• Ultimate Taxonomy Guide to EDM Titles

    9 Mar 2011, 7:01

    Unlike hip-hop, rock, or other genres, the EDM scene highly favors and encourages credit to original authors even down to a single riff. Producers build and recycle the classics time and time again, thus expanding the developing “Trance Family” farther and farther. Remixes are a great way to find reinterpretations of a melody or musical concept with different flavors and a great way in which played out songs can once again be brought to life. For the most part, the taxonomy of the thousands of iterations is uniform, however, there is disagreement. This is meant as a guide and suggestion for a standardization, but in no way should be regarded as the end all, since it is each Artist’s will to name, classify, and re-label their music.

    First off, a track should be always listed with the artist first, a dash, and then the title of the track. Including any mention of “Original Mix” is unnecessary and extraneous.
    PPK - Resurrection
    Arnej - We Need Them

    Punctuation should follow the artist’s preferred standard, and should match with the format they use with their record label for their various releases.
    Tiësto - Traffic
    Marcus Schössow - Alright

    When artists choose to simplify their names or titles for the mass audience, the simplified and non-punctuated version should be used.
    Orjan Nilsen - So Long Radio (instead of Ørjan Nilsen)

    Alternate Mixes
    Sometimes, producers choose to create alternate mixes of their originals for different purposes or to add more energy in mixes for the purpose of filling empty space when playing in a club environment. Radio edits or mixes typically cut the track into a 3-4 minute version that is appropriate for modern fast paced radio DJs and our societies lack of attention span for a full extended cut. Radio edits usually lack a building intro, but instead jump right into the core of the tune. Variations can include: radio mix, radio edit, extended mix, club mix, club edit, vocal mix, intro edit, or any name given directly by the artist.
    deadmau5 - Strobe (Radio Edit)
    Wippenberg - Pong (Extended Mix)

    If a track is taken in the hands of another producer and given a complete reboot beyond simple edits and cuts, the new track is a remix. A remix is tagged as the exact same format as the original, with the appended remixing producer’s name followed by the type of remix or name of the remix in parenthesis.
    Armin van Buuren - Face To Face (Martin Roth Remix)

    Named Remixes
    If the remixing producer names the remix, or typically remixes in a set style, they may include the type of remix in the track title.
    Dinka - Elements (EDX’s 5un5hine Remix)
    Cosmic Gate feat. Aruna - Under Your Spell (Mÿon & Shane 54 Monster Mix)

    Credit for a vocal should always be present, and the format is listing the name of the vocalist after the producer of the track and after an abbreviated ‘featuring’.
    Nitrous Oxide feat. Aneym - Follow You
    Tritonal feat. Cristina Soto - Hands to Hold Me
    For simplification and statistical accuracy, these names can be shortened to the entity who had more influence in the track’s production (usually the producer, however exceptions exist, such as Susana’s latest Album)
    Susana feat. Rex Mundi - Nothing At All
    If a vocalist has joined a team of producers and created a new band name, the vocalist credit can be dropped from the title of the track.
    Oceanlab - Lonely Girl (a collaboration between Above & Beyond and Justine Suissa)
    Motorcycle - As the Rush Comes (a now defunct collaboration of producers Gabriel & Dresden and vocalist Jes)

    Artists frequently combine their talents to manufacture an infused blend of sounds and style. Some combinations have become so intertwined that the collaboration becomes more or less permanent. There are two methods for naming these collaborations, the first of which is using an ampersand, and the second is using the versus abbreviation. When the collaborating artists choose to release a track under the title as an ampersand, it is typically understood that the artists actually collaborated at the same time in the same studio to create the track.
    Mÿon & Shane 54 - International Departures
    Kyau & Albert - Once In A Life
    Super8 & Tab - Black Is The New Yellow
    The ‘versus’ abbreviation should only be used when the artists explicitly call for it, or if the collaboration was bounced back and forth between producers, each adding their own bits and pieces until a final product is formed.
    Above & Beyond vs. Kyau & Albert - Anphonic
    Tiësto vs. Diplo - C'Mon

