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It has taken me years to construct this, but I am elated to finally present to you what I think is the greatest Trance mix ever made (stereotypical, other-worldly thumbnail included)! I’ve honestly never heard anything like it. This mix is a part of me and has taken well over three years to construct in theory and in concept. It includes 16 of my all-time favorite Trance songs and features an extremely calculated and deliberate ebb and flow. This mix showcases Trance’s range, in both BPM and style. Every song on this mix is an anthem and definitively exhibits all that Trance has to offer. Admittedly, this is not a Trance retrospective as it does not include any songs from before 2006. However, I believe this mix embodies MY generation of Trance.

I have longed for an artifact that would show people what Trance truly is and spent years searching for a template to demonstrate exactly that. Now I feel I finally have it.

This mix is also very special to me because it was mixed by my very close friend Scott Land of Slander. It’s truly one of the nicest gifts anyone has ever given to me and I couldn’t help but share it with the world. The transitions are flawless and there is no set that I would rather listen to in existence. Scott also happens to be the person that turned me onto Trance, so the fact that this could be a collaboration between us means that much more to me.

The thing that sets Trance apart from other genres, in my opinion, is that the feeling Trance evokes inside you is its exact intent. It’s all about how the music makes you feel.

There are so many songs and so many artist that I wish I could have included. It was also hard for me not to make every song on here by Above & Beyond, but just wait for my next mix – Above & Beyond at only 138 BPM!

Please give this mix a chance and if you still do not like it, then I am sorry to say that Trance is lost on you. For real though, everyone needs to get their shit together and realize that Trance is the best of all EDM genres!

I made this mix available on SoundCloud, YouTube, MixCloud and Dropbox (for DOWNLOAD).

If you enjoyed the mix, please follow my EDMozer Essential Trance playlist on Spotify to dive deeper into my Trance library.

Below is the tracklist for EDMozer’s Essential Trance mix. I included a brief anecdote about what each song means to me and hope it aids in your enjoyment of the set. PLEASE let me know what you think!

 

  • 1. Let Go (Nic Chagall Remix) [Myon & Shane 54 Refill] – Mark Eteson [131 BPM] (2010)

So what better song to start the greatest Trance mix ever with than the song that opened one of my favorite sets of all-time, Trance Around The World 350. I’ve written about this song and TATW 350 before in my Myon & Shane 54 Featured Artist post, but here it goes again. This song came out right around the peak of my interest in Trance and TATW 350 happened to fall on a Friday. Rather than go out drinking with my friends, I decided to stay in my bed and rage to the TATW livestream with my headphones on. Scott was actually at the Palladium for this show and I was so jealous when Above & Beyond started their set with “Let Go.” I remain forever envious of my friends who witnessed TATW 350.

  • 2. Promises (Myon & Shane 54 Summer of Love Mix) – Andain [132 BPM] (2011)

To me, “Promises” is one of the most accessible Trance songs for non-Trance fans. Over the years as I planned this mix, I knew it had to be included for this reason. I have wonderful memories of driving around the streets of Paris listening to this song during my 2012 Europe trip and it always leaves me with a warm feeling inside upon each listen. This is definitely one of my favorite songs ever.

  • 3. Never Say Never (Myon & Shane 54 Remix) – Armin van Buuren [134 BPM] (2009)

Although I did not include any tracks by Armin van Buuren on this mix, I am glad I could include two of his originals remixed. Armin has been one of the biggest influencers, if not the biggest, on the Trance scene. However, I got into Trance through Anjunabeats and only began exploring Armin and Armada later on. I can’t really explain it, but I LOVE the build into the final drop of “Never Say Never.” It is a prime example of Myon & Shane 54’s sound and style that made me fall in love with them.

  • 4. You Never Said (Dash Berlin Remix) – Jaren, Mitiska, Cerf [132 BPM] (2008)

I honestly don’t remember when or how I found this song. However, this track encompasses everything that I look for in a Trance anthem from the groovy bass line down to the chilling breakdowns. “You Never Said” is sung by Jaren Cerf who also did the vocals on “Man On The Run,” but I will get to that later.

  • 5. Thing Called Love (Above & Beyond 2011 Club Mix) – Above & Beyond [134 BPM] (2011)

“Thing Called Love” is the only song I included by Above & Beyond off Group Therapy in this mix. While that was the album that began my obsession with Above & Beyond, I have grown fonder of Tri-State and their stint as OceanLab over time. Nevertheless, it just had to be included. There’s nothing I can say that I haven’t written already about “Thing Called Love” so I am just going to reiterate my thoughts from my Above & Beyond’s Top 20 Songs of All-Time post. I truly think that the final drop in “Thing Called Love” is my favorite by them ever. Above & Beyond spend the first four and a half minutes building up this anthem until it all comes crashing down in one massive crescendo. I get so pumped every time I listen to this song, whether it be live, in my car or wherever. I don’t know, it just has that effect on me. I know I’m not the only one.

  • 6. Rebound (Original Mix) – Arty & Mat Zo [134 PM] (132 BPM] (2011)

“Rebound” is my favorite track of all-time. And once again, it has everything to do with Scott. Having never heard this song, Scott sat me down at his place and made me close my eyes and listen to it in full. He told me to focus on how the song developed and on each new element that was added to the build. I had never heard anything like it and instantly fell in love. I also think one of this songs’ highlights is the hard electro-like drop in the beginning that almost desensitizes you to sound, only to bring you back to euphoria with the build I just described. It’s pure bliss. Scott also gave me a light show to “Rebound” later that night in a Carl’s Jr. parking lot, which made me cry completely sober.

  • 7. Till The Sky Falls Down (Dash Berlin 4AM Mix) – Dash Berlin [135 BPM] (2011)

Fun fact that many do not know about Dash Berlin is that is it actually comprised of three people. And no one commands a bass line like Dash Berlin! Dash’s 4AM Remixes are so fucking sick! The bass distortion and chops in the drop of this song takes what was once a beautiful and melodic piece of music and completely turns it on its head. This is a pretty far departure from songs like “Never Cry Again” and “The Night Time” that initially turned me onto Dash, but I think really showcases their range and willingness to try different things.

