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.

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ABGT150 and the return of OceanLab

This was an incredible set with some excellent new music on display. Definitely watch the entire thing if you have time, but I want to draw your attention to a very important stretch within the set.

16:25. Jono makes a huge announcement. OceanLab is returning! Many fans have been desperate for Above & Beyond to bring back their dreamy trance incarnation. In the past they had said that the project was dead, but fans kept hope alive. This may be premature, but I think the new track, “Another Chance”, will rank up there with “We Are All We Need” as one of my favorite Above and Beyond tunes. 18:20 is magical. Just read those comments in the lower lefthand corner of the screen! There is such an outpouring of excitement and relief from the fanbase for the return of OceanLab. Following this track is a great Sunny Lax track (25:20) and new Andrew Bayer (31:10). I think its the strongest part of the set.

Below is a tracklist courtesy of the collective knowledge of the internet.

01. (0:40) Above & Beyond – Hello (Album Mix Intro Edit)

02. (4:05) Oliver Smith – Mirage

03. (7:54) Faithless vs. Above & Beyond ft. Alex Vargas – Sticky Mea (Above & Beyond Mashup)

04. (13:30) Arty – Kate (2015 Rework)

05. (16:21) Above & Beyond pres. OceanLab – Another Chance (Above & Beyond Club Mix)

06. (22:10) Sunny Lax – Enceladus

07. (26:35) Andrew Bayer – Nobody Told Me (Anamnesis pt.1)

08. (30:10) Jean-Michel Jarre & Tangerine Dream – Zero Gravity (Above & Beyond Remix)

09. (37:39) Above & Beyond ft. Zoë Johnston – Peace of Mind (Extended Mix)

10. (42:38) Nick Sember – Mezzo Forte

11. (46:27) Ilan Bluestone vs. Above & Beyond ft. Richard Bedford – Sun & Lighthouse (Above & Beyond Mashup)

12. (50:22) Above & Beyond ft. Gemma Hayes – Counting Down The Days (Above & Beyond Club Mix)

13. (56:27) Above & Beyond – ID

14. (1:00:25) Genix & Sunny Lax – Black Water

15. (1:05:05) Above & Beyond ft. Zoë Johnston – Fly To New York (Above & Beyond vs. Jason Ross Club Mix)

16. (1:08:40) Jason Ross – Fuse

17. (1:13:30) Kyau & Albert – About the Sun

18. (1:18:17) Ilan Bluestone vs. OceanLab – 43 Sky Falls Down (ilan Bluestone Bootleg)

19. (1:22:05) Andrew Bayer – ID (Anamnesis pt.2)

20. (1:26:45) Above & Beyond ft. Zoë Johnston – Treasure (Kyau & Albert Remix)

21. (1:31:42) Above & Beyond ft. Alex Vargas – Blue Sky Action (Above & Beyond Club Mix)

22. (1:37:34) Maor Levi vs. Above & Beyond – Mercury Can’t Sleep (ID Mashup)

23. (1:42:20) Wrechiski & Jason Ross – Frontier

24. (1:47:15) Above & Beyond ft. Richard Bedford – Alone Tonight (Jason Ross Remix)

25. (1:51:00) Tom Staar vs. Delerium ft. Sarah McLachlan – Rocket Silence (Above & Beyond’s It’s Not Rocket Silence Mashup)

26. (1:54:36) Mat Zo – Synapse Dynamics (Arty Remix)

27. (1:56:41) Above & Beyond ft. Zoë Johnston – We Are All We Need (Outro Mix)

Paul van Dyk

The trance legend Paul van Dyk (PvD) took over guest mixing duties on last week’s ABGT. I think PvD’s music is among my earliest memories of the trance genre. Check out the end of this post for one of my favorite PvD tracks and memories. He was was of the original pioneers of the genre and one of the first DJs to really be a celebrity. His recent guest mix was absolutely on point and I have selected two of my favorites to share with you.

PvD included a large representation of his fellow Germans in his guest mix. I am more than happy with that decision because they have remained true to that classic trance sound while finding ways to innovate. I have never been to Berlin, but I imagine that a misty night at 11am feels just 1:00. You take a taxi to the club, hearing the tires splash in the occasional puddle. You pull up to your destination and look out the window to see the city lights distorted by the rivulets from coalescing rain drops streaking down the window. You step out and descend into the club. Finally, at 2:25, you enter.

Here is another one that PvD played. This is by Arty, and I think my favorite part of this track comes around 1:10 which leads nicely into 1:40. Finally, the peak comes at 3:27.

Here is one of my favorite tracks by PvD. This is the version that Above & Beyond played in their weekly podcast Trance Around the World aka TATW (the predecessor to ABGT). This is all the way back from episode 177 which was sometime during my high school years. I have a vivid memory of driving to high school early in the morning with this song on repeat. The empty, lonely, and haunting tones of this track fit well with the silence of the dark and snowy landscape. 4:49… need I say more? I love the touch of the sirens in the background.

For some more modern PvD, check out his A State of Trance (ASOT) set and his ABGT guest mix starting at about 1:30:00).

Ilan Bluestone delivers and Soundprank takes us to the movies

I wrote an earlier blog post about how Soundprank is classically trained and describes himself as a “musical storyteller”. That is on full display in his new track called “Legion”. Take a listen starting at 2:15. It is amazing how powerful a few sparse and echoing piano notes can be. Let’s not forget those haunting female vocals. I really like this very specific sound (akin to wailing), and it has been put to good use in dramatic film soundtracks. The soundtracks to “Munich“, “Gladiator” and “Troy” come to mind. It elicits a primal and emotional response, and I think it works well in an EDM track. Sometimes the synths and bass can sound emotionally sterile and void of a human element. Soundprank brilliantly solved that problem in this track.

That Ilan Bluestone is so hot right now. He recently guest-mixed on ABGT, and his set featured some new material as well as a mind-blowing remix of “We’re All We Need”. Below are some of the highlights from ABGT and his new single, “43”.

1:35:50- This is an amazing remix of Big Ben (Ilan Bluestone) and Black Room Boy (Above & Beyond).

1:50:13- I didn’t think that “We’re All We Need” could get any better. I love its original simplicity, and I haven’t really liked many of the official remixes until now. I think some of Ilan’s best work is when he is remixing Above & Beyond. Take a listen to OceanLab’s (an Above & Beyond alias) “Satellite” remixed by Ilan to see what I am talking about.

Now to his newly released single, “43”. Why is the track called 43? It is because this track was debuted in Ilan’s ABGT100 set at the 43 minute mark. The opening is a bit long, so let’s skip to 1:00. There are no words for the glorious richness and fullness of this track, but I will settle with an unsatisfactory adjective. Massive. 2:15 is pretty incredible as well. By now, you know that I love the middle of tracks where the song is deconstructed and rebuilt layer by layer.

What else can I say? Ilan has yet another hit. His tracks are always solid (at a minimum), but “43” separates itself from recent releases such as “Snapdragon” and joins likes of “Sinai” and “Big Ben” as an Ilan classic.