    Some artists make their whole career based on combining tracks from various other producers (see Girl Talk, Danger Mouse...). It is a tried and tested method used constantly in the realm of turntablism. However, in EDM, artists can mashup vocals, melodies, drum beats, even the smallest of riffs to construct a single track that calls on a listener’s fond memory of two or more different tracks for a combined feeling. If done well, the mashup can become as notable as a sanctioned remix. Since mashups are typically inter-label, and not done by the original artist, they are typically not officially released due to copywrite. To indicate a mashup, the artists should be separated with a ‘versus’ and the title of the track should either be wittily combined, or be separated with a ‘versus’ as well, in the respective order as their artist. Since the act of combining the two tracks is sometimes as much a production as creating the track, the mashup artist will typically append their name to the end of the track title.
    OceanLab vs. Mike ShiverIf I Could Fly On The Surface (Daniel Kandi MashUp)
    Moguai vs. Origene - Oyster Sanctuary (Mÿon & Shane 54 Mashup)

    Alternate aliases
    Many producers tend to produce under various guises. These alternate aliases serve to represent the artist’s different flavors of production. If the producers themselves want to draw attention to the aliases, but still benefit from the popularity or recognition of their main alias, they may choose to use ‘presents’ in the artist name.
    Sander van Doorn pres. Purple Haze - Bliksem
    Marcus Schössow pres. Progresia - Galandia
    However, some artists choose to only use the alias if the alias has enough fame of it’s own.
    Dakota - Sinners (an alias of Markus Schulz)
    Gaia - Tuvan (an alias of Armin van Buuren)
    Pryda - Glimma (an alias of Eric Pyrdz)

    If a producer chooses to remix a track without the original group’s consent, and the remixing producer does not have access to the stems for the track, this is called a bootleg. Typically, less well known EDM artists remix pop hits or out of genre tracks that normally would never see a dance floor, but a bootleg remix allows for a complete genre shift by sampling sections of vocals or melodies and creating a brand new track. Bootlegs usually are not released due to copyright infringements, however some become wildly popular due to their rarity and the original song’s fame.
    Michael Jackson - Stranger In Moscow (Jerome Isma-Ae Bootleg)

    Refreshed releases
    When a track gains unparalleled fame from it’s original release, and the original artist feels they can remake it in a newer, rejuvenated sound, the artist can release a track with the same name, same melody, with a year appended. Many long time EDM fans appreciate classics, and re-releases never surpass the initial track’s popularity, but they do give the track new life.
    Paul van Dyk - For An Angel 2009
    Slusnik Luna - Sun 2011
    If an artist has changed names or labels, using their new name is appropriate only if an official release has been made. The original tracks should remain the same. Redirects can be used to congregate alternate spellings.
    iio - Rapture

    As in the world of other music genres, when a producer completely remakes a particular track, sometimes they are known to change the title, this however is frowned upon. The issue here is how to correctly credit all affiliated acts under the artist name and title. If the vocalist changes, the new version can be considered a ‘cover’ and the original artist can only be mentioned in liner notes.
    Markus Schulz feat. Justine Suissa - Perception a cover of Cass & Slide - Perception
    Filo & Peri feat. Aruna - Ashley a cover of Marla Sokoloff - Ashley
    Cosmic Gate - F.A.V. a cover of Veracocha - Carte Blanche
    Laura Jansen - Use Somebody (Armin van Buuren Bootleg) a cover of The Killers - Use Somebody

    Double Remix
    In rare circumstances, a producer will remix an already remixed track. The second remixing producer should be listed in a second set of parenthesis.
    Aruna & Mark Eteson - Let Go (Nic Chagall Remix) (Mÿon & Shane 54 Refill)

    Names of festivals, or events
    Some tracks are made specifically for events, and the event can be included in the title of the track at the end.
    Rank 1 - Symfo (Official Sunrise Festival Theme)
    Gaia - Status Excessu D (ASOT 500 Anthem)

    Brackets should never be used.
    When abbreviating, always use periods for ‘pres.’ ‘feat.’ ‘vs.’
    If unsure of the format, use the record label’s format when the track was released.

