Paul's Top 10 House Tracks of 201110) Dune - Heiress of Valentina (Alesso Remix)
My countdown starts with one of the more unique progressive house remixes of the year. This track is defined by smooth interesting melodies that Alesso somehow manages to seamlessly merge with vocals that sound like they have no business in a dance track.
9) Deadmau5 – Raise Your Weapon (Madeon Remix)
Remixing a Deadmau5 track is somewhat like trying to retouch a Da Vinci painting. Even if a few people think its better afterwards, 99% of the world will think it sucks, and hate you for trying. That fact makes this remix by Madeon an even more impressive feat. While others his age were just trying to finish high school, this 17 year old French sensation was exploding on to the scene with this funky re-imagining of an already great track. I’m definitely looking forward to seeing more from him in the future.
8) Spencer Hill f/ Nadia Ali – Believe it (Cazzette remix)
Umm.. Nadia Ali & Avicii’s protégé(Cazzette)? No further explanation necessary.
7) Tiesto – Maximal Crazy
It seems like only a short while ago that the dance music scene was up in arms about Tiesto deciding to move away from Trance and create more house tracks (yours truly was among that group). Well considering how the ENTIRE dance music scene has become more “housey”, it's looking like a pretty great call on his part. This track reinforces that Tiesto is a house DJ and an amazing one at that. Arguably the most bangin’ hard track of the year, turn up the bass and I dare you to try not to dance to this song.
6) DJ Feel, Matisse & Sadko – A Day to Remember
Some tracks come absolutely out of nowhere. I can’t tell you where I found this song, but I will say that it struck me immediately. True progressive house should take you on a journey, with unique twists and turns along the way. “A Day to Remember” epitomizes this as well as any progressive house song. Listen to the first minute or so, and it may not even pique your interest, however it slowly builds and builds to a crescendo of uplifting, light house music. Truly a beautiful track to behold (not surprising that it was chosen as the official anthem of Trancemission 2011).
5) Daft Punk – Derezzed
You had to know it wouldn’t be long before an Avicii track showed up on the list. I doubt many of you would have guessed it would have been as a remix of a Daft Punk song. One of the many things that bugs me about a lot of remixes is that DJ’s think they can change the pitch slightly, add a sound effect or two, slap their name on it and then publish basically the exact same track as the original. Avicii gets this, and every one of his remixes enhances and changes the original song in a truly unique way. Go ahead and listen to the original version of “Derezzed” and tell me you think it sounds similar. Then I’ll call you a liar. Avicii’s remix is about as catchy as It gets, and is something you can’t stop playing or get out of your head. (it also gets bonus points for being the only good thing to come out of the awful movie TRON).
4) Nadia Ali, Starkillers, Alex Kenji – Pressure (AlessoRemix)
Type “Pressure Original Mix” into google, and call me back in 45 minutes when you find the original track. I mentioned above that a remix should enhance & change a song for the better. Well I should have added that if you can take a track that is basically awful and create a dance-floor-bomb of a remix so popular that it’s difficult to even find the original, then yeah, I’d say you did OK. Incredibly creative melodies coupled with Nadia Ali’s typically haunting vocals define this great remix from Alesso, and if you haven’t heard it yet, you should probably crawl out of that bomb shelter you’ve been living in for the last year.
3) Kaskade – Turn it down
A friend of mine once told me, “I don’t know how you can listen to this music without being drunk as hell”. Well Kaskade is an example that inebriation is neither a requirement for listening to nor creating amazing dance music. A devout Mormon who doesn’t drink alcohol, Kaskade had a wildly successful 2011. His album “Fire & Ice” had a ton of great tracks on it, and none better than “Turn it Down”. Partnering with Rebecca & Fiona was a brilliant call, and this track has an interesting versatility: it feels just as normal listening to it lounging on the couch as it does losing your mind on a packed dancefloor (Although I’d highly recommend the latter).
2) Sultan & Ned Shepherd f/ Nadia Ali – Call My Name
I was hard pressed not to choose “Call My Name” as the #1 track of the year. This track is simply unreal and is the best use of Nadia Ali’s incredible vocals I’ve ever heard. The slow build-up lulls you into submission, before a quick transition into the beat drop, which is the best of any track this year. I’ve only heard it played live once, when Afrojack dropped it on a packed dancefloor in Las Vegas. The group euphoria in the crowd was unbelievable, and when the song ended, the crowd walked away feeling like they had truly experienced something special together.
1)Armin van Buuren – Drowning (Avicii remix)
If you had told me last year that I would be picking an Armin Van Buuren track as the #1 house song of the year, I would have politely told you to either cut down or up the dosage on your medication. It’s not that Armin isn’t talented, he is, and is one of my all-time favorite DJ’s. However ,his tracks have historically been so “trancey” I couldn’t have possibly imagined what Avicii would be able to do when he got his hands on it. Falling into the same category as the Alesso Remix of “Pressure”, it is nearly impossible you would have ever heard “Drowning” if Avicii hadn’t remixed it. The song is so different from the depressingly boring original, that it barely can even be called a remix, and really is more of an original Avicii creation.
