Check out this amazing remix of Above & Beyond’s “Hello”. Jerome-Isma Ae made this gym friendly track into my essential running and workout song. The epic build-up and subsequent driving bassline are perfect for when you are hitting the wall in the gym. Take a breather as this song builds then hit the weights or kick up the intensity on the treadmill when this song shifts into overdrive
Also check out the teaser compilation from the Anjunabeats Worldwide 05 album right here. This is the album that the “Hello” remix was released on. You can buy the full album on iTunes.
Along with Ilan Bluestone, Myon & Shane 54 stand out as having a knack for remixing Above & Beyond tracks. They take the basic uplifting vibe of many A&B tracks and make them even more inspirational sounding with the infusion their own upbeat and summery sound. 2:37 is a great example.
Finally, here is a bonus track from Markus Schulz. This is another unofficial video from Inspiron Trance, but the track is exceptional. Schulz is one of the artists who has stuck to his trance roots more fiercely than most. Those German DJs are certainly loyal to the genre.
This first track certainly has a unique vibe. The guitar at the start sounds like it could be in a chilled out intro to an Eagles song. In my opinion, its just strange enough to work.
Jerome Isma-Ae is a pretty versatile artist. Compare the previous track, with its beach and summer vibe, with the classic vocal trance below. Also, check out “Tension” to really appreciate the full spectrum of Isma-Ae’s work.
I posted a snippet of “Tension” in my post discussing the importance of silence in a track, but I think that the full official version of this track deserves to be posted.
As its name implies, this song is all about tension. Honestly, this entire song works toward one drop, and it is totally worth it. When I first heard “Tension” I was skeptical. I felt that it was a bit of a gimmicky track relying on one effect, but the more that I listen the more that it grows on me. Most tracks that simply rely on building tension followed by a big release fall flat. The release just doesn’t live up to the expectations and anticipation created by the build up. However, Ilan Bluestone and Jerome Isma-Ae manage to pull it off here, and its impressive.
They hook the listener with a solid beat at 0:15 then they transition into an extremely long build up. However, the teaser at 0:15 is enough to remind you of what is likely to come after the drop, so you keep listening. The build up itself is actually enjoyable unlike many build ups in EDM songs can turn out to be grating and downright irritating. Not the case here. I am not sure that I have ever heard a track that creates such an overwhelming feeling of a coming storm, a rising wave, or a gathering avalanche. Finally, the track rises to its apex at 2:15 and releases an incredible amount of stored energy.
“Gravity” by Parker & Hanson was a favorite of mine from the Anjunabeats Vol. 11 compilation. I have talked about this album in articles featuring the tracks “Anjunabeach“, “Spheres“, “The Dark”, “Tension“, “Hindsight“, and “The District“. If you haven’t taken a listen to the full album you definitely should.
Anyway, “Gravity” in its original form is a tranquil, beautiful, and thought provoking piano piece. It is a nearly perfect track but even the best tracks can be reimagined and made more fitting for certain environments. Many EDM songs have acoustic or minimalistic deep versions, but the opposite happened here. It was made danceable.
Jason Ross, a new member of Anjunabeats, earns his stripes with this remix. 0:45 is where the differences became very apparent, but 1:15 is where this track takes on a life of its on. A life and personality very distinct from “Gravity”. The driving bass gives no relief and the beats seem to sound like they are dropping in from and returning to a constant thrumming background level of bass.
Silence is pretty powerful. Remember when you did something terrible and your parents’ disapproval manifested as silence? Have you ever told a joke that was met with silence? Have you ever been in such a noiseless space that it felt oppressive?
Silence has an important place in music too, and for the purpose of this discussion lets consider both complete silence and relative silence when compared with the rest of the music. There are two tracks that I think implement this pretty well. The first is “Walter White” by Above & Beyond. Yes, that Walter White. The three guys that make up Above & Beyond are unashamed Breaking Bad nerds. Anyway, in this homage to Heisenberg (video below) there is a severe pause at 2:25.
If you didn’t see the progress bar and were listening to this track live you would think that it had ended. At Above and Beyond’s recent show in Las Vegas, the non-fans who were there just because it was something to do in Las Vegas were quickly revealed. Not that its bad to see a trance show if you aren’t a fan, and I really hope that they left as fans! Many confused faces searched the room for some explanation, while the fans savored the silence. The live effect was especially pronounced since Above & Beyond likes to drag the silence out even more, I’m talking 10-15 seconds, until the audience becomes frantic and desperate for the drop.
When the track does finally resume it is pretty liberating. Ah, but not for long. The tension builds again until 3:15 when the prior elements of the song are fused and coexist seamlessly for the remainder of the song. Below is short clip that I filmed of the audience after the drop.
There is a second type of silence, which isn’t actually silent. Instead it such a sharp and stark drop off that, relative to the rest of the song, feels like a pause or a gap in the music. I really like this effect and it can be utilized more frequently than a long pause. Honestly, a long pause needs to be used sparingly. You would frustrate your audience by implementing it in every song or multiple times during a song.
I like to compare this type of silence to what it feels like when you are accelerating quickly and suddenly take your foot off the pedal without braking. You feel the deceleration but it isn’t jarring like if you would have slammed on the brake. You let your momentum carry you just as the momentum of the song carries you through the small gaps. Below is a great example. It is aptly named “Tension”, and it is by Ilan Bluestone and Jerome Isma-Ae.
There you have it. Silence… one of my favorite elements in a song.