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Best of 2014: Progressive House & Trance

Progressive House and Trance are two of those dance music sub-genres that aren’t going away anytime soon. While there was a time when Trance was the most popular type of music, back when guys like Tiesto and Armin Van Buuren were actually producing and spinning Trance music, it has taken a bit of a back seat to Big Room tracks. Progressive House, while having varying sounds, can be either perfect for main stages or for late night after parties. Both sub-genres are complicated in structure, contain lots of melody, and bring us driving four-on-the-floor beats. The Anjunabeats and Pryda Friends teams have been instrumental in shaping the sounds of both the Trance and Progressive worlds, respectively, and have been doing so for years. While guys like Eric Prydz, Above & Beyond, and Arty have been top-tier names for years, other artists emerged in a whole new way during 2014. I’m looking at production talent in Fehrplay, Andrew Bayer, Ilan Bluestone, Pierce Fulton, Audien, and Myon & Shane 54. And some day soon I hope Richard Knott emerges as a household name, as his productions and mixes are worthy of being played on repeat.

While we don’t necessarily post a ton in the Trance & Progressive realm of things here on, I’m probably the biggest proponent of these sounds. The 10 songs we put together are a combination of popular tracks from 2014 as well as some of my favorite from the genre. Turn the volume way up and go support the artists if you like what you hear.

What did we miss from this list? Let us know!

  1. Eric Prydz – Liberate
  2. Fehrplay – Everywhere You Go
  3. Richard Knott – Mantra
  4. Andrew Bayer – Once Lydian
  5. Myon & Shane 54 – Summer of Love
  6. Audien – Hindsight
  7. Pierce Fulton – Kuaga
  8. Ilan Bluestone – Spheres
  9. Porter Robinson – Lionhearted (Arty Remix)
  10. Above & Beyond – Sticky Fingers

Point Point Know There’s Nothing Quite Like A Morning BJ [FREE DOWNLOAD]

Future fucking Bass. Stwo, Kaytranada, Wave Racer – if you’re into those artists or others like them then you need to check out Point Point and you need to keep your eyes on them. I don’t speak French, but my assumptions have led me to believe Point Point is a collective comprised of French producers AAZAR, DEVOTED.TO.GOD, L’HOMME AUX 4 LETTRES, and NOMÄK. I saw that Porter Robinson was the featured artist on this week’s BBC Radio 1 Essential Mix and as I began listening to it I started scanning the track list. One song in particular stuck out to me, solely because of the title. You guessed it, that song was called “Morning BJ” by Point Point. I certainly appreciate a morning BJ as much as the next guy, and this song is just as good as the act it’s referring to (might even be a perfect pairing). The track, though only 2:30 long, is a collection of danceable beats, beautiful melodies, live drums, pitched-up vocals, and futuristic bass sounds. It’s really hard to describe a track like this, but as one SoundCloud user commented, it “sounds like a morning BJ”.

Check it out for yourself and turn it up loud. Keep an eye on Point Point and check out Porter Robinson’s full Essential Mix for something totally different than what you might be used to from the Electro-House star.

Mat Zo & Porter Robinson – Easy (SPAVEECH REMIX)

I was hurting for motivation to say the least this morning, after four long days of partying I couldn’t think of anything that would help me kick start this long work week. And then I went on Soundcloud and saw that Spaveech had finally released his highly anticipated (at leaf for us) remix of Mat Zo and Porter Robinson‘s massive single, Easy. Taken off Zo’s breakout album “Damage Control”, Easy originally was a progressive house monster garnishing its’ own remix EP as every artist jumped on the power of those sensual lyrics. However, I felt that Zo and Robinson had created a track that could not get better, all the remixes were futile comparably. That is until Spaveech laid down his tech house transformer of a remix that slows down the beat and brings in the congo drums. I could listen to this remix all day everyday, so sexy to my ears as is everything Spaveech does. Be sure to grab the free download below!

I Know This Botnek Track Will Make You Flip

My first exposure to Canadian duo Botnek came when the Mat Zo & Porter Robinson “Easy” remix package saw its release. Botnek’s version took the original melodic singalong track and threw something heavy at it, almost like one of them recorded himself speaking gibberish and throwing it into a series of effects and filters. The Botnek “Easy” remix quickly became the new thing, as the original had been played out but their remix had freshened things up when DJs wanted to throw down hard. I’ll admit I dropped the ball on investigating Botnek further, until yesterday when I saw they had a brand new release on Dim Mak Records. The track, called “I Know”, is something wild. An Electro-House banger with some melodies and pitched-up vocals singing “I know I know that you need me baby” was certainly a great way to go. But it’s that damn unique drop that really got me, almost causing me to say “wait, what?!” Sure, to the average listener it might sound like someone ate too much Taco Bell, but I assure you this is a track I’m going to be playing heavily in my rotation over the coming weeks.