  • 8. Not Giving Up On Love (Dash Berlin 4AM Mix) – Armin van Buuren [135 BPM] (2010)

The above is true for this 4AM Remix as well. What I particularly like about this remix though is that it takes one of Armin’s most popular songs and just makes it so much dirtier! The original isn’t even comparable in my opinion, however there is certainly a time and place for both. An honorable mention 4AM Remix that did not make the cut is Ferry Corsten’s “Not Coming Down.” It may even be my favorite, but the other two are more deserving of this mix.

  • 9. Fantasy (Tritonal Air Up There Remix) – Nadia Ali [135 BPM] (2010)

I only just discovered Tritonal’s remix of “Fantasy” this year, but felt it had to be included in this mix. I don’t have much to say, but this song is so beautiful and I fucking love Nadia Ali! I remember listening to Tritonal from afar at EDC 2011 and thinking “What the fuck is that?” Nonetheless, I wish they would stop pumping out House and come back to Trance.

  • 10. U (Bryan Kearney Remix) – Gareth Emery [138 BPM] (2014)

You may have noticed that there are not many songs in this mix from the last three years. In fact, this is the only one. I have not been a fan of new Trance releases as of late, but Bryan Kearney’s remix of “U” is the best Trance song of 2014 in my opinion. Armin has been destroying dance floors all summer with his “U/Concrete Angel” Mashup. You should have seen me at Ultra this year when he played it in his mainstage set – I was going crazy. This is also the deliberate turning point of my mix where it transitions into 138. I live at 138 and really wanted the mix up until this point to be a warm up for what was to come.

  • 11. Save Me (Ilya Soloviev Remix) – Shogun [138 BPM] (2010)

The original “Save Me” by Shogun is one of my all-time favorite Trance songs, but it really didn’t fit anywhere in this mix. Shogun is one of my favorite producers and I think the man deserves more credit. Now I don’t know if I prefer Ilya Soloviev’s remix or not, but I think it fits so perfectly between “U” and “Sanctuary.” You also must check out this video of Armin playing it while the sun is either rising or setting on a beach in Bulgaria. I have to go there one day!

  • 12. Sanctuary (Guiseppe Ottaviani Remix) – Gareth Emery [138 BPM] (2011)

“Sanctuary” is an undeniable Trance anthem. And what does every Trance anthem need? A 138 remix of course! And oh man does Guiseppe Ottavaini deliver. His version is just so much bigger than the original and truly deserves its place in this mix. I really couldn’t imagine a Trance showcase without “Sanctuary.” The Sean Tyas remix also deserves mention.

  • 13. Sirens of the Sea (Above & Beyond Club Mix) – OceanLab [138 BPM] (2008)

“Sirens of the Sea” has been known to move me to tears in the right mood. Justine Suissa’s voice is so angelic and showcased so beautifully in the breakdown of this song. There are honestly SO many Above & Beyond songs at 138 that I would have liked to feature in this mix, but I could not include them all. Even so, the title track off of my favorite Trance album deserved a spot on this mix and properly expresses what OceanLab was all about.

  • 14. On A Good Day (Above & Beyond Club Mix) – OceanLab [138 BPM] (2008)

Outside of Group Therapy, I would argue that “On A Good Day” is Above & Beyond’s most recognizable and iconic song. The most recognizable version of which is “On A Good Day (Metropolis),” which was released on Anjunabeats Volume 8. I decided to include the “Metropolis” version on my Above & Beyond’s Top 20 Songs of All-Time post for this reason, however I believe it’s their Club Mix that truly shines. I seriously get lost in a trance every time it comes on. This also concludes the 138 BPM part of our journey.

  • 15. Man On The Run (Extended Mix) – Dash Berlin, Cerf, Mitiska, Jaren [135 BPM] (2009)

While “Rebound” is my favorite song of all-time, “Man On The Run” is the perfect trance track in my eyes. It has literally everything I look for in a Trance anthem and more. I remember the first time I heard it I thought to myself “Holy fuck! How have I not heard this before and where can I find more like it?” (I had a similar reaction the first time I encountered Radiohead). From the vocals, to the breakdown and everything in between, “Man On The Run” is my benchmark when it comes to Trance and is largely responsible for my love of Dash Berlin and really Trance all together.

  • 16. Can’t Sleep (Original Mix) – Above & Beyond [133 BPM] (2006)

I wanted to end this mix with something lighter; something that would make listeners reflect on what they just experienced. I’ve had some serious moments while listening to “Can’t Sleep,” and often about completely unrelated things. I’m not even really sure what it is about this song, but it always helps me deconstruct and face whatever is in front of me. I also think it features some of the most beautiful vocals ever sung in an Above & Beyond song and is the perfect note to round out the mix.

 

Greatest Trance Mix Ever Made 1

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Ellie-Goulding-Cosmo

FULL SOUNDCLOUD PLAYLIST AT THE BOTTOM OF THIS PAGE

It’s been nearly nine months since I last posted, but I am back with another Featured Artist post featuring Ellie Goulding. Ellie is just the second vocalist to be featured on my blog, following in the footsteps of the lovely Nadia Ali.

I’ve been listening to EDM for well over four years now, and while she may not have been a staple, Ellie has almost always been present in my playlists. Although she just began her rise to stardom in late 2011, Ellie was a massive superstar on the Internet far before. Those of you who have been on Hype Machine for as long as I have know exactly what I’m talking about. We knew Ellie was destined for greatness from the very beginning and it comes as no surprise that this playlist features NINE different remixes and one original song. I really wanted to limit the playlist to just one version of each track, but both “Burn” remixes are so good and vastly different from one another.

As is custom with most of my playlists, rather than ranking each song, I put them in alphabetical order. As is also custom, here is a little personal anecdote about each song! Enjoy!

 

As is often my reaction when I hear new remix with Ellie, I was immediately drawn to this track when my friend Pete played it on a drive back from Vegas. Motez is slowly becoming one of my favorite Deep House producers and I honestly think this is his best work. I’d also check out his “High You Are” remix if you like what you hear.

 

I originally planned on leaving this track off of the playlist because I did not want to include duplicate versions of the same song, but it’s simply too good. One of the groovier songs I’ve heard in a while and definitely my favorite dance music remix of “Burn”.