Words don’t do it justice, so buckle your seatbelt, make sure your tray-table is in it’s upright and locked position, and take a listen to discover why “Drowning, The Avicii Remix” is my 2011 House Track of The Year.
Paul's Top 10 Trance Tracks of 2011
10) Gareth Emery - Tokyo
I can already hear the criticism. “How can you include a song that has only been out a month on the top tracks of the year?”. Well my answer would be “I just did”. Gareth Emery’s new track “Tokyo” is not only an amazing, unique and edgy track, its Gareth’s best work since, oh this little track.
9) Orjan Nilsen – Between the Rays
If a trance tracks can ever be considered “dangerous”, this is definitely one to add to the list. The reason? It is simply impossible to go the speed limit while listening to “Between the Rays”. Upon finishing this track in early 2011, Orjan called up Armin Van Buuren to say “This is the best melody I’ve ever written”. Happy to say we agree with you Orjan.
8) Headstrong F/ Shelley Harland – Helpless (Aurosonic Progressive Mix).
If the last track makes you want to hit the racetrack, then this one gives you the feeling that you should be lying on a beach somewhere watching the sun set. “Helpless” has a slow, incredibly melodic build up. You can listen to nearly 4 and ½ minutes of this song before even realizing it is a trance song. A great example of true progressive trance, the tantalizingly short drop leaves you pounding the “replay” button again and again.
7) Allure F/ Jes – Show Me The Way (Tydi Remix)
Every now and again Tiesto teases us by releasing a trance track under the “Allure” title. It's as if he wants to remind us “Hey, remember me? The (formerly) most successful Trance DJ ever? Yeah I’ve still got it”. One such example was the great track “Show Me the Way”, and as far as I’m concerned, Tiesto can go ahead and remind us of his Trance prowess as often as he wants.
6) Grace – Not Over Yet (Max Graham vs. Protoculture Remix)
Arguably the most melodic track of the year, “Not over Yet” has a perfect balance between a beautiful build-up and a bangin’ drop that you can really feel on the dance floor. Turn up the bass and enjoy this awesome progressive trance experience.
5) Cosmic Gate & JES – Flying Blind
Cosmic gate has been around since 1999, which in the trance scene, is an eternity. Since that time they’ve evolved from a harder sound to a more subtle, beautiful style. Listening to their 2011 album “Wake your Mind” feels like listening to a “best of” compilation, because every song is amazing. “Flying Blind” with the beautiful vocals of JES, has a moody, quiet intro, that builds into a fantastic complex drop.
4) Arty – The Wall (Arty Remode Mix)
I’m always a little skeptical when artists remix their own tracks ("wait, so it wasn’t good enough the way you made it??”). If every self-remix came out like “The Wall” from Arty, I’d change my opinion on that immediately. A dark foreboding, electro-esque intro doesn’t give any clue to how the song evolves as it progresses. It’s not often that I stop and go “Whoa” when a beat drops, but at 4:12 in, Arty shows why he’s one of the brightest young talents in EDM, with the trance dancefloor bomb of the year.
3) Sander van Doorn – Timezone
Every once in a while, a track grows on you. At first listen, it may not seem like anything special, but with each consecutive play, it gets better and better. Such is the case with Sander Van Doorn’s “Timezone”. One of the most creative songs of the year, Sander mixes unorthodox male AND female vocals with dark, moody melodies, to create one of the most strangely beautiful songs of the year. The complexity of this track is hard to explain(it’s got a fricken duet in it?!), and while it’s not often you find yourself singing along to a trance track, listen to this one all the way through a few times and you may find yourself doing just that.
2) Andy Moor – Fight the Fire
A simply beautiful track, “Fight The Fire” from Andy Moor is an amazing trance experience that creeps up slowly throughout the song. I don’t know how its possible to make a track both dark and uplifting at the same time, but Andy Moor does it here, and reminds us why he’s still one of the top trance DJ’s out there.
1 1) Arty & Mat Zo – Rebound.
When I hear an amazing track, my natural reaction is to want to share it with friends immediately. I often go online to see what other people’s reaction is, did they enjoy it as much as I did, etc. When I first heard “Rebound” from Arty & Mat Zo, I was packed onto the dancefloor at Armin van Buuren’s “A State of Trance Stage” at Ultra Music Festival 2011. It was a truly surreal experience, and maybe the best moment of any show I’ve been to ever. The energy was unparalleled and “rebound” drew everyone into a frenzy. Immediately after getting home I looked up the song and a review from this site describes my track of the year better than I ever could:
As it reaches halfway into the song, there is a strong build-up to when the beat returns, leading into a drop that is unparalleled.Even on the twentieth listen, I am still moving to the high volume and high powered drop which acts as the voice and the lead for the rest of the track’s energy. Honestly, it leaves me without words. You have to hear it to truly understand how magical it is.