Botnek – I Know (Original Mix) | Purchase at Beatport 

To drive the point home even further on these guys, I present to you their Tomorrowland 2013 set, recorded live. Not only is the mixing better than your average DJ, but their song selection is pretty tasty. Filled with plenty of Botnek originals, remixes, and mashups, this half hour set is high-energy the whole way through and contains a whopping 15 tracks. Play it and crank it! *tracklist after the jump*

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UMEK Shares His Opinion on the DJ Mag Top 100 [And I Do Too]

Ah, the DJ Mag Top 100. Some people live by it, some people laugh at it. Every year around this time voting opens up for dance music fans to have their say on which artists they think are the best of the best. While the list addresses the best “DJs” in the industry, there are no specifications on who you can vote for or why you’re voting for them. If you think Krewella’s “Alive” was the best song of the year, chances are you might vote for them to make the Top 100 – regardless of their actual DJ skills. Not to call out the Chicago trio who have made splashes in the dance music scene this year, but we all know many fans cast their votes according to artists’ productions rather than actual live DJ skills. While I personally respect producers for what they do in the studio, I try to cast my DJ Mag Top 100 votes according to who I think really brings it in a live setting. Last year I voted for artists like A-Trak, Diplo, Wolfgang Gartner, Laidback Luke, and Porter Robinson – solely because I had seen them live on multiple occasions and because I was absolutely floored by what they did on the decks.

Enter UMEK, one of Slovenia’s biggest exports. The producer/DJ/label chief/Podcast master is an absolute legend in the dance music world. He brings the funk like very few DJs can and I absolutely love what he does and what he stands for. He recently spoke out against the DJ Mag Top 100 voting. Here’s what he had to say:

There’s not a single DJ fan on Facebook this moment who’s not being spammed beyond reason with countless tries by DJs to be creative when asking for votes. And most of us do it in such way that it doesn’t look like we’re begging directly for a minute of your attention.
For years now the guys from my office have been banging their heads against the wall in an effort to come up with numerous creative ways to ask fans to vote for me. Everything but a simple can you please vote for me?

Does life really has to be always complicated?

And I’m noticing this is the case with most of my fellow DJs. In a way we all want to be rebels and pretend we don’t give a shit about how we rank on this semi-official list of who’s who in the industry. But if I’m being completely honest – I want to be on this list and I want to be on it as high as possible. There shouldn’t be any shame in admitting that. The ranking doesn’t influence my number of bookings, nor the price I can charge for my performance. It’s just an ego trip and let’s face it – we all like it. Some of DJs out there like it so much, they go too far with it by hiring Indian companies, pay hackers and do all kinds of twisted stuff (like getting the president of your country to make a public announcement hehehe) to get a few places higher. And then at the same time pretend to ignore the results once they come out. But in the end everyone of us awaits that moment at ADE, when the magazine announces the results.

So fuck it – if you like what I do, show me support, if you like what Guetta does, vote for him, if you fancy how Paris Hilton turns those »cute little buttons on that mixer thingy«, vote for her. It doesn’t matter what others say. DJ Mag made their way into creating a benchmark for dance music and although with all the subtle and not so subtle campaigns, sometimes the whole thing really looks like a beauty pageant, it means something to me and my fellow performers to see our names among the great 100.

Sincerely yours,

Take it how you want but the 2012 #59 DJ in the world, according to DJ Mag’s poll, has shared his opinion. I have shared a bit of mine. While the DJ Mag Top 100 doesn’t determine the haves and the have-nots, it definitely has an influence on the dance music world. I personally urge you to truly consider who you’re voting for and why you’re voting for those people. If you think Martin Garrix deserves to be in the Top 100 because of his history-making track “Animals”, then by all means vote for him. Just don’t forget about the guys and gals who helped pave the way.

Check out UMEK’s Electric Daisy Carnival Las Vegas 2013 set and find out why everyone’s talking about it.

[Ticket Giveaway] Mat Zo @ Prime Boston 4.7.2013

Mat Zo has had a legendary rise to fame over the past few years and him blowing through Boston is not to be overlooked. The producer and DJ has had a long and interesting career, starting out as a Drum and Bass producer (MRSA) and moving into his current persona as Mat Zo, who has taken the trance and progressive scene by storm, most notably for his track “Bipolar”, his collaborations with fellow progressive producer Arty “Mozart” and “Rebound” and most recently his notorious collaboration with Porter Robinson “Easy”. He also dropped one of the most diverse and interesting Essential Mixes that you could ever hope for back in early February. We’ve got two tickets to give away so jump on it by entering through the PunchTab widget.

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