    What's your opinion? Let's hear it!
  • Why Sofi Doesn't Need A Ladder

    15 Dic 2010, 7:52

    deadmau5's latest album 4x4=12 was hotly anticipated for several months, but at release of the track list, my excitement dwindled. The problem I find is that it is simply a compilation album, since I have already scrobbled half the album, and some songs even more than a year earlier (The earliest of which was deadmau5 - Everything Before first scrobbled in April of 2009).

    My biggest complaint with the album, however, are the vocals. deadmau5 has had several brilliant vocal tracks, but none of these do it for me. Sofi Needs A Ladder which almost completely ruins You need a ladder and dropped all the Zelda tribute clips (albeit this could be because of copyright) is my peak concern, but I also don't know why Joel thought Raise Your Weapon would be a better use of his Dub5tepthingie project. It just doesn't fit.

    Joel was quoted saying "To do an album, I'd need to take six months off. But the touring takes up all my time." We, the fans, love the touring, and I'm glad Joel said "I haven't felt like I've release an album yet" but I would like to see something as a complete work eventually...

    On the plus side, I'm a huge fan of his more melodic tracks like Brazil (Original Mix) and Jaded so I was thrilled to hear a quality version of Right This Second instead of the youtube quality.

    I guess the best to expect is a train of singles with an "album" released every once and a while. That said, when is October coming out??

    PS This wagon is getting uncomfortably full...
  • Extended Listening Review of Heligoland

    16 Jun 2010, 10:10

    Massive Attack's album Heligoland was anticipated by so many fans for years and after it's release, I could not be more pleased. There are elements of their classic style, and then spots where 3D and Daddy G go out into the wilderness for some experimentation.

    I first became a fan of Massive Attack in the Mezzanine phase, and therefore I am more used to their sound post-Tricky. I know that several fans of the band in their early stages have been turned off by their transition into the modern day Massive Attack, but for me, Mezzanine will always be their #1 album, and I share this opinion with others as reflected in their most played songs in their top tracklist. So the moral of the story is it takes pure gold to top.

    The album starts off with Pray for Rain featuring the voice of Tunde Adebimpe. The electronic sounds begin melding with the natural piano and drums at which point the listener can't help but feel the jist of the flow that seems to be one of the central rhythmic motifs of the album. "In deepest hollow of our minds..." the lyrics appear as quickly as the song begins. A building tension between the lyrics and the repetition of the backing starts to form, and Adebimpe's inflection on each of the phrases hint at a stereotypical buildup. "Their necks crane..." ... "Their eyes change"... each time is like a dash of color in a so far moderately dull canvas. The cymbals and bass add more intricacy, but still only a cinematic backing to the vocals. The transition into the breakdown comes as expected and leaves the listener eager to hear the return of the lyrics. Now riding along at a low bass line, Adebimpe's vocals cut in at a higher and clearer harmonized melody. With the repetition of the same line, the backing builds into a drowning groove and suddenly the track is broken in two by a major key and the very contrasting "ahhhs." The track then returns to the part A groove and a similar feeling, but now the listener knows where this is going. But instead of going to Part B (the build), the song ends. This sets the tone for the rest of the album, and knowing that this is more intricate than your simple pop album, the listener is hooked...

    The distorted drumline introduces a wavering synth line and guitars in Babel featuring Martina Topley-Bird. Now this track has a more complicated and quicker rhythmic repetition and is more exciting overall. In my opinion, the vocals are slightly confusing and don't quite paint any clear pictures, but the only thing I draw from it would be that someone is being thoroughly confusing and mixing up a relationship so much so that it must end. With the electric guitar whining above the vocals the track begins to have an airy and mystical tone. The final build distorts and twists but stays under control.

