Have y’all noticed the pattern where producers alternate releases between big room club bangers and more commercial-oriented vocal songs? Of course Brian Transeau has his own unique spin, as he often does, with singles from his forthcoming ‘A Sound Across Wires” album – alternating between instrumental, somber electronic tracks (“Vervoeren,” “Skylarking”) and more commercial-friendly, vocal pop-leaning songs like “Must Be the One” and the new single “Surrounded.” Enlisting the vocal help of British singer/songwriter Aqualung (aka Matt Hayles), the song has an accessible feel with an emotional verse and chorus without veering into cheesy pop. If you are a fan of Armin van Buuren’s “This is What It Feels Like,” or Arty’s “Together We Are,” then “Surrounded” should definitely be on your to-buy list. Like other tracks from ‘A Sound Across Wires,’ you can hear the influences of big room festival sounds reinterpreted by BT with his trademark pristine and exceptional production. If you listen to “Surrounded” and “Vervoeren” back to back, you can hear some of those ideas reinterpreted, along with elements you might expect from a Madeon or Zedd track. Though all the the remixes keep the vibe of the original, they each have a unique flavor that blends two different sound – big room trance and electro (Super8 and Tab), ’80s synth-pop and two-step (Tony Awake), and elements of Zedd and Arty (MK Kirin). “Surrounded” maybe not grab you on first listen, but it is definitely a grower that improves with each listen.
In this world where the DJ/Producer is always the star, it’s so refreshing to see the singer credited as the main artist on a track. Singer/songwriter Julie Thompson made her first entry to the dance world with James Holden on the massive underground track “Nothing” and has successfully crossed the genre lines of trance, electro, and progressive house by working with producers as varied as the Freemasons, Tiesto, Freestylers, and Andy Duguid. While the progressive-leaning trance track by Super 8 & Tab is solid, “Your Secret’s Safe” is all about Julie’s vocal performance which shows a range with a forceful verse and uplifting bridge (reminiscent of Madonna’s “Love Profusion”) that leads to an atmospheric, almost angelic chorus. The contrast between the energetic beats and the calming lyrics elevates it from a club track to something more meaningful, memorable, and almost spiritual. As the first taste of her upcoming sophomore artist album ‘Eye of the Storm,’ we anxiously await hearing more from her.