#Review: Alan Walker – Different World ūüĆć


   

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Alan Walker¬†is a young, Norwegian DJ and record producer who burst onto the scene with his¬†2015 single,¬†‘Faded’ (featuring uncredited vocals by Iselin Solheim) –¬†now platinum certified in over 10 countries and as of December 2018, the music video has received well over 2 billion views! Since then, he has had many successful singles which have received tons of attention online, through countless YouTube views and Spotify streams. Alan has also collaborated with and remixed music for likes of Noah Cyrus, Sia, Bruno Mars, Avicii, Coldplay, Miley Cyrus, Kygo, Charli XCX, Julia Michaels and more. Now, December 2018 sees the release of his debut album,¬†Different World. Here’s what we have to say about it…

Alan Walker - Different World

Alan Walker‘s debut album makes an atmospheric opening with the haunting use of synths and wordless vocal melodies, building continuously, however, just as you think it’s reaching a crescendo that will surely lead into the first track…it goes quiet! Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for atmospheric album tracks that build into the next but the 3 tracks on the album (out of 15), that are intended to prelude something bigger, just drop off like this, leaving a lot to be desired in this respect – they should flow right into the next track, seamlessly!

Some of the best tracks on the record include: ‘I Don‚Äôt Wanna Go’ (featuring Julie Bergan) with its really interesting, low vocals throughout the verses before breaking out into a wonderfully powerful chorus yet it’s obviously very Alan Walker in style, with the almost bubbly synths. Then you’ve got ‘Lily’ (featuring K-391 & Emelie Hollow), an almost story-like track, with a rather dark undertone to it. The high-pitched vocals contrast incredibly with somewhat sinister-sounding electronic elements to the instruments.

‘Do It All For You’ (featuring Trevor Guthrie) begins with a haunting, nursery rhyme vibe to the instrumental; its warbling chime sounds and hip-hop-style beat bring something fresh to the ears. It isn’t an instantly or obviously catchy track yet it’s very well written and you quite easily find yourself singing it several hours later. ‘Sing Me to Sleep’ (also featuring uncredited vocals by Iselin Solheim) is a very powerful song containing shakingly beautiful vocals (somewhat like Ellie Goulding), accompanied by the haunting sounds of children playing throughout the start and verse. Meanwhile, the synths a like a blend of some well-know Chicane and Owl City instrumentals.

However, possibly the best, most commercial-sounding song on the album, is single, ‘All Falls Down’ (featuring Noah Cyrus, Digital Farm Animals & Juliander). It’s just catchy, fun and despite the slightly down-hearted subject matter, is strangely uplifting.

It’s actually an album that depicts a rarely heard, somewhat dark and edgy side of EDM and it’s brilliant!

Both ‘Lost Control’ (featuring Sorana) and ‘Lonely’ (featuring Steve Aoki, IS√ĀK & Omar Noir) have an urban/Indian edge to them, mashed up with a gritty, broken quality to the synth sounds. Whilst, ‘Darkside’ (featuring Au/Ra & Tomine Harket) sounds a lot like ‘I’d Do Anything’ from the musical, Oliver! in the chorus – it has sensational production with a lot of subtle flourishes underlying the main melodies and ‘Diamond Heart’ (featuring Sophia Somajo) makes good use of rain sounds to add to the atmosphere, topped off with a strong vocal like Dua Lipa meets Sia.

Unfortunately, ‘Alone’ is nothing more than a solid album track, that I am certain fans will love, but it’s not the most memorable track, by far, despite the typical Alan Walker-style synth breaks.

Of course, it wouldn’t be right not to mention ‘Faded’; the track that really launched the producer and songwriter into the limelight – as with a couple of my favourite debut albums released by fellow EDM producers this year, it’s a really touching way to end a debut album; bringing it all back round full-circle to where their career began. A great little touch!

It’s clear that Walker likes to use real sounds to enhance the soundscapes he creates, which really add to the ambience throughout the record – it might just be one of the saving graces of the record, making him stand out from so many other EDM producers.

All in all, it’s actually an album that depicts a rarely heard, somewhat dark and edgy side of EDM and it’s brilliant! As I’ve previously stated, if Sigala‘s album was the soundtrack to the party and Jonas Blue‘s was the soundtrack to the after party, then Alan Walker‘s debut album is the soundtrack to the gritty underground club after that!

