Monday Music: Alexander Popov, Makam, SG Lewis, Renard & Norfair!

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Now that we’ve finally reached summer proper, we can push into the perkier, punchier side of the music spectrum. A bunch of genres are coming your way, so get your office dance party shoes ready!
Alexander Popov is one of those gems east of the Danube that the West desperately needs. His masterful use of anthem elements in his hard trance create a post-big room feel that has already found a home in A State of Trance & other trance podcasts. I’ve blogged about him before, and I’ll totally be blogging about him again, so strap in & enjoy the ride.
Stamp The Wax coming at you with a low-key stunner of a tune. This slow-building, simmering house track never gets in your face, but delivers, especially if you’re the type of dancer who picks up the beat minutes before the rest of the crowd. It pulls into a delightful, uptempo jam that would feel at home in dozens of venues across the city. Prime DJ material by Makam.

SG Lewis is slowly getting the attention he deserves, and after collabs with people like Gallant, that climb should accelerate significantly. Shimmering vocals support a groovy, upbeat bassline, funky guitar work and strong indie sensibilities. It breaks into a gorgeous, disco-infused indie track that should get quite a lot of love in the coming weeks. You heard it here first!

This retro track got stuck in my head over the weekend, so I had to share it. Renard, now LapFox reworked this with another artist, and I gotta tell you, I can’t get enough of this sound. It’s terrifying to music newbies, but the fusion between chiptune & breakcore will always bring a smile to my face. The nostalgia is in full effect here, but the broken bass & beats give it a totally modern vibe that only the best of the Mega Man X soundtrack came close to approximating.

Norfair comes at us with a nightcore remix of Above & Beyond. Remixing AvB is not easy and if you mess it up, you’ll have their legions of fans howling for blood in between bouts of crying over AvB feels. However, I think this re-work has enough going on with it to earn respect. This uptempo remix celebrates the original AvB elements while pushing it into more rave friendly territory. Which gives all of us without room for a piano on stage next to the decks a chance to get those AvB feels into the crowd without reducing them to a whimpering mess. Great work by Norfair, can’t wait to see what he does next.

Midweek Music: SG Lewis, Armin Van Buuren, Ferry Corsten, Farzam & Joman

Another week, another set of reasons to get up and dance. There’s a big range here, but each track definitely gives you a unique vibe and reason to groove. Without further ado, grab your volume control and dive in with me!

SG Lewis tugs at the heartstrings with this one. This future garage triumph takes the recently released Magnets, off Caracal by Disclosure ft. Lorde, adds its own delicious spin and some powerfully relaxed vibes. It’s takes a lot to fuck with Disclosure if your name isn’t Flume, but this is executed well. The break at 1:50 is unexpected but totally welcome. Drift away on this one.
There are things I never thought I’d say when I started writing, and “Here is the new Armin Van Buuren & Cosmic Gate collab” is certainly not one of them. This kind of stab at a classic trance vibe, Armin-ified is packed with shimmering nostalgia. The punch and ethereal feel is a throw back to trance that we listened to a decade ago. While it’s definitely more of a festival banger than anything from that era, that’s really only because we’ve actually got festivals outside of Amsterdam now. A huge tune I expect to hear in sets for months, blast this. Annoy coworkers & significant others with it, this one is worth it folks.
Continuing the classic trance vibe, Ferry Corsten released his remix of Ayla’s Ayla from 1999 on Soundcloud. Ninety fucking nine! The world was entirely different back then. Anyone who knows Ferry can tell just how long ago this collab with Vincent de Moor took place. The two break structure, the restrained production, the deep Northern Europe feel, it’s all there. If people want to know what dance music sounded like a generation ago that filled stadiums, you play them this.

Switching gears entirely, coming back into the future to a track released two days ago by a producer from Germany with Arabic vocals. This kind of melodic dubstep is really easy to screw up, but FARZAM does spectacular work on this tune. He seems to be a producer of cinematic, trance-y, stepp-y tracks and a gifted one at that. It’s a wonderful effort and I really want to hear more like what’s happening at 2:14. It’s a gorgeous sound that the world needs to hear. Enjoy it & thank him for making it.
Last but certainly not least, I’ve gotta give it up for Joman. Ever since he made the greatest dubstep remix that has ever been and ever will be made in the history of dubstep remixes, I’ve kept a close eye on this guy, occasionally being a somewhat creepy cheerleader. But, he continues to hit his stride and pushing the edge of his skills. This new tune is no exception. It’s a wobbly electro feeling tune with a hard driving progressive edge. This is usually a genre and a toolset I can’t take seriously, but like TheFatRat and Madeon, he’s using the shimmering chords and the vocals appropriately, while backing them up with a well derived punchy beat. The dubby breakdown at 2:30 reminds everyone that Joman can produce with the best of them and deserves your attention. I’m gonna keep repping this dude, and not just because he’s a MasterĀ of Karate & Friendship.Beneath a Neon Sky is a certified banger that is going to get picked up.