Today we celebrate our friend Mikael Johnson and his new EP, “Strange”. A release consisting of three tracks that’s all quite crossover, both towards acid house and progressive house. But with one foot still firmly in the techno camp. The result works!
Mikael Johnson – Strange
One thing about Mikaels work is that it’s so damn tight. Rock tight. The kick, the synths, the effects – tight like a virgin mother. And that sound is just so perfect for clubs, since the room will add reverb and the track will just cut through that.
He’s also got such a delicate eye for the more sublime grooves. His building blocks are placed so precise, they carefully falls into place like clockwork. He’s not rushing it, yet never taking too much time. Just perfect.
If you like this track you really should also check out the rest of the EP, where he steps out of the conform techno frames and dips his toe both into the progressive house and acid house genres.
The result? A true banger of a EP with tracks that fits peak hour in DJ sets across several camps.
This track is obviously added to our Spotify playlist “The Techno Club”, where we collect only the finest techno tracks as we discover them!
To quote my own note while browsing submissions to this blog: “Oh shiiit – where has this track been all my life?“. Seriously. This is a progressive house track primed for peak hours!
Jizaxx – Bellazonte (Beni & Mussa Remix)
Oh yes. This is dark, deep and damn stomping progressive house with a gorgeous flair of tribal percussion. It’s a monster! The groove is so prominent in this one, so rumbling, that it sounds like the walls are shaking. And believe you me they would be, had I played this one at a proper club!
Shortly into the track a quite curious bell synth lights up the darkness with a sweet, innocent melody line that quite frankly I do think that the track would have survived well without, at least it could be of shorter segments. But god damn how it slams when it drops back into the darkness.
This, my friends, THIS is progressive house the way I like it!
This track has obviously become part of one of our very best playlists on Spotify: A Progressive Underground. We could use more followers on that list so really, if you dig what you hear here then please help spreading the word. This is the place to find new underground proghouse of the real kind.
A contrasting two tracks selected to kick off our weekend this Friday: One from an old-timer on the dance music scene, the other from a new star on the clubbing sky.
Benny Benassi & Chris Nasty – Inside
Yeah! Good ole’ Benny, no less. He doesn’t really strife far outside of the sound we know him so well for, but he doesn’t need to. He has nothing left to prove. Here he delivers a dance floor bouncer so solid, so effective, so… Benassi.
One thing I’ve always been kind of amazed about when it comes to Benny, is that he somehow manage to balance on the edge of mainstream and underground. He has one foot in each camp, and stands steady on those. I mean, this track works just as well on a cheesy “happy hour” fun pub around the Mediterranean sea, as it would have worked in a really dark, bass heavy high-cred underground club in Berlin.
Mila Journée – Segundo Sol
The next track pulls us firmly into the underground. Considerately deeper than Benny’s, and percussion based. Not many hints of melodies found here – instead we get a tribal atmosphere that triggers the basic instincts of any good clubber.
I could have stayed in a basement with these kind of tracks for hours. Maybe days. Just get lost, in absolutely every meaning of the term.
I don’t know if you agree with me, but music as dark and ritualistic as this has a flair of that stereotypical masculinity to it – the cave man. So I always think it is so cool to be able to tell that it’s an awesome woman behind the creation. Like this time:
Mila comes from Brazil, and this track is no exception to the sound found in her catalogue. It’s typically percussion focused, properly dark and deep. Absolutely worth checking out if you like the track selected for you here today.
I think I might have fallen a little bit in love here.
Benny entered our rather new “House For Clubbers” playlist, while we placed Mila on our darker “Progressive Underground“, a list that’s really shaping up to be a really solid selection of tracks now. You’ll find both lists, and more, at our playlist page. Follow’em both today!
For the first time I’ll do a review of a full EP, and not just a single track. And the reason is that I’ve come across a release that in my ears really fully comes to shine when listened in full.
It is the works of a quite unique artist, one that really deserves your attention:
Sicarius Hahni – Basquiat
It starts off with one of my favourite tracks of the EP, Quasi Tardi. Dark dungeon atmosphere, munks chanting in the distance, tribal percussion taking center stage. It evolves slowly, in proper progressive house fashion.
But what is this? What do we label it? “Dark tribal house”? Or something completely different? We should not care. We should just enjoy. In my head there’s Matrix like scenes spinning, the party before the annihilation. Love it.
The next track, Pelle 3, continues in a similar fashion to the first, but now we’re on the move. Drone-like pads running in the background, giving it a feling of being chased. By whom? We don’t know. But we need to get moving.
Again we get the fantastically hynotic percussion carrying the track, with a progression that rise the sensation of emergency.
The third track is the title track, and offer a quite different mood. This is a lighter piece, maybe more accessible than the first two? It’s also more electronic, moving avway from the tribalistic atmosphere of the first two tracks. But still, percussion plays an important role also in this track.
And here’s an interesting personal observation: Individually speaking I probably would rate this track as the least interesting of the ones on the EP. However, as the third track it is a very welcome break from the established atmosphere from the first two. It just blends so well into the mix!
We’re back into the deep again now. And this is my second favourite on this release. Gorgous drive. This is a track I could totally spin in a progressive house session. Pitch it up a very few BPMs and we’re there. It would wind up the crowd like few others.
What is it about Sicarius Hahni that so totally got my attention? Could it be my long lost love for Tribal House that is so sorely missed? Or simply that he has that fundamental understanding of groove. He never needs to shout, never needs to go all cheese on our asses with whirling snares and nonsense to wind us up. He just delivers, trust his percussion sense, and does it so, so well.
Mr Hahni is probably our greatest discovery here on Beatradar thus far this year. This is quality stuff that can be replayed over and over. You should follow this artist. Great things will surely follow.
The full EP is on Spotify and everywhere else music is streamed:
I had to add two of these tracks to our exquisite playlist, “The Deep Lounge” where some fantastic tracks from the classy, deeper regions of the house landscape are collected. You really should join us and follow it too. Like, now.
Ok, so those two deep house tracks got you started? Then let’s fire up THESE two babies, who are primed for peak hour!
Vanepatch – Fondness
Dangerously close to trance, this. And I can’t stand trance. But it just barely manage to stay on the right side of my trance border, enough for me to admit that – yes – this sucker moves my behind.
It is of a “cleaner” sound (yeah yeah, “trance”. STFU.) than what typically triggers me, but there’s just something about this track. It has obvious progressive house elements in the arrangement, maybe it’s that. Whatever – this is good stuff.
But ok, this melodic trip makes us all sweaty and ready for this next banger of a bastard:
Brandon Hombre – Dark & Funky
Oh yes. Oooooh yes. This, right here, now this is how I like it. Dark, filthy, gritty, bad to the bone. It does not give one single fuck. All it want is to slam, and slam hard. The bass used here is of a kind we’ve heard before, but those snappy bass stabs are just something I’ll never grow tired of. It’s so effective! So… MAD sexy.
To be honest, the break is a bit too long here. It almost gets a bit cheesy. But damn, once it starts again we forgive it all that. And go mental. As we should. As it sets out to do.
“Fondness” is added* to our newly created “Ibiza House Factory” playlist – a list without any followers yet. And that’s just not right since the tracks we’ve gathered there is totally blasting the roof out of any club:
* “Dark & Funky” was unfortunately not on Spotify at the time of writing.