 

So I want to talk about Jeftuz for a minute because I discovered him in a very peculiar way just before he made it big. Plus, every music blogger wants to brag about how they discovered an artist before anyone else. Amirite?! Jeftuz is a Dutch R&B producer who recently got his break with Soulection. When I first found this dude, he only had one song with just over 100,000 plays on it. That song was Justin Bieber’s “All That Matters (Jeftuz Remix)”. Despite the original artist, this song is dope. I just checked and holy fuck, this song has over 1 million plays now! Anyway, I found Jeftuz by searching through Ta-ku’s likes on Soundcloud. I don’t even like Ta-ku’s music very much, but was compelled to sift through nearly everything he liked and man was I pumped to find Jeftuz among the pile. My other favorite Jeftuz songs are definitely “If Only You Knew (Jeftuz Remix)” and “Party Girls (Jeftuz Remix)”. His music is sex.

 

So by now most of you reading know that Slander is comprised of two of my best friends. And while I like everything they put out, when I heard the pre-release version of this song I was overcome with emotion. Derek once told me that his goal in making Trap was to bring out the feeling he once felt Trance gave him. As soon as I heard this drop, I knew he’d accomplished that goal. And now Heaven Trap is sweeping the nation! Hearing this live at the Yost Theater last weekend was an unreal experience and I hope you all get to experience this song live at some point in your lives. Yo, Chicago (July 25) and Madison (October 10) friends, Slander is coming for you! One last thing I need to add now that Slander is getting their music shared by blog after blog these days… I had to be one of the first with their first Seven Lions remix of “Days to Come”. If you haven’t gone back and explored their library, I highly suggest checking it out. However, the best song Slander has ever produced still has to be the “Avicii vs. Swedish House Mafia & Laidback Luke – ID2 vs. Leave The World Behind (Slander MashUp)”. FUCKING EDMOZER EXCLUSIVE RIGHT HERE!

 

I just heard this song last night for the first time. It’s awesome!

 

While I’m not super into Kygo’s overplayed Island-Vibey House thing, I think his remix of “High For This” is pretty awesome. I almost included Ellie’s original cover of The Weeknd, but wanted to keep the playlist skewed a bit more towards EDM with the exception of “Burn (Jeftuz Remix)”. I remember the first time I heard Ellie’s cover, I immediately had one of those “OMG what is this song?!” moments. Her voice is just too perfect and I can’t help but dream that a girl will one day sing this song to me.

 

Back in 2011, I dubbed this track the #6 song of the year. I don’t have much else to say about it, the songs speaks for itself, so here is what I wrote about it in 2011: “No story here. I love Bassnectar. The guy is a true showman who kills it every time he takes the stage. He has a truly unique sound that when paired with the beautiful vocals of the ever-remixed Ellie Goulding create my favorite Dubstep song of the year.”

 

This song brings me back because I discovered it on HypeM, which then led me to the first EDM mix I ever listened to in full – Alex Metric: DJ Mix – Aug 2010. The song is huge and this mix pretty much cemented my interest in electronic music beyond Deadmau5 and HypeM. Other notable tracks from the mix include “Swoon (Boys Noize Summer Mix)”, “Rainbow Trout” and “Babylon (Steve Angello Edit)”.

 

“Starry Eyed (Russ Chimes Remix)” is one of the first songs I found on HypeM and at the time, I considered it to be the best EDM song of 2010. You have to understand that back in January of 2010, I had no idea what EDM was and every dance song I heard was somewhat foreign to me. Nonetheless, this song was among the first tracks to open my eyes to EDM and chronologically sits behind only Tiesto’s “Silence (In Search Of Sunrise Remix)” as an influence on my current taste in music.

 

“Summit” is the lowly original to make it into this playlist, and for good reason. I actually just had to look up what genre this song is classified as because when it was first released it was labeled as Trance. It certainly isn’t Trance, but I don’t think its Dubstep either. Irregardless, I think this song shows Skrillex’s range as a producer beyond Brostep and obviously using Ellie on vocals takes it to a whole new level. “Summit” is probably one of my favorite chill EDM songs ever made.

 

Well I hope you read and enjoyed, but you probably didn’t. So for the first time on EDMozer, here is a full Soundcloud playlist!!! Follow me if you like!

Last night I saw Above & Beyond for the seventh time, and what I think may have been their best.

Words cannot explain the emotion I felt at Above & Beyond Acoustic, although I will attempt to convey my feelings in some written manner. It was just as magical as I expected, and yet much, much more.

To no one’s surprise, Above & Beyond’s music translated beautifully and seamlessly into an acoustic setting. I think the true feat of Above & Beyond Acoustic was its testament to the musical and artistic talents of Jono, Paavo and Tony. I had no idea Tony sang and the three of them combined to play an array of musical instruments that might shock those unfamiliar with the musical acumen necessary to be a successful electronic music producer. Along with piano, they each played bass, guitar and even the xylophone!

I usually write these blog posts with a lot of background and information, but since Above & Beyond Acoustic was truly for the fans, so shall be this post. In my opinion, Above & Beyond organized this acoustic display not only to showcase the range of their musical talents, but also to thank their dedicated fans. They played songs that you would NEVER hear during their recent DJ sets or maybe ever again. Songs such as “Miracle,” “No One On Earth,” “Satellite” and “Sirens of the Sea” were hauntingly poetic and far surpassed my expectations of what I thought it would be like to hear them performed live.

Hearing Zoe Johnston in the flesh was an out-of-body experience for me. Having sung her songs aloud at raves, clubs and in my bedroom countless times, finally hearing her live was just unbelievable. The acoustic rendition of “Good For Me” gave me goose bumps and was my favorite of the night. I always assumed Above & Beyond altered her voice for the studio production, but she sounded even more heavenly in person.

If I may pass criticism on one of the best concerts I’ve ever seen in the slightest, it would be that the presence of Justine Suissa and Richard Bedford were sorely missed. Now don’t get me wrong – Annie Drury and Alex Vargas sang beautifully, but they don’t hold a candle to the originals, particularly Justine. Her vocals on Sirens Of The Sea have historically brought me to tears and hearing Ms. Drury sing her vocals left me yearning for another rendition.

But all in all, the night was unforgettable and probably my favorite show to date. Tony cried, Skrillex played guitar, and I shudder at the thought that I may never see Above & Beyond perform acoustically again. I was absolutely blown away. Edge of my seat, singing aloud, and floored throughout the entire thing.

