Secrets

Never has there been a more beautiful and fitting remix than Andrew Bayer’s rework of OceanLab’s “Secret”. It seems that Andrew Bayer has some experience with the topic of secrets. The track below combines Bayer’s musical genius with the wonderful Evanescence-like vocals of Molly Bancroft.

“Please keep your secrets to yourself…”

Anyway, listen to this work of art. “Secret” is a moving track about how awful it is to carry the burden of a secret when you have nobody to confide in. At 4:30, Bayer beautifully reworks the original to highlight the vocals and play up the desperate plea for relief.

As a bonus here is an old and a new Bayer track that I haven’t posted before.

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Trance Throwback

It has been awhile since I’ve heard some slightly retro sounding trance. Maybe describing this as having a classic trance sound would be more appropriate. I think that retro implies that tracks like this are no longer produced or in style, and that just isn’t true at all. I think that the classic sound has been tweaked and evolved to sound fresh and current. I think this track does that particularly well.

After all this time, I think trance remains my favorite genre. Occasionally, a deep track will exceed any trance track, but this is an exceedingly rare occurrence and more reflective of my personal experience with that song rather than the genre as a whole.

Here is a throwback for comparison. Getting up there in age now, this is an OceanLab track that I really love. Compare the two and take note of the stylistic similarities.

We Are All We Need: All track previews released!

This should help sustain my need for some new A&B until the full release of the album on January 20th.

Here is the link to the iTunes previews, and below is a Soundcloud compilation released by the group themselves.

I think they have released about half of the albums biggest tracks so far. That’s no surprise. Artists usually release one of the best tracks of an album in addition to some of the solid upper-middle ones in order to build interest. I’ve posted about those tracks already, so I want to talk about what I am hearing in the previews.

“Quieter is Louder” is a classic A&B intro track. They did the same thing in their Group Therapy album, and they use this track and tracks like this to open up their live sets. It sets the mood well.

“Peace of Mind” is really good. I am so glad to hear more tracks with Zoe Johnston. This song was debuted in their live set at Madison Square Garden (ABGT100) if you want to take a listen.

“Counting Down the Days” is one of the tracks that I am looking forward to the most. Gemma Hayes is brilliant, and while I don’t think her voice is as unique as Zoe’s, I think it works just as well with A&B’s vibe.

Hello! “Hello” gets a fresh sounding rework, and I am absolutely pumped. This song is massive. Check it out below from their ABGT100 set.

“A Little Something” is a nice change of pace. Justine Suissa is a staple in the trance community and was with A&B back when they were producing tracks as OceanLab. See below (1:55 is where it gets good).

She is probably most famous from her work on the track “Burned with Desire”. This track is epic. One of the most recognizable songs in all of trance, in my opinion. Its great to have her voice back on an A&B track.

“Fly to New York” is a fun song, and it really does make you want to get up out of your chair and fly somewhere new. It makes me feel ready for travel and new experiences.

“Making Plans” has been carried over from the acoustic album, but it is still great. I’ll be glad to have this hybrid version.

“Out of Time” was also debuted in the ABGT100 set in its entirety. You should go check it out because this track is competing with the previous Gemma Hayes track as my favorite of the new tracks previewed today.

“Excuses” is pretty good too. It sounds like Tony is actually on the vocals here. Someone correct me if I am wrong, but it sounds like him.

I’ll be honest. From here on out (“Sink the Lighthouse” and “Treasure”) I think that the album loses a bit of energy. Thats probably intentional because A&B makes songs that work together as an album. They aren’t necessarily all club bangers that exist in isolation from their fellow tracks. They will work when listening to the album as a whole, but unless they are remixed don’t expect them to be bringing down a dance floor anytime soon.

Keep in mind that “We’re All We Need”, “All Over the World”, “Blue Sky Action”, and “Sticky Fingers” are also on this album. When taken together I think that this album will certainly rival Group Therapy.

There it is! A quick summary of the new album. Let me know in the comments which one of the tracks you are most looking forward to.

 

For the Love of Trance

It has been a long time coming, but I finally decided to start a blog in order to share my love for electronic dance music (EDM). I plan to update this blog with posts containing what I am currently listening to, weekly posts of trance radio shows, album reviews, and other things that may be on my mind.