    Splitting the Atom was Heligoland's first Single and was released early along side a couple remixes of other tracks on the album. Seeing as how it is the only track on the album featuring Daddy G, 3D and Horace Andy, it is bound to have something that everyone likes, and the combination is reminiscent of the bands earliest albums. The groovy swung beat catches the ear of a musician and immediately, the listener wonders where this is going. The deep voice of Daddy G is a comforting return to classic Massive Attack. The first half introduces the whimsical bells and high strings above the vocals, and the snowball just keeps building. I see the lyrics as a reassurance that the end of the world via nuclear obliteration will be simple and complete, so there's no need to worry about it. The track is a perfect trio of three very separate and distinct vocal blends with the builds and nuances of everything Massive.

    Girl I Love You is Horace Andy's big track on the album, and boy is it big. From the most massive horn section to the most emphasized fluttering and tremelo in the longer notes typical of Andy's singing style. The song is simple, and straight forward: the love is gone from the relationship. As the song progresses layers upon layers of built up synths and horns intermingle and carry the constant drone of the main key. Half way through, these tones drop almost completely out, the exception being a select few horns pausing on a single chord. This breakdown is straight, short, and simple, and once it has finished, the horns and the rest of the track jumps to life again and begins to twist and turn into a jumble of what seems random notes and misplaced tones, but over the course of a few bars, they come together and converge, leaving the same tone as before. In many ways the piece reminds me of Name Taken but with extra epic-ness installed.

    The faster and more unique track Psyche opens with quick arpeggios jumping up the scale and building the steady rhythm. Martina Topley-Bird's voice again graces the track and although her voice does not strike one as a graceful and beautiful one, it does provoke a sense of intrigue. In these lyrics, I despise the line "Looking for you with my flashlight." For some reason, it just does not fit, and being right in the beginning, sets this song off into an odd mindset. The interesting play of words throughout the rest of the song leaves much up to interpretation, although I believe the song speaks about war. The song an interesting listen, but could be expanded, and extended, with an added instrumental tail as is typical of their tracks.

    After hearing the Bulletproof Love (Van Rivers & The Subliminal Kid Remix) (having been released with Splitting the Atom), the next track on the Album, Flat of the Blade, is quite an interesting one, and on first listen, sounds like a remix of the remix (of course Mitch Hedberg would joke that this would end up with the original). After many listens, this track is the way it should be, and the confusion of the dissonance is there to confuse you. The horns from Girl I Love You are back and this time they aren't taking any prisoners. With the cinematic and dramatic knobs turned to 11 Guy Garvey takes this track into the clouds. The synthetic percussion and manufactured rhythms chop into the build and force the listener to keep switching back and forth between focusing on the humming, then percussion, then the odd shapeshifting bassline, and then later to the horns. The song has brilliant stereo mastering and listening in headphones improves the experience immensely.

    Paradise Circus is the track that is most similar to the Mezzanine and 100th Window era. The melodic and emotional female vocals atop a chime, synth, and bass guitar laden groove. Although the lyrics repeat, they contrast with the constantly shifting instruments backing Hope Sandoval's voice. When the piano chords are announced, and the strings come in on top replacing Sandoval's voice, the track builds to its full potential, and I am crushed that it is cut off before this new found beauty can fully develop and mature. I could see this instrumental section continuing on for more than five minutes! Throughout the track, the snaps and claps repeat their basic structure, but predicting their exact timing is impossible due to the changing placement in each measure. The track is masterfully laid out and I only wish there was more of it.

    The simple and repetitious percussion introduces yet another track on the album and as Robert del Naja sets up to sing the first of two solo tracks, Rush Minute develops into a little running groove. The key placement of reverb in both the percussion, and at the end of key phrases in the lyrics strikes me every time I listen to Rush Minute, and the reversed piano chords are a mystic touch. As del Naja sings about addiction, the percussion continues to roll along, the song builds, and descends, builds and descends, much like a tempted recovering addict might "wanna be clean but [he's] gotta get high".