I filmed snippets of every song from the show with the exception of “Stealing Time” and three unreleased songs. The quality is not that great, but hopefully this playlist gives you an idea of what it was like:

Fortunately, my adventure did not stop there however. This afternoon I met two colleagues for lunch, when an hour or so into our meeting I glance at the table next to me and see Jono! I immediately started trembling and completely freaked out. Meeting a member of Above & Beyond was something I’d only dreamed of.

After some encouragement from my coworkers, I mustered up the courage to go speak to him. He was sitting with his family, whom I presume were his brother, parents and maybe an uncle. I was terrified! I told Jono that I attended the previous night’s show and commended them for their stellar performance. He then introduced me to his family and thanked me for coming to the show. He was so nice! I was so nervous that after his dad made a joke about his hereditary baldness, I called him Jono’s grandfather (FML). Between that and the picture we took, I kind of blacked out. But it was one of the happiest moments of my life.

Following the interaction, I went back to my table and could not stop thinking about all the things I forgot to say. I had played the situation in my head hundreds of times and it did not go according to plan at all.

I would have thanked him for the tremendously positive impact his music has had on my life and how profoundly moved I am by so many of his songs. I would have mentioned that I saw Above & Beyond perform seven times, or that I wrote the craziest Above & Beyond’s Top 20 Songs of All-Time post on the Internet. All because I love them so much. And I totally blew it! But hey, maybe our paths will cross again.

After all, life is full of small moments like these.

I apologize for not posting in a while. The last two posts took quite a bit out of me and sometimes it’s hard to muster up the energy to write something. However, to make up for the lack of content, I will attempt to post at least three times this week (fingers crossed!).

This post in particular is very special to me because I am sharing with you the first EDM playlist I ever made public. This playlist predates my blog by nine months and would only have been seen if you saw my Facebook Note way back then. Remember those? Probably not. So I have decided to resurface the playlist and bring you guys on a trip down memory lane.

One of the smartest things I ever did was create a Google Music account. Little did I know at the time, the account now serves as the only record of my EDM music collection from before January of 2012. I don’t really want to get into it because it was one of the saddest moments of my life, but I did in fact delete my entire music library on accident.

Anyway, every now and then I check the account to refresh my memory with old songs I used to listen to. And what did I find this time around? A playlist that I dubbed “Electronic Dance Music For Beginners” in March of 2011.

The playlist is an absolutely stellar depiction of what was popular in the EDM world back then (well at least for me) and serves as a pretty awesome personal benchmark. I can’t remember exactly why I decided to post the playlist, but I’m glad I did. It marks the day I decided to become a tastemaker and really the day this blog began.

You’re a fool if you don’t know every ones of these by heart. Enjoy! Also, Deadmau5 was the shiiiiiiiiiiiit!

  1. Steve Angello – Knas
  2. Deadmau5 vs. Jelo – The Reward is Cheese
  3. Wolfgang Gartner – Space Junk
  4. Yeah Yeah Yeahs – Heads Will Roll (A-Trak Remix)
  5. The Bloody Beetroots – Dimmakmmunication
  6. David Guetta – Dirty Talk (Laidback Luke Remix)
  7. TV Rock – In the Air (Axwell Remix)
  8. Imogen Heap – Hide and Seek (Afrojack Remix)
  9. Rihanna – S&M (Sidney Samson Cub Mix)
  10. Mohombi – Bumpy Ride (Chuckie Remix)
  11. Congorock – Babylon (Steve Angello Edit)
  12. Justice – Phantom Pt. II (Boys Noize Unreleased Turbine)
  13. Ellie Goulding – Lights (Bassnectar Remix)
  14. Deadmau5 & Kaskade – Move for Me
  15. Tim Berg – Bromance (The Love You Seek) (Avicii’s Extended Vocal Mix)
  16. Above & Beyond – Sun and Moon (Club Mix)
  17. Dash Berlin feat. Cerf, Mitiska & Jaren – Man on the Run

Today I lost my hero

August 5, 2013 was the day I lost my Grandpa Harlan. Growing up, I always looked up to my grandfather as a mythical human being. He grew up in the Great Depression and lost his father very early on in his life. Yet against all odds, my grandpa fought back everything he had going against him and led one of the most epic lives I’ve ever heard of. And we are all fortunate that he was able to write his own auto-biography before he passed. Life’s really hard for most people and one harsh truth I’ve learned is that everyone has their issues. Yet it’s the people like my grandpa who stand up in hard times that make this world a better place.

Remember when you were assigned little essays in elementary school to write about a hero? While many of the other kids often picked athletes or human rights activists as their heroes, I always wrote about my grandpa. I can recall at least three of these papers and one as recently as my application for the University of Texas.

For the longest time, I looked at my grandpa as my hero purely based on all of the professions and hobbies he had throughout his lifetime. He was in the Navy; he was a boxer; he had one of the most beautiful singing voices I’d ever heard; he was a lawyer (and a very accomplished one at that); he was a liberal and always looked out for those less fortunate than him; he was a Sheriff; he was the most well-read person I’d ever met; and the list goes on and on and on.

I also had a very special bond with my grandpa because of the many interests we had in common. We both loved sports (playing and watching), Shakespeare and traveling among many others. We also both loved to talk a ton. Whenever I planned to call my grandpa, I always made sure I had at least an hour to talk. Sometimes I felt like “Oh man, now I have to talk to my grandpa for an hour,” but as soon as we began chatting, there was nothing I’d rather do. He always took a great interest in my life and had wisdom to offer during every single call. I heard countless stories about how much of a hardass my grandpa was and some of the crazy things he put my mom through as kid, but he was always the sweetest man to me. He was my biggest fan.

My grandpa always told us that no matter what you do in life, never be bored. And I’ve tried my hardest to live up to that. It wasn’t easy moving to California without my parents and my sister, but my grandpa thought it was the coolest thing that I decided to live my life out here. He wanted me to try new things and live my life to the fullest, so I hope I’m doing him proud.

One of the things I always admired about my grandpa was his workout routine. Later in his life, he lived with only one lung, a fucked up heart and a hunched over back, yet still woke up at 4 a.m. every morning to go for a run until he no longer could. It broke his heart when he became too physically unfit to work out and I know he took a big shot to his ego when that time came. But he tried for as long as he could, and that’s why I’ve decided to start running in his memory.

