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Wolfgang Gartner’s “Piranha” Doesn’t Bite

In the category of ‘artists who rarely disappoint’, Wolfgang Gartner is back with yet another masterpiece called “Piranha” out today on his label Kindergarten Records. If you’re wondering who else I think falls into that category, you can include Eric Prydz, Mat Zo, Mark Knight, and a few others (scroll through my previous posts to see). Wolfgang Gartner has so carefully crafted and perfected his sound and many elements of “Piranha” will sound familiar to you if you’ve heard his songs over the past couple years. Though Wolfgang tends to produce Electro-House songs, as “Piranha” can be considered, he always adds hints of funk, melody, and grooviness that few other dance producers can create. If you listen extra closely to “Piranha”, you even hear a Reggae-infused drum roll that you’d find in a typical Bob Marley song. Adding to the energy of the song is female vocal cuts singing “higher, higher, higher”. I love the piano breakdown in the middle only to build things up to an end-of-song explosion.

Wolfgang Gartner was one of the first real discoveries for me when I was getting into dance music and it’s nice that his sounds are still incredible yet refreshingly new.

Wolfgang Gartner – Piranha (Original Mix) | Purchase on Beatport

Wolfgang Gartner & Tommy Trash Are Hounds Of Hell

When I saw two of my favorite Electro-House producers (and quite frankly two of the most talented producers in the dance music game) were teaming up on a track I couldn’t have been more excited. Personally I thought it was long overdue for producers Tommy Trash and Wolfgang Gartner to work together, but I suppose the cliché holds true in that good things come to those who wait. I knew the Hounds of Hell Tour was coming around, featuring not only Tommy Trash and Wolfgang Gartner, but also Bass Kleph and Charlie Darker, so it only made sense that the track “Hounds of Hell” was released in an effort to generate additional buzz. The result is nothing short of spectacular, and exactly as good as I was hoping for. I think the most impressive aspect of “Hounds of Hell” is that you can hear an equal balance between Tommy Trash’s sounds and Wolfgang Gartner’s sounds. Plenty of Wolfgang Gartner synths fill up the intro and breaks, while Tommy Trash’s signature devastating drops are ever-present in this high-energy banger. As dance music fans we’ve come to expect greatness from Trash and Gartner and “Hounds of Hell” exemplifies this perfectly. Make sure you go to see the Hounds of Hell Tour if it’s coming to a city near you, because I can attest that both these guys put on amazing shows. Plus everything I’ve heard of Bass Kleph live is phenomenal.

Tommy Trash & Wolfgang Gartner – Hounds Of Hell (Original Mix) | Purchase on Beatport

Rudimental is Feelin’ The Love

This extraordinary Drum and Bass, 4-man band from the UK (Piers Aggett, Kesi Dryden, Amir Amor, and DJ Locksmith) called Rudimental, was easily one of my top 3 favorite performances that I had the privilege of seeing during my wild Electric Zoo Festival weekend in New York. Especially after seeing countless amazing acts throughout the last few days, it’s always overwhelmingly difficult when trying to pin point which performances were your favorites. In this case, Rudimental came to mind right away with no hesitation.

Something about their performance had a hugely inspiring and uplifting impact on me and I loved every second of it. They performed at one of the many Official Electric Zoo After Parties, on Saturday night at the Best Buy Theatre alongside Modeselektor and Delta Heavy. A lot of big names were also playing shows that night including Wolfgang Gartner and the Dirtybird Label artists, so I don’t think this particular show the majority of the EZoo-animals’ top choice for an after party. The place wasn’t balls to the walls or anything; but there was definitely a good crowd there. My friends and I immediately got sucked into staying after hearing only a few minutes of Modeselektor’s set. Rudimental came on after and I literally had the best time of my life. They played such awesome music, and at the end they even spun in some oldies, including Marvin Gaye‘s, “Let’s Get It On”, which made it and unforgettable and hilarious evening. They also play some live instruments and it really makes their music and entire package that much better. It was something totally unexpected and beautiful to bring to the stage, and the crowd  seemed to be all about it. The band had a great, positive energy, seeing as they were laughing and dancing with the crowd. It was fun to watch them have as much fun as we were. At the very end, they even walked out to the end of the stage and high fived everyone and took a bow–NSYNC/Backstreet Boys style. That’s when your know they’ve really got somethin’ there. I’ve been raving about them ever since that night and I probably won’t stop!

Rudimental debuted their first studio album called “Home” with Warner Music UK this past April and it has already been huge for them. It delivers a list of beautifully written and produced D’n'B tracks that seem to have some influence of R&B, funk, soul, and UK garage. Including their breakthrough number one hit single “Feel The Love”, the album also includes other awesome singles such as “Spoons”, “Not Giving In”, “Waiting All Night” and “Right Here”. The quartet also chose a number of absolutely flawless vocalists to accompany them on the album, and Foxes, John Newman, Ella Eyre, Becky Hill, and Emeli Sandé, are just to name a handful. Their music is a cool mix between relaxing and energizing. Every single track out of the total 12 is flat out dope. It’s a must-listen-to album. Get it on iTunes here!

