SONGS OF THE DAY: Lush & Simon ft XOV – City of Lights (Vocal Mix) and Lush & Simon – Hunter

Back in November, I was really excited about the track by City of Lights. I wrote it up here and ended with:

‘It sounds like something that one of the big guys like Armin or Zedd would be releasing for the fall season. As a track it’s incredibly strong, but it feels like it’s calling out to have a great topline on top of it. With the title “City of Lights,” the lyrics are almost in mind as I hear the song play.’

A few months later and the Italian duo Lush & Simon enlisted the vocal talents of XOV. What’s surprising is that they chose such a dark and downbeat vocalist for such an uplifting song. If you listen to XOV’s solo songs like “Lucifer” or “Fireman,” his lyrics come from such a dark place that it make Dido or Lorde seem like they’ve overdosed on happy pills. However the darkness works for the track, and while the lyrics are uplifting his tone and delivery gives it a bit more edge so it doesn’t go saccharine or cheesy. As much as I love the original track, this new vocal version elevates it to a higher level.

As pretty an uplifting as “City of Lights” is, Lush & Simon’s other new single “Hunter” is a much more aggressive electro banger. It’s similar in vibe to their track “Adrenaline” with a touch of old school Chemical Brothers in the mix. It’s easy to see why Nicky Romero signed this to his Protocol label.

With all of these tracks mentioned, and of course the gorgeous “Drag Me To the Ground,” the Italian duo Alessandro Miselli & Simone Pioltelli continue to amass a strong catalog of original productions. They are definitely a team to watch as future superstars.

Images courtesy of Trice and Protocol Recordings.

SONG OF THE DAY: Haji and Sheldon – Inception

Seamus Haji is one of those rare producers who lives in both the commercial and underground worlds. One moment he is reworking a big pop record by Foxes, The Saturdays, Usher, or Mariah Carey for the dance floor and the next he drops something much deeper, like “Inception.” This new collaboration with Sheldon is much more on the progressive house tip- not stadium, but big, expansive and experimental, with huge washes of synths leading a journey reaching gorgeous heights and down to deep valleys. When Danny Howard premiered this on his BBC radio show, he referenced Eric Prydz, and while there is definitely a section reminiscent of “Pjanoo,” it is neither a knockoff nor an update but more an experimental groove with a variety of influences. Although I am not normally a fan of progressive tracks, “Inception” is something special that could draw new people into the prog world as it really embraces you on an emotional level and takes you on a sonic journey with the many layers that build over its six-minute length.

Image courtesy of Trice Recordings.

SONG OF THE DAY: David Gravell – “Nighthawk”

It seems that the lines between the genres have been completely broken. There seems to no longer be progressive, electro, trance, or house records – new tracks are a fusion of two or more of them. One record that clearly represents this is the new track from Dutch producer David Gravell. Best known for his top 10 Beatport hits “Megatron” and “Bulldozer,” he starts “Nighthawk” with aggressive electro which gets even harder- with a bit of a Bingo Players feel. Then in the blink of an eye, it drops down to really pretty vocal trance with a soft, almost operatic vocal floating in the background. Then comes a bit of progressive/stadium-sounding keyboard hooks which build the track back up to pumping electro. W&W, who signed David to their MainStage label under Armada, premiered “Nighthawk” as a part of A State of Trance Official 600 in Kuala Lumpur and the track has been buzzing ever since. Watch for this one to get a lot of major support in the new year.

Image Courtesy of Trice Recordings.