Whether it was going for a run, being fashionable or seeing the world, it was most important to my grandpa to be passionate. That’s a big thing I’ve taken away from him and a major reason I keep up with this blog. Electronic dance music is one of my many passions, as well as writing, so I have taken it upon myself to share my passion with whoever cares to read.

Another thing that we shared was that we were both very deep, emotional people. And I can’t help but be devastated that my grandpa will never have the chance to meet my future wife or children.

If there is anything I’ve taken away from my grandpa, it’s that if you want to do something then do it, and if you do it then make sure you always gain knowledge and make yourself a more well-rounded person in the process. I think that’s something that I have always done and hope my efforts are appreciated by others.

If I may pass on some wisdom that I learned from him, it’s to always appreciate people, whether it be for their skills or even just their odd uniqueness. I meet some weird people in Los Angeles, but I always give them a chance. I think getting to know different types of people is important and believe that each encounter provides me with more perspective on life. My grandpa was the same way.

I know this is completely unrelated to EDM, but I think this blog is the best way for me to express my feelings in this time of mourning. If you bothered to read this, then hopefully you understand how great of a man my grandpa was, but also understand me and what I’m made of.

I was lucky enough to have him in my life for 23 years and am even luckier to still have two grandparents and a step-grandparent still alive. I hope all of you have as great of memories of your grandparents as I do and have learned just as much.

I just want to say I love you grandpa and you’ll always be my hero.

Okay, I finally did it! I listened to Above & Beyond’s entire discography, including their productions as Anjunabeats, Dirt Devils, Free State, OceanLab, Rollerball, Tongue of God, Tranquility Base and Zed-X. It took quite a while, but I believe I am ready to present to you my Top 20 Above & Beyond Songs of All-Time! I hope people looking to get into Above & Beyond find this post. I remember scouring the Internet back in 2011 for a list of Above & Beyond’s best songs and the best I could find was this Quora thread.

Now I have to provide a disclaimer for those of you reading this that may not know me. I am 23 years old and only started listening to Above & Beyond around the time Anjunabeats Volume 7 came out in October of 2009. Most of my listening was retrospective rather than listening to the music as it was released. I even featured Above & Beyond on this blog back in February 2012, but have learned so much more about the group, their history and their productions since. My love for Above & Beyond has only grown stronger over the past year and so has my knowledge and insight into the world of Trance. I also want to make it clear that I have been listening to some of these songs for years and others for just a few weeks.

Additionally, if you do not know, Above & Beyond remix themselves A LOT. So I only included my favorite version (usually the Club Mix) of each song.

Nevertheless, the following are my favorite Above & Beyond songs as of July 30, 2013. I tried to provide some historical context for each song, along with my personal discovery and experience with each track. I know several better than others, but you’ll get the gist. The songs are in alphabetical order because I do not feel comfortable ranking them. Enjoy!

Above & Beyond followed up 2004’s A State of Trance Tune of the Year Award with a second-straight award for “Air For Life” in 2005. The first single of off Above & Beyond’s first full-length album Tri-State, is just one of three songs to make my list that has a producer other than Above & Beyond accredited with the track. I love the driving bass in this song and would easily put it up against any other Above & Beyond song at 132 BPM. I wasn’t too fond of “Air For Life” when I first heard it, but know I would go absolutely crazy if they ever brought this back in one of their sets.

“Alone Tonight” is often regarded by fans as the best songs on Tri-State, however I do not feel this way at all. No disrespect to the song, but there are so many other incredible productions on that album. In all honesty, I don’t really like any of Richard Bedford’s vocals on Tri-State compared to those on Group Therapy. But like I said, the order in which I discovered these songs strongly affects my bias and I heard Group Therapy first. Regardless, this song absolutely belongs in my Top 20 and it deserves more of my attention going forward. Also, don’t just take my word for it. I know plenty of Trance fans consider this to be their all-time favorite song.

“Anphonic,” also known as the love child of Trance legends Above & Beyond and Kyau & Albert, is the only song to make the list with no vocals. I have often dubbed this as the best non-vocal Above & Beyond song, but it is so much more than that. Featured on Anjunabeats Volume 8, the first Anjunabeats compilation I listened to on the day of its release, “Anphonic” stood out immediately as a song that could invoke the same emotion as other heartwarming tracks on the album such as “Let Go” and “The Wonder,” yet without lyrics. Ultimately, it sounds more like a Kyau & Albert song than Above & Beyond, but it’s still more than deserving of a spot in my Top 20.

I pretty much love every Above & Beyond Mix on Sirens of the Sea Remixed and that is no more true than with “Breaking Ties (Above & Beyond Analogue Haven Mix).” This is yet another Above & Beyond masterpiece at 138 BPM. Beautiful melody, beautiful vocals – just listen. I absolutely love the acoustic guitar that comes in at 3:01.

“Can’t Sleep” and I have a bit of an odd relationship. It was one of the first Above & Beyond songs I ever listened to, however I did not start LOVING it until just a few months ago. Easily one of the most beautiful tracks Above & Beyond has ever crafted, “Can’t Sleep” is an emotional roller coaster driven by the heart wrenching vocals that I think anyone can relate to. I’d be lying to you if I said this song hasn’t brought me to tears more than a handful of times. I’m going to go out on a limb and say that this song features my favorite lyrics of any Above & Beyond production.

“Every Little Beat” is about as far from a banger as you will find on this list, however, it is a staple in my Above & Beyond library because of my personal connection to the song. Now every Above & Beyond song has touched me on some level, but this one always reminds me of a girl. The lyrics are a bit forthright and arrogant, but man did they fit my situation perfectly (and she agreed). “Every little beat of your heart / You get a little closer to me / You’ve never been so happy since I’ve been around / I don’t want to tear your world apart / But that’s how it’s going to be.” “Every Little Beat,” the fourth single off of Group Therapy, has gotten me through some tough times and I’m all the better because of it.