Whilst I think there are several things lacking in this record, he has certainly spent a long time crafting a production-perfect debut with some interesting sounds or synth choices here and there that add just enough variety to delight your ears and make it stand out.

After the success of ‘Faded’ and the loyal online following he’s built up, I’m sure Alan Walker will have an illustrious career ahead within the genre…it’ll be interesting to see how he develops and grows from here.

Rating


‘Different World’¬†is out now and can be downloaded from iTunes – https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/different-world/1445140820


Different World on Spotify

Faded (Official Video)

All Falls Down featuring Noah Cyrus, Digital Farm Animals and Juliander (Official Video)

Darkside featuring Au/Ra and Tomine Harket (Official Video)

Diamond Heart featuring Sophia Somajo (Official Video)


We hope you’ve enjoyed our review of Alan Walker’s debut album, Different World! What do you make of it? Are you as much of a fan as us? What would you rate it out of 5? Please leave your thoughts in a comment or hit us up via our social media.


Enjoyed this? Check out some of our other reviews here:

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*EXCLUSIVE* #Review: Chicane – The Place You Can’t Remember, The Place You Can’t Forget ūüí≠


   

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Chicane (aka Nick Bracegirdle) is a British musician, composer, songwriter and producer who has had a string of hits that have been massive on the Ibiza club scene, including ‘Saltwater’ (featuring vocals by M√°ire Brennan from Clannad), ‘Offshore’, ‘Don’t Give Up’ (featuring Bryan Adams) and ‘Stoned In Love’ (with vocals by the legendary Tom Jones). Now, 2018 sees the release of his seventh album, The Place You Can’t Remember, The Place You Can’t Forget (released through Modena Records and Armada Music); here’s what we think about it…

Chicane - The Place You Can't Remember, The Place You Can't Forget.jpg

I would go so far as to say that this might be one of Chicane‘s best albums to date; it’s diverse, eclectic and contemporary whilst not compromising on his instantly recognisable sound and style.

The album opens with the stunningly atmospheric ‘Running To The Sea’ which reverberates right through the chest, due to low rumbles and bass notes but meanwhile uses harmonic guitars, making it sound equally euphoric; it’s like the dawn of a beautiful day, but in this instance, the day is the album!

From there, 2017 single, ‘Gorecki’ (featuring vocals by Hannah Robinson), makes an album appearance; very much a classic Chicane track – mesmerising, hypnotic synth plucks, dream-like pads, echoing vocals and deeply rooted in the house genre.

Also, Tracey Ackerman makes a much anticipated return collaboration on single, ‘Serendipity’; a calm and ambient track.

Some of the other, most notable tracks, include: the instant, turn-it-up anthem, ‘A Love That’s Hard To Find’; definitely a song that provides room to breathe throughout but also includes some Daft Punk-esque vocals (from Paul Aiden) on top of a summery, deep house beat; ‘Rainbow’ keeps you in suspense all the way through with its calming vocals (provided by Tyler Lyle) and synths that teeter around the edge of something big, probably making it one of the most ambient songs on the album and two Rosalee O’Connell-sung tracks; ‘Nirvana’ – an EDM meets house affair that has some wonderful, broken falsetto vocals, with a touch of something old-school (like ATB‘s ‘9 PM (Till I Come)’ or York‘s ‘On The Beach’) and ‘I Came Here For You’ which serves up an exotic combination of cascading synths, heavy drums, rhythmic bass and dreamy vocals that sit in the centre of the mix, almost surrounded by the instrumentation.

Somehow this feels very different to some of his previous releases; it is uplifting, fresh, reinvigorating and really pushes the boundaries of what he can produce.

To be perfectly honest though, it’s incredibly hard to find something not to love about every track on the album; ‘Chord – Less Yacht’ slowly builds from a muffled, static-like intro to an angelic-sounding, deep house anthem with shimmering synths and thumping beats, ‘Judder’ sounds like the theme to an 80s fighting game (think Street Fighter) but with dramatic changes in tempo and barely audible vocal notes coursing through it, ‘Ten Deep’ sounds like the film score to a modern sci-fi movie, due to its soaring synths and bold brass sounds and ‘Fear I Must First Let You Go’ (featuring vocals by Chris James) is a positive take on looking to the future – a therapeutic song that has an almost sermon-like quality to it.

Without a doubt, The Place You Can’t Remember, The Place You Can’t Forget is still an ambient, atmospheric and deep house-filled album that is instantly recognisable as Chicane, but somehow it feels very different to some of his previous releases; it is uplifting, fresh, reinvigorating and really pushes the boundaries of what he can produce.

