Their first full-length LP released by Highly Sedated isn’t perfect, but it definitely paved the way for finding a unique niche in traditional dance music. The soulful vocals supplied by Verner and Patrick did a great job into blending dark, underground tones with a more heartfelt, emotive approach. “All We Have Is Now” is full of variety and it definitely feels like a show-off of the band’s production abilities, especially if you think about the fact that the album starts with a deep and soulful song named “Waster You” and then carries over with a strong, aggressive and thumping beat of “Got Some Water”.
“All We Have Is Now” was definitely one of the most interesting projects of 2017. And we are not saying this kind of words, because of the exclusive interview we did with Highly Sedated back in August. These guys have introduced us to something new, unique and pretty intriguing. Some instrumentals were truly magical, while the spoken word used in most of the tracks was really smart. It kind of fitted to the whole musical concept of “Highly Sedated”, not the band, but more the style and sound, in general, that was created by this conglomerate of musicians. After listening to this album, we can definitely say that the future of HighlySedated looks pretty promising.
Gabriel & Dresden – The Only Road
First album in 11 years, Kickstarter fundraising and a final release via Anjunabeats: the story behind “The Only Road” is incredible and it feels really great to see Gabriel & Dresden returning with such a good and well-thought album from start to finish. It’s one of these times where a sentence like “this LP feels like a musical journey” means something more than a typical quote used in written reviews as simple text fillers.
Tribal bassliness, raw and chunky grooves and beautiful melodies are synthesizing a truly unique feeling that outlines Gabriel & Dresden’s huge experience when it comes to deep and emotional productions. Artists like Sub Teal and Jan Burton did an awesome job into supporting the whole project with their vocals and without them, songs like “Only Road” and “Underwater” would be half as good.
Listeners and fans of the duo might feel even more nostalgic, with a strong feeling of melancholy wrapping everything up, but that’s only normal. Gabriel & Dresden wanted to express exactly these type of feelings with their productions and after every listen, the album keeps growing. People who believed in this and helped to raise almost $73,000 dollars via Kickstarter will be more than happy with the final outcome. If we want to be honest with ourselves, the whole electronic fanbase should embrace this project, because it’s definitely one of the best albums out there and because we definitely need more romantic success stories like “The Only Road”.
Sharam – Collecti
First of all, let us all agree one thing: the limited edition of Sharam’s album “Collecti” looks really impressive. It definitely speaks to the hearts of record collectors across the world and to Techno-fans in general.
Sharam was always known for his technical skills when it comes to complex productions and the Iranian-American producer decided to provide us with more complex tracks, in an even darker tone. In contrast to his older works, “Collecti” is a 4-Part project that takes us to Sharam’s darkest places, at least musical wise.
“These records are my dance floor experiments, my secret weapons, tracks that have been driving my sets and I’m excited to share this body of work with everyone.” The following quote is already proven while listening to the first song of Collecti Part1, titled “Scorpi”, with its steady, hypnotic bass line. The sound of the whole LP gets more and more intense, darker and from to time with a rather minimalistic approach. Beware though of the fact, that Collecti isn’t really an “easy listen” and for everyone’s taste. The Iranian-American Grammy-winning producer wanted to surprise his Techno and also House fanbase with a challenging overall playtime that is full of big, surprising moments. New listeners will appreciate tracks like Ski and Tripi, while the remastered version of the eight-minute long “Hemi” will bring back a lot of cool memories to Sharam’s hardcore fanbase.
Paul Van Dyk – From The On
It’s hard to see past of Paul Van Dyk’s horrible accident back in 2016. The experienced producer had to fight with a lot of complications and question marks around his overall health, but 38year old returned stronger than ever with his project “From The On”. He started recording the album months after his accident in February 2016 and he put definitely a lot of energy and thought into this.
With this album, he wanted to create a glimpse of hope to the listeners’ hearts and it definitely succeeds in that with singles like “Touched By Heaven”, “Stronger Together” and “Everyone Needs Love”. Paul Van Dyk decided to approach the whole project in a more classic, typical early 00s’ sound, but without feeling old or rusty. “From The On” feels like a breath of fresh air when it comes to trance in general and producers like Leroy Moreno and Pierre Pienaar have definitely helped to achieve this.
People who love the early 00s’ will probably love every single song in this 14-track long tracklist and that’s only normal if you focus on each production after every listen. “From The On” creates very positive vibes with its beautiful instrumentation and it proves that artists like Paul Van Dyk are here to stay, no matter the genre’s overall popularity or the artist’s general status quo.
Third Party – Hope
If you want an album that looks, feels and sounds like pure and entertaining EDM, you should probably take a listen at “Hope” released by Third Party. The duo unleashed all their energy upon us with songs like “Lions In The Wild”, “Live Forever” and their big and favorite classic “Everyday Of My Life”.