    Damon Albarn, featured in Saturday Come Slow at first ruined this track for me, with his very contrasting voice and high strung emotions breaking through each chorus, but as I listened more and more, this song has developed into one of my favorites of the album. As of yet, I still have not determined the intended meaning of the song, whether it be more or less an apology of the singers mistake, or a longing for someone who truly loves him and being torn down again and again by false hopes. The track is the most organic and natural of the album, starting off with the drums and acoustic guitar, and this supports at least the latter of the two messages I mentioned. The distorted drones from an electric guitar echo through the chorus as well as the breakdown and knit the background together so closely that the most promenent element is the question: "Do you love me?"

    Atlas Air, the second of Robert del Naja's featured vocal tracks speaks of blood sliding in metal studs, and little silver fish, but the organs and constant rhythms from the natural percussion rumble on producing what, to me, compositionally, is my favorite track of the album. Although I truly despise the lyric internet beats on my brains, I love how del Naja's voice plays back and forth games with the organ exchanging the focus back and forth, allowing the listener time to reflect and feel a release between verses. The last verse ends with just 3D voicing "Cells to burn / Mouths to fill / On Boeing jets" and right at the end of each line, the reverb carries the tone and hums as if he is sitting right beside you. The words stick and the song drops off only to end in fantastic fashion... At the introduction of the electric guitar, there's only one thing I can think: epic. What an epic collection, and what a fantastic album.

    If you have your own interpretation of the lyrics in any of the tracks in Heligoland, feel free to comment. I would love to hear your input.
  • Gaia vs Dakota

    25 Ago 2009, 22:54

    The big names of Armin van Buuren and Markus Schulz have their side projects Gaia and Dakota respectively. Each has a similar feel, at least in my opinion, but the remixes are pure genius. Whose side are you on?

    Gaia has released the one new smash hit, Tuvan in the last couple of months and remixes like Tuvan (Andy Blueman Remix) sound amazing.

    Markus Schulz, on the other hand has released several tracks under the guise of Dakota. Some of which are thoroughbred trance from the ground up and sound amazing. Chinook (Uplifting Mix) and Sin City have been in several of the top radio shows week after week now, with drastically altered feels by names like Cosmic Gate and Rex Mundi in Sin City (Cosmic Gate Remix) Sin City (Rex Mundi Remix). Sin City has such a powerful driving force in the melody line, it is hard to sit still while listening!

    Can't wait to see what is in the future for these producers, but for now, the tracks are out and it's up to the listeners to pick their favorites. Which is yours?
  • Novelty of In Silico

    9 Jun 2008, 23:23

    Pendulum's album In Silico seemed amazing at first, but as the novelty wore off, it seems like the album is unfinished, and raw. The whole aspect behind Hold Your Colour was that every aspect of each song was in some way related to DnB, but somehow new and interesting. In Silico does draw from the same sources of emotion, it seems, but leaves the feelings less explored and void of detail. Take for instance, the large introduction of Slam giving you the huge jolt of energy straight into the drive behind the rest of the album, whereas Showdown has a lower driving force and basically does not drive the listener into the same mental state that it seems Pendulum was more than capable of doing. Showdown even has what seems like simple timing issues when returning from the interesting tripleted section. Even Calyx's recent album Anatomy includes there driving opener The Divide which is much more entertaining.

    The positives to the album are in Granite which happens to be my most listened to track. This track follows the same lines as the first CD but is fresh and interesting. I bought it as a single when it first came out, and I still listen to it quite a bit. Also, The Tempest has proven to be captivating only because the last minute or so is simply gold when the vocals drop out.

    9,000 Miles is the perfect example on this CD where they introduced an amazing sonic background, and a very innovative melody, but doesn't develop it into a complete, well rounded song.