Lovers of trance and progressive probably already follow Enhanced recordings religiously. The home base of Tritona, Estiva, Lange, and Juventa, the label releases quality tracks on a consistent basis. Aruna is an incredible singer and DJ who has the kind of pretty yet powerful angelic voice which sounds so great on trance tracks. Her collaborations with Ferry Corsten, Markus Schulz, ATB, Cosmic Gate, Myon, and Armin van Buuren definitely showcase that. Following up her solo songs “Save the Day” and “Reason to Believe,” she recently released “Start a Fire,” which pretty much lives up to the title. The production, with Johan Malmgren, isn’t a quick torch but a slow burn that grows with intensity as it pulls you in. It’s one of those songs that might not grab you the first time you hear it but with each listen it will grow on you. For me, it was the track I kept hearing during the Winter Music Conference; knowing that it sounded familiar, but it didn’t hit me until afterwards what it was. If you like vocal trance/progressive with a touch of a pop edge, definitely check out “Start A Fire” and make sure Enhanced releases are on your radar.
When it comes to trance, there is no bigger name in the field than Armin van Buuren who has established himself as the top representative of the genre. Not only has he been voted the number one DJ in the world for the past few years, but he has also maintained a massive presence in the EDM community with his highly popular State of Trance radio series and live shows worldwide. I was definitely curious, though, to see what direction Armin would take with his fifth studio album, considering his last release, Mirage, was something of a disappointment with its more commercialized sound. One had to wonder if Armin was going to follow the path of Tiesto and create more radio-friendly music, which would feel like a sellout to his true fans. Intense finds the highly acclaimed DJ trying to find his inner voice and moving forward and while the new release is an improvement over Mirage, fans are still left however with an enigma that never truly captures the vision and sound that originally catapulted Armin to fame.
Everyone’s buzzing about the premiere of “This is What It Feels Like” last night on BCC Radio 1. Armin describes his forthcoming album ‘Intense’ as a mix of house, electro, and trance with a touch of dubstep and rock, so this lead single is a great setup, fusing stadium house and trance with elements of rock. If you are a fan of recent tracks by Daddy’s Groove and Carl Nunes, “This is What It Feels Like” will feel similar- yet instead of experimenting with alternative rock, it embraces more of the classic and progressive rock genres, with Armin adding his signature euphoric and pretty glaze on top if it. The vocals of Trevor Guthrie (formerly of SoulDecision) are heartfelt and emotional with an INTENSity as he sings lines like “don’t even know how I survived” that will bring you in as part of the melody. The piano lines and “ooh” vocal hooks compliment the vocals perfectly and complete the track. “This is What It Feels Like” feels like it can be a crossover pop hit upon release internationally, even strong enough to bring Armin some Top 40 attention in the US. As a first taste of Intense, the song makes us look forward to his explorations into the new world of Trance 2.0.