Opinions and thoughts of an expert ranter and raver

Archive for January, 2013

Artist Review: W&W

wandwSeeing as W&W has been rising to fame fast quite recently, I was expecting a generic trouse set from them.  On top of that, they were playing at my least favorite nightclub (Wild Knight in Scottsdale) and I was expecting the whole thing to be a clusterfuck.  For the sake of people that read my blog though (or glance at my “articles” for 5 seconds at a time), I figured I would attend this show since I’ve never seen W&W live before and you guys might like to know if they are worth seeing live or not.  The answer is yes. Yes, go see them live, yes they are amazing, yes they put on a wonderful performance.  Rather than the same old melodic trance I am used to hearing from trance acts, it was more of a darker tech trance sound, and I loved it! The song selection was great and it was definitely a different type of trance experience for me, as most of the tracks they chose were non-vocal.  They had a few classics tucked in there, but for the most part they played a lot of their own productions and had a really original-sounding set that I loved! The one complaint that I had (because I always have to complain about something) was their live mixing skills.  Their interaction with the crowd was awesome, I really felt like they were paying attention to the audience and dancing along with us, but I don’t necessarily feel like their music reflected it.  The build-ups and the break-downs weren’t all that intense and overall I felt like their set was really consistent, instead of making the crowd really go crazy and wowing us.  The tracks they played were great, like I said earlier, but I felt like they didn’t do anything to change the energy of the crowd and rather than choosing drops that would make everyone go nuts, there weren’t many of those moments at all.  I really love tech trance, and they killed it in that aspect, so I would definitely recommend seeing them live no matter what genre you’re into.  They don’t get into the really trancey stuff and they also don’t get really into the electro stuff.  They played a good mixture of both which resulted in a totally unique and darker sound.  If this seems like something that would interest you, definitely do not hesitate buying your ticket if they’re ever in your city!

Artist Spotlight: EOTO

I decided to stray away from my raver roots in the artist review and instead venture into another type of electronic music: experimental.  eotoEOTO is a jam band (or at least thats what I like to call it) originating from Boulder, Colorado.  The band consists of Michael Travis and Jason Hann.  If you haven’t heard of Jason Hann, then you my friend, have probably been living under a rock, as he is one of the members of what I would consider one of the biggest jam bands ever, String Cheese Incident.  Whether or not EOTO is your cup of tea, from personal experience I can tell you that seeing a performance by them is like no other thing I have experienced.  At your typical EDM show you have your douchebag promoter bombarding you with fliers, half-naked 12-year olds in an absurd amount of beaded “kandie”, and of course you can not forget the juiced up bros fist pumping and simultaneously flaunting their 6-packs.  Can you imagine going to an EDM show where NONE of this exists?? Yeah, its called EOTO.  The crowd of people and the vibes they bring to their shows are out of this world to say the least.  They do attract a crowd that really does care about the music and its more of a feeling of unity rather than “epic raging” like most people do at raves.  There are a ton of people doing their own thing and I would have to say its one of the least judgmental crowds I’ve experienced in my concert-attending career (yes I would consider the extravagant amount of shows I’ve attended career-worthy seeing as I am a professional partier).  I would classify their music as easy listening and its something you can really take and listen to anywhere.   The peaceful and melodic sounds provide quite the safe haven for your ears and just make for a fantastic musical journey.  Below I have included a couple of my favorite songs by them:

Artist Spotlight: KhoMha

Although Khomha hasn’t exactly made a huge splash in the trance scene, he has made a splash in the pool that is my heartkhomha (so corny I know, just kill me now).  As a trance producer, he is one of my new favorites and I LOVE his unique original productions.  When you think of trance (or at least when I do), I imagine something melodic and beautiful that just makes me feel at peace.  Khomha’s music does all this, but so much more seeing as it is DARK TRANCE (that’s what I like to call it).  He doesn’t make your typical, happy, lovey dovey trance tracks.  He has a dark sound and puts a new spin on the genre.  For all the trance lovers out there, this is definitely a new type of trance experience.  I feel like his beats and melodies are so addictive that his tracks literally suck you in.  2012 was definitely his year, he came out with amazing releases and I would love to see him during a DJ set.  The thing that I like about his music is that even though I feel it puts you in a trance, as trance music is supposed to do, its not your typical trance listening experience.  Its not necessarily upbeat, its kind of techy actually, but it still sends the same vibes.  On top of that, it also makes you really want to dance! No vocals, just straight tunes for Khomha. I’ve selected my top 3 favorite tracks from him over this past year. Enjoy and I hope you begin loving him as much as I do, welcome to the dark side of trance!