My fondest memory of “Good For Me (Above & Beyond Cub Mix)” came at the end of TATW 450/ABGT 01. In what seemed like the end of an era. Above & Beyond decided to change the name of their podcast from Trance Around The World to Above & Beyond Group Therapy. The whole thing kind of made me feel uneasy and seemed like the finite moment when Above & Beyond parted ways with their old sound and embraced Trance 2.0 (although I think TATW 350 was the actual turning point). I’ve seen Above & Beyond live five times now and never have they ever played a song of theirs from before 2011 in my presence. Never. Oh how I have longed to hear any of the songs you see mentioned in this list live, which predate Group Therapy. Closing their set and TATW with “Good For Me” seemed like a fitting end to the show’s run, and so with it went a large part of the Above & Beyond I fell in love with. The original “Good For Me” was also voted Tune of the Year in 2006.

I don’t actually have any substantial memories associated with “Home (Above & Beyond Club Mix).” It’s another phenomenal 138 BPM track off of the Tri-State Remixed album that strongly resonates with me because of its pulsing bass line and strong vocals. “Home” also won Best Underground Dance Track of 2008.

“Love Is Not Enough (Above & Beyond Club Mix)” is the only “new” Above & Beyond song to make my Top 20. I’m not even really sure what to consider “new” Above & Beyond, but I am considering anything made one year after the release of Group Therapy as new. After all, this is the fifth single off that album and they still followed it with two others! Much like many of the “new” Above & Beyond songs, I did not like “Love Is Not Enough” at first. However, it slowly grew on me and I have learned to love it. The turning point for me actually occurred when I played it for a friend in my car while he was high out of his mind. He loved the song and I began to look at it differently as well. Other “new” songs just missing the cut are the Club Mixes of “On My Way To Heaven” and “Alchemy.”

A song that I believe is about saving the environment; ultimately has a very similar feel to the later mentioned “Satellite.” It starts out pretty hard, but then drops off into a very minimal build with excellent vocals from Justine Suissa. It’s definitely one of those songs that you would just stand at a show with your eyes closed while you belt out the lyrics in anticipation of the drop. Even though this track is 138 BPM, I still find it rather calming.

Above & Beyond’s award-winning 2004 Essential Mix is one of the most highly touted Trance mixes of the past decade. Filled with Trance classics, no song sticks out more to me than “No One On Earth.” This is partly because the mix lacks the amount of vocals you would find in an Above & Beyond set today, but nevertheless, this is the standout track on the mix for me. “No One On Earth” also began the wondrous relationship between Above & Beyond and vocalist Zoe Johnston. She later went on to provide all of the female vocals for Group Therapy. This was the second single ever produced by Above & Beyond under that name and still holds up as one of the best Above & Beyond songs ever made.

If I had to pick three songs to get someone new into Trance, “On A Good Day (Metropolis)” would without a doubt be one of them. I might go as far as saying that “On A Good Day” was the most iconic and recognizable Above & Beyond song, but then came along “Sun & Moon.” I have a special place in my heart for this song because it was the standout track from Anjunabeats Volume 8, which was one of the first albums to get me hooked on Trance. It features so many songs that I would now consider classics, but none made me bang my head and dance around my room like “On A Good Day (Metropolis).” I’m sure many of you feel the same way. The Acoustic Mix gave it a run for its money as far as making the list, but I had to go with this version because of its raw power and energy. Interestingly, a Redditor told me that this song was in fact a mashup put together by Myon & Shane 54 before it was released by Above & Beyond.

Hearing “Prelude” always brings me back to EDC Las Vegas 2011. Having somehow gotten separated from my friends, I found myself lost in a sea of 100,000 people at the mainstage for Above & Beyond. However, it was not that bad because I soon found comfort in a new female friend who had a similar admiration for the Trance trio. Embarrassingly, by the time EDC rolled around I still had not found time to listen to Group Therapy in its entirety and only recognized the songs I had heard on Trance Around the World. I’ll never forget the first time I heard “Prelude” because the girl I was with flipped out and I had to know the name of the song. I love its opening hard-hitting bass line that over time evolves into the classic Above & Beyond build that I have come to expect in all of their music. The track even made my Top 10 EDM Songs of 2011, however, I would definitely replace it with “Thing Called Love (Above & Beyond 2011 Club Mix)” today.

First of all, fuck yeah 140 BPM! I’m really into Trance songs that sort of desensitize you with really strong bass in the beginning, only to come back with an unbelievably beautiful, drawn-out build. Another great example of this is “Rebound” by Arty and Mat Zo. But I have to say this version of Satellite may take the cake. When the opening Psy Trance part drops out and all you have is mostly the bass line, I get fucking pumped – immediate head banging. The Floris de Haan Remix must also be mentioned.

The title track on the original album; “Sirens of the Sea (Above & Beyond Club Mix)” features what I think are the best vocals on the album. Beginning with the breakdown at about the 3:45 mark, this song always pulls at my heartstrings. I’m also a sucker for songs about sirens, including one of my non-EDM favorites “There There” by Radiohead. I’m certain that if Above & Beyond ever played this in one of their live sets these days, which they won’t, I would definitely choke up.

You’d be hard-pressed to find anyone who can write something that’s not cliché or already been said about “Sun & Moon,” but I’m going to give it my best shot. I vividly remember the first time hearing what is now one of the most-played Trance songs of all-time. I was listening to BBC Radio 1 on my walk to work when I heard that a new Above & Beyond song was going to be added to the channel’s playlist. Naturally, I was stoked and also intrigued because BBC Radio 1 hardly ever took an interest in Trance. The rest is history… so I will fast forward nine months to TATW 400. By this point, “Sun & Moon” was easily the biggest Trance song in the world, but I did not know its full impact until I heard it live streaming from Beruit. The crowd screamed so loud (song starts at 69:28) that it gave me goose bumps all the way across the world. That’s when I know the true power of Trance and what it meant to be a part of #TranceFamily.

My biggest mistake as a writer and tastemaker to this date was not including “Thing Called Love (Above & Beyond 2011 Club Mix)” in my Top 10 EDM Songs of 2011. That’s just preposterous considering that the song would easily make my Top 10 favorite songs of all-time now. I’m pretty sure this song falls into the same category as “Sun & Moon” these days. Above & Beyond plays it in every set still and many would consider it played out. But not me! I truly think that the final drop in “Thing Called Love” is my favorite ever. Above & Beyond spend the first four and a half minutes building up this anthem until it all comes crashing down in one massive crescendo. I get so pumped every time I listen to this song, whether it be live, in my car or wherever. I don’t know, it just has that effect on me. I know I’m not the only one.

