This year was solid but there wasn't that one tune that I became obsessed with like say "Hideaway" or "Yoohoo" in 2014 or "Hiding" last year... one thing that I noticed is that retro trance and prog sounds are a bit more prominent in recent times, and some of the songs on my list definitely have that feel.
My #1, loving that piano riff:
It's like Wild Arms music meets chill/tropical house:
Dark and techy with a cool melody:
Feels like a throwback to the darker side of 90's trance:
Good to bob your head to, feels fresh and unique:
Some of the best trance I've heard in years, very reminiscent of Ferry's work under the Albion guise:
Re: Prog - Calling it "neotrance 2.0" was probably too strong of a statement, the point I wanted to make was that to me in terms of it it's production aesthetic and harmonic arrangements it seems much closer to those older Kompakt records than 90s and early 2000s prog. It's obviously not really minimal, but the drums for example in this stuff are often synthesized and noise-based, which is something that the minimal era introduced. Older prog records are much more heavy on classic sampler-based drums. Same with a lot of the arpeggios, they're kind of a modern take on classic spaced out 70s/80s US-analog style noodling. Obviously early 2000s prog had loads of arpeggios but those were often more sinewave based and soaked in shit tons of delays.
Obviously, I will admit to not being very knowledable of the modern prog of the last years so this is just my experience out of that context. If you are curious, this is my take on what an updated prog would sound like. Probably not very authentic but that's what It'd sound like in my head
The production style is naturally going to change over the course of 15 years. The kind of dark tribal prog from 2001-2 was produced very differently to the first wave from 1992. You play Lexicon Avenue next to Lionrock and there's precious little resemblance. It's often forgotten how much dark prog was influenced by the burgeoning tech house of Tyrant and Fabric at the turn of the millenium. Sasha had been playing a lot with Lee Burridge and Craig Richards and started mingling those records a lot. And then before that it had gone through several years of being influenced by second-wave European trance. So it's not the first or even second time the production aesthetic of another genre has been laid on and mutated the template.
As I've said many times before, we're taking 25 year old genre tags here and stretching them to breaking points as things continue to evolve.
Sure, I wouldn't disagree that 'prog' is almost an useless genre description at this point, since it's been through so many different phases. There are legions of kids out there that only associate Deadmau5 and Anjunadeep with that term. That said, the early 2000s prog production aeshtetic seems like the most iconic to me and I would like a comeback of that kind of sound. You are probably right with the tech house comparison, since the modern records I've heard that are the closest to that old aeshtetic are some of these nu-oldschool-tech-electro records. Not talking about you specifically, but I've read articles talking about this new sound as if it's some kind throwback to early 2000s prog, which it really isn't IMO, which was the main point I was trying to make.
I recommend the following albums in no particular order:
Artefakt - Kinship
Art Alfie - Reveries Of
Shed - The Final Experiment
3KZ - Parallel Reflections
Bicep - Bicep
Intimacy - Transmissions From Biolab X
DJ Seinfeld - Time Spent Away From U
Markus Suckut - Resist
Legowelt - The Legendary Freaks In The Trash Of Time
Octo Octa - Were Are We Going?
Johannes Heil - Gospel
Pacific Coliseum - Ocean City
My annual top 50 tracks will come after Christmas. I will post here, for those who actually give 2 cents about my opinion
Stranger Than Fiction
Registered: Mar 2002
Here's a short list of some of the albums I've enjoyed this year.
3KZ - Parallel Reflections
Steffi - World Of The Waking State
Shed - The Final Experiment
S.A.M. - Dream State Of A Bellmaker
Desolate - Lunar Glyphs
Registered: Jan 2004
Originally posted by SYSTEM-J
And equally, the better prog DJs do mix it up with tech house and techno.
I wouldn't completely agree with this. Sure, Hernan may throw in 1 or 2 techno tracks that are techno but for the most part the world renowned prog DJ's are extremely one dimensional. Last weekend, Hernan and Guy J went back 2 back for 20 hours (not a typo) in Montreal and some vids were posted on FB throughout the set. Almost every video posted, even in the beginning of the set when no one was in the club sounded like it could be in the progressive house section on Beatport.
To clarify, I'm talking guys like Darin Epsilon, Cid Inc, Marcelo Vasami, all of Sudbeat DJ's/Producers, Lost & Founds guys etc as not being particularly creative in the way of versatility.
On another not-completely-unrelated side note, it's ironic how kompakt is mentioned in the context of old vs. new when this absolute gem recently came out. This for me sounds like a DJ's dream in a 1996 progressive set.
Originally posted by ChemEnhanced
any party from 2003 and back I only remember bits and pieces...i've combined those memories into one awesome party
Registered: Sep 2003
Just go see the fucking DJs. "I skipped through the set", "I saw some clips on FB". Fuck me. We're reflecting on the year past, and who is actually talking about what they heard in a club?