I remember the first accidental steps that I took down the path of loving EDM. Shortly after my 15th birthday, I asked my parents to take me to a local Barnes and Noble. Admittedly a bookworm at that point, I had intentions of purchasing some great books with my birthday money, but I was distracted my the audio section of the store. This was many years ago now, and bookstores still sold tons of CDs that you could listen to on headphones. I stumbled across the EDM section and was drawn to an album called “Ultra Trance 09“. It was great luck really. I couldn’t have stumbled across a better compilation with an album containing the likes of “Ghosts n Stuff” by deadmau5 or “In & Out of Love” by Armin van Buuren.

I slipped on the headphones and randomly selected a track, which happened to be “On a Good Day” by Above & Beyond (as OceanLab). The track starts repetitive and unremarkable like most trance tracks, but something about the structure of the music caused anticipatory tension for what was going to come next. Unfortunately, I think this type of buildup preceding the core of a trance track can cause most listeners to lose interest, but this is part of the excitement for me! If done correctly, the relief from a tense buildup can be one of the most pleasing aspects of a track.

Anyway, after a short buildup I was introduced to my favorite element in all of music: haunting female vocals set to melodic trance. Whether this track set my preferences or I coincidentally selected a track epitomizing my preferences, I will never know. The music took me to another place entirely, and I was lost in my thoughts and emotions. For me, trance provides an experience by which I become so immersed in the thoughts, emotions, and imagery generated by the song that reality can fade and is replaced by the imagery that my mind is generating (dangerous while driving!). After the sample of the track ended, the shelves in front of me and ambient noise of the bookstore came back into focus, and it felt dull compared to soundscape I had just journeyed through.

Below is the audio for “On a Good Day” by Above & Beyond (as OceanLab). It is taken from the radio show so it has maybe a 3 second intro.

 

After that experience I was hooked. I purchased as many Ultra Trance compilations as I could and they were in permanent rotation in my car and MP3 player during all of high school. During this period I didn’t have a preference for one artist as I was still figuring out my evolving tastes. I came to learn that EDM is a huge umbrella under which many sub-genres coexist and intermingle in interesting ways. It was at this point that I stopped telling friend that I liked progressive and trance. The common response of “Oh…you mean techno?”, and the response later in college of “Oh…like dubstep?” became exhausting.

Ironically, because of this, the more I became interested in EDM the more I kept to myself about it. Fortunately, the proliferation of Twitter and increased utilization of Facebook allowed me to branch out and tap into an enormous global community of people who knew exactly what I was talking about. One group that engages its fan base exceedingly well is Above & Beyond. Through Facebook I learned about their weekly podcast and radio show called Group Therapy. Group Therapy is a weekly mix of the best trance/progressive/house in the world, and it has been the best source for new tracks. It was my study music during undergrad and I am sure it will continue to fuel my study session in medical school. Subscribe here. You wont regret it.

After many years of evolving EDM preferences, I have settled on the trance and progressive (occasionally deep) sound epitomized by Above & Beyond and their label Anjunabeats. I previously described my personal experience while listening to trance, but Above & Beyond was the first to introduce me to what happens when you place such a personal experience in a communal context. I have seen Above & Beyond live twice now, and the experience was mind-blowing. Through various outlets (Facebook, Twitter, podcasts, Instagram) they cultivate a sense of community and belonging among their fanbase and it is tangible at a show. Everyone embraces each other and takes part in each other’s personal moments. This emotional sharing and connectivity results in a rather euphoric experience.

It isn’t just Above & Beyond that is able to bond strangers and transcend barriers of language and culture. Rather, it is the genre itself. The genre, simultaneously containing echoes of loneliness and hopefulness, reminds many of the fleeting and isolated nature of life. However, it also reminds us that, despite the shortness of life, we can and should connect and enjoy the company of others and rejoice in our existence. This transcendent message needs no language or explanation because music is universal and the those themes resonate with all of humanity.

Thanks for your time, and I hope you will visit again! As a parting gift, take a listen to the track I had on repeat while writing this post. “Karma” by Sunnylax embodies my current sonic preferences. Sit back. Relax. Let this track take you on a ride…