They also just recently announced their big, upcoming tour for 2014 which they were really excited about. They’ll be packing their bags and heading out to see their fellow fans in the U.S., Canada, Europe, and Australia starting in February. Don’t miss them when they come back to the U.S! I promise you’ll love these dudes. Listen to some of my favorite tracks off of their album, “Home” below!

Rudimental – Home

Rudimental – Feel the Love (feat. John Newman)

Rudimental – Hell Could Freeze (feat. Angel Haze)

Rudimental – Not Giving In (feat. John Newman & Alex Clare)

Rudimental – Waiting All Night (feat. Ella Eyre)

Downloads Here

Electronic Music is Calling Boston’s Name: Boston Calling Music Festival Returns This September

A scene from May 2013′s Boston Calling Music Festival
A scene from May 2013′s Boston Calling Music Festival

As anyone who lives here can tell you, Boston has seen its fair share of electronic music come through as of late. So much, in fact, that it has been overwhelming. Between Ocean Club‘s relentless all-star line up this summer and DJs of all kinds coming to play at clubs big and small throughout the city, Boston is quickly making a name for itself as a destination for great dance music. But there remains one unequivocal fact that separates Boston from cities like New York City, Miami, LA and even Denver: there is no electronic music festival for Boston. That’s not changing quite yet, but Boston Calling is making all the right moves to make it much closer to a reality.

Boston Calling, which celebrated its inaugural dates only a handful of months ago, is already poised to make a return in September, bringing with it this time a lineup that is much more diverse and tailored to a different (and more relatable, for us at least) segment of the Boston music scene. While the 2-day lineup in May featured an indie-heavy roster with names like Fun., The Shins and Of Monsters and Men, they have decided to go a different direction this time around. Day one looks to attract the same crowd as last time with headliner Vampire Weekend and a supporting cast of names I’m not ashamed to admit I don’t know. We’ve got our eyes on Day 2, though, and you should too.

Headlined by Passion Pit, Sunday promises to appeal much more to the dance crowd than Saturday. The festival managed to recruit electro heavyweight (and personal favorite) Wolfgang Gartner, Trap pioneers Flosstradamus and even Australian wunderkind Flume, not to mention Diplo‘s wildly successful project Major Lazer, who consistently put on varied and extremely fun performances. And a nice surprise is Kendrick Lamar mixed in, who I’ve had the opportunity to see several times live and have never been disappointed.

Besides the music, the festival itself takes place in City Hall Plaza in Government Center, affording beautiful views of the downtown. The Boston food truck scene will be in full effect as well as many local vendors providing for a very community-centric festival. It should be interesting to see how the Boston music crowd responds to the presence of electronic music at an Indie festival and whether it will be pulled off properly, but we are very excited to find out. Tickets are still available for the weekend or for individual dates on Boston Calling’s website here. Sunday single day passes are currently selling for $75 plus taxes and fees but will likely go up, so be sure to secure yours soon.

What: Boston Calling Music Festival
Where: City Park Plaza, Boston, MA
When: Saturday September 7 – Sunday September 8
Who: Passion Pit, Major Lazer, Flume, Wolfgang Gartner, Flosstradamus, Kendrick Lamar and more
How: Tickets Here

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,
UMEK

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.

DallasK’s Alienz Leaves Me Wanting A Bit More

I’ve been following DallasK since pretty much the beginning of his career. Although he’s in his early 20s, he began producing in his teens. His sound was always hard-hitting and grimy Electro-House (true Electro-House, not Big Room House that many people are calling Electro-House these days). Songs like “Front/Back”, “Hyphy”, “Crush”, and his remix of Nas & Damian Marley’s “As We Enter” were always in heavy rotation for me when I really wanted to crank things up a notch. More recently, however, I’ve been a bit surprised by DallasK. His previous release “Vice” is an excellent track and very-well produced, but it’s a little softer (relatively speaking) than I’m used to. Yesterday’s release of “Alienz” (on Wolfgang Gartner’s Kindergarten Recordings), showed me that DallasK may truly be moving in a different direction, and in my opinion it’s for the worse. “Alienz” is a melodic Progressive House tune with extremely high production value, but it lacks that edge I’m looking for out of the Florida native. I actually like the intro the best, before the beat drops out. Don’t get me wrong, this has the workings of a festival anthem this summer, but it leaves me wanting a bit more. Of course, this is the same reaction I had when Wolfgang’s “Redline” first came out, but I’m a big fan now, so maybe my opinion will change. What do you think of “Alienz”?

DallasK – Alienz | Purchase at Beatport