Lastly, I would like to make a special thanks to Nick and his manager Louis, for allowing us to be the first and only people to have had access to the full album prior to its release. It truly has been a privilege.

Rating


‘The Place You Can’t Remember, The Place You Can’t Forget’¬†is out now and can be downloaded from iTunes –¬†https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/the-place-you-cant-remember-the-place-you-cant-forget/1377444000


‘The Place You Can’t Remember, The Place You Can’t Forget’ on Spotify

Serendipity (Official Video)

A Love That’s Hard To Find (Official Audio)


We hope you’ve enjoyed our review! What do you think of this incredible musician and producer’s latest album? Do you love it as much as us? What would you rate it? Please leave your thoughts in a comment below or share your views about it via our social media.


Enjoyed this? Check out some of our other reviews here:

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Matt – Muzik Speaks
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#MuzikSpeaks: An Interview with Chicane


   

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Having recently released his greatest hits album,¬†‘Twenty’ and performed a rare, full-band show at¬†Concorde 2 in Brighton (check out our¬†review), I had the real privilege of speaking to¬†Nick Bracegirdle, aka Chicane, backstage, before the show.

During our interview, we¬†discussed who he’d still like to work, how his newest album is progressing and what passions he has outside of music.¬†It’s all here, in the interview video below!

I want to say a massive thanks to Nick for taking the time to chat to me and to his manager, Louis for making this interview happen. Big thanks to both of you!

I really hope you enjoy watching this interview! Please show your support for the band by sharing the link to this post on all of your social media accounts!



Chicane‘s¬†releases are all¬†available:


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#EventSpeaks: Chicane @ Concorde 2, Brighton – 19/05/17


   

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On Friday 19th May 2017, Chicane came to Brighton to perform a full-band set (which is a very rare thing!) It was an absolutely incredible night, with support from Chris Hopkins, who did an hour and a half DJ set.


Chris Hopkins (DJ Set)

One of Nick’s friends,¬†Chris Hopkins¬†did a great DJ set to get the evening started, playing a range of dance anthems as well as some remixes of classic songs by Prince and others; it was non-stop tune after tune.

Highlight:

  • The dedication made to Robert Miles before playing ‘Children’ was touching and had the crowd cheering and dancing along.
  • Also playing a¬†Chicane song (not on the set list), right before he took to the stage, was a great way to get the crowd going.

Chicane

Chicane took to the stage with the recent, ambient, ascending track¬†’38 Weeks’, accompanied by his band (Karlos Edwards on drums and Simon Small on guitar and bass) and singer, Rosalee O’Connell. The set was then packed with his biggest hits from the past 20 years, in celebration of his recent album,¬†Twenty.¬†I particularly enjoyed the live performances of¬†‘Poppiholla (Anniversary Remix)’, ‘Fibreglasses’,¬†‘Don’t Give Up’,¬†‘Nite On Shore’ and¬†‘Saltwater’.

The set was diverse, mixing his more upbeat, club anthems (which had the audience going wild; jumping up and down and singing along) and the more mellow, ambient tracks; at times joined by¬†either of the two singers (Rosalee O’Connell or Gavin Conder) accompanying and others with just the musicians; it all flowed perfectly.

It was great to hear these tracks live and the combination of Nick’s synth tracks and keys alongside live instrumentation was a really unique way to experience his music.

The performance¬†was about an hour and a half long and people loved every second of it (myself included); we¬†could quite happily have gone on listening, watching and dancing all night. There was genuine disappointment when it came an end but an encore¬†led to rapturous applause before closing the show with¬†‘Stoned In Love’, with Gavin Condor on vocals.

If you haven’t ever seen him play with a full band, you must! I’m already itching to catch him live again!!!

Highlights:

  • The set list was crammed full of hit after hit.
  • Nick mixed the sounds to perfection and whilst the quality sounded like the studio versions, the subtle changes to the track made them unique to that performance.
  • The bass sounds were so heavy and loud, you could feel them reverberate through your chest.
  • The guitarist was incredibly talented, particularly on the track,¬†‘Nite On Shore’ when he showed off some impressive acoustic guitar skills.
  • The superbly¬†powerful vocals of both singers were stunning to witness.
  • The drummer’s use of both drum kit and samples pads added a diverse edge to the performance.