For the longest time, “Tonight (Above & Beyond Remix)” was the only Above & Beyond song I had on my iPod. When I look back at their discography now, I find it so bizarre that this was the first song that got me hooked on the group. Selected as the International Music Summit (IMS) Anthem of 2009, this song serves as the slowest Above & Beyond Mix to make my Top 20 and is the only true Progressive song on the list.

“What It Feels Like For A Girl (Above & Beyond 12” Club Mix)” is widely regarded as the song that put Above & Beyond on the map. In fact, Madonna liked it so much that she used Above & Beyond’s version in her music video rather than her own. I think it’s pretty safe to say that when the “Queen of Pop” likes your version better than hers, you’ve made it. Honestly, this is my least listened to song to make the list, but I am learning to love it more and more with every listen. This is the epitome of a Trance classic.

It would appear to me that Above & Beyond don’t even like their version of this song because they always play the Kyau & Albert Remix in all of their sets. Nevertheless, I am a big fan of “You Got To Go (Above & Beyond Club Mix)” and particularly the initial bass line. I very nearly included the Original Mix in my Top 20, but as is true with most Above & Beyond Club Mixes, this version just adds that little something that was missing from the original production. Zoe Johnston’s vocal are beautiful and I’ll never forget belting them out at EDC Vegas 2011 with tens of thousands of Above & Beyond’s adoring fans.

In today’s Featured Artist post I am featuring one of my absolute favorite Trance DJs, Orange County-native Shogun. Unlike many of the other Trance artists that I listen to on a regular basis, I have only been listening to Shogun for just over a year. I can’t remember exactly when I discovered him, but I think it was some time last winter when my friend Andrew showed me an insane lineup for a rave in LA that he was included on.

I don’t know Shogun that well, nor have I really explored his library very deeply, but I love everything that I have heard from the guy that I voted No. 4 in this year’s DJ Mag Top 100 DJs Poll. Although, his Trance is much slower than most of what I listen to. I find his sound to be so complex and uplifting, yet sometimes find myself thinking that much if it sounds the same. I also like his remixes as a whole better than his original productions.

However, I would consider several of his songs to be among my favorite Trance songs of all-time. His original track “Save Me” holds a special place in my heart, while his remix of “Must Be Love” was the first new Trance song I heard in over a year that made me start checking out new music. My former co-worker Eric sent me the “Must Be Love (Shogun Remix)” and I was blown away after the first listen. That doesn’t happen very often to me with songs these days, and there was a long period of time where I would only listen to Trance from 2009-2011.

Like I said, I don’t know too much about the guy so I apologize for the lack of editorial included in this post. Nonetheless, his music is amazing and I hope you enjoy it as much as I do! The following songs are roughly in order of how much I like them. There are many more so follow me on Spotify!

  1. Shogun – Save Me [132 BPM]
  2. Arty, BT – Must Be Love (Shogun Remix) [130 BPM]
  3. Ferry Corsten – Live Forever (Shogun Remix) [130 BPM]
  4. Tritonal – Broken Down (Shogun Remix) [132 BPM]
  5. Nadia Ali – Ride With Me (Shogun Remix) [128 BPM]
  6. W&W – Nowhere To Go (Shogun Remix) [132 BPM]

Bonus uplifting remix of one of of my all-time favorite songs: Shogun – Save Me (Ilya Soloviev Remix) [138]

It’s that time of year again when all of your favorite DJs continually harass you to vote for them in the DJ Mag Top 100 DJs Poll. I believe this is my fourth year voting and wow have my picks changed over time.

I know there are a lot of haters out there who think this poll is meaningless and now skewed towards the American perspective, but I think there is a lot to take away from this poll. I find it very interesting to see genre trends from year to year, as well as big jumps in DJs’ fame in just 365 days.

I am particularly interested to see how the genres pan out this year. In the 2012 poll, Hardstyle DJs took a huge step into the limelight with double digit DJs representing their genre just in the Top 50. Of course leading the way was bald-headed Dutch producer Headhunterz at No. 10. I am hoping to see Trap break the top 30 this year with the likes of Baauer and RL Grime, but admittedly think that is a HUGE stretch.

The DJ Mag Top 100 DJs Poll is also a fascinating case study in terms of a popularity contest. Anyone who was paying attention to EDM in 2011 knew Hardwell was going places. The guy was releasing amazing track after amazing track, while the previous year Avicii toured the shit out of America and produced fewer songs and made an even more astronomical jump. Nevertheless, they both made giant leaps into the top 10 and still stand as two of the biggest DJs in the world. In 2011, Avicii went from No. 39 to No. 6. While in 2012, Hardwell jumped from No. 24 to No. 6.

I’ll also be curious to see where Daft Punk ends up this year after producing an album for the first time since 2007. For as long as I can remember, Daft Punk always made the Top 50 even though they hadn’t toured or made music in half a decade.

So as goes many things in my life, I have a formula for voting for my Top 5. I’ve been using this method for the last three years and am a fan of voting for people for various reasons rather than just straight up who the top DJs in the world are.

Also, remember that the title of “Top DJ” is an insane marketing tool that DJs can leverage to pull in more money for their performances. That’s why they hound you to vote for them. Because everything is a business when it comes down to it.

If I had to predict who I think will be the Top 5 this year, I would say:

  1. Armin Van Buuren
  2. Tiesto
  3. Hardwell
  4. Above & Beyond
  5. Headhunterz

But anyway, back to my formula. So DJ Mag takes fans’ votes and weights them in order with 1 having the most weight and 5 having the least. Because of this, I devised a way, in my opinion, to give credit where credit is due. Here it is:

  1. Which DJ(s) had the biggest impact on EDM this year? I took this away from a friend of mine after I voted in my first poll. I think when picking your top DJ it is important to think of them as an entity who had an impact on EDM in general. Do they own a label? Have they made other artist’s careers? Are they leading the way in a genre? How many songs did they produce this year? All things which I consider in my No. 1 DJ.
  2. Which DJ(s) had the best productions this year? A very important question and one that I said earlier think led to Hardwell’s monster jump from 2011 to 2012. This has to do with both quality and quantity, which include Originals, Remixes and Mashups.
  3. Emerging Star: This is pretty self-explanatory, but I save this spot for a DJ that I think has made huge strides in a year and has strongly impacted their genre for the better. Avicii in 2011, Hardwell in 2012.
  4. Favorite DJ not picked yet: Every year I know that some of my favorite DJs will not break the Top 5, let alone the Top 30, but I always make a plug for someone that I think deserves more recognition at No. 4.
  5. Best live set this year: I like to save my last slot for the best live DJ performance I saw in a given year. Swedish House Mafia took the cake with this one at EDC Vegas 2011 (still the best live DJ set ever IMO), and the category has stuck with me since.
  6. Bonus:  This year DJ Mag decided to add a bonus pick for the best DJ of the last 20 years. I don’t think most people voting have the wherewithal to make a pick (myself included), but I tried to pick the DJ(s) who had the biggest impact on EDM and what it has become today. I was also very biased with this one.