There are songs like “Arrival” and “Get Back” that gave a completely different approach to the whole album with their pure instrumental approach, but all in all, “Hope” is a project that speaks to the heart of the festival and radio lovers. The only downside of the final cut? Most of the tracks were already revealed months before the final release of the whole LP and maybe that’s the reason why some people didn’t take notice of this impressive collection of tracks.
ODESZA – A Moment Apart
It’s good to see ODESZA receiving the praise, critically acclaim and (finally) moving towards an impressive commercial success. It might sound like a cliché, but “A Moment Apart” was definitely the duos most ambitious work to date and every time you listen to their most recent project, you get the impression that both members complement each other.
This album will give you a real autumn feel while listening to each track over and over again. The pretty melodic feel inside of some lovely chillwave beats is something these guys have already introduced to a wider audience since day one. What was different in this album compared to their previous LPs? Well, they are just doing everything a lot… better!
Generally speaking, the songs a lot more depth. Harrison Mills and Clayton Knight are using more organic instrumentation, better vocal chops and a lot more guest features: Leon Bridges, R XY, Regina Spektor and a lot more other artists have invested in this album a big chunk of their own skills in order to create something special.
Listening to “A Moment Apart” makes you feel like ODESZA have reached their personal “high score” when it comes to this type of music. Some might say that they might have to switch up their style a little bit for their next album, so they won’t sound too repetitive. On the other hand, when you have tracks like “Late Night”, “Corners of the Earth” and “Line of Sight” you just lay back and enjoy some beautiful indietronica, without worrying about their next full-length LP and what might happen in the future.
Kölsch – 1989
Some might recognize the name “Kölsch”, because of remixes made by other artists, but most people who love good techno know him by his real name. Rune Reilly Kölsch is probably one of the most beloved Danish artists out there and the reason for that is his clear and straightforward identity when it comes to his music. With 1989 he wanted to write the final chapter to this intriguing series of autobiographical albums, reflecting throughout this LP a turbulent time in his life.
Kicking his album right off with a message from his grandfather, the artist’s fanbase knows right from the start that this is going to get personal. “Liath” features some lovely violins from Kate Robinson and combined with songs like Serij and 14, he created dark, but at the same time also hopeful emotions. The producer uses in his own way some orchestral vibes and towards the end of the album, you can really hear that small glimpse of hope, after a musical journey that was full of melancholy. “1989” will make techno fans love the work of the 46-year old producer and it will force them to dig up his past and to listen to his first two records. After that, the might have a complete picture of Kölsch’s autobiographical vision of his music, style, and productions.
Illenium – Awake
Illenium is one of the most workaholic artists out there, especially if you talk about electro based music genres. He is one of those guys, who isn’t really shy of unveiling his influences during his own tracks and it’s good to see that he wants to branch out to other styles in the near future. With his last album, he definitely tried to build up a solid base for his upcoming plans, record wise and tour wise.
“Awake” includes some heavy hitters and some songs who rent inspiration and ideas from ODESZA, Porter Robinson or even Flume. At the end of the day though, everything in here, has sounded like a typical Illenium album full of life and with a bit of fresh air. Even listeners who did not care about Illenium’s sound at all will feel impressed after hearing “Beautiful Creatures”, a track that combines the most positive side of life if you combine both lyrics and beat. If you’re a fan of future bass and a more melodic style of EDM in general, this project is probably the one for you. Illenium didn’t take many risks with his new LP, but he knows his production skills, his following and he tried to reproduce a big part of the huge energy he puts out there during his live shows. And he definitely succeeded in doing exactly that, from start to finish.
Kygo – Kids In Love
Kygo had to fight with bad sales and negative numbers last year, but none of this was related to the actual quality of the album. Tropical House has witnessed a strong decrease in popularity, especially if we compare it to the genre’s general status back in 2015.
“Kids In Love” is a little bit underrated as an album and while it didn’t land as many big hit singles as Kygo’s first LP, his second full-length effort feels more mature and solid. Tracks like “It Ain’t Me” and “First Time” included some cool vocal-chops, integrated right into the drop, while artists like John Newman have provided Kygo with some beautiful vocals. “Kids In Love” features a lot of well-known and experienced triple A-Class artists, like for example Wrabel, Ryan Tedder from OneRepublic or Bonnie McKee, who is known for her work as a singer-songwriter on Rita Ora’s, Kesha’s and Katy Perry’s past projects.
Fans of Kygo’s music and style will love this album because it took some of the artist’s older aspects and unified them with more quality, better songwriting, and more impressive guest features. Everyone else will have a very good time in this meta-Tropical House era, with one of the genre’s defining producers.