All of these excellent photos are credited to Elliot McRae.
Go on, give him a follow ‚Äst@EMcraePhoto


 Setlist

38 Weeks
The Bridge
One Thousand Suns*
Poppiholla (Anniversary Remix)*
Saltwater (Kryder Remix)
Hiding All The Stars
Still With Me
Fibreglasses
Carry Me Home
Don’t Give Up*
Nite On Shore
Saltwater*

Encore
Stoned In Love

* These songs can be viewed in the YouTube playlist, below.


Finally, I want to say an absolutely HUGE thanks to Louis for organising this review and backstage interview (here) and also to Chicane (Nick) for putting on such an immense evening; I loved every minute of it.

Matt – Muzik Speaks
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#WildCardWednesday: Cazzette – ‘Handful Of Gold’ featuring JONES


   

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Swedish electronic music duo,¬†Cazzette, have recently released¬†an exciting new track¬†that is catching a lot of people’s attention, particularly from the dance music community.

‚ÄėHandful Of Gold‚Äô features¬†London-born vocalist,¬†JONES,¬†who released her debut album last year. The track features a rather light beat, enhanced with dreamy guitars before dropping into a rather intense, horn-sounding slam. The whole track is topped off stunningly, by¬†JONES‘¬†soaring vocals. It’s a song I can picture massive crowds dancing to at big dance festivals this summer.

The track¬†will also be featured on Cazzette‚Äôs upcoming¬†EP,¬†‚ÄėTime‚Äô, which is scheduled to be released on June 23rd 2017. No official video has been released but for now, we have another video featuring the track, below.

What are your thoughts of this club-like banger? Got a #WildCardWednesday track to recommend us? Please leave your thoughts or your own song suggestions in a comment or hit us up via our social media.

Matt – Muzik Speaks
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‘Handful Of Gold’¬†can be downloaded off¬†iTunes now –¬†https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/handful-of-gold-feat-jones/id1223012347?i=1223012349


#Two4Tuesday: Frankmusik – ‘Going Under’ & Disciples – ‘On My Mind’


   

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Frankmusik – ‘Going Under’

As you probably know by now, we’re¬†big supporters of¬†Frankmusik¬†(check out our interview) and if his latest single (‘Going Under’) is anything to go by, that’s not going to dwindle any time soon.

The electronic artist has been going it alone, without a label, for some time and he’s still producing incredible music, growing and developing his sound with each and every release. The singer’s latest track is very different from his previous releases and has a much for edgy, underground vibe to it, but it’s epic – the instrumental drop is sick beyond belief; I defy anyone not to start skanking out¬†to it!

Bring on the new music and the first of 2 EPs this year, SS17, on June 17th 2017!


‘Going Under’¬†is¬†on¬†iTunes for downloading now! –¬†https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/going-under-single/id1220779282



Disciples – ‘On My Mind’

Our second track today is¬†‘On My Mind’ by London-based trio,¬†Disciples¬†(consisting of¬†Nathan Vincent Duvall, Gavin Koolmon, and Luke McDermott).

The trio’s deep house song, is somehow relaxing yet at the same time, danceable. It’s got a late-night summer feel to it. It’s the kind of track that would keep you going well into the early hours especially with the combination of harmonised vocals, repeating,¬†“On my mind”¬†– it’s truly quite entrancing.

This is a fantastic song; one I could quite happily listen to on repeat, for hours!


‘On My Mind’¬†can also be downloaded from iTunes now! –¬†https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/on-my-mind/id1203282773?i=1203283073


Matt – Muzik Speaks
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#FeelGoodFriday: Mount Cashmore – ‘Love You More’


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Very little is known about Netherlands-based act Mount Cashmore, but all I do know, is that after hearing this song played by Scott Mills on Radio 1, I love it!

‘Love You More’ is the debut single and my word it’s a huge anthem! All this needs is a bit more airplay and it could sky-rocket to Number 1! It’s got all the ingredients for success; a huge, sing-a-long chorus, banging beats and a strong tropical house flavour…I see big things for¬†Mount Cashmore¬†in the future!

What are your thoughts on this epic tune? Would you like to hear more? Please share your thoughts or own #FeelGoodFriday selection in a comment below or via social media!

HAPPY FRIDAY EVERYONE! Have a good weekend!

Matt – Muzik Speaks
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‘Love You More’¬†can be downloaded off¬†iTunes now –¬†https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/love-you-more/id1150532994?i=1150533174