So now to my picks!

  1. Above & Beyond – My favorite DJs (yadi yadi yada)… Above & Beyond have a HUGE impact on not just the world of Trance, but EDM as a whole. Their label Ajunabeats and sub-label Anjunadeep have a tremendous impact on EDM in general and have launched the careers of so many DJs year in and year out. I am biased, but I really can’t believe these guys have not broken the Top 5 since 2010. This is their year! The same could be said for Armin, but I don’t really like Armin.
  2. Myon & Shane 54 – They made so many sick tracks this year and in my opinion are the kings of mashups. It’s just stupid that they are so low on this list every year.
  3. Baauer – The guy is almost singlehandedly clearing the way for Trap. Harlem Shake is an EDM phenomenon like no other and the guy has some serious talent. I saw him live twice this year and could not have had more fun. I don’t know if a Trap Dj will make the Top 100, but I’m putting my money on Baauer if so. I HIGHLY doubt this will happen.
  4. Shogun – Orange County-native Trance producer Shogun is easily in my Top 5 favorites. I will be writing a post about him this week, so I won’t get into too much detail here. I hope he makes the Top 50!
  5. Markus Schulz – EDC Vegas + this guy + the sunrise = best set I saw this year. Wow. Go see him if you ever get a chance. He also does nine-hour long sets, which is just insane and a true testament to his commitment to his art.
  6. Above & Beyond – They have made the best 138 BPM Trance, the best 134 BPM Trance and are all around my favorite DJs. Also, Trance > all other EDM genres. I think Armin will win though.

I’d love to hear what people think of my method and others’ Top 5 this year. Leave a comment or write me on Facebook!

EDMozer Around the World

World EDMozerAnyone who knows me in the slightest is aware of my passion for statistics and analytics. This is no more apparent than when it comes to my blog. I have gathered up some interesting insights about the geographic locations of my visitors, which I thought you all might enjoy. It’s true that EDM is a global movement! (The following analytics represent data since February 25, 2012)

 

  1. EDMozer has been visited almost 9,000 times (75.7% of all visitors are from the United States)
  2. At least one person from 95 different countries visited EDMozer (37 from Europe, 25 from Asia, 15 from North America [including Central America], eight from South America, eight from Africa and three from Australia)
  3. The only continent that has not visited EDMozer is Antarctica
  4. There are four countries with populations smaller than 100,000 people that visited EDMozer, including Anguilla, Cayman Islands, Guernsey and Northern Mariana Islands (Anguilla has a population of 13,600 people)
  5. Of the top 10 countries ranked by total visitors, four speak English as a primary language
  6. Surprising countries that visited EDMozer (number of visitors): Philippines (71), Trinidad and Tobago (23), and Kenya (22)
  7. 23 different countries have had just one person visit EDMozer

Fun Facts:

  1. I am aware of 17 countries on the list that have a major DJ
  2. I have flat-out never heard of five countries that visited EDMozer
  3. I have been to 15 countries that visited EDMozer
  4. I am older than 11 countries that visited EDMozer

I’ve been writing about a lot of Trance lately, so let me get back to my other genre of interest at the moment – Trap. I’ve been able to convert a fair amount of people into Trap fans already, but I know some of you are still skeptical.

I didn’t include this in my last post, but one of the wildest concert moments I’ve ever experienced was when Porter Robinson dropped “Satisfaction (RL Grime Remix)” on New Year’s this year. As I’ve said before, I was pretty behind on the Trap game so I had never heard this song before, but clearly no one else had either. I was kind of expecting the J.Rabbit Remix (so filthy) when I heard “Satisfaction” coming in, but what happened on the drop was unlike anything I’d ever seen at an EDM show. People were getting fucking down. Like BUCK (Sidenote: I love the song “Get Buck in Here” and heard it for the first time when the Jabbawockeez threw down on MTV at 2:33). It was wild and even stood out for me among so many other phenomenal “Satisfaction” remixes.

Also, HARD Summer is coming up in just under a month and I can’t wait! The lineup is insane and I don’t think HARD has ever put together a more highly anticipated event. Literally every Trap DJ you would want to see is playing, mixed in with some solid Electro. I also can’t wait to finally see French producer Gesaffelstein, but I don’t really know how to classify his music. It’s not Trap.

I don’t have much else to say, but the songs I included below are my second rendition of Trap songs you should know. They are definitely not regarded by the community as the best, but I dig them and find them to be pretty accessible for the casual EDM fan. They are all worth a listen and this will provide you a much larger pool of the Trap that is out there.

  1. RL Grime – Pockets
  2. Mr. Carmack – Pay (For What)
  3. Jay Z – Dirt Off Your Shoulder (Brillz & Z Trip Remix)
  4. Gents & Jawns – Turn Up
  5. Seven Lions – Days To Come (Slander, 7DS & Direwolfe Remix)
  6. Baauer – Slip
  7. Chief Keef – Love Sosa (RL Grime Remix)
  8. Tommy Trash – All My Friends (Oh Snap!! Remix)
  9. Knife Party – Internet Friends (heRobust’s Run Da Trap Bootleg)
  10. Deadmau5 – I Remember (Zubah’s Trap Edit)
  11. Yo Majesty – Club Action (Smookie Illson Boot)
  12. Showtek – F.T.S. (Say My Name Remix)
  13. Nicky Romero – Symphonica (BARE Remix)