloween party. Not surprisingly, my Halloween party soundtrack does not include “Monster Mash” or “Thriller”. Halloween? New Years? Christmas? Labor Day? Boxing Day? EDM works for it all.

Trance>[insert genre]

This track succeeds where many others have failed. It makes those classic trance vibes sound fresh and pleasing to the modern EDM listener. Many producers fall short of this and churn out tracks that sound stale and dated. 1:40 absolutely eptomizes the sound of the genre, and at 4:11 I feel like I’ve been transported back in time to the golden years of trance.

What I am most excited for is Oliver Smith’s yet to be released single, “Mirage”. Oh those vocals chops! Check it out at ~4:30.

As a bonus here are two progressive sounding tracks that I love as well.