Aruna Shows Her Versatility in "Ready to Go"

*Post originally published on RockDaFuqOut blog

If you follow trance music, Aruna is a known staple of the genre – lending her breathy, soft vocals to uplifting  tunes and showcasing her writing and production chops to numerous songs released via Enhanced Recordings. Aruna has collaborated with the finest of trance including Armin van Buuren, Cosmic Gate,  Myon & Shane 54 (when they were still together), Ferry Corsten…the list goes on.

That’s why Aruna’s latest release is a surprising, unfamiliar venture yet it works so so well. She teamed up for some drum & bass vibes with Rameses B on the song “Ready to Go”and the result is a mellow musical composition served extremely chilled. The song doesn’t use Aruna’s vocals, which is another surprise,  but her song writing style is present in the lyrics and accented synths of the production. Is progressive drum & bass a thing? Probably not, BUT I can always get behind laid back drum & bass tune.

This isn’t the first time that Aruna has ventured outside of trance. She collaborated before with house artists Laidback Luke and GTA and has written pop songs. However “Ready to Go” has to be one of her more unique projects. Rameses B is responsible the distinct drum & bass sound and KINGDØMS’s vocals seamlessly complement the beat. Listen  to “Ready to Go” here:

Gryffin is a 'Next Up' Artist to Watch

*Post originally published on RockDaFuqOut blog

Last month, Billboard Magazine and W Hotels brought their Next Up series to Washington, DC to feature another rising artist who is beginning to make their mark in the music industry.

Set against the most picturesque views of Washington’s monuments, LA-based producer and musician Gryffin played a blend of original songs and remixes to an intimate yet packed room of enthusiastic fans. It was a night of vibrant music set to a stunning, glittering background of cityscape in DC’s swankiest hotel. Not too shabby.

Gryffin is not an artist to be boxed into one genre. He describes his style as “melody-rich style of house music that fuses indie with dance in tasteful fashion.” Gryffin shatters the notion that electronic artists aren’t “real” musicians. His Next Up set was a fusion of computerized beats and riffs over which he layered live keyboard, drum and electric guitar to compliment the synths. When the sound is a blend of house with a side of acoustic, it’s something that can be appreciated by both EDM enthusiasts and pop aficionados.

Fans were treated to Gryffin’s most known tracks which included “Whole Heart” and “Heading Home” (check out Le Youth’s remix of this song) as well as his signature remixes of “King” by Years & Years, “Beggin for Thread” by BANKS and Maroon 5’s “Animals”. What sticks out about Gryffin’s remixes is that he molds the songs to become these upbeat, infectious tunes that remind you of summer and get a crowd dancing. Which is exactly what he did at the W Hotel venue.

Gryffin is definitely one to watch – check out his SoundCloud here:

Kyau & Albert "Bend Girl"

If this isn't trance love, then I don't know what is. Kyau & Albert consistently deliver the goods and their newest song "Bend Girl" is no exception. These two have a way with melodies that leaves the ears eager to hear more, whether it be the next chord or the next song. If you're not listening to their Euphonic Sessions podcast, you need to do so immediately. Check out "Bend Girl" and their Euphonic Sessions podcast for January 2016 below. 


Movement Festival Brings a Glimmer of Life Back to Detroit

“Techno is the story of jazz as told by machines, written by the mechanics.”

Detroit was a city that was once one of the largest metropolises in the U.S. and the “Automotive Capital of the World”. And most importantly, its musical legacies influenced the generations. 

Detroit is now known for its urban decay and suffering the largest municipal bankruptcy case in U.S. history. Half of the population has moved out. Empty apartment buildings and distressed skyscrapers line the streets. But there is also techno. And its helping revitalize the greater downtown area…

On Memorial Day weekend, Detroit’s Hart Plaza hosted the annual Movement Festival (AKA DEMF for the purists), steadily defining itself as America’s key techno showcase and drawing fans from across the globe. 

Movement is a celebration of love, pride and hope that captures the resilient spirit of Detroit by championing the do-it-yourself attitude of turning a grassroots idea into a reality. Though it’s hard to ignore the city’s economic woes, it’s impossible to forget Detroit is the birthplace of techno. 

Instead of chasing chart-toppers, Movement's organizers, Paxahau Promotions, dug deep into electronic music’s progressive underground and exposed audiences to a sophisticated bill of pioneers and rising stars. In a world filled with EDM festivals that are less about sound and more about commercial image, Movement was genuine and unpretentious as it zeroed in on what mattered most: the music.

The festival catered to all types of electronic sounds. If one was looking for a quick reprieve from the suffocating basslines of Cell Injection, Rodhad or Matador in the Underground Stage, then Maya Jane Coles, Hot Since 82 and Henrik Schwartz were ready with the tech-house and fresh air at the sun-drenched Beatport Stage. 

The Red Bull Stage was the most diverse stage. Hip-hop performers such as People Under The Stairs and Detroit native Danny Brown shared the Red Bull Music Academy Stage with Disclosure and Eats Everything among other house djs. Red Bull also hosted techno and drum n bass artists such as Squarepusher, a crowd favorite known for his audio-visual performances that combine jazz, drum and bass and acid house. Method Man and Snoop Dogg were also among the hip-hop acts. While this might come as a shock to electronic die-hards, the musical diversity has played a role in exposing larger audiences to local talent, both classic and new. 

Few festivals pay tribute to the legends like Movement Festival, which made sure to give recognition to the greats where it was due. On the first night, the Thump Stage paid tribute with a “Detroit Love Showcase” that invited legends like Stacey Pullen and Carl Craig to delight the audience. Among other notable acts was Kerri Chandler, who played a soulful Chicago-house style set reminiscent of Frankie Knuckles with classics such as Marshall Jefferson’s Move Your Body. 

Other notable performances included Dog Blood, a collaboration between Skrillex and Germany’s Boys Noize, who delivered a bona fide show for a young audience that left the plaza spent. Henrik Schwartz helped deliver an incredibly diverse tech house set. And Seth Troxler went back to back with the Martinez Brothers as the “Tuskegee.” 

Toronto house duo Art Department played one of their last shows together. They announced they would be going separate ways, with producer Jonny White continuing under the moniker and his partner Kenny Glasgow pursuing solo material. The impending split didn’t get in the way of a seamless interplay between the two onstage. 

The experience was truly underground. And you couldn’t help but feel inspired by the community that hustled to put Detroit back on the map. 

Check out Detroit photos and prominent songs from Movement below. (Article, music selections and photos by Alex Grabowski)