I’m tempted to write our cliché phrase “the dust has finally settled…” in regards to Miami Music Week 2014, but I don’t think it fits here. Unlike last year, I didn’t attend the chaos that is Ultra Music Festival this year. Instead of attending one of the world’s largest Electronic music festivals, I chose to quite literally take my talents to South Beach for just a taste of the dozens of parties that flooded Miami during the last week of March, aptly called Miami Music Week (MMW) or, less commonly, Winter Music Conference (WMC). If you read my preview of MMW that contained selected parties I was hoping to attend, you have a feel for what parties I was looking forward to and the types of events taking place through the duration of last week. Although I wasn’t able to do it all, check out what I did attend and what my thoughts are.
Click through to read about my Miami Music Week and to hear sets from Ultra Music Festival 2014!
If you’re one of the lucky ones traveling from all over the world to attend one of the biggest party weeks of the year then this post is for you. If you won’t be attending Miami Music Week or Ultra Music Festival 2014 you may want to skip to the next post – envy could ensue (especially those of you up here in Boston bracing for yet another Winter storm).
Every year Miami Music Week/Winter Music Conference – whatever you want to call it – gets bigger and better. With more parties than you know what to do with, and one of the world’s largest dance music festivals taking place, it’s hard to be bored during this last week in March. For those who don’t know, there is a comprehensive list of all the events taking place this week, found on MiamiMusicWeek.com – everything from pool parties to all-night parties to club events to sunrise and sunset cruises. There is literally something for every type of dance music fan. Personally speaking, I think it’s great that more of the underground or “less mainstream” artists are getting their chance to shine at these parties.
While I can’t attend every party – or even begin to talk about all of them – I’m here to call out some of the key events I’m looking forward to, and ones that you should definitely consider attending if you haven’t made your plans yet.
Who’s ready to revisit a Dance classic? I am! Trusty ol’ Pete Tong was generous enough to reintroduce me to the Olive tune “You’re Not Alone” tonight on his All Gone Pete Tong radio show. Except this wasn’t the original 1996 Break Beat/Trip Hop version (nor was it the 2002 remix by ATB). The track Pete Tong played was the Manuel De La Mare vs. Will Gold Remix of Jochen Simms’ “You’re Not Alone”. Jochen Simms took Olive’s beautiful vocals and put them over a thumping House track that was released as “You’re Not Alone” back in December of 2013. You may not know the name Jochen Simms, but over the last 10 years he has worked with some of the biggest names in pop and dance, completing over 100 remixes. His remixes regularly feature in the Top 10 dance, club and pop charts in the UK and US, proving wildly popular with radio stations. At the same time the original mix of Simms’ “You’re Not Alone” was released, British producer Will Gold put out his Tech-House remix of the track. So what happened next? Italian-born DJ/producer Manuel De La Mare got his hands on Will Gold’s remix and added his signature House touch, released at the beginning of this month. The result is something that made me immediately grab my phone to Shazam the track and find out exactly what I was listening to. The “drop” of the song is something extremely funky and perfect for dance floor destruction. But that’s nothing new for Manuel De La Mare, who has been delivering “money shot releases and remixes” over the past several years while DJing around the world (Beatport awarded Manuel De La Mare “Best Remixer 2011″ and nominated him for “Best Deep House and Techno Artist” back in 2010). With this remix of “You’re Not Alone” Manuel De La Mare serves up some deepness and some Tech and it truly was a pleasure discovering this gem.
The version below is not a full copy of the song, so if you like the preview go ahead and DOWNLOAD ON BEATPORT!
DJ mixes are a dime a dozen these days. You could probably shuffle through your SoundCloud feed and find more mixes than you know what to do with – certainly more than enough music to fill your waking hours with. It’s this reason that I try to be selective when it comes to posting mixes on this blog – they really have to be noteworthy; either something truly unique, or absolute perfection the whole way through. This past weekend brought us two of these mixes: veteran Marc Kinchen (better known as MK) got behind the BBC Radio 1 Essential Mix decks for the first time since 1995 and newcomer Oliver Heldens unleashed his Heldeep Mixtape 2.
If you’ve never heard of Marc Kinchen, who typically goes by his DJ name of MK, I’m here to enlighten you. If you know about MK, then I’m here to make sure his Essential Mix doesn’t pass you by unnoticed. MK has been involved in the House music game since the 90s – he’s the very definition of a veteran artist. MK’s first Essential Mix was in 1995 and though he took some time away from dance music to become Will Smith’s in-house producer, he’s very much back at the top of the game. 2013 was a big year for MK as he topped charts with his updated remix of Storm Queen’s “Look Right Through” (number one in the UK) as well as a series of remix duties for big name artists like Lana Del Rey and Sub Focus. Not to mention a personal favorite remix of Jamie Antonelli’s “Divine”. MK’s Essential Mix, to me, was flawless the whole way through. He chose tracks with infectious grooves and plenty of melodies, including 10 exclusives and tons of MK homemade remixes. Though a veteran in the game, MK is really emerging from the pack as a force in groovy, soulful House Music.