Artist Review: Mat Zo

6110Mat-ZoGoing into Mat Zo’s set, I already knew what I was in store for.  I know his reputation and I know his style, so my expectations for his set weren’t super high. I was expecting generic trouse (which is a guilty pleasure of mine) and I wasn’t expecting Mixmaster Mike-type skills. I was definitely surprised by Zo’s set and that he stuck to what he knew.  Although he is signed to Anjunabeats record label, that label no longer represents the best in trance, but rather the best in progressive house.  What I liked most about Zo’s set was that he stuck to some really great trouse songs instead of venturing into mainstream progressive house hits, which I was expecting.  He vibed with the crowd and I was lucky enough to be front row so I could watch his every move (creepy I know).  I wouldn’t say he was an absolutely amazing dj, because I was not overly impressed with his mixing skills.  However, he kept the crowd engaged formatzo autograph the entire duration of his set, which delighted me.  He was extremely into the music and I loved his friendliness and his interaction with the crowd.  Being the total groupies we are, me and my friends stayed until the show ended and got autographs from him.  Totally friendly and normal looking guy, which I think definitely helped with his stage presence and connecting to his fans.  I had an awesome time and would definitely recommend seeing him if you like progressive house.  If you are expecting a trancier set though, look somewhere else, Zo is not a trance DJ.

Delerium – Days Turns Into Nights (Seven Lions Remix) 

Orbital – Halcyon (Dezza Bootleg Remix 2012) 

Raving: The story of my life

I’m not sure when most people started attending raves, started listening to EDM, or even where all of you began partying, but since I’m beginning to get a feel for all of you, I would like to share my personal story about my experience with “raving” so you can understand my background and where I came from.  Get your box of tissues because this is an emotional one and all of you are about to learn a whole lot about me that you didn’t even ask for. Here it goes:

me at 17In high school, although I looked seemingly normal and like I fit in, every day was a struggle for me.  I was so confused about myself that I didn’t know where I fit in.  Although I had a group of friends when I started high school, everyone moved on real fast and I was stuck on my own often feeling like a loner.  All of my friends from high school disappeared and I ate my way into obesity.  Nobody wanted to be my friend and I was stuck in a high school of over 2000 students and was constantly ashamed of myself.  I kept gaining weight and felt more and more alienated as I continued my education. I couldn’t believe my friends had “disowned” me  and I was left to fend for myself in a new body that I hated.  I hung around the weird nerdy kids at school, the theater geeks, because they accepted me and thats when I got turned on to raves.

I attended my first warehouse rave in 2006 at the age of 16 and couldn’t believe that everybody loved me for me. It became so addicting that I couldn’t stop.  All of the people in the warehouse looked like a bunch of outcasts and finally I felt like I could go somewhere where I kandielandwouldn’t be judged by my appearance or where I had come from. It was about partying, it was about the music, and it was about the secret society that you could only dream about venturing into.  We had “rave names” and everything was top secret.  Locations of events were word of mouth and instead of a popularity contest, it truly was about PLUR.  Through the help of all the kind strangers I encountered at raves, I was finally able to find the love for myself that all these people had for me.  I finally understood my identity and realized I wanted to do this for the rest of my life.  As much as I hate what the “rave scene” has become, I can never forget what it was and how much it changed my life.  “PLUR” doesn’t exist anymore and there is no secret society or family to welcome you when you attend events.  Instead its promoters wanting to take your money and image-obsessed partiers wanting to brag about their ventures while simultaneously flaunting their bodies and the outfits they spent hours making.  I no longer feel the comfort that I felt when I first started raving which is overall very heartbreaking and is why I only attend a few times a year.  The scene fell into the hands of the wrong people that looked at rave culture as a cash cow and it has now become an unstoppable trend.  I no longer feel the sense of community at raves or the underground vibes of people wanting to have a good time without caring what they look like.  Its a popularity contest for promoters, djs, and party-goers and I truly don’t believe these events should be classified as “raves”.

blur raveAs I said earlier, my love for electronic music conquers all and I will never stop attending, regardless of how much I usually hate everybody surrounding me.  Attending raves has changed my life and has been the inspiration in my writing (obviously).  I wouldn’t even be me if I wasn’t a raver, that is truly how I define myself.  There are still great people in the scene that exist, but damn how I miss the old scene.  I rarely feel comfortable going to EDM events because of the fact that there are now a million photographers and everyone comes dressed to impress.  There was a time when this shit didn’t matter and it was about a culture.  Although rave culture still exists (I guess) its nothing like it used to be. Instead of a hush hush thing like it used to be, its now the cool thing to do to be a raver.  I remember being a raver in high school and how nobody wanted anything to do with me because they just thought I was too weird to even acknowledge.  I understand how and why everything changed, but thats a whole different rant that I will get into someday.  I applaud those who love the music as much as I do and understand what PLUR is.  There is love for raves outside of the drugs, as much as everyone advertises their drug use, and I hope that all of you reading this post have been touched by my story.  I guess the bottom line is, music changes lives; EDM is my music of choice and I’m lucky to have seen what I have and experienced what I experienced.  For all of the people that never got to experience underground raves, I feel sorry for you because it was truly an amazing thing that may never be seen again.

Regardless of how mainstream our culture gets, there’s still going to be people there that know what PLUR is and have a true my first ravepassion for the music.  Attending these events have introduced me to some of the greatest people in the world and I don’t have any friends that AREN’T in the scene.  True EDM fans are a different breed of people and if you can relate to me, you understand how truly incredible it is to have these people in your life.  Some people would say the EDM scene in America has gone to complete shit, but my advice is to keep raving and keep loving what you’re doing.  There’s nothing that can bring the underground back or get all the idiots out of the scene. Keep being “PLUR” and loving, and maybe one day the scene will go back to the way it used to be.

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