*Tracklist after the jump*
I think it’s fitting to couple a mix from a veteran in the game with a mix by one of dance music’s fastest-rising stars: Oliver Heldens. I’ve posted about Heldens quite a bit in recent weeks. His latest original production, “Gecko”, is a fantastic track that saw massive amounts of plays thanks to a premier by tastemaker Pete Tong. Shortly after that, Heldens premiered his Heldeep Mixtapeseries that combined Big Room bangers with deeper and funkier underground sounds. We also were treated to a preview of his “Animals” remix, which I later posted because it was too damn good to ignore (and frankly it sounded nothing like the over-played original by Martin Garrix). Over the weekend I was elated to see Oliver Heldens released Heldeep Mixtape 2. It’s just as good, if not better, than Mixtape 1. Heldens wouldn’t release the track list until it reached 20,000 plays, and just two days later it’s already way past that point. If you want some fantastic tunes that stray far away from your Beatport Top 100, this is the place to get it. We go Deep, we go Funky, we go Techy, and there are absolutely no complaints from me. Turn it up!
NYC-based Producer/DJ Chris Malinchak has had quite the past couple of years. In 2012 Chris Malinchak had his song “So Good To Me” named Essential Selection by Pete Tong and the following year, 2013, saw Malinchak’s track “If U Got It” named by Pete Tong as Essential New Tune. Both tracks, aside from Malinchak’s other work, have seen heavy rotation in DJ sets across the globe over the past months and years, including the original mixes and many of the various remixes that exist out there. I guess it’s pretty easy to favor or remix an original track when it has such soulful vibes and infections vocals.
Today Chris Malinchak released his official remix package of “If U Got It” on Beatport, featuring the extended mix of the original, in addition to the Mark Knight remix and the Joe Hertz remix. The package was released on Relentless Records, a part of Sony Music in the UK that focuses on building a small focused roster of exciting new music. While the original “If U Got It” is a light-hearted Indie/Nu-Disco track, what I was most excited for was to get my hands on the Mark Knight remix, which speeds the track up a bit, adds some Tech-House elements, and makes it more of a club tune. Of course, if you’ve been listening to Mark Knight’s podcasts over the past few months then you’ve certainly been hearing his remix over and over again (but it’s okay because it’s incredibly addicting). British producer Joe Hertz adds his flavor to the package with his groovy remix that really throws the track into the Deep End. While Mark Knight’s remix is a great one for getting the party started, Joe Hertz’s Deep House remix might be more appropriate for after hours.
Whichever version stands out as your favorite, make sure to support the artists and show your love!
Oliver Heldens has my attention. The Dutch (surprise!) producer/DJ is just 17 years old but not only does he have my attention, he’s got the attention of guys like Pete Tong, Tiesto, Tommie Sunshine, and Hardwell. In fact, it’s the very influential Pete Tong who introduced me to Oliver Heldens, by showcasing the forthcoming track “Gecko” due out December 30th on Tiesto’s Musical Freedom label. In retrospect I had actually heard Heldens’ work before: when Tommie Sunshine came to Boston’s Prime Nightclub a couple months back, he opened with a remix of Disclosure’s “White Noise” that I couldn’t put my finger on. It turns out that remix was a bootleg produced by none other than Tommie Sunshine & Oliver Heldens. I’ll admit that listening to some of Heldens’ older work I’m not 100% sold, as a lot of it hovers in the realm of Big Room House. But it’s easy to see Oliver Heldens has a lot of talent and once he starts to solidify his sound the sky is the limit.
When I speak of solidifying his sound, I mean a sound that pulls from Heldeep Mixtape 1 which dropped earlier today. The mix is equal parts funk, Electro-House, Indie Dance, and so much more. Most notably, the mix opens up with Oliver Heldens’ remix of Martin Garrix’s “Animals” and it’s probably the most refreshing take on the track I’ve heard yet (it doesn’t sound much like the original at all – and that’s okay). After that it’s right into Heldens’ “Gecko” and then a slew of other tasty treats both new and old.
Pete Tong and all the others may have told you first, but I’m here to call Oliver Heldens as a true breakout artist in 2014.